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    Reflecting on Building a Mentally Healthy Nation

    Dec 21 2022

    On this special episode, our Executive Producer, Joy Lloyd-Montgomery, MPH, joins our host, Christopher Chun-Seeley, MSW, to reflect on our first year of the podcast. Joy and Chris revisit topics from some of their favorite episodes, brainstorm ideas for future episodes, and discuss building a Mentally Healthy Nation. If you have ideas or questions about the podcast or the APA Foundation's work, please reach out to us at [email protected]. To get involved in our justice initiatives, email [email protected]. For more information about our school-based work, email [email protected].

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    Transcript for Audio

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Hello and welcome to Mentally Healthy Nation, a podcast of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. I'm today's host, Christopher Chun-Seeley.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: For our listeners who have been joining us over this last year and for our 21 episodes, we are bringing you a special edition episode as we reflect back on rebuilding a mentally healthy nation. And our guest today is someone extremely special and important to the podcast, Joy Lloyd-Montgomery. For our listeners who do not know, Joy is the Executive Producer of the podcast and helps it to sound and look and feel as professional as possible and really make sure that the crucial conversations that we are engaging in are elevated to a high level. So, I figured the best person to reflect back on this first year of the podcast would be Joy.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, Joy, welcome, as always, to the Mentally Healthy Nation Podcast which you are no guest to, you are a true part of. So, welcome.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Thank you, Chris. That was a lovely intro, I appreciate it and I'm happy to be here.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, Joy, I'm just going to dive into the conversation because I think we really want to encourage listeners to go back and listen to new episodes themselves but then also look forward to 2023 and just potential conversations that we would like to see the podcast engage in. So you have listened to the audio of each and every podcast more than anyone, I'm willing to put money on that. Are there particular guests or sound bites or a podcast that stick out to you in particular?

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah. Well, first of all, I just want to say that all of our guests were great so I was very appreciative of the fact that they took the time to talk to us about such important topics and they're all very busy people, and we are new podcast people. We've never done this before, this is not our area of expertise, it's not my area of expertise even though I became the executive producer. And so, I just feel very grateful for everyone that joined us, so I do just want to say that. But yeah, there are some episodes that live rent-free in my head, I guess you could say. One of them was our first one which was on trauma's impact and what communities can do with Dr. Anish Dube and Judge Theresa Dellick. That wasn't probably the best audio that we've had, but I think that conversation was really impactful, no pun intended.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: It gave a lot of context for how kids handle trauma, and I think we tend to be, as a society, more sympathetic for those who retreat into themselves and the quiet kids in the classroom and things like that. But I really liked how Dr. Dube talked about how kids who experience acute trauma or even those who are in a more chronic state of trauma are in this fight or flight mode for an extended period of time, and so they may be acting out in the community, in the classroom in a way that seems really disproportionate to whatever happened. But when you are informed by the fact that they could be experiencing or have been experiencing trauma, I think it helps us be more compassionate in how we respond to these kids. And Judge Dellick talked a lot about creating trauma-informed communities and asking the question of why.

    Judge Theresa Dellick: When we look at behaviors, we need to understand that they're not character flaws but strategies or behavioral adaptations that are developed to cope with trauma. And so, instead of becoming the person who is judgmental, and it's probably odd to hear a judge say don't be judgmental, we can't be judgmental. We have to first look to be non-judgmental and when you see something that maybe raises your attention saying, "Oh, this is something that's not normal," you have to ask yourself why would they be doing that. And so, whenever you see character or habits or statements or actions, the first thing you have to say is why would someone do that, what would've happened.

