Tell us your thoughts about mental health in the black community.
It is unfortunate that society, in general, does not talk about mental health enough. I think one of the reasons is that people don’t see a physical scar or wound. We tend to only empathize or respond to what we can see. When we can see an injury with our eyes, it becomes tangible or real. A scar, wound, or mark from an incident is a visible trigger for us to express some level of empathy or compassion. Mental health, on the other hand, may not have any outwardly visible wounds or evidence. If we can’t visually see it–we don’t think about it or give any consideration that it may exist. There's an old saying “out of sight, out of mind”.
Another general issue that hunts us as a society is the lack of appropriate measures to deal with mental health crises. In recent years, more and more, we have heard of incidents of mental health wellness checks that have turned into an often “avoidable” loss of life. First responders are not properly funded or equipped to handle or deescalate these kinds of matters.
.When you consider what I have already outlined, it becomes even tougher in the black community. Again, recent history says, if a black person calls for a wellness check on another individual, it is a good chance things will go very badly. This easily segways into another conversation around “Black Lives Matter .“ That being said, we don’t trust outsiders to constructively help us resolve the issue. As a result, we culturally rely on the church to help us deal with domestic issues. Which by default means the “Pastor” becomes our therapist. While the Pastor may have good intentions, seminary and pastoral care training is not mental health support.
It is my hope that my book and other efforts will help bridge the gap.
What inspired you to write a book in such a competitive market?
I was hurting and conflicted. I never had the intention of writing a book, but once I started, I felt better. It was like I had a lingering bad stomach ache. The more I wrote, the pain subsided. Reliving our exchanges of humor, faith, and wisdom helped me overcome the feeling of despair and hopelessness. In one of the reviews from a reader, she said “your Granny freed me”. That was exactly how I felt during the process. Focusing on the laughter and love of granny’s messages helped my healing. That was my only concern. I wasn’t concerned about the market. I do believe that when God gives you something, in this case, gives me something…my job is to be used to usher the task to completion. Once I accepted the assignment to write it just flowed and it hasn’t stopped. Hopefully, these efforts to speak out and shed some light on my own journey will be received as encouragement and hope for someone else who is having a similar experience.
What was it about your book that you found to be the most healing?
Writing the book allowed me to continue hearing my granny’s voice which provides me a great deal of comfort. I also know that she is very much still with me, even though it is in the non-physical. Even now as I read the pages, the healing is still happening.
How did you find the art of writing?
Professionally, I am a Project and Change Manager. I help clients find their story (processes) and tell their story in the marketplace. Personally, I cook, sing, play the piano, preach/speak and do woodwork. Once I started writing the book, it seemed to flow as a natural extension of my more developed gifts.
What would you like for people to take away from your book?
I have a few things I hope people take away. One, we all go through valleys. You are NEVER alone and you are NOT the only one. Two, there is help available. Three, don't underestimate your importance to the lives of those who know and love you. Four, don’t take those you love for granted. Five, intentionally find things to laugh about the more you practice at it, the easier it will be. Six, know that it is perfectly ok for you to be selfish. Self care is extremely important.
How do you feel that your grandmother would respond to your book?
This question makes me laugh. It is so easy for me to hear her response. My grandmother would say, “Lisa, you know we are here to serve!” Then she would ask, “Did the Lord tell you to do it? If that is so–it ain’t none of my business.”
About Lisa M Bennett
Lisa M. Bennett is a speaker, entrepreneur, Youtube personality, author and former executive of a multinational Fortune 500 company. Lisa wanted to focus her talent on developing people to find and follow their own purpose. She helps everyday dreamers find their path and maximize their potential. She runs a mindset coaching practice called Fearless Coaching: “I am, I have, I can…”
Lisa credits most of her success to the life coaching that she received from her ancestors, and published her new book in hopes of sharing the important lessons & wisdom that she learned with others.
Lisa has been with her love, Rasheida, for 20 years. They have 4 children, 12 godchildren, and 9 grandchildren who are her world. Faith, family and community are the most important elements in her life.
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