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January Panel: Changes    

January Panel: Changes

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

This past Thursday, we hosted our first panel of the new year at our Melrose Place Pop Up on Changes. We gathered our friends in different roles within the mental health space to chat about the New Year, our relationship with making changes, how to support loved ones going through change, or perhaps set your boundary with them, and much more.

But first, allow me to introduce you to our panelists!

Mason Spector, Peiman Raf, Patsy Noah, Raghu Appasani, & Aaron Basila.

Mason Spector

One of our four Founders, Mason has his own lived experience with mental health himself. Although a pioneer in destigmatization efforts, Mason sat on our Panel to offer an everyday perspective, and represent all of us in the audience.

Peiman Raf

Another one of our four Founders, Peiman moderated the conversation with thoughtful analysis and questions, and always brought the lessons of the discussion back full circle.

Patsy Noah

Patsy is the co-founder of Your Mom Cares, a nonprofit organization made of celebrity and influencer moms who use their platform to raise awareness and funding to other organizations dedicated to children's mental wellness. Patsy is Adam Levine's Mama!

Dr. Raghu Kiran Appasani, MD

Raghu is a psychiatrist and founder of the Minds Foundation, a mental health organization that aims to create a stigma free community through their various programming like school and community mental health education, task shifting, corporate wellness programs, and advocacy.

Aaron Basila

Aaron is the supervisor of a Homeless Outreach team with NAMI San Diego. NAMI, or the National Alliance of Mental Illness, is the largest grassroots nonprofit aimed at supporting individuals and their families with mental illness. He works to support those homeless or at risk of homeless, with a diagnosis of serious mental illness, get connected to housing and other resources.

Main Takeaways

We like to follow the organic flow of the conversation, so naturally, we covered a lot of topics. Here are some of the main takeaways we covered.

  • As Los Angeles natives, we were all still reeling from the tragic events of last Sunday. We began with a 24 second moment of silence in honor of Kobe & Gigi
  • One of the first things we touched on was each person's role in the mental health space, and the ways they got involved with mental health, the gist of which is covered above
  • Patsy and Raghu voiced the importance of reforming the mental health system and how they are trying to forge their own paths in the space
  • An overarching theme for everyone, was how important it is to focus on breaking down the stigma of mental health - and the different ways we treat physical health vs. mental health, and how we should combine our understanding of the two
  • The panel also agreed that education and conversation is key - the more you know, the better you can do for yourself and others
  • Speaking of that, we also touched on how we have to take care of ourselves first before we can be there for others. Or as Mason likes to say, "you can't pour from an empty cup." It's important be selfish in a healthy way, to respect your own boundaries and make yourself feel fully supported, before you can be there for someone else.
  • We spent a while discussing, how to support friends or loved ones who don't communicate or show interest in opening up on certain topics. The Panel agreed that we can't force someone to get help, and that until an individual makes the decision for themselves to make the change, all you can do is create the space to be there for them.
  • Aaron emphasized the above, noting how checking in with someone or how simply being there and spending quality time together, can make a huge difference for someone who may be suffering in silence
  • On the flip side, our audience and a live stream friend, asked about how to be a supportive friend to someone who only wants to talk about their negative behaviors or mental illness problematically? Mason was an exceptional example of boundary setting, claiming he will show up with 50% and refuses to overcompensate when someone won't meet him halfway.
  • On the topic of boundaries, Patsy voiced how complicated sibling and family dynamics can be. She explained how, as an adult, learning to accept her familial relationships for what they are without expectations has been a game changer. You can be a loving and supportive family member while still holding healthy boundaries!
  • Contrary to our Panelists here, the Panelists were asked why do we typically see more females than males in the mental health space? Raghu, Mason, and Aaron all touched on the rhetoric of male mental health, and the stigmas or public perception still associated with male vulnerability. Fortunately, all agreed we are starting to see a cultural shift with this, as we challenge preconceived notions of gender identity, defining masculinity, and how mental health becomes more and more accepted and talked about.