Guest Contributor: Dr. Crystal A. Maxwell
Family Medicine Physician
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LIGHT Family Wellness
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
Black Mental Wellness means recognizing that the state of the mind is essential in health and well-being. How we think and feel influences our physical state. We can't take care of one but not the other and expect to feel whole and balanced. Just as we view the person with asthma with the acceptance that there is a dysregulation in their body beyond their control that sometimes requires avoidance of triggers such as smoke and medications to resolve bronchospasms along with people who support them when exacerbations happen, we must look at mental health in a similar way. Mental Wellness is not simply a lack of willpower. There is often dysregulation at play, and failure to recognize that will only continue to make it difficult for people to be open to treatment and care for their mental health.
How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?
I promote change and well-being in the Black community by posting Motivational Monday quotes and videos on my social media platforms that provide positive insight on life situations. As a physician, I counsel patients on the benefits of therapy and discuss healthy ways of people understanding and accepting what is going on with them mentally.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?
Psychiatrists and therapists can be difficult to access for some people due to lack of availability, insurance or the lack thereof, and their own hesitancy or fears. As a Family Medicine physician, I promote healthy views of team-based approach of mental health with my patients. It can take time for some people to accept the need for additional mental health care. I, therefore, provide support and insight on the dysregulation they are experiencing and help them to see that it is not always something that they did or didn't do to cause their mental health state.
How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?
We can encourage more people to seek mental health treatment by being open about our own experiences with mental health issues and stop expecting people to always have it together.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
I schedule it. Scheduling an appointment with/for myself helps me to acknowledge that it is important and necessary.
What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?
Adequate sleep (at least 7-8 hours)
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)
Dr. Crystal A. Maxwell is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LIGHT Family Wellness, the first direct primary care practice in Indian Land, SC. Dr. Maxwell completed her undergraduate degree at Spelman College in 2003. She completed her Medical Doctorate at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 2007 and went on to complete a Family Medicine Residency at the University of Tennessee Family Medicine Residency in Jackson, TN in 2010. She subsequently completed a Physician Executive MBA program at Auburn University in 2016. In May 2021, Dr. Maxwell was confirmed a Commissioner of the South Carolina Mental Health Commission.