Mental health is at epidemic levels, especially when you include all the havoc Covid 19 has brought upon us in 2020.
People are suffering from anxiety, isolation, and depression. Many have loss their jobs, lives, health insurance, and sense of normalcy. Families are struggling to eat. Many have turned to alcohol and drugs, and some have even turned to suicide. And let’s not forget the stress and pressure on the healthcare workers. It’s fair to say society has reached a boiling point, as it relates to mental health.
Not to mention the many obstacles and challenges people are faced with today. There is a dire need for an intervention on many levels. Some people are dealing with internal struggles as a result of outside interferences due to Covid 19, lack of work, lack of money, lack of food, and loneliness. Also, many people are struggling from being overburdened with home, spousal, and motherly duties. Some have even forgot about themselves in the process. Trust me, you are not alone.
Sometimes things can get so clouded, people will find it hard or are embarrassed to tell someone of their struggles for fear of being labeled or talked about. But fear not, there is help available. It starts with being honest enough to share what you are going through, and then being open enough to receive help.
Are you suffering with bouts of mental illness, depression, stress, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc.?
If not, do you know someone who is?
While you think about it, I have invited Meagan Copelin to talk to you about this most important topic—mental illness. She will share with you ways to overcome obstacles in your life to LIVE, and how to improve your mental health.
Dr. Meagan Copelin is an international speaker, author, empowerment coach, blogger, contributing writer and podcaster. She also has a consulting business, which provides human resource services and consulting to a number of clients in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, technology, start-up, financial, nonprofit, and many other industries.
Human Resources is Meagan’s niche; she has over 15 years of experience in various roles. However, mental health is Meagan’s passion. She founded Mental Rich, a mental health movement dedicated to helping young girls and women who suffer from mental illnesses steaming from abuse, abandonment, and rejection. Her goal is to become a trailblazing voice for young girls and women worldwide. Drawing on her own experiences of mental illness, loss, and trauma, Meagan uses her words to encourage others to build a home within themselves—to love, live, and create fearlessly.
I will work to fight mental health stigma until no one has to go through negative experiences like mine – Meagan Copelin
3WV: Tell us a little bit about Meagan Copelin.
Meagan: I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and am the product of drug addicted parents. I first showed signs of depression at the age of 8 years old due to several childhood trauma experiences. At the age of 12 years old, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, and a bipolar disorder. At a young age, I knew I was different and battling struggles, but didn’t understand the capacity of my mental illnesses until much later in life. My passion is mental health.
By trade, I am a human resources professional and started working in the field about 12 years ago. In addition to my advanced education, I am a certified mental health, life, and business coach. I am an advocate of mental health and during the last two years, my platform has been to educate others on mental health. Currently, I am an international speaker, author, empowerment coach, blogger, and a contributing writer and podcaster.
I am also the founder of Mental Rich, a mental health movement dedicated to helping young girls and women of color who suffer from mental illnesses stemming from abuse, abandonment, and rejection. My passion is to become a trailblazing voice for young girls and women worldwide. Drawing on my own experiences of mental illness due to abuse, rejection, and abandonment, I use my words to encourage others to build a home within themselves—to love, live, and create fearlessly.
3WV: You teach women about overcoming major life obstacles, what obstacles have you had to overcome in your life?
Meagan: The obstacles that I have had to overcome in life, including suffering from several mental illnesses, was the fact that my parents were absent most of my life. I was raped at the age of 8 years of by my mon’s live in boyfriend and had to endure that agony for several months. Due to the absence of my parents, I lived with several relatives and friends. As a child and an adult, I have been through various challenges, but I am happy that I was able to overcome many of those challenges I faced.
I decided to become a certified mental health coach because I have experienced first-hand the stigma and torment of mental illnesses. This is also a way for me to share my story in support of reaching others who may have or currently suffer in silence. I realized early on that I had a gift for guiding people through darkness. I have fought my own battles, not always with ease but with hope and determination. I never gave up on myself and wanted to show others that it is possible to overcome battles and manage mental illnesses through patience and love for themselves. It is a privilege for me to accompany people on their journey of self-understanding, and to change and shine some light into their life.
