In this episode of the Stigma Podcast, I spoke with Jordan Brown, an advocate for mental health, a social worker in the mental health field, writer, poet and key member of a mental health related startup. He has also spent time volunteering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness as well.
He’s a part of a team helping to build “AnswersNow” which is a solution that helps parents raising children with autism by providing access to board-certified clinicians via desktop and mobile devices for guidance to help the parents through day to day concerns they face.
Jordan has written several articles on many topics surrounding mental health. His writing can be found on his website, nerve10.com. He also has a newsletter where he distributes some very meaningful and authentic mental health information.
Jordan’s Website: nerve10.com
Jordan’s Twitter: @JPBrown5
Jordan’s Newsletter: https://pages.convertkit.com/d4d10d3480/e64a43d759?src=twitter_profile
Here are a few highlights of what you can expect to hear in this episode:
- We talk about Jordan’s background and how he found his way into the mental health space. Jordan did not begin in mental health. He got involved because of a personal connection to a family member who had a mental health issue. Many of us can relate to that.
- Jordan shares about how he underwent open heart surgery in 2012. He has written about, and shared on our podcast, about how much harder the mental and emotional recovery was than the physical recovery from that surgery. Jordan talks about that and how he dealt with the mental health component of that recovery. He shares about how after surgery he struggled to sleep, which led to mental health issues.
- We talk about OCD, anxiety and compulsive struggles including skin picking. Jordan shares how he overcame his own struggles with each.
- Jordan talks about after getting some less than desirable help from mental health providers, he was admitted to a mental health facility in Montana after having concerns about harming himself. He discusses how treatment providers he worked with before being admitted were not helpful, and then when he was admitted, he was helped by a psychiatrist who really understood him and his needs which made all the difference in the world. It took quite a bit of courage to stand up and say he wasn’t getting any of the help he really needed and checked himself in to a mental health facility.
- We talked about how to proactively manage mental health. Jordan gave a list of things he does to proactively manage his mental health. That list includes:
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Good sleep hygiene – consistent sleep and wake times, etc.
- Turning off tech an hour before sleeping
- Meditation – he calls the mindfulness he gets from meditation, a superpower he has
- Getting enough exercise – such as walking and hiking
- Avid reader (50-80 books a year)
- Jordan has mentioned publicly that we have an ethical responsibility to talk about mental health. I had a chance to get more of his thoughts on what that ethical responsibility means. He makes the point that mental health issues can’t be allowed to “slide” – for instance, if someone has cancer, we rush to their side. So, when someone has a mental illness, we need to support them the same way.
- We talked about ways to defeat or reduce stigma. We have to talk about it. We have to tell uncomfortable stories. We don’t really give people a voice who are dealing with serious mental illness. We go into the co-occurrence of mental health and addiction as well as the presence of trauma when addiction is also present in people.
- We need to drastically reform the mental healthcare system. What we are doing right now is not working. Different parts of the health care system don’t talk to each other and the care isn’t what it should be. HIPAA, even though it has good intentions, makes it very hard to communicate about mental health issues.
- We talk about the culture of “toughness” and specifically how it pertains to men in society today. We talked about how men are not encouraged to be vulnerable, share their emotions, and open up and how that impacts boys later in life. This culture is prevalent not only in “sports” for young kids, but it’s prevalent in many industries, like startups where the culture of working harder, longer, and sleeping less is seen as a badge of honor. The mentality of “suck it up” has destroyed the fabric of humanity.
- Finally, Jordan shares more about what he is working on at AnswersNow and how his business is helping parents of children with autism.