    Judge Theresa Dellick: And then, once you begin doing that, you understand that they're trying to exist in a world that has harmed them and that they're afraid is going to harm them again. So, that's how I look at behaviors when I'm in the courtroom or when I'm just walking the hallways in the courthouse.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: And how taking that approach, that trauma-informed approach leads to more successful outcomes in so many aspects of our lives and working with schools and all of these things that I just think it was a great conversation on how we can improve the ways that we interact with our young people and people in general. We even had conversations about resiliency, I believe, because, obviously, not everyone handles things the same way. And I think I remember her saying something about how some people are like, "Well, I had a bad childhood and I turned out okay," but everybody's different. So, I thought that was a really good conversation.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, and I think Dr. Dube and Judge Dellick both are experts, people that the field continue to look to. Dr. Dube was just in a New York Times article on this topic, Judge Dellick is in Ohio, in Mahoning County but the neighboring county in Pennsylvania is Allegheny and she's trying to help them with their juvenile justice division or, really, how they are addressing youth in this carceral system. And so, I encourage you to go back and listen to that conversation because there are so many nuggets of information and there's, I think, so much more work to be done.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Well, I'll just be very clear, about trauma information and who needs to be trauma informed and it's definitely something that I think the Foundation, in our school and justice work, we're really trying to hone in on on how do we continue to educate key players in the system around trauma. We're hoping to have an ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, excuse me, infographic, information resource, if you will, for probation officers because we know that recidivism is huge. And a part of that is being trauma informed in how you think about why this person might not be showing up to their appointment, what are the barriers for them even showing up to some of these. What the general public might think has very easy things to do, showing up to ... When you don't have a lot of these other support systems, whether that's a roof over your head or nutritious food, there's a lot of these additional barriers that people don't necessarily think about.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Right.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Are there any other episodes-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Are there other episodes?

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, other episodes that stick out?

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah, of course. We had so many episodes, so to not spend a million years on this, I'll just say two more. There were two episodes that we had that there were conversations about culture change which I think is a theme across multiple episodes of ours. But the two that I'm thinking about in particular are the one about burnout in frontline healthcare workers with Dr. Jessi Gold and then Mental Health and Law Enforcement with Dr. Tony Thrasher and Joe Smarro from Ernie & Joe Crisis Cops. And Dr. Gold gave a really insightful perspective being a physician herself and then also being the psychiatrist for physicians and other healthcare workers. One of the pieces from that episode that stuck out the most to me was when she was talking about how it would be beneficial to change the culture of medicine to be more vulnerable.

    Dr. Jessi Gold: That people talk openly about failures and vulnerability in healthcare so that the culture is just more open and honest about emotions in general. I think that that would have tremendous effects also on patient care, to be honest, in the way that we would actually take care of each other and take care of patients and being able to even just say this is hard, I didn't sleep well, turns out being a doctor in COVID is not easy, I actually didn't do well on my test yesterday. Having these conversations openly and not just pretending everything is amazing all the time, I think would really change the culture for good and would lead to eventually making the stigma be much less for getting care. But that first step is really just how do we be more open and vulnerable and honest with each other.