3WV: What advice can you give to help women overcome obstacles?
Meagan: It is important as women that we continue to challenge ourselves and do what scares us. Remember, that confidence is a skill that some of us tend to build over time. I believe women have the ability to deal with obstacles and to bounce back from our setbacks. The resilience of a woman didn’t come from the easy times that they experienced, but from the hard times. As women, we develop our grit and tenacity by facing challenges and figuring out how to make the most of them.
3WV: What impact does the state of a person’s mental health have on their life or their loved ones? How can a person improve their mental health?
Meagan: Most people believe that mental health conditions don’t exist. In fact, mental health illnesses are common and widespread. According to Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA.org), an estimated 44 million Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder each year. Life affects us all differently, but certain factors can affect our mental health and influence how we think and respond to challenges and opportunities in life. We all respond to our experiences differently, and there’s no single “right way” to react. Being aware of how challenges in life can affect our mental health may make it easier to understand when we, or someone we care about, are struggling. Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet we can often forget just how crucial our connections with our loved ones are.
Improving mental health is key, and several things I do to manage my mental health include:
- Morning journaling
- Writing positive affirmations
- Protecting my peace
- Saying “NO” firmly
- Listening to gossip music
- Getting 8 hours of sleep
- Daily walking
- Lighting candles
3WV: Tell us about the component of your business called the “Mental Rich Movement.” What is it about?
Meagan: Mental Rich, is a mental health movement dedicated to helping young girls and women of color who suffer from mental illnesses—stemming from abuse, abandonment, and rejection. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. The way you think about yourself can have a huge influence on your ability to create a healthy mindset. Being mentally rich is simple. It is all about building momentum and the ability to live the kind of life that makes you happy. Self-care and self-worth are key in building a mentally rich mindset. Mentally rich is the ability to build a sense of belonging, in which you realize your own abilities and can cope with the normal stresses of life.
As a woman, I had to learn the importance of self-care. I also felt that it was important to provide myself with the opportunity to experience all the best things about life and to enjoy every minute of it, no matter my past experiences. Self-care and self-love are one of the strongest and greatest gifts women can give themselves. Self-care is essential because it encourages self-improvement. When we take care of ourselves, it has a positive influence on our overall mindset. Self-care protects your mental health.
3WV: How important is it for women to let go of their past in order to heal and move forward?
Meagan: Holding on to the past can be a conscious decision just like letting go and moving forward can be a conscious decision. To release the past, it is important to focus on the present and the future. Many of us women get stuck in the past because of our need for certainty. I understand that we at times need to feel certain that we can avoid pain and, ideally, find some comfort in our lives. Healing from the past means having the courage to let go of what is familiar, even if it’s negative and being vulnerable enough to embrace and learn from what’s ahead. Start living a life full of joy and freedom by learning how to move on from the past.
3WV: What are some tangible things women can do to move forward?
Meagan: The following are some things women can do to move forward in their lives.
Tangible things to do:
- Put yourself first. You matter.
- Create positive affirmations to counter the painful thoughts
- Create physical distance
- Practice mindfulness
- Be gentle with yourself
- Start journaling
- Accept that the other person may not apologize
- Engage in self-care
- Surround yourself with people who fill you up
- Be okay with talking about your feelings
3WV: Mental illness is so prevalent nowadays and comes in all forms. Just recently, we heard about singer Tamar Braxton’s mental issues in the news. Why is it important for people to check on their “well” family members and friends, as it relates to mental health?
Meagan: I believe mental health was overlooked for many years because it was purely misunderstood. When I was first diagnosed with mental illnesses, I was misinformed and was provided with medication that would allow me to manage most of my illnesses, but not all. Public awareness and understanding have always been relatively low because what mental illness looks like from the outside can be very different from what the person currently feels. Mental illness is not a look. Even the strongest person can be brought down. In fact, it’s paramount that we remember our stronger friends, as they can be easily overlooked thanks to their resilience.
