Season 3 Closer with Serena and Tina

Join Serena and Tina as they wrap up the season with a mishmash of topics from the season as well as comments on current events. As you will find in any episode with these host, they are real, feeling all of the feels!

Notes and Mentions

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Tina: Hey everyone, I'm Tina

Serena: and I'm Serena,

and we are the Mental Health Mamas.


Tina: Welcome to No Need to Explain.

We are so glad you're here.

Serena: First, as always, a quick disclaimer.

Tina: We come to you not as mental health professionals

or experts in the field, but rather as parents with lived experience

who are on a mission to normalize the conversation

around mental health.

Serena: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You'll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website, no need to explain

Tina: Serena! Can you believe that we are at the end of our third season?

Serena: I guess I would say it is unbelievable. And yeah, believe it or not, let's say it's a lot of work. And I feel like it's like, you know,

when the month changes and you're like, can you believe when it's June that it's July? You know, it just, it happens every month.

Tina: It happens every month and every month keeps coming,

which is a good thing.

Serena: It was a good thing.

Tina: So this little project truly meant to be for those parents we supported, not to tune our own horn to toot, this podcast honestly has become so much more to so many more people. What we hear from our listeners is that our topics and guests are compelling, diverse,

and our topics really are resonating with so many people.

Serena: Yes, absolutely. And we are hitting the mark of what we had hoped for and that was to normalize mental health and help people feel supported. Maybe this is the first episode you've ever listened to.

And if so, we want you to know that you are not alone.

Tina: For sure. So let's do a little year in review and we always get this question. What is your favorite episode? Like picking your favorite child, we won't do it. It really is so hard. So we have had a lot of guests.

I believe this is episode? I don't even know, in the 40s, right?

Serena: Yep, this season, yes.

Tina: Of this season exactly. And we have covered very passionate topics and had a lot of guests. And so instead of guests, we'll review topics and themes, which seems more fair somehow. We began our season with a very famous guest and I will generalize and say that we have had guests this season who are out there in the world doing truly amazing things in a very public forum. These folks are writing books, producing podcasts, shining a very bright light on so many topics

that relate to and are deeply entwined with mental health.

Serena: It's amazing to meet all these people. And we've tried this season to dig a little deeper and explore topics that maybe have some differing perspectives. So we've kind of picked a topic

and tried to do something similar with several different guests.

We've had guests this season who have created programs, techniques and even products that can help you build your mental health toolbox.

And we've had many folks who speak very candidly about their own mental health and what they do to not only take good care of themselves and build up their toolboxes, but also take good care of others in their lives and in the world. And I have to say, a common theme, it seems to me and people who are open about their own mental health is that they are helpers.

Tina: Yes, absolutely. And they don't take good enough care of themselves.

Serena: That is true.

Tina: That's always a hard question. And the thing is, if you've ever listened to our podcast, we're going to ask you that question.

Serena: That's right.

Tina: We have covered a few newsworthy topics that we haven't yet broached like medication, sexuality and gender identity, grief, care for all, including those in the sandwich generation or maybe our school shooting topics, which was tough.

Serena: Yeah. Yeah, we're going to circle back to that in a moment,

but we produced and dropped our 100th episode this season. So circling back to amazed, we started with two episodes. So I thought, how are we going to keep doing this? And we have, we've kept doing more way beyond 100 at this point. So, you know, and what that means is if you haven't had a chance, maybe you just found our podcast, maybe you've just listened to a few, there's lots of back catalog for you to listen to. We take a break over the summer, and we're about to take that break. So this is your chance to go back and listen to all the ones that you've missed. You can, there's lots of different topics. There's something for everybody.

Tina: My favorite thing to do in a car is listen to podcasts.

So, sometimes I just put Serena on, just to?

Serena: I was going to say, listen to us hahaha

Tina: We truly, and I think this is a deep, I hope that our guests feel this, and I hope that our listeners feel it too. We love meeting the people who visit. Now, we don't have a studio together. Serena and I never record together. We don't record with our guests except on Zoom. So, all of these guests have been bright lights in the world, often turning some kind of life experience into a very purposeful mission.

