“Recognize that you are living through a shared global trauma “, Rico Ricketson of MH3 and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Proactive mental wellness is when you learn to recognize and manage the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions before they become something more serious. During this shared global trauma, we all have the potential to experience feelings of anxiety and/or depression. However, with proactive mental wellness, you have ideas, insights, and inspiration for improving […]

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Proactive mental wellness is when you learn to recognize and manage the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions before they become something more serious. During this shared global trauma, we all have the potential to experience feelings of anxiety and/or depression. However, with proactive mental wellness, you have ideas, insights, and inspiration for improving your mental wellness. In proactive mental wellness, seeking therapy is another step in learning to make healthy decisions that improve your mental wellness.

As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.

What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?

One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Rico Ricketson.

Rico Ricketson is the founder and CEO of a new mental health startup, MH3.CO, a subscription-based online streaming platform for improved mental wellness. Over 50 Health & Wellness Experts from diverse communities share their ideas, insights, and inspiration for improving your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Mental Wellness on Demand.

For MH3, Mental Wellness is a state of well-being where you, as an individual, can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and are able to make a contribution to the community while still addressing those stressors that can slow things down.

MH3 is proud to be a minority and LGBT-owned startup.. Monthly or annual subscriptions enable them to invest in relentlessly evolving their platform to meet the needs of their members.

MH3 has no political and/or religious affiliations.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?

COVID-19 brought me to my current career path as an entrepreneur. On March 15, 2020, when news in the U.S. began to report on social distancing in Italy, I wanted to find some way to help.

Knowing that my physical presence could inadvertently cause someone harm, I began using the principles of human-centered design as well as my 20 years of experience in healthcare communications and Master’s in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience to investigate a problem I realized I could solve from my living room.

I found that in the news and in social media, accurate, trustworthy, and credible health information was missing from the conversation around Covid-19. Most people were focused on how to set-up a weight room in their studio apartment rather than learning to recognize & manage their mental health. It was obvious, due to long-held stigmas, we weren’t prepared for the mental stressors of a shared global pandemic.

From my 20 years in healthcare communications, I have an extensive network of both medical and mental health professionals. I knew they had the knowledge that we desperately needed during this time. I began to interview medical and mental health professionals to fill the gaps in mental health education that I saw were missing for improved emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being during and after the pandemic. Initially, we started sharing our exclusive interviews in a three-month pilot on Facebook. After 15,000 views of our interviews without paid advertising, we decided to create an online streaming platform, MH3.CO, for improving mental wellness by a diverse community of health and wellness experts from across the U.S.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Starting a business during the initial phases of quarantine has been interesting, but the most interesting part has been the diversity of our network of over 50 health and wellness experts. Over 90% of our experts are from diverse communities across America. As a gay, biracial Latinx male in healthcare communications, I have always desired to see others like me solving the health problems of all communities.

We are all experiencing burnout and worsening mental wellness from the shared global trauma of COVID-19 and civil unrest across the world. During this time, it’s an honor to have built a platform that provides the ideas, insights, and inspiration of diverse health and wellness experts for improving the mental wellness of all communities during and after COVID-19.

Our experts are Women, Black, Indigenious, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, and people living with disabilities. Their expertise includes Psychology, Psychiatry, Transpersonal Psychology, Oncology, Pulmonology, Women’s Health, Fertility, Pediatrics, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, Radiology, Neonatology, Alternative Medicine, Nutrition, and growing.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Strangely enough, my favorite life lesson quote was one I saw on a billboard years ago on the way from to O’Hare International Airport for a work business trip. It was a large image of Fredrick Douglas with his famous quote from 1857, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

It was as if I was ready to hear his message. As a person of color and coming to terms with my sexuality, I have often felt like a salmon going upstream. Sometimes it can feel like an exercise of futility. Yes, I can help others but will my efforts be in vain.

Seeing that quote from Fredrick Douglas reminded me that the right things are often hard to do. I stand on the shoulders of great men and women who have fought and struggled for me to have a voice and many of which lost their lives. I know I would not be here without their fight and efforts.

This quote reminds me to always advocate for what is right, although it may often be difficult. I am driving change for this generation and generations to come.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

‘The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose’ by Oprah Winfrey is a book that made a significant impact on me. Prior to the pandemic, I had been recently promoted into an executive position at a company at the time. I knew my skill and will have gotten me there, but I also recognized that I stood on the shoulders of giants. Many have fought and died so that I could have a voice. I wanted and continue to want to be a leader that honors the sacrifices of those before me, as well as clear the path ahead for future generations.

