It is Mental Health awareness day and communities across Atlanta, by the international community, are joining forces to break the stigma of mental health! Our brain is arguably the most important organ in the human body. It controls our memory, actions, emotions, speech, and movement yet the stigma continues to exist that it is not ok to not be ok.

Local shops like Chipotle are inviting guests to chow down while driving awareness for mental health. Georgia Tech Department of Housing will promote mental health in a campus-wide event that will feature a student panel and special guest speakers.

Overcoming Adversity

Mental health has played a profound role in my life as I lost out on having a mother due to her mental health in my early childhood. Growing up without a mother has played an enormous role in my life. Trust doe not come easy and I am very independent.

My life has also been touched firsthand by mental health in many other ways including Autism — My oldest son was born on the Autism Spectrum and both my boys had to overcome Dyslexia. We worked closely with our schools and therapists to overcome those hurdles.

I have also lost family members to cancer and learned I carried the BRCA1 gene mutation. I had a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction which Aetna thankfully deemed medically necessary for reduction of risk of breast cancer and covered a large portion of my surgery(s).

Path to Nowhere

I was in an unhappy place caught in the hamster wheel of life and needed intervention. Until this year, I have never taken the time to get to know myself, my interests. Between two boys, work, husband, household chores and the gym and lack of family support, there is not much downtime to do anything else.

To understand why I react as I do, I did a deep self-inventory of myself this past year with the help of the amazing team at Skyland Trail. Going through the process is not pretty; in fact, it is quite ugly. Unresolved feelings bubbled to the surface which I was forced to address for the first time. I have taken weeks this year to take personal inventory. It is a draining, emotional and humbling experience. It is my hardest win I ever won.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan

To maintain wellness, I put together a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Here are a few of my tips to maintain a healthy state of mind:

Proper Diet — In my case, adhering to my diet free of dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy.

Practice Gratitude — I am very grateful for my amazing husband who is also my Best friend and our two beautiful boys. I show my gratitude through volunteer work and I pay it forward whenever possible.

Exercise Daily — I hit the gym or outdoors for at least 30 minutes every day.

Take Medication as prescribed.

Surround myself with positive people.

Watch a funny movie. I love Zoolander, it makes me laugh.

I would love to hear what others have done to maintain a healthy state of mind!

Mental Health America of Georgia

Over 2.3 million individuals live with mental illness, yet Georgia ranks 47 out of 50 states for access to mental health care, resources, and insurance. The Mental Health America of Georgia Organization helps Georgians lead mentally healthier lives by promoting mental health public policy and is the resource of choice for prevention and early intervention programs.

National Alliance of Mental Health NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Skyland Trail Located in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older. Skyland Trail is not a hospital or lock-down institution, They are one of the nation’s top mental health treatment centers — a voluntary treatment community of clients finding new ways to overcome the limitations of their illness and reclaim their lives.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of the customers choice.

Originally published at medium.com


  • Ilana Frenkel Kearns

    Strategic Business Operations and Communications Leader Connecting the Dots to Drive Process Improvement and Organizational Success | Chief of Staff


    With over a decade serving alongside top executives at global Fortune 500 and privately held companies as their trusted business partner and advisor, I provide strategic support for all operational efforts to relieve them of administrative functions, allow them to focus on strategic and tactical responsibilities, and achieve key business outcomes. The following are highlights of the value I’ve brought to organizations: Developed and lead and partnered with C-level executives to design and execute company-wide strategic initiatives, including working with department leaders to define, manage, and track their priorities. On-dollar projects, including new space build-outs, flagship events, and multiple-day offsite events to create team cohesion. Researched, prepared, and coordinated corporate communications and marketing programs to build awareness, and collaborated closely with internal and external partners to drive unmatched results. Guided companies towards increasingly sophisticated and effective use of technology, including effective remote work at the onset of COVID-19. Collaborated to produce and write articles, blogs, social media posts, and communications to build both professional and personal brands, increased partnerships, and boost revenue. Served as a Community Relations Strategy Leader for a multi-million-dollar corporation building relationships with 10+ unique nonprofits across the city of Atlanta and galvanizing volunteerism, sustainability, and people-driven community service. Reach out and connect with me here on LinkedIn so we can discuss the challenges you face with managing daily operations. I’d love to show you how I can lend my expertise to help solve them. Strategic Planning | Risk Management and Mitigation | Cross-Functional Leadership | Stakeholder Engagement | Corporate Communications | Project Management | Meeting and Event Management| Policy and Procedure Management | Collaborative Leadership | Workplace Culture | Resource Optimization | Conflict Resolution | Transparent Communications | Business Case Writing | Corporate Social Responsibility | Inclusion and Diversity