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Samantha Foster: “Adaptability”

The best method for easing or managing anxiety should really revolve around identifying, coming to terms with and/or solving the root issue of the anxiety. But from a general standpoint, I would suggest calming exercises such as deep breathing, mindfulness practices, meditation or other self-care activities that can turn your mind away from the source […]

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The best method for easing or managing anxiety should really revolve around identifying, coming to terms with and/or solving the root issue of the anxiety. But from a general standpoint, I would suggest calming exercises such as deep breathing, mindfulness practices, meditation or other self-care activities that can turn your mind away from the source of anxiety and calm you down both mentally and physically.


As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Foster.

Samantha is the founder and President of the renown mental health nonprofit organization, Rethink Mental Health Incorporated. Her work through Rethink Mental Health Incorporated includes creating and launching campaigns that combat the stigma on mental health, developing a middle school mental health curriculum, and recruiting Advocates that support their mission and spread awareness and support across the globe!


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

All my life I have experienced and struggled with mental health issues and for over a decade I was in the dark about how to improve my mental health. My mental health journey brought me to the creation of Rethink Mental Health Incorporated after a major turning point in my life. At the age of 22 I was finally given the correct diagnosis, detoxed from medications I had been wrongly prescribed over the previous 10 years, and learned about therapies and life-practices that could (and ultimately did) improve my mental wellbeing and quality of life. With the right support, education and treatment went from hopelessness to empowerment. I learned that I was not alone in my mental health struggles and that I could take charge of my mental health. That empowerment is what I hope to spread through our educational and advocacy initiatives at Rethink Mental Health Incorporated. As a result, more people can speak openly about what they are going through or seek the professional help they need without fear of stigmatization, discrimination or harassment. As a result, our society can accept that it is OK to NOT be OK!

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

There is not a particular book that made a significant impact on me, but there is a movie that offered much inspiration in my life. That movie is The Imitation Game. The story of Alan Turing as an underdog, a social outcast, and a stigmatized (and criminalized) homosexual man whose brilliance saved over 14 million lives, is beyond inspiring. One quote from the movie stood out to me more than anything else: “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” This quote resonates with me because it applies to the way our society stigmatize and often belittle those who suffer with mental health issues (including myself) as incapable of great things due to their difficulties or differences. And yet, this stigma could not be more inaccurate and I aspire to be an example of this by achieving great things and saving lives through my organization!

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

My nonprofit has taken a very active role in lifting the mental tole that the corona crisis has caused many people across the globe. There is no doubt that mental health issues are increasing and being exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if we shift our focus on these 5 concepts, we can have a more hopeful outlook on life now and in the future.

  1. Adaptability: The pandemic has proven that it is in our nature to adapt, and we will continue adapting regardless of how the world changes.
  2. New Directions: COVID has organically helped us experience a psychological exercise “when one door closes, three doors open” which broadens our perspective and helps us pursue new, more favorable paths in life.
  3. Communication: The Corona Crisis has broadened forms of communication, further connecting us with people near and far.
  4. Self-Love: People have had significantly more alone time, which can be very healthy and increase self-esteem by not relying solely on outside validation or experiences to establish our self-worth.
  5. Appreciation: Before COVID-19, there were many simple pleasures in life we undoubtable took for granted, from easily going shopping to spending quality time with friends and family. After the pandemic, we will have a much greater appreciation for many experiences in life.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Rethink Mental Health Incorporated has developed a new acronym for the steps to take when supporting those around us who are feeling anxious, depressed, or just having a bad day. This acronym is called the A.L.L. Method. The A in A.L.L. stands for ask. This reminds people to genuinely ask how others are doing and feeling, even if they appear happy. The first L in A.L.L. stands for listen. This encourages people to prioritize listening over talking as a means of support. And the last L in A.L.L. is limit. This represents the importance of limiting advice to avoid speaking outside of ones personal knowledge or field of study. Limit also teaches people to set healthy boundaries and make sure their own mental health is maintained while supporting the mental health of others.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

The best method for easing or managing anxiety should really revolve around identifying, coming to terms with and/or solving the root issue of the anxiety. But from a general standpoint, I would suggest calming exercises such as deep breathing, mindfulness practices, meditation or other self-care activities that can turn your mind away from the source of anxiety and calm you down both mentally and physically.

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

My favorite life lesson quote is “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” by Henry Ford. I have reminded myself of this quote many times throughout my life when I felt overwhelmed or intimidated by something I was pursuing, from starting the nonprofit to moving to a new state. This is my favorite quote because it illuminates the power of our perspective. When we approach life from a negative or defeatist viewpoint, we are setting ourselves up for failure or disappointment. And yet, with a simple change in perspective to look at the bright side of things (including the COVID-19 pandemic) and maintain hopefulness, we can achieve more of what we set out to and be happier with ourselves overall.

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. 🙂

I am passionate about bringing good to the world and as such we have already started a movement through Rethink Mental Health Incorporated which is our Pledge to Rethink Mental Health. The Pledge is a movement to combat the negative and critical stigmas about mental health issues and correct misconceptions and stereotypes. By pledging, you are choosing empowerment over shame. By pledging you are spreading awareness for the cause and helping those around you be more mindful and understanding of people who suffer with mental health issues. This is not a cause for virtue signaling. This is an active mission that can make a real difference in the lives of those who suffer from mental illness. I invite readers who believe in this movement to take the pledge on our website: https://www.rethinkstigma.org/pledge.html

What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?

The best way to follow me online is through the nonprofits instagram page www.instagram.com/rethinkstigma

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

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