S3E9: The New Era of Mental Health Accessibility
S3E9: The New Era of Mental Health Accessibility
Dr. Han Ren, licensed clinical and school psychologist, consultant, speaker, and educator, joins our co-hosts for a conversation on the accessibility and cost of mental health from an anti-oppressive liberation standpoint. With her experience working with a diverse range of communities, young generations and her successful growth on social media, Dr. Ren shares her unique perspective on the realities of mental health, stigmatization, and tangible actions everyone can take starting today.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr. Han Ren is is a licensed clinical and school psychologist, consultant, speaker and educator. She is deeply rooted in liberation and anti-oppressive work, practicing from a justice-oriented, interpersonal, and systems-informed framework. Through her widely viewed work on social media, she strives to make therapy accessible and applicable to our daily lives.
This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.
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Learn more about Dr. Ren's work on her professional website here.
[00:00:00] Mary: Hi there, money people, and welcome back to 'Your World, Your Money.' We are kicking off our mental health miniseries, where we will dive into mental health, accessibility, affordability, decolonizing mental health, inclusivity, and so, so much more over the next weeks. Today, we are joined by our guest, Dr. Han Ren. Dr. Han Ren is a licensed clinical and school psychologist, consultant, speaker, and educator. She is deeply rooted in liberation and anti-oppressive work, practicing from a justice oriented, interpersonal and systems informed framework. Through her widely viewed work on social media, she strives to make therapy accessible and applicable to our daily lives.
[00:00:45] Mary: She is active on TikTok and Instagram, bringing the world her unique, valuable, and powerful lived experience, professional experience and incredible personality. We will not shy away from the realities of mental health and social media, accessibility, stigmatization, and real tangible actions someone can take today, tomorrow, with parents, with siblings, with strangers, and even with your boss.
[00:01:10] Mary: This week, I am also joined by our co-host Laquita Ann, who is globe-trotting the world, and still joining us from makeshift studio closets around the world. Just know her voice is accompanied by great love, loads of knowledge and the occasional coat issue. It's a closet. We love the makeshift studio closet. We are so excited to kick off our mental health miniseries and bring in Dr. Ren’s influential voice.
[00:01:36] Mary, Nolan, Laquita Ann: Hi, I'm Mary. I'm Nolan. I'm Laquita Ann. We are your hosts, and this is 'Your World, Your Money.' We will be talking real money, with real people, in a real way. Because everyone deserves the opportunity and tools for freedom, financial or otherwise. 'Your World, Your Money' is brought to you by Hangar Studios, a New York City based recording studio, and Global Thinking Foundation, a global nonprofit working toward financial freedom and equality for all.
[00:02:21] Mary: Dr. Ren, welcome here. We are so excited to have you with us. Tell us about you. Tell us about what you do, about how awesome you are, about your channel? Get us started on who you are.
[00:02:34] Dr. Ren: Yeah. Um, so my name is Dr. Han Ren. I am a licensed psychologist and a licensed school psychologist, and I'm practicing from Austin, Texas. I started my career working with children and private practice, and soon realized that working with children all day left very little energy for me to be with my own kids at the end of the day. So, I shifted to working with adults. And when my practice started in early 2017, it was right after the inauguration of Trump and being in a city like Austin, which is pretty progressive and liberal, but also pretty white-- and didn't really have the, the support network for a lot of people of color, especially the Asian American community-- I realized that there was such a high need for Asian-American mental health, BIPOC mental health, and really just working to de-stigmatize the concept of therapy and mental health for communities of color.
[00:03:33] Dr. Ren: And so, my practice started off really focusing on overthinking overachievers. So, anxiety, perfectionism-- I like to tell all my clients that I myself am a recovering perfectionist. And so, a lot of what I teach, it keeps me accountable to practice it as well. And so, I grew my practice from there. And then when the pandemic hit, I noticed that there was all of this content on TikTok from therapists, and I thought, 'you know, I could do that,' but didn't really feel motivated to dive into it until I realized a lot of it was more focused on mainstream, Western psychology, not a lot of focus on liberation or systemic issues or just issues that really are pertinent to communities of color.