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: There's such a badge of honor in medicine in general with working ridiculous hours to the point that you are not sleeping well or eating well and all of these things. And not only is that problematic for individuals and, honestly, patients, but it affects your mental health. Our physical health and mental health are inextricably linked and I say this all the time. And so, when we neglect to talk about those things, when people do experience that, I think it helps perpetuate the stigma because there's not a safe space really or there's not the norm to be having these conversations about how you're struggling and how things are hard. You can still be a great physician, a great nurse, a great paramedic and be able to be honest about the fact that that was a really hard case, that was a really hard call or things are going on with me at home.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, I think modeling the vulnerability is so huge across the entire society but I do think that, especially within the helping fields, a larger umbrella than just-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yes, absolutely.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: ... doctors, I think that the helping field, it's really hard to slow down and say I have a notch in my armor that I'm not proud of or slowing down and accepting that and taking time to heal. But when we don't do that, the outcomes are so tragic and we lose powerful, really smart, really passionate, caring individuals because they didn't care about themselves enough. And I want to continue to encourage our listeners that modeling that vulnerability, saying that I'm not 100%, there's no weakness in that. There is so much more strength in being vulnerable and accept ... I don't think it's accepting our faults because I don't think being vulnerable is a fault, I don't think having moments of mistakes or ... Those help us grow especially if we have opportunities and people.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I think that's a big thing is having the people around us who are supportive and who we can have those conversations with. And what I would say is, sometimes, as a physician or as a psychiatrist or as a social worker or even as a police officer, you mentioned law enforcement so hopefully this is a good segue to it, maybe it's going to someone outside of your profession or outside of your locality, maybe in a similar profession of some sort, but finding someone who can at least share in those conversations and not to ruminate about it but to have tangible solutions. And I think there are problems out there and people are going to experience problems but there are so many more solutions that we don't get to because we don't talk about the problems that we have.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Right.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I think it's huge within the culture of law enforcement. I'd love for you to talk more about that episode.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: So, a couple of highlights for me, and I just highly recommend that everybody go back and listen to that episode, there are so many great nuggets. I don't think we get to hear from a former police officer that often and someone who is so trauma-informed and cares about mental health in the way that he does and is very intentional and proactive about addressing it in his own life, which he even talks about in the episode, and how that impacted the way that he showed up on his cases and calls. I even cried watching the documentary that he was in so, yeah, just highly recommend that episode everyone.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: But a couple of things that I loved that he said were talking about raising the minimum age of a police officer, I think it was to 25, and he was talking about our brain development, things like that but also the benefit of education and having a college degree. I know that some police forces do require that but it's few and far between across our country. And I also like that he said ... Because of course, college isn't for everyone and it's unfortunately super expensive in a lot of areas. And so, he talked about, as an alternative, having two years, I believe, or at least two years of working in social services which I know you must have loved. And then Dr. Thrasher and him talked about embedding mental health professionals into the police force more.

