This is article and video are from a live chat with Jeff Whittaker discussing the realities of mental health, mental wellness, spirituality, and physical well-being.
Please note that this article was transcribed directly from the video.
Thank you to Pastor Jeff Whittaker of All Nations Worship Assembly Virginia for having me as a guest.
Pastor Jeff (00:00:01):
Pastor Jeff (00:00:03):
Holding up here? Yeah. Okay.
Pastor Jeff (00:00:29):
Pastor Jeff (00:00:31):
All right. Let me just make sure this comes up for me here. All right. Hello, every body. Good evening. Happy Thursday to you all. Welcome to life talk. Uh, for those of you all that may be used to midweek empowerment, uh, we’ve adjusted it a little bit this month, um, to bring in some essential individuals that I believe are going to help us all this month as we continue to maneuver through an unprecedented time, but yet a time where I believe God has given us wisdom and insight through the voices he’s anointed to help us with all this going on. I’m excited tonight to have with me Dr. Stacie Otey-Scott and um, she is a psychologist and there’s some other great things. I did not get a bio specifically and intentionally because I wanted her to kind of introduce herself and kind of let you all know who she is.
Pastor Jeff (00:01:29):
She is not as stranger to too many people. Um, and after this, uh, I don’t want us to interview after this lifetime. Many of you all, you’re going to probably feel like she’s your best friend. I had a short conversation with her and she’s very, very relational and I’m hoping to get some things out tonight in conversation that we all need. And I’m excited because this month, since the year of 1949 this month has been observed as mental health awareness month. And I’m excited that we are having this talk on mental health awareness, um, in this month and I believe God will do some amazing things tonight. So without any further delay, I want to introduce to, um, some and reintroduced to some, uh, Dr. Stacie Otey-Scott, Dr. Stacie. Hello this evening. Hello. Hello. Hello. So happy to be here. I’m glad you are.
Pastor Jeff (00:02:20):
I’m excited to have you, uh, connecting with all nations, VA and all of the guests that are here tonight. Y’all please share this right now, Android, iPhone, iPad, whatever you got. Google, whatever, uh, whatever Samsung says something, you know, I’m an iPhone guy myself, uh, Apple product, but whatever device you have, share it as we’re starting right now. Dr. Stacie, let’s start by you telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do, uh, in the community as a career. Let’s kind of start with that so that people can get to know you. Wonderful. Hello all nations family. I’m so excited to be with you all tonight. I was like excited to get the call from Pastor Jeff especially to talk about mental health, which is not always a discussion that
Doctor SOS (00:03:00):
we have in church, but I think it is a necessary discussion and I believe it’s a part of who God called us to be for where we are, mind, body and spirit. So I’m excited to be here. Um, I, my background is in health psychology. I’m a licensed clinical psychologist and I actually started at the Hampton VA and then at Eastern Virginia middle school and have been blessed and fortunate enough probably I think for the last 10 years to be there at Mount Lebanon Baptist church under Bishop Brown. Yes. And elder Valerie Brown. So I am there. I think it’s amazing that one of our churches would think enough and be, be a, for thinking enough to, to forward, invite me to be a part of their staff. And so Bishop and an elder literally use me in major moments in the life of the church to help staff to help the community. It’s not just about our church partners. So I’ve been able to combine my faith beliefs and my love of God and let mental health and mental wellness. You there Pastor Jeff? It looks like you froze on me.
Pastor Jeff (00:04:18):
It looked like it froze for a second. We’re going to bind that frozen spirit tonight. Can you hear me? Can you hear me
Doctor SOS (00:04:26):
there? I can hear you. Yes, I can hear you now.
Pastor Jeff (00:04:29):
I don’t know what happened with crane. I guess I want to just assume that so many people are coming on that Facebook doesn’t know what to do. But Facebook, I need you to work with me tonight cause we need to get this out. Um, some of the last portion I heard, um, you, you speak on with regards to what you do at the Mount, which is a church and um, I’m glad that, um, I believe for one we love Bishop Brown and he has set the precedence for a lot of different things that I think local pastors and passes around the world on now incorporating in their ministries so long with me growing up in church when it came to like mental health and things of that degree, we thought everything was demonic and everything needed to be cast out. Uh, but I, I, I say this to my church, some things need to be dealt with at the alter and some things could be dealt with on a couch because Jesus says that he will, the Bible said Jesus is a wonderful counselor and if he’s up, that means that he can speak from that perspective to also touch the lives in the same impact in the same way that he would touch someone’s life, um, through other spiritual practices.
Pastor Jeff (00:05:30):
So I’m excited. We’re hoping that one day we’ll be able to have a portion of that. At our nations, Virginia. Um, but I really believe that even if a church doesn’t have it, they have opportunities to connect with people such as yourself, uh, to incorporate dynamics, uh, such as that. So I’m excited to have this conversation and I don’t want to own tonight doctor States that everyone knows, uh, what mental health is. Um, I don’t assume it’s just good thoughts, but uh, there’s some more that goes to that. So let’s get right into it tonight with our questions. Um, the first question I’ll ask is this, what is mental health for those who may not have a full understanding of it and how can it be gauged, uh, during a crisis such as this?
Doctor SOS (00:06:13):
Okay. But you know, Pastor Jeff, you ask these questions and certain you ask some loaded questions, you ask some good, I love it cause it really is peeling the layers back so that we can adDr.ess this from a very fundamental, practical perspective. So mental health includes our emotional, psychological, social wellbeing. This is how it’s kind of written up. I’m going to give you the definition of it and I’m, I’ll give you my thoughts. So it includes our emotional, psychological, social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and behave. And it also determines how we handle stress. And there are several things that impact our mental health, our biology, our biology impacts our mental health, our environment, um, but also our family history. All of that impacts our mental health. For me, mental health is about how I’m a walk in the world every single day. Healthy in mind, body and spirit. You can’t break those things apart to me because my body and my spirit influences my mental health and my mental health impact. It’s other areas as well. So I try to take a holistic mental health
Pastor Jeff (00:07:17):
and that’s important because where we’re at right now is unprecedented. Um, even in history, you know, there have been, um, different times where uh, different diseases and things have broken out. But I think for my generation and just the generation present, we’ve never seen anything like this and people are struggling, uh, to really adjust to what’s happening. Um, I think it was two weeks ago. Um, I’ve learned of a pastor that committed suicide. And I’m, and I’m not saying that, that this pandemic was the result of it, but it could have played, uh, into that. Uh, there was a doctor in New York who was hoping people, uh, who committed suicide. So the people who are attending to the needs of others are needing help themselves, pastor and you know, those doctors and social workers, people in your field. Uh, so I think it’s really important, uh, that we are cognitive of that in this time. And because we are in this time, and some people may not know exactly the signs of, cause some people may think like, my mental health is, is great and wonderful and it could be just as crazy as all get out just because of their, uh, net lack of knowledge of the sign. So what are some signs to look for with ourselves and with our loved ones, uh, when it comes to navigating through mental health. Um, and when should treatment be considered?
