#010 – How can you help someone else experiencing mental unwellness or a mental health crisis?
In this episode, I sit down with the co-founders of Music Minds Matter, Spencer Townshend Hughes and Angela Rose Whaley.
Music Minds Matter is an organization that helps musicians experiencing mental unwellness. The work they do is absolutely incredible.
During this podcast, we share some tactical strategies that you can use when communicating with someone experiencing mental unwellness or a mental health obstacle.
This transcript was done by a machine. We apologize for any errors.
Joey Randazzo: (00:00)
If you’ve listened to this podcast before, the, you know, the data about entrepreneurship and mental health have shared it many times and it’s staggering three times more likely to be depressed, 10 times more likely to have bipolar disorder. And that’s just a few of them. Uh, but with that being said, there are many different types of entrepreneurs. One type of entrepreneur I hadn’t honestly thought about until creating this episode. And those are independent musicians. And after digging in at the statistics for independent musicians, uh, the data is even more drastic than for that of entrepreneurs. 80% of independent musicians aged between 18 and 25 years old have said that they have suffered from stress, anxiety and or depression. Uh, found some data that says that the arts and entertainment industry compiled the third highest overall rates of pasture, substance abuse, uh, diagnosis. And so the title of this episode is helping someone experiencing mental unwellness. And what does music have to do with helping someone going through mental unwellness or someone experiencing a mental health crisis?
Joey Randazzo: (01:13)
Quiet. Stop. So I can hear the things you said outside your [inaudible]
Joey Randazzo: (01:34)
That music that you just heard was from a Spencer towns in Hughes. And in this episode of the podcast you’ll hear from Spencer and Angela Whaley, the co-creators of music minds matter, an organization that helps musicians around the country and especially in the Denver area experiencing mental unwellness. And in this episode we talk about a specific framework that you can use to help someone going through mental unwellness or a mental health crisis. And you’ll come to find that these strategies can actually be used in your everyday life that are really foundational strategies that can be used in any relationship.
Joey Randazzo: (02:15)
And here’s the deal. So one thing that I did
Joey Randazzo: (02:17)
love about creating the shortened version of the podcast is that they’re more digestible. You know, they’re 1520 minutes, they’re easy to listen to in the car. But one thing that I hate about creating these types of episodes is that I have to choose which idea or theme from the interview to pull out and talk about. And for this episode, that was a big struggle. So I chose how to help someone going through mental unwellness. But I thought about doing it, um, about the future of mental health and music and strictly talking about all the quarters
Joey Randazzo: (02:50)
innovative things that music minds matter is doing as an organization. Um, so if you’d like to watch the full unedited version of this podcast
Joey Randazzo: (03:00)
episode where Spencer, Angela and I talk about a bunch of different stuff, including their incredible organization and what they’re doing, you can go to overcoming the mine.com back slash tent.
Joey Randazzo: (03:25)
Hello and welcome to overcoming the mind. My name is Joey Randazzo.
Joey Randazzo: (03:50)
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Speaker 3: (04:13)
Angela Rose Whaley: (04:21)
and most times, uh, people who are experiencing any mental unwellness, they won’t go and seek help at like the very onset of it. They wait until it’s terrible.
Joey Randazzo: (04:34)
Mental unwellness is an interesting thing. It’s something that if you don’t have, you don’t fully understand. And it’s something that, uh, at least in my own experience when you are experiencing a, for me usually anxiety and or depression, it almost feels like you’re a different person and when you’re in it, it’s really, really hard to ask for help. So whether you’re experiencing mental unwellness or not, how can you help someone else going through mental unwellness or a mental health crisis. And for me, before talking to Spencer and Angela, I had no clue how to do this. And thankfully they’re the experts, they’ve done it before and they’ve got a framework that we can use.
Angela Rose Whaley: (05:19)
So I recently became a certified in mental health first aid instruction. So I’ve been certified in the adult and the youth for just about three years and now I’m able to instruct. So I’m able to get with a group of people in certified folks, mental health first aid. And I will say that during the eight hour training for certification, you go over a lot of the kind of essentials on how to help someone who’s going through the crisis. Yeah.