That being said, how do you measure that? How do I know that I am doing enough? Without answers, I turned to a leader I respect, Oprah. I was pleased to find that her book ‘The Path Made Clear’ had recently come out. After reading the book, I was inspired. I could interpret the feeling of finding your purpose to be similar to gliding. Which was a rare feeling in corporate America. Succeeding often can feel a lot more like the sweat and tears from climbing a steep mountain, rather than gliding in the air.

Then time passed and COVID-19 hit the states. A month into the three-month pilot for MH3.CO, I looked over at my husband, Zach, and said “I think I am doing my life’s purpose”. Of course, he looked at me puzzled.

People I had never met were reaching out to say the insights, ideas, and inspiration from our experts were helping to improve their mental wellness. Our experts were enjoying being able to share their expertise without the need to align to a news headline and/or fit within a social media meme.

I felt like I was gliding and many days I still do. Nevertheless, if I had never learned to recognize that feeling from, creating MH3.CO, I would have felt a lot more like climbing, than gliding.

It was because of learning to recognize this feeling that MH3.CO was created. I have continued to feel that feeling of gliding, doing my purpose, by creating a business that is helping and saving people during and after COVID-19.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

The month of February at MH3.CO is dedicated to the Mental Wellness Tool Kit for the BLM Advocate. In our 4-part series, our health and wellness experts share their insights, ideas, and inspiration for being a BLM advocate vs. supporter. Our topics for the 4-part series are:

  • How to Recognize and Manage Intolerance
  • How to Talk to Children About BLM
  • What is Racial Trauma?
  • Spiritual Healing from Ancestral Trauma and/or Shame

Due to burnout from the global pandemic and civil unrest, we want to keep the momentum of Black Lives Matter moving forward. Anti-racism is selfless work that requires self-care, which is why we have created this series. To not only learn how you can do more, but how to improve your mental wellness while being an advocate.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I would not be the man I am today without my mother. As a single mother, she often had to be my mother and father. Especially when it came to helping to pay my college loans. Life was never easy for my mother.

At 12 years old, she made the decision to escape an unsafe home. After that, she was lost in the foster care system for many years addicted to drugs and unable to comprehend a future. Strangely enough, it was earning her high school diploma while serving time at the California Division of Juvenile Justice that put her path in a different direction.

Her entire life she had been told she was broken. For the first time, while serving time, she met a therapist that believed in her. She began using her time in the juvenile justice system to complete the courses to earn her high school diploma. The more she learned the more began to believe in herself. By the time she was 50 years old, she had earned her Ph.D.

Throughout her life, she continued to inspire others to believe in themselves. Unfortunately, my mother passed 12 years ago. But, I am proud to continue her legacy with MH3.CO. With each piece of content we produce, I am able to remind everyone that we all have the bravery, grace, resilience, and joy to move forward during and after COVID-19.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

I believe the concept of gratitude has changed since COVID-19. Prior to the global pandemic, I would have defined gratitude as grateful for the situation I am in and spared from the experiences of those less fortunate. However, during COVID-19, this definition of gratitude leads you to compare and judge your experiences during the pandemic with others.

Therefore, I think for both during COVID-19 and after, we have to redefine the concept of gratitude as being grateful for who you are and will be without comparing your experiences. For example, during this time, you have to be grateful for just being alive. We are all experiencing a shared global trauma. The best thing you can do is to show yourself gratitude by learning to recognize and manage the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions before they become something more serious.

As they tell you on an airplane, however, put your oxygen mask on first before you help your friends and family members put on theirs. In other words, once you learn to recognize and manage your mental health, share what you have learned to help others know when it is time to ask for help and/or seek treatment.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

Most of us don’t feel gratitude because we are seeking validation from external sources. For example, I used to think that when I got a promotion at work, I would experience gratitude for all the hard work I had put in. While it is satisfying moving up the corporate ladder, the feeling of gratitude was often short-lived.

When we wait for validation from our boss, colleagues, friends, and family members in order to experience gratitude, it becomes an elusive emotion. When we learn to see gratitude from within, it becomes more than an emotion, it helps you to begin to define your path for success without the judgment of others.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

If we derive gratitude from within rather than external sources, we begin to learn to accept the things we can’t change and seek help for the things we can.