[00:04:21] Dr. Ren: So, I started my channel in October of last year, and first it was a little generic, but then I just went into it. Um, started talking about issues of white supremacy in Western psychology and ways to really differentiate and focus on liberation and decolonial perspectives when it comes to mental health. And it took off from there. And now it's, you know, it's just part of what I do. It's more than just the private practice side. I think of myself as also, you know, a contact trader and a speaker.
[00:04:55] Ann: Wow. For me, this is like, I'm literally bursting at the seams when you're talking, because when I saw your website, especially with the people of color-- because when we think about mental health and people of color, there's this huge stigma. And I know in the black community, it's like, no, it's something you don't talk about. And you just don't do, because if you're seeking help or you're talking to someone, then 'you're weak' or 'why can't you figure it out yourself?' So, I think it's amazing what you're doing in this space and so needed.
[00:05:26] Mary: You were mentioning this content in your channel. You have a really strong focus on anti-oppression and liberation-oriented therapy, and this is very prominent in your channel as well. Tell us about finding that need, how did you address that need, walk us with you and actually filling that space, or maybe just addressing that space since it's such a huge space to fill.
[00:05:50] Dr. Ren: Yeah. I mean, I think traditional Western psychology really conceptualizes mental health as an individual problem and when we talk about systems theory from this Eurocentric perspective, it's like 'the family system.' So, it doesn't really extend to broader systems. And especially last year in the United States, with the racial reckoning that we had, like it was clear that the systems that we needed to be talking about were way more pervasive than family or organization. These are societal systems and the ripple effects of the oppressive outcomes of these systems and power affect individual mental health. And so, working from an anti-oppressive liberation standpoint, only means that I take into account the systems of power that are operating in the background under which we exist.
[00:06:46] Dr. Ren: We are not functioning in vacuum. We are nested within all of these multiple systems, and there's so little that each individual can do to change some of these broader systems, which the decision-making and the policies absolutely affect our individual mental health. And so, part of how I work is to take into consideration the effects of this existence and help people cope and externalize some of these, the shame and stigma that they might feel like, 'well, I'm the weak one,' or 'I'm not able to function under this' and to normalize like, 'no, this is the system that is operating' and how do we better adapt and cope without blaming and shaming ourselves. And then another element of liberation psychology, is really sort of like joining them in the trenches-- and traditional mental health has this huge power differential where, you know, like the therapist is this blank slate and they're the expert, whereas I'm very collaborative in my work and I do use more of myself, my personality, my lived experiences in my work because we are all on this journey together and I do share some similar intersectional identities as my clients, which can provide a deeper level of healing and perspective.
[00:08:09] Ann: This is amazing. One of the things that it sort of brought up for me, and you kind of touched on it, was just understanding what are the real differences. So, when you think about your approach on kind of a daily basis or monthly basis with clients, what are the real differences in how you're approaching things in terms of just your, your method?
[00:08:30] Dr. Ren: Yeah. So, when people start therapy, a lot of times it is like skills-based stuff like, 'okay, what are your thoughts?' 'How's the thought different than a feeling than, than an action?' and 'what can we do to like rein that in a little bit?' So, when people go along in therapy, they learn these skills and then they discover, 'okay, I'm not applying this.' Or like, 'I know what to do, but I can't get myself to do it.' And so, then we go from there to like broaden the lens a little bit to more of like, 'well, where did you learn this?' 'How does your past and your history affect the way that you operate today?' 'What did you learn from your parents and where did they learn that?' So really bringing in more generational trauma, as well as generational wisdom, ancestral practices and wisdom, and all of this is very much nested in a relational, interpersonal framework where like when, when I'm talking to my clients, like I'm in there with them. We just have natural flowing conversations and I know that whatever they're dealing with out in the world will somehow show up in the dynamic with me. And so that's another point of agreement is like, when it shows up with me, I will call it out and we talk about it like, 'oh, you're kind of avoidant there.'