Doctor SOS (00:08:44):
You know the, the, this pandemic is, like you said before, it’s the impact it’s having. It’s just unprecedented and for the first responders and I’m finding more and more of of us who are in mental health, we’re, we’re becoming first responders and sometimes first responders to the first responders. It’s taxing, it’s taxing. It’s personally been something that I’ve had to wrap my head around in making sure that I am taking necessary steps to stay well for the first time I was talking to one of my friends earlier today, one of my good girlfriends and I told her for the first time I had a panic attack. I personally had a panic attack and it was one of those things that I was experiencing and it’s like you say, you don’t even really necessarily know him. You don’t really know what it is. Now I can do this for a living, pass the gel.
Doctor SOS (00:09:31):
I do this for a living and I’m having this panic attack and thinking, Hmm, that’s a little odd. It just so happened, my husband came past as I was working on some stuff and he just took a look at me. He said, Hey, let’s take a walk. Right? Why don’t we take a walk? And we got outside and we started walking and he said, what’s going on? And when I started telling him all the things that were going on and then I just started crying and he was like, okay, alright we can, we can deal with this, we can handle this. And what I really needed in that moment was a release valve. I needed somebody to give me permission and let me know it’s okay. Like you can’t handle every single thing all by yourself. All at once. God put us here to be in relationship.
Doctor SOS (00:10:10):
So let me help offset some of this burden. But he could only do it to the degree that I was willing to give it to him and in, in my being willing to give it to him. I had acknowledged, we want to acknowledge I got a problem, I got an issue cause we can’t fix what we won’t admit. So some of us when we were experiencing mental health issues or concerned that it’s not even like it has to be a crisis, just issues. It doesn’t have to be, I’m at the point where I’m suicidal, we don’t want it there. We want you to recognize before you get there. So things like noticing changes in your appetite, eating more, eating less, wanting to socially isolate, which in this season where we have to socially isolate, that makes it even more difficult because for a lot of us, relationship is everything.
Doctor SOS (00:10:52):
That’s what keeps us balanced and connected. So when you find somebody who’s isolating even more, that’s a concern. Having sleep disturbances, if you find yourself not being able to sleep as restfully or not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep, having mood fluctuations, you know, where you find yourself and it doesn’t have to be crying all the time. You know, all the depression commercials, the little pill crying. And it’s not always us walking around with just Boohoo. And sometimes I’m just irritable. That’s fine. It’s just like you plucking my nerves all day and that’s not my normal disposition. So when I’m in that place, sometimes I’ll recognize more often than not, my kids will tell me, which is the other thing I want to say about this family and friends frequently, we can notice when our loved ones are taking the turn faster than they can. It’s kind of like you can’t see the trees for the forest when I’m in it, I don’t necessarily see it as well. But somebody looking from the outside in can say, you know what, it’s been about two weeks that I’ve noticed that you’ve kind of been on edge and you haven’t really been sleeping all that great. So those are some of the things, the basic things that we can start looking out for and recognizing that something’s going on. Something’s going on.
Pastor Jeff (00:12:00):
But you know what, let me say this because I appreciate you. Sometimes our professionalism overrides our humanity or more so we allow our professionalism to override our humanity. Like, if I have, uh, learned professionally from a standpoint of how to pass the or how to talk, um, uh, others off the cliff, sometimes I know what the fact that I’m standing there myself and I want to say, first of all, I applaud you and appreciate you for being one who talks to people constantly about life issues, but yet admitting, uh, when you have it, and this is something that’s not even in my list of questions, but it’s not going to be anything too much different than, than, than what we discussed. Why is it that, and I want to say the root of it is pride, but why is it, uh, that clergy or though, or spiritual leaders or those who are professional, why is it that we have a hard time admitting like this is a problem I have?
Pastor Jeff (00:12:56):
I don’t know if because the church has put us on some pedestal where we don’t want to show our vulnerability and I promise I’m just as transparent as can be. Uh, I will, I will come in and say, look, I about to cuss somebody out the day. God repented her with me to John the 15 shot there. Let’s work through what the Lord has to say. Right? But I think many leaders are struggling because we think that it lessens our spiritual allergy if we enhance our humanity and show people that, Hey, I’m not always doing good because a lot of times we’ll recognize these things and we’ll try to, and don’t get deep on me. Those who are watching or whatever, we’re trying to pray in the Holy ghost. Blessed sometimes to me, don’t need to be spoken in tongues. You need to go speak to a person who tells you, look, I can see the signs. I went to school for this. This is what you need to sell. So why is it that you think, why is it that we stay in this place and I think it’s pride and don’t want to admit it. And then we find ourselves almost losing our mind because it’s too late.
Doctor SOS (00:13:52):
Yeah, I passed her. I think that you are onto something. I don’t think it’s this or that. I think it’s this and that. So I think all those things that you said contribute to it. My grandmother was a Pentecostal minister, preach hellfire and brimstone, you know, um, and came from that background where, you know, wearing the Dr.esses down to your ankles. And I, thankfully by the time I came along, there was some shift in that, but not much. So I watched her and I speak about this frequently, especially to pastors and leaders. I watched my grandmother struggle with mental illness and realize what it was in my adult life and then watched her unintentionally use that as a weapon of mass destruction to turn people away from him. Because if you won’t get your health, then you’re standing there sick and bleeding on everyone else.
