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 n