[00:09:46] Dr. Ren: 'Is that kind of like what happens with your boss or whatever,' and like, 'what is it like to be talking about this?' 'How is this to say out loud?' and, and really shining a light on the experiential elements of when their learned coping shows up, and all of that works to sort of dismantle what we know about ourselves and how we operate to better understand how we got here that goes beyond just the individual.
[00:10:13] Ann: Yeah, I think what's great about it as well is a lot of people can probably relate. You're very relatable. And so, it's nice when you're speaking to someone, that they also are sharing a little bit of themselves, and it's not just, you're talking to someone who who's literally like talking to a computer or the wall. So, it's-- I like how you said you kind of take that approach versus some of the more traditional, and I'm also curious about the community. I know you work with the Asian-American community. And specifically in this community, do you find differences culturally versus other communities? Like, uh, things maybe you need to work on that are a little bit different.
[00:10:52] Dr. Ren: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And it also depends on the generation, you know, like first generation, recent immigrants might come in with just so much like physiological symptoms, somatic symptoms, because they don't have the words to identify or express their emotions and they don't seek mental health help until their symptoms are so severe. And so, they go to like MDs who are like, 'you don't have a physiological reason for your stomach upsets or your vision problems' or 'your you're not having a heart attack you're having panic.' And then they come to see me and we really do a lot of kind of psycho ed, normalizing and giving them the words to sort of express their emotions. And then for second generations, a lot of them grew up with the first generations as, as a parents, in an environment where there was not a lot of warmth or emotional nurturance. And then they're really craving that. They're really craving that lived experience, that interpersonal relationship with me. And I think of myself as a attachment figure in that way, where, you know, I can be a model, a mentor in some ways, as well as their therapist and sharing the more tactical skills. So, I wear different hats. It's kind of just switches depending on what the client needs and what the major issues are of the moment.
[00:12:16] Ann: Great. Thank you.
[00:12:17] Mary: Yeah. Talking about the generational aspect-- I really appreciated that. Cause I think that's something that's so core and integral. No matter the community, each community is going to have these extremely different generational experiences-- but that actually led me to think about and going back a little bit to your emphasis and focus on decolonization and liberation practices, thinking about the different generations, I imagine that these ideas and these concepts could be received very different ways by very different groups of people, very different generations, especially. So, what does practicing under these auspices or the, this banner, if you will, what does it mean for inclusion and community building when we're thinking about different communities? But within the communities, every generation is going to have such a different experience with these.
[00:13:12] Dr. Ren: I think for the most part, my clients are fairly young. They're Gen Z, millennials, and so there is this hunger for working from the perspective that I work. But then when they talk about their parents or how do they relate to their parents? They can't exactly bring that same energy to them without having some pushback. So, I really think about it as framing everything under the idea of survival, and with older generations, it did pay to just blend in, buckle down, do the work and not rock the boat too much. And we know the ripple effects of that in terms of the kind of internalized oppression that you are fighting with, that internal dissonance that can show up, especially when, you know, we're seeing in our society, how that mentality and approach does not serve young people in terms of their safety, in terms of their ability to gain equal footing within society. But yet understanding how, why our parents as immigrants or as descendants of multi-generational poverty, have had to adopt that framework. And another example is hustle and grind culture.
[00:14:34] Dr. Ren: You know, we-- so much of the immigrant mentality is just to like work so hard and especially for Asian Americans, it's just, we can work outwork anybody. A lot of Asian Americans trauma responses is to overwork. When challenged, when triggered, it's just to do more, but that comes at such a cost to themselves, to their bodies, to their relationships. And, you know, so dismantling that and examining like 'why, why are you working so hard? For who?' and finding different ways to, you know, strike a balance. And sometimes that does rub against the values of the older generation, but really it is in service of sustainability.