Doctor SOS (00:14:39):
So I recognize that there is this, um, there’s this position that pastors and leaders get placed in and it’s not just pastors. Part of my background is working with family medicine physicians. And I remember having this conversation, one of my family medicine physicians about speaking to the residents and teaching them from her place of vulnerability. She had failed at something that she did in medical school and she, you know, carried. And so here’s what I really think the root of it is. She carries shame about that failure. And so when I’m saying to her, but if you tell them they can relate and it will make you so much more, um, cumin to them and, and, and relatable and touchable and, and assessable to them. And she looked me in my eyes and she said, and I love her. She’s a great family medicine doc, but she looked at me in my eyes and she said, no, I’m not going to be able to do that.
Doctor SOS (00:15:26):
So there may be some pride there, but on the other side, I think that there’s more along the lines of shame. Like there’s, there’s some things there with not wanting to appear weak. And we’ve been socialized in a, particularly in the black church, that everything we, everything we experienced in life, we should be able to pray it away. But then we go behind it and say things like, faith without works is dead. Right? So we can see that from a medical illness standpoint. Like if I got diabetes, I’m not going to just be sitting around as my blood sugar is climbing and just brain, you know, God gives us wisdom and discernment. So he wants us to use all the tools that he gives us access to. I’m gonna go get some help. Do I need to get a glucometer? What do I need to do? But when it comes to mental health because we can’t see it, then we’re afraid to say it. And if we say it, then we think that makes us crazy. Right? Until the point that we don’t say anything and our mental health declines to the point where we really are in a state of being crazy or out of our minds. And then when we do things like what you’re seeing in the news,
Pastor Jeff (00:16:26):
sad, um, because it shouldn’t have to get to that point. I, I will go as far as saying, um, I believe every pastor, every leader needs a mentor and also a therapist or a counselor because I believe the mentor or the spiritual advisor speaks to the spiritual or aspect. Like you can tell me how to continue to empower my leaders, have to continue to exit GTE the texts and build the organization. But I believe that God anoints counselors and therapists to help us to be able to make it through, actually meet with the guy, uh, uh, for, uh, for, for my mental health. Um, and I’ll know I’m talking to you, Dr. Stacie. I don’t know. You might, you might win me over like, Hey man,
Doctor SOS (00:17:12):
don’t, don’t, don’t leave him. Don’t go like that.
Pastor Jeff (00:17:15):
If you’re watching this man, you’ve been great, but you know, but I believe, I believe every pastor, every leader needs someone that they can actually sit and talk to because the reality is sometimes we don’t feel like we have anybody that we can talk to. Um, and how, how, how would you agree with that? Do you, would you say or suggest that every uh, leader, and I’m speaking more in the context of church because I know this is holistic, but because I know a lot of churches, individuals are watching this, would you say that every pastor needs a counselor or a therapist? If I’m sending it in the right context that they meet with at least once a month?
Doctor SOS (00:17:51):
You are absolutely saying it in the right context and context and yes, I 100% agree with that. I’m working at the mountain where we have several sites. I have the privilege and honor of working with several sites, pastors and it has been just that a privilege and honor or the fact that they would trust me to share some of those concerns with me. But I mean we think about our church leadership needing like an armor bearer to go into places, physically, someone to go before them and to make sure that the atmosphere is set and everything is in place and their needs are met so that they can have an end and help to create through the Holy spirit the best experience, spiritual experience. Somebody can have. I see part of what I do in the same way I am, I serve the role as a mental, as a, as a relational, as a, um, emotional kind of armor bearer to help gear up my spiritual leaders to help them see maybe some blind spots to what they’re doing to help them make sure they’re taking as good of care of themselves as they are trying to others.
Doctor SOS (00:18:52):
Because a lot of times our spiritual leaders are givers by nature. But being givers by nature usually means that it’s very difficult for us to receive. And so having someone like me to be able to say, Hey pastor, cause you think about how that meeting went the other day and your mood seemed a little bit off. What’s going on? And being able to feel confident that you have that person’s competence in terms of confidentiality, to say what you need to say to not be judged and to be able to grow from there. So I think that’s correct. I also say every mental health provider needs a counselor, therapist, another mental health provider. And I have long,
Pastor Jeff (00:19:29):
I think about this movie. Uh, Janet Jackson was in, was one of Tyler Perry movies. I cannot actual one, but he had colored girls for colored girls or I think that was it. Why did I get married or whatever like that. Um, so in the movie, first of all, she was kind of in my wife will love this cause I never use movies to do revelational things, right? But in the movie, you know, she was I think a therapist or professor, whatever. And she was dealing with the fact that, uh, she struggled with the fact that she had got in a car accident, her child had died or whatever, but she can’t get behind it. Then that one day she had this, this break down. Um, and she just realized, man, it doesn’t matter how intellectual I am, I am human. And at some point I need to talk to somebody about my issues.
Pastor Jeff (00:20:16):
I need to talk to somebody about the things that I’m going through. So I think that is so key as athletes, and I’m praying right now, lead leaders, you are watching this, please understand that. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not okay. And I’ve had to learn that at the end of the day people are going to be people. Some people would say, well I’m going to be weak in your mind but I’m going to be healthy and get some help and I think we’re coming. What I am loving about how church has evolved is this conversation has become something that’s not as secretive anymore. People are finding out like it’s okay to, to, to be able to talk through what you’re going through. And with that being said, I want to, I want, I want to consider this because so many people are on social media watching this, right?
Pastor Jeff (00:21:08):
And I don’t want to contradict this social media thing cause I need John to stay on. As a matter of fact, thank y’all right now. I’d be joined again. Share this right now. I need y’all to share. This is an amazing conversation. I am loving this conversation y’all. If you’re just here, we’re talking about mental health, mental health awareness tonight with Dr. Stacie Otey- Scott. So make sure you share this right now. If you already shared that once, share it again. Right. And it is on social media that we tend to, to share things in this matter. Let me say this, I did not want to take credit. I did not come up with these questions tonight. We have a lady who just received her masters. The great crew name is crystal Edmonton. She just received her master’s degree in psychology. So I wouldn’t say credit cause she was like, no question is dope. And I was like to be like, well you know the lowest. Um, but she gave me all these questions and one of the questions that she, that she had as it relates to social media, and I want to make sure I say this correctly. Okay. What are the psychological effects that social media had on our mental health? A crisis?