For example, you may be wondering why you are feeling anxious or depressed during this time. We are living in a time of immense grief and uncertainty, it is natural to feel anxious or depressed. You have to realize that it is when your feelings cause your behaviors to change that it is time to ask for help and/or seek treatment. This is something that you can change and it does not mean you’re broken. It means you are showing gratitude to yourself by making healthy decisions.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

At MH3.CO, we separate mental wellness into proactive and reactive. Reactive mental wellness is when you react to the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions without the ability to self-cope. For example, “I am not an emotional person” is something you may say when in a reactive state.

Due to long-held stigmas, we may believe that being in touch with our emotions is not natural to us all. In this state, how can you learn to manage your emotions if you’re not in touch with them? I think the best answer is to always seek help from a medical and/or mental health professional.

Proactive mental wellness is when you learn to recognize and manage the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions before they become something more serious. During this shared global trauma, we all have the potential to experience feelings of anxiety and/or depression. However, with proactive mental wellness, you have ideas, insights, and inspiration for improving your mental wellness. In proactive mental wellness, seeking therapy is another step in learning to make healthy decisions that improve your mental wellness.

Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?

These are five ways from MH3 Health & Wellness Experts to leverage gratitude to improve your mental wellness:

1.) Recognize that you are living through a shared global trauma by Dr. Tulsie Patel, M.D., Psychiatrist

Anxiety, Depression, OCD, and PTSD, and Substance Abuse are mental health conditions that have increased during the pandemic. It is important to learn to manage the signs and symptoms of these conditions before they become something more serious.

2.) Learn to ask for help! By Debbie Edmunds, Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC-S, CART

We often view asking for help as a sign of weakness, but our biggest strength is knowing when I’m not doing as well as I would like, I can ask somebody for help

3.) Get in touch with the basics by Erin Mattews, LCSW, Mental Wellness Coach, and Founder of Living in Empathy Institute

Did you eat lunch? How much water are you drinking? During this time, are you taking care of your basic needs or are those things going to the wayside?

4.) Remember to connect your mind to your body by THOM HEIL, L.Ac. and certified in Chinese herbalism.

During this time when we are spending a lot of time on our screens and watching television. This means that we are short-circuiting the energy from our head to our feet without closing out the fight or flight response. For example, if you read a disturbing news article, then another, and then you watch Netflix. You still have not closed the flight or flight response from the disturbing article. Learn self-care exercises that you can do from home for connecting the energy from your mind to your body on Thom’s Facebook business page:

5.) You can move from “just” surviving to thriving by Dr. Kimble Greene, Ph.D.

We’re experiencing higher levels of stress and imbalance than we ever have before. It’s important to recognize that helps us in short periods of time, but it is not intended for the long-term. You can start thriving when you realize how much more powerful and influential with yourself and those around you when you’re not in a stress response.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

Yes, one of the best practices you can use is to be mindful of your breathing. Start to observe your breathing in times of stress. For example, do you hold your breath or do you breathe rapidly during stress? You can learn 5-minute exercises to help you learn to manage your breathing during times of stress. You can then learn to use these exercise(s) to find your “resting state” during times of stress.

This should become part of your everyday life if you do the work and make it a routine. During a time of a global pandemic and civil unrest, it is natural to experience stress. At first, it may not seem like you have the time to focus on your breathing. Learn from our experts and/or your therapist on how to make this a daily routine. Once you do, I promise you won’t regret it.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

Yes, I would like to recommend three resources by experts of MH3.CO

  • The Power to Thrive: When Surviving is No Longer Enough by Dr. Kimble Greene, Ph.D.
  • Mindfulness Workbook for Beginners by Dr. Peter J. Economou, Ph.D.
  • C.O.P.E. Therapy Assistant by Debbie Edmunds, Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC-S, CART

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As a childhood survivor of domestic violence, my dream is for MH3.CO to host a design-sprint event for domestic violence awareness. We would partner with domestic violence nonprofits to identify challenges for those experiencing and/or witnessing violence. Computer programmers and others in software development would join us for a 48-hour event to collaborate to create the prototypes of new digital tools to help and save victims of domestic violence.

We would then partner with corporate sponsors to work with design teams and nonprofits to develop the go-to-market versions of the prototypes.

During the pandemic, incidences of domestic violence have significantly increased. However, escaping domestic violence can often be impossible for victims. Are there digital tools we can create to increase the likelihood that a domestic violence victim can escape? I would love to find out.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

You can follow our work at MH3.CO. Sign-up for a 7-day free trial to start improving your mental wellness today! Your monthly or annual subscription helps us to relentlessly innovate our platform to meet the needs of our members

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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