[00:15:16] Ann: Yeah. I, one of the things that I like that you brought up now, is about this overworking, because I feel like everybody feels like to be successful you need to be working like 30 hours in a day. There's no such thing as 30 hours in a day, folks. And I feel like we need to also normalize the fact that it's okay to stop or pause. And one of the things that I think that you're saying that's so powerful about this is there's a lot of internal battles. I go through them myself, because I'm like a workaholic times, probably 10 now instead of 20, but how do we start to work on that even in our, in ourselves? Or to normalize as a society, not overworking ourselves and making that ok?
[00:16:00] Dr. Ren: Yeah. I mean, I think the pandemic has been really crucial in that, because people have had, you know, this collective existential reckoning around how we spend our time, why we spend our time, the way we do and with whom. And so, I think all of that kind of contributes to this great resignation that we saw over the summer and people feeling... I don't want to say permission because it's not necessarily by choice it's, it's by necessity, like, 'okay, I've hit a wall. I have burned out. I need to quit some things that aren't serving me anymore.'
[00:16:35] Dr. Ren: 'And I need to really take a hard look at what is important to me in this one lifetime that we have.' And I think the mortality and grief and trauma of this pandemic has really highlighted to a lot of people that we're not going to be around forever. So, we do have to be more thoughtful and intentional about how we spend our time and I think as devastating and difficult as this has been, it has had a pretty profound ripple effect on our mental health and the way that we work.
[00:17:06] Mary: Thinking about some of the things that you've mentioned, I think about the economic lens that we put on our work. So, you know, we're, we're all about finance and money and we really think about finance and money through inclusivity and accessibility in the, in these things. This is really what we do. For our listeners that are surprised by that. Welcome here. This is what we're doing here. Hi. So, as you were talking about working so much-- um, that's very familiar to me-- I think about one of the things that comes out of that. And one of the stigmas that is very, very true around not being able to afford mental health and any kind of care associated thinking back to some of the things you said about other generations and how things are shifting, how do we see a change in accessibility?
[00:17:52] Mary: And I'm really curious-- so there's not just accessibility-- but I'm really also curious about the role that social media has been playing for you, because that is a great, in many ways, it is a great equalizer it, so let's get started on that path. Cause I've got so many questions for you, but let's get us started in accessibility in social media. Take us there.
[00:18:14] Dr. Ren: Yeah. So, I mean, social media has made my message accessible to the world. I get DMS from Scotland and Australia about my work. And I think what has been the most exciting thing for me is to see how many therapists and therapists in training are following me. These are the people who can take elements of my message and apply it to their own work with their own clients and that truly is, you know, a greater reach than what I could possibly do locally. And I think in terms of accessibility, people who may feel shame or stigma around seeking mental health with a therapist or calling somebody, would be just fine following therapists on social media. Or if they're not able to afford it, they're able to get some tips and tricks from therapists online.
[00:19:03] Dr. Ren: And so, I think it's been really good in that way in that people are just able to find the help that they deserve a little bit more readily. But at the same time, it's not a replacement for individual therapy and for personalized care. And I think that's the rub that we kind of get into sometimes.
[00:19:23] Ann: Yeah. I'm curious, too, whenever I see, because there's so many positive sides to social media and of course it's a great equalizer, but then there's also negatives. And so, I'm just curious if you could talk a little bit about that, maybe things that you have experienced or that you've seen, because people are listening to a whole lot of people also that they shouldn't be listening to as well. And so, do you have any, any thoughts on, on the downsides?
[00:19:49] Dr. Ren: Yeah, sure. Um, I mean, there's a lot of very big accounts who give mental health tips and they're not licensed. They're not trained in any way that, you know, some of them have lived experience, which is absolutely valuable and great, but that doesn't apply to everybody. And then, you know, another phenomenon that we saw this year, was like the rise of tic disorders in young girls from TikTok. They were just watching a lot of content of people with Tourette’s and other tick disorders and then starting to develop those symptoms themselves. And, you know, every once in a while, there's like a new, like hot diagnosis that people watch a lot of content on and decide that they have themselves-- ADHD, autism spectrum disorders.
