Guest Contributor: Latonia Mitchell
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
Black Wellness entails improving overall health outcomes within communities of color and non-color.
How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?
I promote change and well-being in the Black community through open, honest communication regarding untapped issues, as well as promoting normalization of conversations regarding caring for the entire mind, body, and soul which promotes change and wellness within various communities.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?
I am dedicated to helping individuals who desire improved mental and physical wellness. I seek to help individuals achieve health related goals using a stepwise approach.
How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?
We can encourage more people to seek mental health treatment by engaging in ongoing promotion of conversations related to mental and physical wellness, specifically those areas that may be difficult for many people to discuss.
What are your recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community?
My recommendations for ending stigma in the Black community include: open, honest, non-opinionated conversations and forums, as well as sharing of experiences for those who do not have issues with these discussions.
What wellness strategies do you think should be given more attention within the Black community? Are there any reasons why you think they are not given more attention?
Improved dietary choices; Increased movement (exercise); Non-use of alcohol and drugs. These are not given a lot of attention because this is how individuals have treated feeling sad or low (eating more or unhealthy eating; lying down or not getting out of the house; and alcohol use has been deemed a way of making people feel better).
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
I set priorities for speaking with a counselor biweekly or monthly. I make appointments for weekly massage sessions and relaxation sessions. I set times for exercise 3 to 4 times weekly.
What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?
Ensuring consumption of dark green leafy vegetables daily
Drinking at least 8- 10 glasses of water daily
Making sure that I have regular bowel elimination patterns
Exercise three to four times weekly for 30 minutes to an hour
Having annual or bi-annual appointments with my medical healthcare provider
What resources do you find most helpful to encourage mental health and wellness?
National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Latonia Mitchell's Biography: I have been a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner since 2019. I have been a registered nurse for twenty-three years and was a licensed practical nurse for several years prior to this. I have varied experience in nursing health care to include, emergency, acute and chronic mental illness, acute medical care, medical surgical, sub-medical care, hospice, residential treatment, case management, education, inpatient and outpatient mental health, and correctional/forensic health care. I have served in the following roles: psychiatric mental health program coordinator, adjunct nursing professor, nurse educator, nurse manager, executive team lead, mental health service line advocate, behavioral health advocate, health coach, safety standards chair, health team consultant.
My approach to working with others is through open communication and addressing clients at their present state, using a holistic approach. Clear, open, and honest communication are assets I have adopted over the years to strengthen relationships while to providing essential care using evidence-based techniques and tools to guide improvement in overall health. My clients can expect to take away psychotherapeutic interventions that may not only improve their mental health, but with proper utilization of tools shared, they will experience improvements in all aspects of life.
My focus areas for mental health treatment include psychotherapeutic treatment, cognitive strategies, motivational interviewing, and medication management for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD), and substance use disorder (SUD). Treatment approaches include evidence-based strategies supporting various issues, including Trauma-Focused Care, Motivational Interviewing, Strength-Based Care, Mindfulness, Cognitive, and Behavioral Focused Strategies. Other treatment areas: Adjustment Disorder, Eating Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Domestic Violence, Gay Lesbian Bisexual, Women's Issues, Men's Issues, Health Disparities, Cultural & Ethnical Issues, Family Issues, Grief & Bereavement, as well as Professional Issues, with special strategies for healthcare professionals.