Joey Randazzo: (05:48)
Angela is also going to be certified in mental health first aid instruction by the end of February. And the one of the first things they teach you how do during this mental health first aid instruction was really surprising to me
Angela Rose Whaley: (06:03)
that like word scape that helps you kind of use rules. And one of them, the one that starts withL is listen, nonjudgmental,
Joey Randazzo: (06:12)
listen. But listen nonjudgmentally what exactly does that mean and how can you listen, non-judgmentally,
Angela Rose Whaley: (06:20)
listen to hear the other person don’t bond. Because I think oftentimes too, especially now in a world where everything is digital and on social and you’re kind of like formatting these responses, but in your normal conversation you almost feel like you need to respond right away instead of just hearing what the person is saying.
Joey Randazzo: (06:40)
And honestly, this is something that I personally struggle with. You know, I, I try to be very aware, um, and intentional when I’m listening to someone. And yet even still, I catch myself sort of formulating and crafting these responses to what they’re saying as they’re still talking. And it’s like, why can’t I just listen to what they’re saying? So this is something that I personally struggle with and uh, I definitely need to do a better job of. So with that in mind, a big piece of it is listening without the intent to respond in a big one in the mental health space is listening without the intent to fix, you’re listening solely to one, make sure that the other person feels heard, like their voice matters. And then to allow that other person to feel understood as a human being, that whatever they’re going through, whatever they’re experiencing, they can feel understood going through that. So how exactly could that be useful when someone else is going through a mental health crisis? I asked Angela and here’s what she said.
Angela Rose Whaley: (07:52)
One of the, like the more extreme example might be at our meetup where we had someone who openly expressed suicidal ideation, um, when we were going through, and this is someone that was not connected in a network, they found us through meetup.com, um, and the conversation was evolving and they kind of just opened up and they felt comfortable and, and it was really interesting to watch how the whole group responded because with that kind of like discussion, it can be a little bit uncomfortable. Um, but also luckily that’s was there and Jonathan was there and we all kind of supported this person but in a nonjudgmental way. And we were able to ultimately get them help after the meetup.
Joey Randazzo: (08:28)
I believe at the end of the day, and this is something that, um, is sort of foundational for me. I believe that we’re all human beings and I believe that we all have a deep, deep desire to feel understood and not only understood, but also people want to feel heard. They want to feel like their voice matters and like their opinion is a worthy of being heard. And so how does that relate to entrepreneurship? You know, we’re, we’re talking about this as a strategy to help people who are going through a mental unwellness or a mental health crisis. So as an entrepreneur, one of the really interesting things that Angela and Spencer talk about is, is listening to yourself non-judgmentally. I know this sounds weird, but Angela and Spencer, they have a really interesting way of approaching this. They run meetups called mental wellness meetup currently operating in both Denver and Fort Collins. And at the beginning of each workshop, here’s what they do.
Angela Rose Whaley: (09:31)
And something else we’ve also implemented to the meetups now is when we do our introductions, we also do a stoplight check-in, does a check in. So you either green, yellow or golden, and you can get creative. Like I’ve been burnt orange before. [inaudible] it’s a healthy exercise to one viewed in a group, but also just personally too. It’s because you look and say, so how am I feeling right now in this green is also since go am I in a happy place in my yellow, kind of in the middle could go either way or in my red. And there’s no judgment.
Joey Randazzo: (10:04)
So how does this exercise relate to listening to yourself every day? Or when you’re starting to get into a bit of a funk or an unhealthy mental state, you can take a deep breath and you can ask yourself, okay, green, yellow, or red. And then you can allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. And then if you’re red or yellow or green, whatever it is, you can non-judgmentally except that you’re feeling that way. And then you can do something about it. You can have GoTo people that can support you if you’re in a yellow or red mental wellness state. And I know for me as an entrepreneur, it can get lonely. It can sometimes feel like my voice isn’t really heard. Um, but yet when I’m feeling that way, it’s likely that I’m not even listening to myself or listening to how I’m feeling. And so if you’re feeling something like that as well, and Spencer thinks that this app exercise can really help with that.