[00:20:32] Dr. Ren: And, and there is such value to having people speak from their lived experience and to sort of knowing the overlooked signs of a lot of these disorders. But again, it is not a replacement for individual personalized medical care... and self-diagnosis, you know, can be liberating, but it's also, you can do a lot more with it when you couple it with, you know, a medical set of eyes.
[00:21:02] Ann: Yeah. And how do you decide what, what you want to do on your social media? Are you following like trends of what you feel like really is needed? So, during the pandemic, coming out of it, going back into the new variants, and how do you decide what to do? And what's, what.
[00:21:18] Dr. Ren: Yeah. I mean, a lot of it is kind of on whims. Like I have ideas that just strike me. If I'm noticing certain themes that are coming up in my therapy sessions, I take some notes on it and it's like, 'okay, I want to speak about this on a broader level.' I love like the audios stuff, it's where you're doing these silly little trends. I think that's just like fun stuff that you can package in a different way to make the content more accessible and relatable to people.
[00:21:42] Dr. Ren: There's some things that I tend to stay away from. I don't do any sort of diagnostic criteria for anything because a, like, that's not how I work. I just don't like to over pathologize. And I don't like to give diagnoses unless I absolutely have to for, you know, insurance purposes or whatever, or if I'm doing a psychological assessment, which requires a lot more data than just talking to somebody.
[00:22:05] Dr. Ren: And so that is one of the ways that I try to be-- relatively shy away from the tendency for people to over apply the stuff they see. I talk about things in general trends and observations 'like this might apply to you. This might not.' You know, take it with a grain of salt. And so, I, I think with my platform, I try to make my content more accessible to broader people and a lot of them are people of color and the specific issues that we experienced as third culture kids or children of immigrants, or just people who hold marginalized identities.
[00:22:43] Mary: You've actually touched on something that I really wanted to ask about. How do you see your approach and how do you see this more accessibility, impacting marginalized groups? Because marginalized groups, from my perspective, they bear the costs and the weight of a lot of economics that I know that they're carrying. So, I'm always curious to see how that manifests in other settings. So, for you, how do you see that impacting marginalized groups? The work that you're doing.
[00:23:12] Dr. Ren: I think it empowers them. It empowers them to question the status quo, to question the values in which they were raised, the, the mainstream kind of whitewashed history and ideas of health. It empowers them to go to grad school and like fight all the gatekeeping of PWI schools, the predominantly white institutions that keep a lot of BIPOC out of grad school.
[00:23:40] Dr. Ren: And, even from a more micro level, like one of the series that I did earlier this year was on spanking in communities of color. And that got a lot of backlash because people were not comfortable with the idea of spanking as abuse, even with like brain imaging data. And so, I had to speak on that as a person of color who, you know, my community regularly uses spanking as most communities of color. But really speaking about that as when you are coming from generations of historically oppressed and colonized people, trauma becomes culture. You think it's culture, it gets conflated as culture. Cause that's all, you know, and that's all you think is effective, but really, it's trauma and so we need to unpack and begin the long multi-generational process of healing, the generations of trauma that came before that, you know, normalize this as a way of being. So, understanding the history of brutality against our bodies and why we have had to do that as a method of control and survival historically. So, we can begin to understand and unlearn some of those practices.
[00:25:07] Ann: Yeah. You just unleashed a whole, whole lot right here with the healing and some of the things that have just happened historically. It brings up something for me and talking about getting even to that place. How do we start having more of a conversation around normalizing, even getting therapy in marginalized communities and people of color? How do we bring up that conversation more and allow people the space to understand that it is ok? How do we start doing that more?