Doctor SOS (00:22:17):
Um, yeah, that was one of the questions that I could probably stay on for a long time just because I have, I have kids, my kids and so they, you know, are, they love social media, they love video games and you know, anything digital, any kind of technology, they’re all into it. And as we noticed over time, and I looked at some of the data and the research, some of the impacts on the brain and our thinking is just not good. It’s not good. Now I say that, but I’m also saying along with Pastor Jeff, do not click off of this. Continue. This is good. It’s good. But it has, it has a way of um, pulling us in. And if any of your viewers have chilDr.en who play video games or if any of them play video games, you know this for yourself. It can be very, very addictive. Social media can be very addictive. My husband is big in the digital world and he’s all about anything digital. And I remember when he came to me before Facebook had the endless scroll and now it has the endless scroll and what that does and, and it does, it pulls you in. And so you can be there. Oh my gosh, I can get on Facebook and think, okay, 10 minutes and like 90 minutes later I’m like, what?
Doctor SOS (00:23:34):
That’s two hours of never going to get back. But you don’t even realize it. So one of it, one of those things is that it’s an addictive. Um, but the other thing is that with social media in particular, it can lead us to comparing, comparing ourselves. And what I think we forget is that people are posting on social media the very best of what they want us to see. Most people, most people, so they’re, they’re, you know, highlighting all the great parts. There have been times where I’ve literally counseled people, my husband had council people, couples, and they are having a very, very difficult time. And we will see a post 10 minutes later loving my WCW out of here. And you know, for confidentiality sake, I’m not saying a word, but inside I’m going like, why? And then what people see is that, you know, we on a beach and he holding her hand and the next thing you know, you turn around and your husband, why we ain’t at the beach, why do you want me holding my hand like that?
Doctor SOS (00:24:36):
And it’s like, Whoa. So it creates a breeds, this environment of comparison, but then also lack of contentment. Yeah. That is people can get on social media and see all this stuff, whether it’s good and now they’re comparising themselves comparing themselves or it’s bad and they’re thinking, Oh, the world is just coming apart and you leave feeling worse than when you got on. That’s an indication that maybe you don’t need to get up there. So you have all of those kinds of, it can serve as a trigger for some people. You know, you get up there, you don’t know what’s going to pop up in your feed and something can pop up. That is an unresolved issue of your heart. And the next thing you know, you walk away, everything was fine with the kids before you went into the room. We got on. Now you come out your plus and your cousin, y’all hollering, you’re mad, you ain’t cooking nobody denim.
Doctor SOS (00:25:24):
I mean, it’s just like, wait mommy, you’ll shut up. I thought about that. So I got on social media, but it’s all of that kind of stuff that it can, um, contribute to not enhancing our lives, but decreasing our ability to experience pleasure in our lives. So now we’re looking around and, and feeling ungrateful, you know, cause somebody else has the bigger whatever or the newest whatever. Um, and then it also has the ability to change some of our neurochemistry, like literally because you’re getting that information in that you know, how many words you can tweet and how many however many characters we start looking for that instant gratification. And if you get something that requires more than 30 seconds of your attention, we have like the attention span of fleas. Like there’s got to be a healthy balance to it, which is what I try to teach my kids and what I try to abide by. I went all the way to the extreme passage. I just want to get on social. This is good. And I will say this for some people that does, they may not think this is at every level. I was talking to a pastor friend of mine and um, this week because I, I use him as an accountability partner and I’m just asking them for some certain things and you know, to be more focused as a leader. And he said, you know Jeff,
Pastor Jeff (00:26:44):
one thing I had to do and he passes an excellent church of a progressive church, thousands of members. And he said, man, I had to stop being on as much because I saw myself comparing myself and I’m like, what? Like boy, your ministry is thriving. But he says, if this is a part about humanity, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be causing me to be jealous or envious. He just said, man, I use social media more of a reward and less of something that controls my reality and we save report meeting. Like I’ve done enough throughout the week where I may check on and see what my friends or family who I’m not actually seeing day to day are doing. But he said, man, he said every level. He said, man, I was looking at churches that are, you know, far more progressive than myself. And I was comparing myself and then that can lead to depression cause you’ll look at you, I ain’t doing nothing.
Pastor Jeff (00:27:36):
You don’t need to know. They lease on the porch and now you’re trying to adjust your life according to a silhouette that you thought was real. And it’s really not myself, you know, taking time to, okay, I may come up here or may use it just strategically to promote. Uh, thank you. Uh, Mark Zuckerberg for free promotion or free, I have a, a podcast called let’s grow Jeff. Uh, so I, I use it for that and to promote. But aside from that, it’s just kinda like, you know, I don’t want to sit here and waste time. Like I should not be spending all this time and I could be doing something to work on my emotional wellness. And I think sometimes that really destroys this generation. Don’t young people, I guess all ages. It kind of destroys it. So what kind of practical things would you give to someone who says, man, I’m always on social media while I’m up here. It seems like my brain is wrecking. I see this person doing this and doing that. What practical things can we do to kind of not be overwhelmed, uh, by the social media, uh, attacks or whatever that we experienced?
Doctor SOS (00:28:44):
Right. I think that, I think that there’s a place for social media. I think that there are some great things that have come about as a result of social media. I think that our tools like Instagram and Facebook really can serve to help keep us connected when we wouldn’t otherwise be connected. They’re a bridge. They can help pass on great information. And I think it’s like what my mom used to tell me when I was a kid and actually what I ended up telling my own kids, too much of anything is not good for you. One of the words in my vocabulary, if you ever come to see me or need to ask about how to better manage an area of your life, um, and I had somebody use this on back on me today. It was like God was saying back at your girlfriend, remember this word, the boundary.
Doctor SOS (00:29:25):
Create healthy and appropriate boundaries for yourself and then be disciplined in how you use them in the past. The Jeff, I’m gonna tell you I’m not a planner. So when I talk about, you know, when, when the Holy spirit comes and he’s like, yeah, dude, I need you to be more disciplined. I’m like, come on, come on Jesus. I mean, I like, you know, we can kill. We just fly by the seat of our breaches and we’ll make sure I get there, right? And he’s like, yeah, I do that on occasion. But that’s not how I want you to live your life. You know, the, the root word of discipline is disciple, right? I need you to be willing to take some responsibility, especially if you’re an adult of your own behavior and use those feelings I give you as the guide and a gauge as to what’s good for you and what’s not right?
