Guest Contributor: George Johnson
Inner-city kid turned serial entrepreneur, author mental health advocate
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness?
There are a few ways. As a mental health advocate, I always want to be relatable while actively speaking to those around me, especially the younger generation, about the importance of maintaining a positive mental health and the resources available to them. I also openly talk about my own struggles with mental illness and my road to recovery in my self-published memoir, Double Crossed. In addition to speaking to the youth and sharing my story, I own multiple mental health outpatient facilities servicing low-income communities throughout Texas and Virginia.
How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?
It’s important to continue to have honest and transparent conversations within our community to reduce the stigma and shame surrounding mental health. We have to leverage the reach and power of the people who heavily influence our culture and community. Showing others it's cool to talk about therapy, it’s cool to discuss your mental health journey.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
In the midst of a 4-year long legal battle, I was unknowingly battling depression and anxiety. I initially struggled to acknowledge the severity of my situation, but once I became aware, I sought out help. After sharing with my doctor what I was experiencing, she recommended that I see a therapist. Something I never thought I needed, especially as someone who was running their own mental health facilities. My therapist advised me to begin journaling as a means of managing my symptoms. My journaling exercise turned into what we now know as my memoir, Double Crossed. It didn't necessarily start out as a book, but more of a therapeutic outlet and a safe place where I wrote down everything I was holding in for years.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
I’ve been an athlete my entire life so working out has always been an outlet for me but I’ve recently introduced hot yoga into my wellness routine which helps tremendously – both mentally and physically. Even with my nonstop busy life of being an entrepreneur, father and now, an author, I make it a priority to consistently remain active. Whether it’s attending a hot yoga session, going to the sauna or working out at least 2-3 times a week. If not, my week will be thrown off.
What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?
1. Going to hot yoga sessions
2. Weekly therapy sessions
3. Consistently working out
4. Daily journaling
5. Practicing breathing exercises
George Johnson is an inner-city kid turned serial entrepreneur, author and mental health advocate. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, George played basketball the majority of his life, even reaching the professional level. While basketball was always a major part of his life, George had an undeniable love for entrepreneurship. His entrepreneurship journey started in middle school with a logo-sewing business. Fast forward years later to his twenties, George has been able to build multiple successful businesses including mental health outpatient facilities located throughout Texas and Virginia servicing underserved communities. Throughout his journey, he’s experienced a number of challenges which led him to write Double Crossed, a memoir detailing these experiences and the mental effects of it all.