Angela Rose Whaley: (11:04)
If you feel like you’re not being heard, that’s self checking is actually monumental because then you’re actually like checking in with yourself and saying like, okay, maybe I haven’t been listening to myself as well.
Joey Randazzo: (11:15)
And then the second thing that you can do as an entrepreneur and how this relates to entrepreneurship is you can practice listening non-judgmentally to your employees or your clients. And I think many times entrepreneurs are so focused on the outcome, the objective grinding to get results that they forget that there are people in that in business they’re dealing with other people. At the end of the day it’s just people dealing with people. And so naturally some people that you interact with on a day to day basis or a week to week basis, some of those people will be dealing with some type of mental unwellness. As you’re interacting with them, you likely won’t know it unless maybe they’re on your team and you’re open to sharing that information, but you likely won’t know it. You know, even if they got a smile on their face, they might be experiencing, um, uh, a yellow or red mental wellness.
Joey Randazzo: (12:09)
Um, if they were to hypothetically do that stoplight exercise. And so with that being said, it’s, it’s about treating everybody as humans simply because it’s the right thing to do. Um, you know, people want to feel understood, they want to feel valued, they want to feel like their voice matters. And so I think it’s really powerful to take this exercise that is supposed to be for helping people going through mental unwellness and simply practicing that in daily life with whoever you meet. Uh, not only will this just help you become a better listener, a better person, but consequently as a side effect, uh, it will also likely help your business as well.
Angela Rose Whaley: (12:54)
Joey Randazzo: (12:55)
And so as we finish up this episode, I want to leave you [inaudible]
Joey Randazzo: (12:57)
with a challenge. Um, something that I, I’ve never done before, but I think it could be fun and it has to do with a question that you probably get asked or asked at least a couple of times per week. And that question is, how are you,
Angela Rose Whaley: (13:13)
you know, it’s like, how are you, how are you really? So with us? How are you, how often do you say, Oh good, how are you? Great day outside. And then the other person will maybe say the exact same like planned thing. Or maybe they were like, Oh, I’m okay, but this thing at work. And they kind of dive into their own thing kind of unprompted arguably. And instead of just saying, well, how are you really
Angela Rose Whaley: (13:34)
Angela Rose Whaley: (13:35)
how, how is your day been? How are you feeling? How are do a check in? Um, and then
Angela Rose Whaley: (13:41)
listen to what they say. And more people are like more likely to respond with a very true and honest reaction when they know that you’re asking by like asking the question twice. Yeah. Taking that first answer, I was like, okay, cool. Answering now you can, you know, shed your skin and tell me how you’re doing. Really a lot of people respond to that. And once they kind of, um, once they kind of unload a little bit, the relationship between the person who asks and the person who responded is a little bit stronger, like that tethers a little bit stronger because we’re both able to be vulnerable one and asking how they’re doing really good. And then one in sharing how you’re truly feeling.
Joey Randazzo: (14:25)
And so next time you are asking someone how they’re doing, consider asking them a follow up question of how are you really? And the next time someone asks you how you’re doing, try to be honest. Try to break down the walls of communication and be vulnerable. You know, it’ll build community, it’ll build stronger bonds and it’ll start to normalize these conversations around mental health.
Joey Randazzo: (14:59)
I really want to thank Spencer and Angela for coming on the podcast. It was really fun having them and it was really great to hear so much wisdom and so much value, um, that, that all of us can take and use in our daily lives. And so as I shared at the beginning of this podcast episode, Angela Spencer and I, we talked about a lot during our hour conversation, we covered all of the amazing things that they’re doing it as an organization that is changing the game and changing the entire industry for mental health when it comes to musicians and even the entertainment industry. So I highly recommend that you listen to the unedited version of this episode by going to overcoming the mind.com backslash 10 and I’d love for you to learn more about music minds matter. And you can do that by going to music minds matter.org on there. They got links to all of their social accounts. They’ve got, you know, upcoming schedules for their meetups and a lot of cool info there. If you’re enjoying the overcoming the mind podcast, it would mean the world to me. If you could leave a review, uh, the best way to do that is to go to Apple podcasts, find, uh, overcoming the mind and then it’s really simple from there to leave a review. And so with that being said, thanks again for listening to this episode of overcoming the mind