Yolanda Baruch via Forbes
In honor of World Mental Health Day – “a day that spotlights an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme Mental health is a universal human right to improve knowledge, raise awareness, and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right,” according to the World Health Organization.
Nina Westbrook is an entrepreneur, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, the founder of Bene by Nina , an online wellness platform, and The Relationship Chronicles Podcast, and the creator of Do Tell, a card game aimed to encourage sincere conversations between family, friends, and loved ones. Westbrook is well-versed in advising people on improving their mental health. She offers expert insight, tips, and advice on how individuals can navigate and prioritize wellness in all areas of their lives.
As a mother of three children that she shares with her husband, NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook, the 34-year-old UCLA psychology graduate, understands the necessity of interpersonal growth and sustaining one’s mental soundness.
Yolanda Baruch: In honor of World Mental Health Day, why is it imperative for people to protect their mental health?
Nina Westbrook: Protecting our mental health is imperative because it profoundly impacts all aspects of our daily lives; this includes our physical health, relationships, work, and the relationship we have with ourselves. Neglecting mental well-being can sometimes lead to severe consequences for individuals and communities; it is generally interconnected that the overall quality of life is tied to societal health. Prioritizing our mental health not only enhances a sense of personal happiness but also supports healthier communities as it fosters a culture of empathy and care.
Baruch: What tips can you share on gaining mental health education, improving awareness, advocating against social stigmas, and how people can seek out care?
Westbrook: To gain mental health education and improve awareness, you can access free online resources from trusted organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH) or the World Health Organization (WHO). When you’re on the hunt for resources, be sure the people you turn to are licensed or certified to provide evidence-based tools and information. You can advocate against the social stigmas that surround mental health topics by promoting open conversations about mental health in your community, challenging stereotypes, and sharing personal experiences. Lastly, knowing when to seek professional help is vital; if you or someone you know is experiencing persistent mental health issues that impact daily life, don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health provider or therapist for support.
Baruch: Has our society become more sensitive to the issue of mental health? What improvements would you like to occur in schools, communities, work environments, and within policy and law?
Westbrook: I believe that younger generations are becoming more sensitive to the issue of mental health, with an increasing interest in overall wellness. However, significant segments of the population still do not prioritize their mental health, and societal stigmas surrounding mental health persist in certain communities. To drive continued change, I feel it’s important to have mental health education offered at schools so that it’s a topic people feel comfortable addressing from a young age, particularly as it relates to social and emotional development. Additionally, workplaces should adopt a culture that supports mental health, allowing for mental health days and fostering an environment where employees are not penalized for discussing or taking time off for their mental well-being.
Baruch: Why was it important to you to launch Bene by Nina and The Relationship Chronicles Podcast? You conduct in-depth conversations with notable figures like Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Sophia Roe, and your husband. What insights did you want readers and listeners to gain from the information you share on both platforms?
Westbrook: I launched Bene by Nina and The Relationship Chronicles Podcast because I wanted to openly address the stigma surrounding mental health in a relatable way while providing accessible tips and resources. Through both of these channels, I have the opportunity to share insights and experiences that empower people to navigate the complexities of relationships, mental health, and personal development. We are fostering a space where they can find guidance, understanding, and the tools they need to build healthier and more fulfilling connections while navigating life’s challenges and embracing their mental and physical well-being.
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