Doctor SOS (00:30:07):
If you get off of social media and you find yourself, you know, not wanting to sleep next to your husband but the night before y’all was good and now you’re hanging off the edge of the bed trying to get, I want you to recognize that perhaps social media negatively influenced the impact you, if you’re on social media and your kids or life is calling you, it’s a beautiful day and you have health issues. You have an exercise in a month of Sundays. Recognize that some of this time that you’re spending there could be used for you to go take a 1520 minute walk, which is going to help you in every way spiritually, emotionally, physically create some boundaries for yourself so you can really live well and not just look well cause we do that real good. I can look well you living with
Pastor Jeff (00:30:50):
I joke sometimes I say some, one of the strongest parts, so many people body as they write is they write thumb all day thing just as diesel. But I think that that’s critical. And if you don’t have a life outside of social media, I don’t think you have a life at all. And I think sometimes it has consumed people to where their whole life is determined by what’s happening on social media. And it’s like you better hope that it don’t shut down cause people are not going to know what to do.
Doctor SOS (00:31:18):
Yeah, we got problems now that’s going to be here. That’s going to be a real issue. No you can’t. You’re not living that way. You at that point you’re just existing and this, you’ve created this imaginary life which then can lead really to some delusional thinking that doesn’t allow you to have a healthy life. You’re just existing. I’ve seen more psychosis since we’ve been in this pandemic than ever before. Meaning people having a mental breakdown, what they would call it back in the day I had a nervous breakdown. Right? Like people literally losing touch with reality. It has been unbelievable. It’s been unbelievable to witness has been unbelievable to hear. I think that social media and all of these tools that we have can be really helpful and they should be just that. But they were never intended to take the place of real life relationships. Right. It’s because I got 4,000 friends on Facebook doesn’t mean I have 4,000 friends in life alone. That’s not reasonable or for real friends are correct. And if you got forward, you are doing marvelous because a real true written is hard to come by. That takes some relationship work and investment and time and energy. So helping people understand that you can, you can bring balance into this and you should so that you can live well.
Pastor Jeff (00:32:41):
Right. Just because somebody likes her status don’t mean they actually like you. So that confused me. It’s certain people would be lacking this, that it’s just just because, but they don’t like you. And let me say this cause I was thinking about something you said, um, in regards to mental health awareness and just people’s acceptance of it. What are some myths that that um, exists concerning mental health? What are, what are some myths that, that are existing that people might or may not even be aware?
Doctor SOS (00:33:14):
Right. Well, for us, so there, there are some myths that I know are definitely black church myths and maybe all church myths. I’m just not a part of, you know, the church that where I’ve seen a whole bunch of other cultures or what identify a culture outside of my own where I’ve heard this and grew up around it. Um, one of them we already, you’ve already touched on, which is, you know, if you are having any kind of mental health issue, then you, your relationship with God must not be strong or it’s some kind of demonic thing. And, and, and here’s the thing. I do believe in, in a spiritual influences. I do believe just like I believe in God, you know, I know Satan, I believe in heaven. I know there is a help. I believe the word of God. It is true to me.
Doctor SOS (00:34:00):
So I’m not discounting that. There are times where there are some demonic influences and things that happen. What I’m saying is I think that more often than not, it’s this and that where mind, body and spirit and a lot of times we want to demonize or, um, religion, everything and excuse that to explain a way the other kind of help that we might need or that your prayer life isn’t strong if you’re dealing with any kind of mental illness or you weak, you know, you’re just weak minded. You know, your, your uncle was weak minded. I should’ve known, you know, your daddy was, you come from an Oprah, Atlanta, weak minded people. It’s just like, wow, Whoa, Whoa. No, there are other things that are at play here that really impact my, my mental and emotional functioning. Um, I have a lot of people that
Pastor Jeff (00:34:46):
before you mentioned that triggers something, um, with, with the generational thing. Um, because I was watching, I love documentaries. Um, I love documentary and I was watching this documentary on, um, a young ladies, Antonio Brown, and I saw, you know, how her mental state was at the age of 16, but if you looked at her mother and then looked at her grandmother, that was this generational impact of mental health instability. How important is it for us to, and I don’t even know how this is possible, but how important is it for us to know the history, uh, within our family? Because some things it’s like you don’t even realize, um, according to your genealogy, uh, that you’re dealing with. So how important it is, is it to know that because there are some people who may not have known their fathers, is there a way you can find out the mental health history of a family member without actually maybe being in contact with them or such?
Doctor SOS (00:35:45):
Right. It’s, I think it’s, um, critical for us to know. It’s very helpful if we know. I don’t think, I think that if we don’t know, it’s not the be all end all because ultimately it’s like it’s, it’s less about what they had and more about what you’re experiencing at the time. So what they had can help us make informed decisions about how to better take care of ourselves. Maybe even from a preventative standpoint. But once you have something or once you’re dealing with something, while it can be helpful to know, you know, somebody, if my grandmother had depression, particularly if medications and things like that where you use, what kind of medication helped my mom or what kind of medication helped my dad because of the, the genealogy because of the biological connection. That could be beneficial, but it’s not the be all end all.
Doctor SOS (00:36:33):
It is important that if you have access to that information to the degree that you can to get it. But a lot of times, you know from our generation, well you, you’re dealing with the dying. So for my generation of on back, it’s, that information is going to be really, really sketchy, you know? Or there could have been some wrong, but people didn’t really know what it was. It didn’t have a name. It was just like big mama was a little off or you know, auntie Cheryl is a little special. It wasn’t really diagnosed. You can start looking at some of those symptoms or you said auntie shirt was special. Tell me what you w what you saw was she would come in and she would be talking to herself and um, sometimes she would, you know, go for days without eating and then sometimes she would be really, really excited and then I’d see her crying, you know? So if you can describe to me what you saw or what you heard, then we might be able to get it in a category of what that might look like, which then can make help you make some informed decisions. It’s like knowing if your mom has a history of breast cancer, you’re going to be more apt to look for and to take a pay attention to. You know, your breasts, what you eat, how you eat. Recognizing, Hey, you know, we want to try to prevent this. To the degree that we can. So that’s something
Pastor Jeff (00:37:40):
very, very, very profound because I know there’s some parents watching tonight, um, and this is a sensitive subject because they have chilDr.en who deal with mental health issues and it’s even more challenging now. First of all, uh, parents who are having to teach their chilDr.en. That’s bringing a whole Apple stress on, on parents. And I was watching something on the news about a parent who had a, a child who was autistic. Uh, but even beyond autism, there are some parents who have chilDr.en with mental health issues. And I know this probably speaks to some things you may have been dealing with in your field. What do we say to parents who have chilDr.en who have been diagnosed with a mental illness but they are not as able to meet with? And I know we doing virtual meetings, but just the virtuality and the physicality are two different things. How are you all kind of helping people process when they’re having to deal with their chilDr.en a little more in areas they’re not trained in areas they have no experience. What can we say to them? Because it’s causing their mental health to be, um, kind of, uh, challenged as well. So how you are coping with that and kind of helping them get through this pandemic and this time?