    Joe Smarro: It's not just about providing resources because resources alone are never going to do the trick. And this is the cultural issue, especially my experience on my department in San Antonio. We had three full-time department psychologists, we had a 55-member peer support team, we had a 16-member mental health unit and yet we still had three suicides in 18 months. Why? It's not about giving me the resources and what I tell people is, again, focusing on the inside job, is you really have to look at it from having those inside champions that have utilized services. And one of the beliefs I have of many is that therapy should be mandatory for all police officers in this country, starting from the day you start the police academy.

    Joe Smarro: You're going to be issued your PT gear, your books for reading and here's your therapist, meet Dr. Thrasher. You'll meet with him once a month and this is going to happen throughout your entire career and maybe, after a few years, it goes down to twice a year or three times a year. But until we're mandating something like this, I think the issues are going to continue.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: It's like, "Oh, well, we're always going to see Dr. Thrasher, this is normal," and so it doesn't really pinpoint that something in particular is going on. It makes it harder, I think, to stigmatize someone when we're all seeing this person all the time so this could just be my regular appointment. And I hate that that even has to be a concern because it should be celebrated that you are going to see a mental health professional to get help for whatever is going on with you, but that is the reality of the situation particularly in certain professions.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, and I think ... And let me apologize, I did want to promote Dr. Jessi Gold's Twitter because, if you are not following her on Twitter, then you're missing out on some gold. Pun intended there.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Well, I don't know how many people aren't going to be on Twitter these days, Chris.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Well, that's also true. But if you want to go to a good part of Twitter that has good information and it's a positive spin on what is currently happening with the little blue bird, @D-R-J-E-S-S-I-G-O-L-D, Dr. Jessi Gold. I think this conversation around officer wellness and I do think that embedding therapy as a part of the culture of your role and responsibility, because we are all humans. Let's not beat around the bush here, we're all humans. Whatever uniform, whatever we dress up as to go to work is just our jobs though there is this large blue wall that, I think, gets built up because of a lot of different reasons. And please listen to that podcast because I think Joe goes into a lot of those good pieces. But I'm excited and I'll say excited with some caution.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: We get to meet a lot of different people and I hope next year we're actually able to talk to someone who is working with the Charleston South Carolina Police Department around just this, embedding these services into the culture of the Charleston Police Department. And also this individual who will be going through the police academy, not to become a police officer, but to go through the same training that the police officers go through. And what we talked about is, well, let's figure out how we put mental health training, at least the basics. How can that happen in the training and how can we put officer wellness into that training so that it's right from the beginning when a new officer goes through some training.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Again, this is going to be Charleston, South Carolina, very specific area, this is not a ... But if we can continue to find some of these nuggets of people doing good things, we're going to continue to share that with our listeners so that, hopefully, they can look at replicating that within their local community. So, go back and listen to that episode because we're hoping to follow up next year on a little bit more of how are we actually seeing that work that we want to see be done in the field.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, you shared about trauma-informed communities, burnout of our physician and frontline workers, talking about police officer wellness. It sounds like you've had a lot of aha moments, a lot of things that have stuck out from the podcast episodes but any other aha moments or things that you were just like, "Wow, I've never thought of that way."?