[00:25:38] Dr. Ren: We need to talk about it more. And when you talk about it, in the sense of, you know, healing takes on so many different shapes and forms and in no way is therapy, does therapy have a monopoly on healing. And so, talking about it in terms of like care circles and peer support and groups and yoga and Bible study and all these different ways that we can get together and heal as communities. And normalizing that conversation of like, we can be vulnerable with what's going on internally and offer that care and vulnerability and empathy to each other.
[00:26:16] Dr. Ren: And the more that we're able to share our shame, the less, the shame has power over the way that we exist in the world. Shame really thrives on secrecy. And so, the more we can have these conversations and offer that mutual, reciprocal care, that collective care, the more we can normalize and spread this beyond just therapy just throughout communities in general.
[00:26:40] Ann: Yes. I-- one quick thing that I just have to share when you said this, I'm literally shouting, 'yes!' Because I saw on my Facebook, one of my Facebook friends, a black male-- and this is unheard of in the black community, especially for black male-- he posted that he had talked to his therapist. This is someone who was, to all outside eyes, like, 'why would you be talking to a therapist?' He was like, 'I always talk to her. I regularly talk to a therapist.' He's fine. He doesn't need to be fixed, because people have this idea that you only go see a therapist if you're majorly screwed up. And when I saw this post from him, I was like, 'yes, a black man has it altogether was like, oh, in my regular meeting with my therapist' and people are like, what?
[00:27:24] Ann: But it was what you said, talking about it and him not being afraid to post on Facebook and there were tons of comments and I just thought it was so great that we start opening up that conversation a little bit more.
[00:27:36] Ann: Yeah.
[00:27:36] Dr. Ren: Absolutely. Yeah, we're not, we're not broken people. We're living under some broken systems and we're suffering.
[00:27:43] Ann: That's for another conversation.
[00:27:50] Mary: Oh my gosh. This is exactly what I wanted to follow up and ask you. So, thank you. And when we think about mental health, and seeking any kind of mental health care again, whether it's 'I'm broken, I think I'm broken. I'm not broken. I think I'm not broke.' Whatever, wherever we're coming from in this is conversation, you have really laid a lot of groundwork for this and alluded to it a lot.
[00:28:14] Mary: And I want to just directly ask, share with us the importance and power of seeking mental health care for the other things that we need to change in our society? When I think about all the things you talked about with de-stigmatizing and decolonializing, that is powerful in mental health, but what is the power in seeking that in mental health for everything else?
[00:28:36] Dr. Ren: Ah, I love this question. Truly what happens out there is happening in here. So, whatever, you know, systems of oppression and power and greed and anything, right? It all starts from within. If we want to be better people, if we want to be more honest and authentic and vulnerable and self-reflective and notice like under what defenses and presumptions we are operating from, we have to be able to unpack that within ourselves first.
[00:29:14] Dr. Ren: And I truly believe that people who behave in ways that are very questionable or harmful, a lot of them have deeply rooted unresolved, internal trauma or external trauma, lived trauma. And when we don't address that within ourselves, we just perpetuate it. We create enactments in our daily lives that seek to reinforce what we already believe.
[00:29:45] Dr. Ren: And so, we have to start by questioning, where do we learn this from? Why do we believe this? And is this belief still serving me? And before it was a problem, it was a solution. And maybe it did serve you as a child. And how is this impacting the way that I show up at work or in my relationships, and really being honest and vulnerable and doing the grief work truly is what we need to do in order to show up with more generosity of spirit and openness in the places and spaces that we occupy.
[00:30:19] Ann: Lovely. So, so lovely. I like what you said about also going within, because I think it's important that it's teamwork. It's not that you go somewhere and then they come and save the day. There's a lot of things that I feel like we have to do on our own. And also, for people who-- everyone can't always afford to have a professional one time a week. So, it's, it's interesting and it's great to have tips for people, how they just start when they feel themselves feeling bad or whatever's happening, to just start doing internal work. Are there any other resources or things that you would suggest for people to kind of start their journey?