Doctor SOS (00:38:53):
Yeah, it’s um, with kids who don’t even, what we’re seeing is a spike in, in our kids who did not have any mental health issues just like with us before the pandemic because of the isolation, because of all of that we’re seeing a spike in things like depression and anxiety. And I have a senior myself this year. And so when he first came home and realized there was the potential for no graduation and, um, there was some depression that he started experiencing and we had to walk through that and talk through that. Um, and for parents who don’t have access because the biggest threats to mental wellness to me are the stigma and then lack of access. Yeah. So the parents who don’t have access, you know, back in the day there used to be this um, little when we have a commercial break between the cartoons on like Saturday morning there’d be this little thing that come on that was saying knowledge is power.
Doctor SOS (00:39:38):
And so for those parents, I want them to know that the information will provide knowledge and knowledge can provide power and there are lots of great resources online to give you helpful information, credible resources like your national Alliance on mental illness there. I mean you can type in how to manage depression or how to deal with my kid with depression and it’ll give you some great tips for some, some people experiencing mental illness. There will be a need for medication. You know, we’re talking about neurochemistry and helping people to manage their symptoms. You can’t really deal with the issues and the problems if you can’t get beyond the symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are so loud, they prevent you from being able to focus on what the real issue is. So for some folks, there’s going to be medication management for everyone. It’s going to be behavioral management.
Doctor SOS (00:40:27):
Our mental health, health and how we respond to the world is a collection of how we’re feeling and then how we’re behaving because of how we’re feeling. So if we can help parents understand that there are resources there that can help them identify what their kids are feeling and how to respond appropriately without letting their kids, you know, tap into and trigger their stuff, then I think that that goes a long way in helping them to help their kids cope, but also teaching them how to code. There’s, um, a book that I love by, by John Townsend and Henry cloud called boundaries. Now there’s a whole series on them. One is called boundaries with kids, boundaries with teens, but I love those books because they break down and really, really practical steps. How to apply these concepts that are Christian faith based along with psychologically sound to be able to get the best out of your kids, to be able to deal with, you know, if they’re angry or if they’re disruptive or they’re, um, um, Oh, what’s disrespectful?
Doctor SOS (00:41:31):
That’s a big one for parents. Do ain’t gonna disrespect me in my house. You know, those kinds of things. They first get you on the port porch of reminding you how kids think and reminding you that you will once the kids. So let’s bring that down a notch first of all. But then they give you some really practical tips on what to do when you find yourself in this situation. I don’t think we’re going to be, be able to effectively help our chilDr.en and help ourselves if we don’t make time and take time to become informed. This stuff is not, we born with this knowledge pastor, you got to do some reading on this, you know,
Pastor Jeff (00:42:05):
I agree. Um, we’re learning a lot, just having my, you know, and my daughter hasn’t been diagnosed with any, with any issues, so I can only imagine, uh, parents who may have be dealing with that. Our hearts go out to them. I for us go out, but it’s information like this parents. So if you know someone that’s information like this that helps, you know, Dr. Stacie, um, is experienced in these issues and I’m just seeing it and tell me to do this. But I’m just telling you all and we’ll have some information at the end provided how you possibly can get in touch with her. We need, uh, Dr. Stacie’s eat better known as Dr. SOS. We need her and other healthcare, um, mental health, um, and psychologist. We need therapists. We need them to kind of help us process through. I will say this as a pastor, since everybody to pass it to validate stuff.
Pastor Jeff (00:42:50):
You need this. Okay, we all need this. Um, so parents don’t be ashamed to get help. I think one of the biggest things that I’m, that I’m hearing through this is that you have to be humble enough to say I need help. Right? Um, I think, uh, God showed us from the beginning that nobody is intended to do life alone. When he said he told Adam, Adam, it’s not good for you to be alone. Let’s take that principle into just the whole humanity. It’s not good for any of us, any of us to try to do life alone. So I’m glad you answered that. This is a big one, Dr. Stacie, because it speaks to I think, what, at least one or two people on this life have experienced. And that is grief. Grief is already something hard to deal with, but during a time such as this, how do we deal with grief?
Pastor Jeff (00:43:40):
Um, in times like this where, uh, we have some individual, thankfully no one at our church has died from, uh, COBIT 19, but some of our, uh, partners have had family members to be impacted by this. Uh, one of the all nations worship assembly pastors in Baton Rouge, uh, his mother passed away from this. And you know, when I communicate with him, he’s being very transparent, very vulnerable. Uh, but it’s a hard thing. There may be someone, and I know there has to be at least somebody up here or someone who knows also went up here that has lost someone during this pandemic to Cobra 19. How do we deal with this? Uh, knowing that it’s still in the air, it’s still around us and we may possibly get more reports or, or have direct impact from it. So how do we deal grief during
Doctor SOS (00:44:31):
this time? Yeah, that’s, that’s really a big one. Um, passive, Jeff, I’ve had several, um, calls whether from our Mt partners or just people in the community who live in it directly impacted. Um, I remember a couple of weeks ago I reached out to a family who has family members in New York and several family members died. Um, we have some, some leaders in our church who have experienced several of my family members in the same household passing away from this. It’s really difficult. I’m going to be really honest and transparent because it is very different. This, this new way that we’re having to grieve. It’s not our traditional, at least we can go do our home going services and do those things that allow us to say goodbye. We can’t even do that in the old way. And so part of what I’ve done to be on the other side to help someone grieving is to give them permission to grieve.