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: One of the times was when I hosted an episode with Dr. Robin Cooper from the Climate Psychiatry Alliance about climate change and mental health and there were a few times during that interview that I was like, "Oh, I didn't know that. I feel ashamed that I didn't know that." For instance, when she was talking about increased suicide rates among farmers in areas that are dealing with drought, that wasn't something that I really thought about and it makes a lot of sense because obviously it's affecting their whole livelihood.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: The other piece of that episode was when she was talking about indigenous communities, and shout out to the episode that you did recently about indigenous Native American mental health with Dr. Mary Hasbah Roessel and Dr. Monica Taylor-Desir , so please listen to that if you haven't yet. We often don't center indigenous communities in conversations enough anyway but, in these national climate change related conversations, I haven't heard it all that much. And not only is it devastating to be losing your land in general with fires and things that we've been seeing, for indigenous communities, and you talk about this with Dr. Roessel, their culture is so tied to the land. And so, there's this added grief that they're experiencing from all of these climate change related disasters.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, and obviously it sticks out in my mind because it's the most recent conversation that I've gotten to have. But I think two things in particular of that episode is I understand that indigenous women are missing and that they don't get the publication in the national news. I understood that but to be seven times the rate from being missing and murdered within the women...

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Insane.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: ... I think that is ... It's giving me chills right now. Just thinking about how that connects to my other aha moment within that conversation was this connection of, when we look at the erasure of culture within this country, myself as a social worker who thinks about things from an ecological perspective, that's a native way of ... Walk in beauty, I believe, is the term and that's to be in harmony with yourself and harmony with nature and that's how you live a complete life.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And that's what we are trying to do with the work but, to your point, we don't engage the experts in doing that especially with this explosion of investigating natural remedies for addressing major mental health, especially major depressive disorder, where you have treatment resistant depression and now we're going towards medicine that would be considered natural back in the day but the drug enforcement agencies have classified it a certain ...

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And so, if you are listening to this, I want to also encourage you, especially if you are thinking about moving into that space, how are you bringing the indigenous and native community, who are the experts in using those natural remedies, how are you bringing that into the conversation if you are thinking about starting a clinic in your area that is going to use them or thinking about a synthetic version of some of these things is how are you bringing the actual experts into that conversation because you're just stealing, quite frankly, and-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah, and treating them the experts that they are.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I think sometimes we bring people into conversations just because it seems like the right thing to do without really valuing what they have to say. And so, I don't want people to bring in indigenous folks to check a box. I hope that they are actually listening to you and valuing the fact that these people are sharing their time with you and their historical knowledge and their expertise in order to try to help better our lives and our earth and our community. And I think they should be involved in pretty much every climate change related effort as well. Protecting the earth is so ingrained into their culture and this is what we're trying to do. Well, they've always been trying to do it and now we're just trying to now catch up, I guess. But yeah, I think that's a really, really great point, Chris, to make sure that we're including the appropriate experts and valuing what they have to say.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I assume also it goes ... We work in the mental health field that and these conversations that we're having are about creating a better society, quite frankly, for everyone. But if we are to do that, we need to make sure that we are including the people who are the most impacted negatively by the current systems. And I think we-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Tell them.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah. I don't think we have done a good job yet in the... let's just hold ourselves accountable even within our own podcast and within our own conversations. I think we're trying to push ourselves to be better at that. But a lot of times, I think, especially in our justice work, the judges are seen as the experts in the judiciary, the psychiatrists are seen as the experts in the mental health, and I think it's not from a lack of caring but a lot of times we forget about the person who has the lived experience of mental illness or a serious mental illness and they've also gone through the system and have been traumatized by that system. And we need to make the playing field leveled as far as the value in that expertise and how that gets pushed forward.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I would even argue that that community member probably has more value to offer than even a judge and a psychiatrist because we are all a part of that system that has produced that outcome. It is still my belief that a lot of the criminalization of mental illness is really a failure on, and I've not been in mental health for a really long time, but I think it's still a failure as myself, as a mental health professional on the field of not sitting down and saying what are these systems and why do we continue to push people towards certain systems and are they really helping people. And I think we're finally hitting a pause button or a slight pause on that and trying to figure that out but I think it really means that we need to slow down a little bit more and really figure out how the people that we have traumatized through the system are the people we need to employ to change the system.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I agree. And since we do work in the justice space, I think it's not just our community members with serious mental illness that are dealing with the failures of society but it's most of the people in jail. Of course there are really violent offenders and things like that but a lot of crimes, I feel like, are crimes of circumstance and generations of trauma and poverty and the way that that shows up in people's lives and being desensitized to violence and not being able to access proper mental healthcare, like you mentioned, and all of these things. And it's such a cop out in a way so we don't have to deal with the harder problems and come up with the solutions.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I think we're in a place now, at least, at the intersection of mental and behavioral health and criminal justice, like you said, that we're pausing but I wish we would've done this in the beginning.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Mm-hmm.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: For those who don't know, Chris and I work together every single day on school and justice initiatives and so we're always talking about how can we be more proactive instead of reactive. And even now with this push to improve the court's response to people with mental illness, it's still reactive. We're trying to get to a place where we're preventing a lot of outcomes that we've been seeing over decades. And so, there is a preventative aspect of it, I get that, but I wish that this would've been how we handled things from the start instead of us having to backtrack. So, I hope that we keep this in mind for other areas of our society.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, looking ahead towards 2023, are there ideas that we should return to to expand on, follow up with, get a fresh perspective or are there areas that you're just excited to explore that we haven't been able to touch on in this first 21 episodes of Mentally Healthy Nation?