[00:30:58] Dr. Ren: Yeah. I mean, just journaling is so powerful. Just being able to write down your experiences and put them into words, even if you never read what you've write. The process of journaling is so organizing and, and helpful for us to understand our experiences a bit better. There's all of these really cool, like question card games now that I absolutely love. My favorites are by a company called, 'we're not really strangers' and they have ones that you can ask each other, but they have a self-reflection one, a breakup one, a healing one, a family one, they have all of these different packs. And then there's--
[00:31:31] Mary: I love this game. I love this game. Oh my gosh. It's amazing. Especially the stranger’s version. Thank you.
[00:31:42] Dr. Ren: They're so fun. And then there's also, you know, 'The Skin Deep' offers different packs too, of like 'couples edition', you know, 'children,' uh, 'long-term relationships', 'amusing edition.' Those are also like these question cards that get conversation going either with other people or some are just for yourself within. The Esther Perel, just released one called, 'where shall we begin?' About storytelling, where you sit down and tell stories about your life using these prompts for hard, difficult, vulnerable experiences that you've had. And so, there's self-guided, structured tools out there that can help people start thinking about this in a different way and start talking about this with their existing communities.
[00:32:26] Ann: Oh, I love this. I feel like they need one for managers and companies as well, so they can kind of get it together.
[00:32:32] Dr. Ren: I think there is a work one for 'the skin deep.' Um, and then I think there's one for black women, girls and men, and a journal called my therapy cards. That's specifically tailored for the black community. Yeah. Um, a local psychologist in Austin who created them. Her name is Dr. Ebony. She's wonderful.
[00:32:51] Ann: I love it. I love how you're just dishing on, like, you just have everybody's stuff. And for me, that's, that's all about talking about it and what I love. I just have to give you a shout out because sometimes you ask people stuff and then all the resources are their own things.
[00:33:06] Ann: But the fact that you are, so-- it just shows so much how authentic you are and how much you believe in having this conversation that you just gave me a wealth of knowledge. So, I'm literally taking notes.
[00:33:18] Dr. Ren: Collaboration over competition. Always.
[00:33:20] Ann: Exactly. Thank you.
[00:33:22] Mary: I really appreciate that these are things that you can use at home with different generations. As you were talking about it, especially that last one that I hadn't heard of about storytelling, I imagine how incredible that would be, especially in any BIPOC community or any marginalized community to ask those questions of mom and dad's and brother and sister. Like, can you imagine the stories that there may have been too much fear or no opportunity to share that suddenly you get to understand and uncover. I really especially love that within families. Thank you.
[00:33:53] Dr. Ren: Yeah. Okay. One more, one more. Yeah. 'Parents are human.' It's a set of cards that exist in different languages. So, they have them in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Spanish and they are just, you know, a set of question cards that get progressively deeper and you're supposed to do it with your, with your parents. So, you can build that model with immigrant parents.
[00:34:15] Ann: Oh, I love this.
[00:34:16] Dr. Ren: So many wonderful resources for getting the conversation started.
[00:34:21] Mary: That's something even just that note, thank you. That it's available in other languages. It sounds so silly. And I want to appreciate it for just a second. It sounds so silly, but especially when you're in the United States and you're, we love to play board games, especially things like this, and it's not available to play in any other language. So how do you step outside of that little sphere that's been created in this little English bubble? So even that, I appreciate you highlighting that.
[00:34:50] Ann: I think also the fact that you said the one for the black community, because we spoke about how the Asian community, different communities, there are other challenges or ways that you would even speak to the community. So, I think that's really valuable.
[00:35:05] Dr. Ren: Absolutely. You have to have some of that lived experience and the understanding of the unique challenges of each community in order to meet them there.
[00:35:15] Mary: These are great resources for the individual to get started, and we're going to link all of them because they're actually incredible. And I may or may not be buying like half of these because holidays are coming. Get ready. What is that jokes? It's like, oh, you always talk about politics over Thanksgiving. I don't know the joke, but it just makes me smile.
