By Brandy Browne
It’s no secret that I am passionate about mental health. I have definitely had my own mental health struggles over the last several years, and I have needed a great support system to get me “unstuck” from my issues and ways of thinking. I began this business adventure as a way to be for others what I have needed so desperately at times. So often, what someone really needs is a friendly ear and an unbiased person to help them think creatively to solve their problem. Then, they need someone to hold them accountable for change in a loving way. It’s easy to say how I do that, but I wanted to write something up that would paint a clearer picture of what I do. With their permission, I would like to describe some recent encounters with a client of mine.
A mom contacted me worried for her teenage daughter. Her daughter had experienced some loss in her life, and she was experiencing some signs of depression, such as a loss of interest in activities that she had been very passionate about only weeks before. I asked whether her daughter would be more comfortable talking to me in person or over the phone or if she would rather communicate by text. Being a teen, she chose texting.
The next morning, I contacted the young lady, and we opened communication with some chit chat about school and our nearly identical dogs (black lab mixes). After a bit, I inquired about her friendship circle. She then opened up, and she confessed that she had recently lost a friend due to life taking them in different directions. She felt like she had no one she could count on when times got tough. Pushing further, I asked her to identify five people that she could call on no matter what. She did indeed have five people, which was great news. We talked about how this was the time in her life when young people start thinking about the next step in their lives, and it is natural that not all her high school friends would make that transition with her. After more talking about what she wants her life to look like after high school, she seemed to be feeling better.
The next item I tackled had to do with this young lady identifying her two biggest sources of stress. One was a particularly difficult class. The other was struggling to have tough discussions with her mom. We decided to make a plan for both of these issues. For the class, I sent her a list of online tutoring services, and her mom was going to have a discussion with the teacher. As far as the relationship with her mom, she explained that she was afraid of disappointing her mom because she loved her so much. For example, she wanted to take a break from the said sport that her mom had contacted me about concerned because she no longer wanted to participate. I encouraged her to have faith in her mom and sit down and talk with her. I told her I would check in on her early in the following week to see how it had went.
I returned to the mom. We talked about ways to communicate that would encourage her daughter to open up, rather than getting emotional and shutting down. For example, rather than asking, “Do you want to play —-?” ask her, “What makes — not as much fun for you right now?” I reminded her that she loved the fact that her daughter participated in this sport so much because it has been something they consistently do together. We talked about incorporating other ways to get family time in.
I followed up with both ladies early in the week, as promised. The young lady was still stressing about having that conversation, so I gave her some encouragement and sent her to do it. Mom responded very well, and they were both well on their way to having tough conversations in a productive way. An update a few weeks later…the young lady in question has resumed her favorite activity. She just needed to know that Mom would support her dreams whatever they were. That took the pressure off her, and she was able to focus clearly on what it was that SHE wanted. I still follow up with mom and daughter to see how things are going every week.
This is just one example of some of the work I do with families. With another young single mom, we created a self care plan that involved her taking thirty minutes for herself every day. She had not done that in so long that, in just a few days, she was feeling much better. We had some heavy accountability on how that would work those first few days, and now it is just checking in as needed.
I have experience with many different areas of mental health, parenting, and child development, and I would love to help your family with their needs.