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Can't believe we've done 21 episodes. And this is, what, our 22nd?

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: This will be 22, yeah.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah. Wow. Yeah, I think we could talk more about the school to prison pipeline. We've alluded to it in a few episodes but I think we could talk more about that. There are definitely topics that I want us to cover and conversations and solutions, of course, because that's a big part of our podcast, that we want to amplify. I don't know if excited is the right word because some of these topics are a little depressing. But mass shootings, I think we need to talk about. The Black youth suicide crisis is a conversation that needs to be had, post-incarceration stress disorder. I guess some topics that are a little lighter, faux versus real self-care. Obviously, with social media, there's a lot of toxic positivity and just I'm going to read this thing and I don't actually need to go see a therapist but you probably should.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I think it'd be really great to talk about how mental health is depicted in the media. Chris, you obviously know, we've talked about this a lot, we could do a deep dive on Moon Knight. And then maybe the last one that would be a really interesting conversation would be about psychedelics and you mentioned this earlier. What about you?

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, I completely agree with all of those. I also think 988 is so big in this larger conversation about what do we need in communities to better support people and I think that is such a large conversation. And our first 988 episode is wonderful with Dr. John Palmieri and Dr. Eric Rafla-Yuan, two psychiatrists who really know their stuff about 988 but they're two psychiatrists. I would love to go back to that 988 conversation and, maybe a little teaser, but go back to some moms and have a conversation with moms about 988 and what is needed.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Because I think, back to what we just talked about, it's about those who are impacted and, if we don't place value on our community members who are experiencing and, quite honestly, our grassroots organizations that are in the trenches of really making a lot of the movement in testing and piloting and saying the current system is not good enough. We are going to try something different and we will not take mediocrity as a solution, I think, is something I would love to go back to, just revisiting as we've talked about. This 988 thing, it wasn't ready at launch because [inaudible 00:32:57] going to do.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: It's not ready now.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: It's not ready now. I think we need to look at a funding system where the federal government matches the funds that states put up so that there is a dual agreement on this is what's needed for our community members and we're invested and we're pushing forward. So, I would love to get some moms in here to talk about 988 next year.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I would love to talk to some people on mobile crisis teams, too.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yup. So, I think that area is such a ... And we could do a whole series, honestly, a podcast series on that. But I want to be mindful too that there's so many other conversations. We just had a wonderful convening here at the foundation with faith leaders and I got to talk to Reverend Alberti out of Nevada and we talked about workforce shortage and he was talking about career days and bringing in career days for schools to show Black children that this is a profession that you can go into. But I was like, "Why just schools? Why not at your church? Why not at these community organizations where we know kids are showing up to? How do we continue to show them that this is a helping profession and that you're needed in it and you bring so much value to the field that we don't currently have?", I think is huge. I also think that-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: We need more Black mental health professionals, too. So, yes.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Which I think leads me into the next conversation which is we've met some really great organizations that are trying to address this and I think elevating those organizations with our platform as the American Psychiatric Association Foundation is really important. Black Men Heal is an organization that we've been having some conversations with behind the scenes and I got to meet with them last week and one of their individuals who is involved, Douglas Reed, has their own podcast that just launched last week or two weeks ago called the Let's Go Show. So, I'm going to promote that because it's all about intentional conversations and your story and telling your story and it's all about trauma and how do we move through trauma.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I didn't even know about this podcast.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: He maybe asked me to be a guest on it next year too.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Oh.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, I might be promoting that because I might be on that podcast as well. But I think-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: No, that's great. Thank you for elevating that. I don't think we're competitive people, we're just trying to have the conversations that are important and center people and bring solutions to the table and share them with our community members. So, whoever's having those conversations, I'm glad that we can amplify.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I completely agree with you about faux versus real self-care. And I think this idea of mental health hygiene and how to be more proactive in your daily activities and the habits that you might create, not to erase mental health or mental illness, but to live more on the continuum of mental wellbeing and on that wellness side of things. And we have to come up with creative solutions because the access to care crisis, psychiatrist, social workers, counselors, it just takes too long to become one of those individuals, to be a licensed professional within the field, that we have to come up with upstream solutions as well as increasing the access on the backend.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: The workforce.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Right.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, I think there are conversations that we need to elevate so that we're also giving you as our listeners skills that you can engage in every single day to create a mentally healthy nation for yourself or at least a mentally healthy home or room or space for yourself which I think is super important. And we also want to listen to you as our listeners. So, if you have a conversation that you would like us to try to engage in or you think there's something that we haven't touched on within our first ... You're listening to episode 22 but within our first 21 episodes, the episodes before this, please email [email protected]. That is [email protected] with thoughts.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: If there are podcasts that you think we should listen to and to ... Like Joy just said, we're not competitive, we're collaborative and we know that we're not having the only conversations. I think mental health podcasts are the fastest growing podcasts currently.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Good.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So, I think we want to make sure that you are also finding the conversations that you want to hear. And if this can be the place for it and we can have those conversations, please email us those ideas. We want to also-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Is there a particular guest that you think we should have on.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Right.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Like we just said earlier, we are, quote, unquote, experts in school and justice here at the foundation but that doesn't mean we're the only experts in school and justice or these larger conversations around mental health. And hopefully, what you've seen from our podcast episodes so far is that we're really trying intentionally to bring in a lot of different perspective and a lot of different viewpoints and having larger conversations, again, with solutions. So, Joy, I think being proactive and also providing our listeners with maybe some action steps. To close out this first year of the podcast, our first run of it, what can our listeners do to be actively building a mentally healthy nation for all?