[00:35:32] Mary: I'm like, well, now, now we've got something even better to talk about over our holiday dinner. But going back to something you said before, and also to build on-- so we've got these resources for the individuals-- coming from the perspective of maybe social media or maybe not social media, what would be the next step advice that you would give, or maybe like a criteria to be mindful of choosing the next piece of exposure somebody gives to themselves in this space?
[00:36:00] Mary: So, let's say you play these games, you journal, and you start, you're like, 'oh, maybe I can start getting on TikTok and find somebody that can share with me some more Instagram'. What would be the next step resources that you would say to somebody, being mindful of these things in taking this next step?
[00:36:16] Dr. Ren: I think finding a really good therapist is essential. And, you know, historically we kind of just go through her insurance panel or who's within a five-mile radius of us and when we think about like, 'okay, I'm dealing with depression,' but like depression is just masquerading for so many different things. So, be really mindful about finding a therapist who practices under the models and orientations that you most resonate with, who might share similar lived experiences as you, or, you know, identities as you and someone that you just feel comfortable and able to be honest and open within, in just a very relational way. I think there is a certain point that you can get to, you know, hit a wall when, when it's just you doing it on your own and to have the guidance of a therapist that truly gets you and sees you and like sees the world in a similar way as you, it's invaluable.
[00:37:16] Mary: I think the last thing I'll just give this space for, Dr. Ren, share with us anything we missed. What did we miss that? You're like, why, why didn't they ask me this question? Or, oh, damn. I wish they had, what did we miss?
[00:37:28] Dr. Ren: I think mental health policy and affordability is such a part of accessibility. And over this past year, everyone's like 'mental health, mental health.' Every time there's a mass shooting, 'mental health,' but when it comes to actual policy, nothing changes. And that is the bane of our existence as professionals, because this is hard work, y'all. I guess, especially in this pandemic, and we are highly, highly trained people. So, so many of us, we don't take insurance because this is how we can afford to offer the best care to our clients and that is not fair. And it just leaves so many people out in the cold, but this cannot be an individual issue. It's not, it's a systemic policy funding issue. And so, if these governments and leadership say they truly value mental health, they have to actually invest in mental health and that's a whole soap box. So, I'll just leave that there.
[00:38:29] Mary: It's that another whole episode? Maybe.
[00:38:32] Dr. Ren: I mean, there's so much I can say about that. I think the second thing that I want to touch upon is with accessibility there's a lot of technology and tech companies and tech startups that have been, you know, working with the mental health space. And I think this is very exciting, but it's also very much the wild west and there's a lot of issues with privacy and data and risk that I don't think we can truly understand quite yet. And I don't think we're doing the best job at quite yet. And so, yes, it's very exciting that there are all of these companies that offer tech and mental health together, but I also think that we need to be cautious and mindful in how we utilize these tools, because ultimately there's just a lot of things that can happen with a person's functioning that we can't predict, especially not from some sort of app or algorithm. And so, it's very exciting, but also, I think can be just a tenuous situation for a lot of folks as well.
[00:39:48] Dr. Ren: Those are my two, two big hot takes for now.
[00:39:50] Mary: I love it.
[00:39:51] Ann: I love it. Great.
[00:39:53] Mary: Thank you so much for joining us. We hope you have really dug into the conversation with Dr. Ren today, and we are ready for a deeper dive with a touch of entrepreneurship in our continuation of this mental health miniseries next week. We will be joined by Melody Li, founder of Inclusive Therapists, and take on decolonizing mental health, entrepreneurial power, and the import of Gen Z in this movement forward. Thank you, so much and happy moneymaking. We'll chat next week.
[00:40:28] Mary, Nolan, Laquita Ann: You've been listening in with 'Your world, Your Money.' You can find us at ywympodcast.com and stay updated on Instagram at Global Thinking Foundation USA. Be sure to rate and review us and you can reach us with questions or thoughts at email@example.com. Our thanks again to Hangar Studios and Global Thinking Foundation. Thanks friends. Happy moneymaking. We'll see you next time.