Doctor SOS (00:45:26):
I’ve sat with them, I’ve cried with them. And I know that you notice as a pastor sometimes that’s the best you can do in those moments is to let them be, let them breathe. I’m not trying to ask and answer any questions about God or anything else that I don’t know. I got questions for myself. I don’t know. Um, what I do know is, is to be on the lookout for things that go beyond normal grieving. Grief is the part of life is in the Bible we’re going to read. And so recognizing that and accepting that, but then trying to help people as they go through this process of grieving, find meaning and purpose and value in the person they lost and ways that they can celebrate them that look differently but can be just as meaningful. I was speaking to one of our partners today, her, it was yesterday, her father passed away recently.
Doctor SOS (00:46:21):
It wasn’t from Kobe, but because of COBIT not having that access and it’s just been this tremendous big thing. And so part of what we did in our conversation was really talk about the legacy of their relationship and what she, how she grew in relationship with him, even through the sickness. So even in her grieving now she’s able to take a different perspective of his life and she doesn’t get lost in his death. Right. It’s hard. There are no easy answers. We were, we were doing great with our grief groups before, you know, church, they had to shut down like the rest of the world. And I love those groups because they allow us to express grief beyond just talking. You know, some people can’t express how they feel in words, but there are things that we used to have them do, like make picture collages or art.
Doctor SOS (00:47:09):
We used to let them, you know, express that anger, that frustration. Like give yourself permission to be mad. You know, people have said things like, it ain’t right to be mad at the person they did. Well, you know when they will tell you was mad at them. So that has not changed that. Let’s go through that, you know, or we hear things, especially back in, in, in my day, like you shouldn’t question God. Well, um, how I was supposed to know what he want me to do if I ain’t got no questions. I mean that’s, that’s not my father is a good, good father. And when I come to him with questions in my woundedness, he loves me and he wants to provide answers more than I do for my own chilDr.en. So allowing people to be vulnerable, giving them permission to grieve. It’s, yeah, you right to feel mad.
Pastor Jeff (00:47:49):
Hey, you know what? Grief to me doesn’t have a timeline. Um, my, my wife’s father passed away last year and I’m just very transparent. Some days, you know, she’ll be sitting the next day, you know, she, this kid gets teary at it and, um, I’ve learned how to be supportive. You know, sometimes I just grab her and hold her because I’m the type, I’m a, I’m a talker as you can see. But in those moments it’s like, I don’t want to say the wrong thing. So sometimes I say less and I just allow my wife to grieve and I say, I say your dad. She said, yeah. And I just let her have that moment. Um, I used to hate people, tell you to be strong. And I don’t want to be like, if I be strong, it’s cause I’m about to fight you if you don’t get out of my face and just craziness.
Pastor Jeff (00:48:33):
Right? Hey, but I think you know what I, what I’m loving is, is people embracing their humanity and understanding that God created us to be able to feel. The Bible said Jesus is one who can be touched with all of the feelings of our infirmities. So I believe that it’s important that people understand. And one thing you said, understand how to grieve when, not to the point where it’s leading you into a place of devastation. But I think grieving is healthy. My grandfather passed in 2011, but sometimes I think of him and still crying. Like you said, I think about his legacy. And I think sometimes the greater the impact, uh, the greater the grief, uh, like he was an impactful man. And um, I, I miss him a lot, but I’ve learned to use that as a motivation to kind of like say, Hey man, I’m continue to live my life. He would want me to do this and that to kind of make them Brown. So
Doctor SOS (00:49:26):
yeah, that’s the word passenger. The greater the impact, the greater the grief. That’s true. And that goes for, you know, good impact or negative impact. The greater the impact, the more that I noticed that people go through that grieving process. So there’s, there’s absolute truth in that and giving yourself permission to grieve. Here’s what gets me, we always talk, we’re always talking about people being strong, like be strong, stand up, be strong, be strong. But in God’s word it clearly says that when we are weak, he is strong. What is, what is the problem? Are we not believing there’s some kind of income ruins. That blows my mind when I hear us try to stand on that thing of, well, you know, you need to be strong because your momma wouldn’t want my mama gone and I’m weak and I need Jesus to show that was my mama. So, I mean, I think that we have to challenge ourselves as believers to really think about what we’re saying and not just say these words because we’ve heard them, but think about what they and how God intended them so that then we can correctly.
Pastor Jeff (00:50:31):
Doctor SOS (00:50:32):
You know, that’s what’s going to happen when I think about the Lord saying, when you are weak, I’m strong, sir. Let me tell you how I can fall out. I can fall slam all the way out,
Pastor Jeff (00:50:42):
right. People have, and people have to respect that. What I’ve enjoyed about this conversation is that it allows us to be able to, to be in touch with our feelings. And I think sometimes we always overly spiritualize and something kind of desensitizes us to the true nature of where we are. And I think I would, if you’re watching this tonight, um, it’s okay. Again to, to not be okay. It’s okay to say I need help. It’s okay to say I can’t do this by myself. I believe that transparency is the first thing that opens us up to being able to change and to being able to be delivered. Um, this, wow, this has been amazing. Yacht. I want, I want, I know, I know some of you all have some very deep and profound or just simple questions you may have. I want to see if there is something that you would desire to ask Dr. Stacie.
Pastor Jeff (00:51:34):
We have a few more minutes why we’re doing this. While I’m looking to see if anybody has a question. Dr. Stacie’s got about six minutes. How can people get in touch with you? How can they, excuse me, utilize your services. Uh, what way can people stay connected? Cause I know this is only, they can’t really get a full spectrum of who you are in, uh, our, I don’t know, there’s so much more. Um, can we do this again? We hope to do this again. Definitely on at another time for sure. Uh, but how can we begin to touch with you and the information that they want to if they want to follow up with you.
Doctor SOS (00:52:06):
Sure, sure. They want to get in touch with me. One of the ways they could do so is through email and so they can reach me at, email@example.com and calldoctorsos is all spelled out, so it’s C A L L D O C T O R S O S.com and just send an email to “we care” and then I’ll be able to follow up with them. They can go visit my site at calldoctorsos.com they can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and that’s going to be @doctorsos but it’s spelled out D O C T O R S O S.
So those are all the ways in which they can get in touch with me and I would love to hear from them and provide them with support and humor and all the good stuff that we’re able to do.