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: You were already talking about it, Chris, with the mental health hygiene. We've had this conversation multiple times about how physical health is depicted versus how mental health is and it's so easy for us to think about actions and behaviors that promote our physical health. Eat healthier, eat a balanced diet, make a rainbow on your plate, exercise regularly, at least 30 to 45 minutes a day, things like that. But there isn't an easily accessible tidbit or behaviors I think that people readily think about when it comes to promoting their mental health. And it's interesting because those things that I talked about with physical health also do promote our mental health. I often work out for my mental health, actually, and I get it because there's no one size fits all but there's no one size fits all for physical health either. But I really think meditating is a great practice, honestly.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I know that can be intimidating for people who don't normally meditate but it doesn't need to be like I'm going to sit down and try to be completely present and not have all these thoughts come to my mind for 30 minutes because it's also you're observing your thoughts come and go. And it could be for a couple minutes at a time and just taking deep breaths and mindful eating. I feel like you've talked to me about that but that's something for us as individuals that people can keep in mind. In terms of things that also impact those around you, being kind, honestly. It's been a stressful, grief ridden, upsetting three years and, for a lot of people, it's been longer than that and it's something that we say all the time but you don't know what everyone is going through.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I think we can stand to practice being non-judgmental more and practice giving people grace and being kind and, going back to Judge Dellick, thinking about why. Someone may handle something poorly, they may upset you, they may do something ridiculous and even just pausing to ask yourself why can help prevent anger from being your first response. And I think promoting and encouraging vulnerability, we talk about it in almost every podcast episode and it's something that we practice regularly and I think that's part of the reason why we have such a good working relationship and friendship because we have been able to be vulnerable. And feeling like you have a safe space often comes from other people modeling vulnerability and feeling like you lack social support, emotional support, whatever, is one of the big risk factors for suicide.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: And if you are constantly practicing being vulnerable, allowing others to be vulnerable with you, I think you're more likely to help others feel like they do have support, that there is someone that they can turn to and that people aren't just going to judge you because you're having a tough time. And so, yeah, I'd say be kind, take care of yourselves, be vulnerable and ask why.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah, seek to understand the other person. Get to that why.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Yeah.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah. Ditto to everything you just said, Joy. I do want to just take a moment, honestly, to thank our listeners. You all have made our last six episodes some of the top 50% performing podcasts within the first week of listeners so thank you so much for joining us each month with our crucial conversations. And I don't think we've ever asked you all to rate us outright but please rate us five stars, leave us a comment about why you like the podcast and why you keep showing up to listen in to our conversations, that will help elevate the conversation. And if you can give us a gift this holiday season of sharing your favorite episode with someone who you think will benefit from listening to it, that will help us in sharing the vulnerability, sharing some of that modeling but also I think elevating these conversations that we think are so crucial at this intersection of mental health and where you live, learn, work, worship and play.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: You got them all, yes.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I was like, "Aah, did I get them all?" And Joy, before I give you last words as we typically would for a guest, I just want to again thank you for all of the hard work and the dedication to improving the podcast audio each and every time that it gets released and really making sure that our listeners have, not just an enjoyable listening experience, but a valuable listening experience which I think is why we created this podcast to begin with. So, for our listeners, if you just want to give a little clap to Joy, I know she's not going to be able to hear it when you're listening to the podcast but hopefully she can feel the energy. So, Joy-

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: I feel it, I receive it. Thank you.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I will toss it over to you for final words.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: Thank you, Chris. I want to start out by thanking you. You are our fearless leader, you have hosted the majority of the Mentally Healthy Nation Podcast episodes and, because I've had the pleasure of listening to all of the audio, I've always been so impressed by how you handle these conversations, how intentional you are, how thoughtful you are. Even behind the scenes and when we're coming up with podcast episodes and making sure that we are bringing in those diverse perspectives like you talked about, diverse topics where we don't just talk about school and justice initiatives but all of these various areas that impact our community members as they relate to mental health. And I think, I know, that the podcast wouldn't be what it is without you so thank you so much, Chris.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: And the last thing I want to say is I just want to encourage our listeners and encourage us, Chris, to continue to push for better practices. I talked earlier about doing things for us individually and those around us but we can push for more. We can encourage our workplaces to implement mental health days, we can push our legislators and our policy makers to address the access to care issues that often lead to people with serious mental illness ending up in the criminal justice system. There's so much more that, as a society, we could be doing and I think we need to be having these conversations with leaders and decision makers and not letting them just stick to the status quo or put a band aid on something but actually implementing sustainable solutions that will improve our lives and our community, our society, America, the world, all of it.

    Joy Lloyd-Montgomery: So, I just want to encourage people to do that. I know that's not easy work, I know you'll get pushback from people and, unfortunately, like we've experienced working in schools, mental health and social emotional health and learning has become a bit divisive and political but the work is worth it and so just keep going.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Thank you so much to our guest, Joy Lloyd-Montgomery, for providing some background insight into the production of this last year of Mentally Healthy Nation. I want to encourage you all to go to to check out all of the archived episodes. Most of them also have transcripts so, if there are little sound bites or things that you like, you can pull from them there but the podcast is available wherever you listen. So, if you're on Spotify or Apple Podcast or Google, you can find them anywhere. So, we want to encourage you to do that.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: We also want you to take care of yourself as we are in the midst of this holiday season, stress can be high. As Joy so eloquently said in her closing, give yourself grace and give others grace but make sure that you are taking care of yourself because we are all on this journey of wellness together. So, thank you for joining us and we look forward to next year's episodes.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual speakers in their personal capacity only and do not necessarily represent the views of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation or the views, official policy or position of the institutions and organizations with which the speakers are affiliated. The content of this podcast is provided for general information purposes only and does not offer medical or any other type of professional advice. If you are having a medical emergency, please contact your local emergency response number.