It’s hard to be the strong friend. As a strong friend, I don’t always show off my vulnerability much, and probably have never cried in front of my friends. The strong friend is the one who offers endless advice and support, and are ALWAYS there to check on their friends to make sure they’re okay. And while it’s great to be the strong friend, it can also be difficult. Strong doesn’t mean invincible. It’s hard to see someone we love in pain and it’s confusing when someone we know well is not acting like themselves. Support from family and friends is a key part of helping someone who is going through a mental illness.
3WV: You help women to find their voice, why should women use their voice?
Meagan: As women, it is important to start saying what we stand for. Women have so much to offer in this world and we compliment each other so well. Know what you have to say is of value. Trust what you feel, know, and see is of value. And most importantly, learn to speak it in such a way that it’s listened to and acted on. I don’t think we can afford to be silent anymore. I think it is expensive to be quiet sometimes; it costs us more to be quiet than it does to speak up.
3WV: In life, it is important for people to learn how to LIVE, what advice can you give to inspire people to live their lives to the fullest?
Meagan: The way you think about yourself can have a huge influence on your ability to create a healthy mindset and life. It is important to understand that everything holding you to a life you don’t want to live is a prison created by your own mind.
- Create a bucket list and start checking things off.
- Set goals and write them down.
- Don’t live for others.
- Don’t complain.
- It’s OK to fail.
- Ignore the things you can’t change.
- Take care of your body.
- Take care of your mind.
- Live consciously.
- Overcome your fears.
- Do work you love.
- Practice self-care and self-love.
- You are the key to your own happiness.
3WV: What are some lessons you’ve learned in your life that has helped you become the woman you are today?
Meagan: There have been many lessons I’ve learned that has helped me become who I am today.
These are some of the lessons:
- I learned how to be myself and be okay with who I am at that very moment. Staying true to myself is one of my greatest qualities. I had to learn to like and love myself and that took lots of self-work. I know who I am and thrive to be a better me daily, and if I fail, that’s just fine.
- I had to surround myself with what I love. I have made the decision to surround myself with people and things I love. As I’ve gotten older, I realize just how important it is to make the things around be what I love the most.
- I had to learn the power of forgiveness. For many years, I was angry with myself and my parents for the life I was given. Forgiving my parents, allowed me to be free, grow, and be happy. Forgiveness freed me to live in the present, and to live the life I dreamed for myself.
3WV: What is your passion? What suggestions can you give to others about how to find their passion?
Meagan: My passion has always been to give back in some capacity. Although I experienced trauma and various challenges at a very young age, I have always had a heart for people. My passion is to help young girls and women find their purpose and THRIVE.
In order to find your purpose, it is important to:
- Create something brand new
- Give yourself permission to explore
- Stay open and flexible
- Explore the things you love to do and what comes easy to you
- Be clear about your life purpose
3WV: What’s your greatest accomplishment, and what’s next for you?
Meagan: I am the first in my immediate family to graduate high school. Not only did I graduate high school, but I did with honors and went on to earn several academic scholarships to college. Statistically, I was supposed to be a high school dropout and a teenage mother, which I was neither. I am proud I was able to overcome various obstacles and finish high school, and advance to a graduate and doctorate degree.
3WV: Can you give some last words of empowerment or encouragement?
Meagan: It’s important as women that we support and recognize each other. Just remember to always “love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.”
♦♦♦♦ If you or someone you know currently shows signs of mental health illness, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24-hour, toll-free, and confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.
Her Contact Information:
Her Book is an Anthology created for women by women:
Click Link to order: http://bit.ly/thrivegirlthrivemeagan
Article Written & Interview by: Debbie Stokes (Writer, Editor & Publisher)
⇒⇒ To be featured in the blog or to be a guest writer – contact: Debbie3wv@gmail.com
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