Pastor Jeff (00:52:47):
Right. And, and I love your, I love your approach because it shows, it shows us that you can be a, you can experience therapy and counseling and a fun way, right? It’s not always the, the old guy sitting in the chairs. And so Jeffrey, what’s wrong with you? Like relational. Um, and, and I think that’s important. So I will hope you all particularly you all, um, you may not even realize that you have, um, mental health issues. Um, I challenge you to, to reach out to Dr. SOS. Um, follow her now at doctor D O C T O R S O S and um, uh, get in touch with her also that we all can become even more mentally aware of what’s going on in our head and also healed. I have a question, Jay Hooper. Um, we hope you bless this evening man. Uh, can tragedy expos some underlining mental issues that may have otherwise been under control. That’s a very good say that again. Can tragedy expos some underlining mental issues that may have otherwise been under control? That’s a good thing.
Doctor SOS (00:53:56):
So look, Jay, sir, you are on it tonight. That is a great question. Absolutely tragedy can expose a tragedy gets at the foundation. I mean it kind of shakes the foundation of who we are. And so if you had anything loose that hadn’t been shook up at that point, once it’s shaken, it starts coming undone. Um, and there are some things that we can keep tucked away for our own sanity, so to speak. And then tragedy comes along and it exposes that thing and we find ourselves in a crisis. So tragedy is one of those things that is the great equalizer. And yes, it absolutely can expose lots of things, major and minor.
Pastor Jeff (00:54:32):
And that’s good because I want to say this too, just because you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re mentally healthy right now doesn’t mean that you’re going to be at that same mental state a week from now or two weeks from now. So I think we should always be open to the aspect of having to meet with a therapist, a therapist, counselor. These are not customers. Okay, these are helpful words. And I believe God, an announcing and a gracing. He put this in Dr. Stacie’s heart and so many other people. I know we have a few individuals in our church that have gone to school for this and it is necessary. Um, I even think it’s important for pastors to begin to educate themselves or kind of be aware of some things. And let me say this, pastors, there are some things we need to send to a council level or a therapist similar, a seminary degree and a psychology degree, although there may be similar principles there and they pay.
Pastor Jeff (00:55:24):
So let’s stop trying to give people a word from the law when they need a word from Dr. Stacey or another, uh, person in that practice. Okay? I want to say that to free all pastors, listen, listen, if this is too much for me and Dr. Stacie, I’m glad that I know you or some others. I’m just going to shoot them at this too much. I’m bleeding. I’m about to lose my mind. Trying to, trying to help you play professional please. We’re professionals. So pastors and leaders don’t feel like it’s, it’s wrong for you to, to, to suggest that someone see a therapist. I have one more question, Dr. Stacie, we can take this really quick. We have two minutes. It says, what are some tips you would give to people struggling with anxiety? And I know a lot of people have have struggled even as a pastor, as struggle with that at certain portions during this, this pandemic because these are unprecedented times. So just trying to figure stuff out. Like, Lord, how do I manage a congregation that I can’t really interact with physically? So how you, how do you tell people to how to deal with out exactly during this time?
Doctor SOS (00:56:28):
Um, there are some real practical things that we can do that sometimes when I tell folks is so simple, they like that can work, but I promise you it works. Anxiety, the purpose that it serves is to alert us that there’s something going on. So there’s this kind of sense of panic that can be created when you’re in an anxious state. There are lots of things happening to you physically that if you can just grab one of those and slow that down, then you can kind of break that cycle of anxiety. So things like deep breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, meditating, really meditating on the scripture. There are basic things that we can do that can slow down a portion of that chain that’s happening with anxiety. And then we break the cycle and you’re able to then focus in and get yourself back together. Um, one of the things that I do going into work when I used to go in and leave the house and coming back home would be to take five deep breaths before I came to the house. I would inhale and as I exhale I would be thanking God for certain things I would inhale and I would, I would envision myself exhaling the toxins of that day, whether it was people or what I heard or whatever. Those things really do help seeking professional help. I can’t recommend that enough. Bishop Brown does it. He talks about it. I love it. So I do it. So get the help that you need cause cause it’s out here.
Pastor Jeff (00:57:40):
That’s good though. You actually mentioned two things that I do ask sometimes. Um, I have these uh, uh, worship meditations, uh, Christian-based music with no wording and I’ll just sit how to take deep breaths and allow those things to, to really impact my state of mind. I want to be a healthy leader, not just an anointed leader. I want to be someone that where my mind and my heart and in my body all work collectively together to be a better fit for other people. So Dr. Stacie, uh, wow. But this is all over Mt. Wife and I are gonna have to take you and your husband out to eat. Uh, well we got two little girls, so it may be a family affair. Uh, but we, we, we have definitely benefited and appreciated your poor tonight. We honor you. And I’m just excited y’all. If you miss this, if you’re just coming in, do yourself a favor.
Pastor Jeff (00:58:33):
Uh, I’m not telling you what to do, but I’m suggesting you do yourself a favor. Go back and watch this entire thing. You ain’t got nowhere to go anyway. You got a whole hour. You can go and watch this. Listen, if you have not, do me a favor. We’re not asking you to give nothing tonight. We’re not asking you to sow a seed. Let your C be your hand right now going down and Sharon, can I get as many as at least 40 people at a time? I know it’s going to be hundreds of people that eventually watched this. Let that be your, see tonight, if I can get a lot, at least five of you to give a sacrificial thumb tonight by sharing this, we would definitely appreciate you, Dr. Stacie. Any last words, uh, for the people tonight before we exit off?
Doctor SOS (00:59:14):
Only to stay encouraged and let’s be reminded of who was in control, who is leading us. God has us and if you need my help am only a click away.
Pastor Jeff (00:59:21):
Hey man, I click away y’all again. That’s calldoctorsos.com. Is that right? Yep. calldoctorsos.com. That’s C a L L D O C T O R S O s.com. Also follow her on all social networks @doctorsos. Be sure to spell Dr. out. So thank you. Um, Asia, uh, Asia, McCollum, uh, Dr. S. O. S. I have loved being on All Nations. Your pastor would be a better pastor because of people like Dr. Stacie.
I’m assuming that you do provide counseling services to pastors, right? All my pastors, friends, let’s go. We found out. So I love you all. Dr. Stacie, thank you for joining us and we look forward to connecting with you again.
Very so, thank you to your husband and your family for allowing you to have this time to share with us with op, we honor him and your family. Thank you so much. Y’all have a good night. I will get your mind right in Jesus. Man.