If you're one of those guests and are listening right now, thank you, thank you, thank you for brightening our world, and thanks for all you do to normalize mental health. It's good that we're not alone.

Serena: Mm-hmm, yeah, absolutely. So, let's shift a little bit and talk about some of the things going on in the news right now. And we're gonna specifically focus on the US since that tends to be our largest audience. We know we have friends all over the world, but the US is what we know. So, there was a New York Times article recently about a shortage of medications, ranging from chemotherapy drugs to ADHD medications. And what I will say about this, and other mental health meds, all sorts of medications across the spectrum that I have family members that have dealt with this, and it's scary, it can be life-threatening, and it can also be, as a parent of a kid with ADHD,

I'm just sorry for the teachers, I'm sorry.

Tina: Wow. And for yourself, come on, let's just say that.

So, here's some info from that article that Serena is talking about, and I quote, ?Prescriptions increased more than 10% across many age groups

according to the CDC. Why, experts point to the collision of two recent trends in the US. The growing acceptance and acknowledgement of mental health issues and policy changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that increased the use of telemedicine.? And that seems to make total sense to me, right?

Serena: Yeah, absolutely, it's an interesting outcome, right? Of this greater awareness of taking care of our mental health and more people talking about it and seeking support is good, but I think we outpaced what was available to us in our country, and the more we normalize mental health, the more people seek therapy. And I feel like, especially this generation growing up right now, so the young adults, they're very different than we were growing up, and they're taking mental health days and doing things that I think we never would have done. Maybe we will now, maybe we would now, maybe we can now, but it is not something that we did in the past. And so we know that the gold standard for staying well in terms of mental health challenges is a multi-pronged approach and it might include the use of medications along with therapy. And so the more people who seek that gold standard, the more need for medication and as Tina quoted above,

this is also the result of more people having access to that care during the pandemic through those telemed appointments.

Tina: Which interestingly, for a long time, since Serena and I supported parents, we were told that it couldn't happen, couldn't happen, couldn't happen, and then all of a sudden it could. Amazing.

So very interesting and something we don't, we don't really have much control over the production of medication. Or so at this point, but certainly, it's just something to be aware of for sure. And it perhaps highlights the importance of making sure that our toolbox is shored up

so that we have tools and strategies that might help us when we can't rely on the meds. And again, meds are important, if you have them,

I believe Serena used the word's life threatening. If you stop medication very quickly, it can at best make you sick, at worst, worst.

So don't chance it, but really, so our message isn't stop taking your meds because they're not available. It is be aware of this circumstance.

So yeah, and it is one of our tools. And so is therapy and so could a lot of other things be in your toolbox, right?

Serena: Right, right, we've talked a lot on this podcast about. Really, I think, I believe this was a problem before COVID, but then I just really became a really big problem that we don't have enough therapists to support the people who are seeking therapy. You know, personally in my family, my youngest has been on a waitlist for nine months now.

So yeah, this is a problem. We need to be filling those toolboxes to do other things in the meantime. And we're hoping that we're moving in the right direction that this is going to improve.

Tina: I think so. I was talking to a friend interestingly about

she had started social work school. She said, you know, somebody needs to look at that system. It's been the same forever. And how you go about becoming a therapist is becoming increasingly more difficult.

And so there aren't as many people to do it. So you know, that's a good example of we need to think outside of the box on these tools. And people have to be open to do other things. So anyway, okay.

So this episode, total mishmash, right? We've talked about a lot of things. So I want to shift to a very tough one. One that we've addressed in two episodes this season. We mentioned it above.

And just wanted to circle back because it's such an important issue.

And because it hit very close to home for me last month. So Richmond, Virginia, my home city had a tragic mass shooting following a graduation ceremony. It was in early June. A father and a son were shot and killed and a total of seven people were injured. I'm going to be transparent and honest as I always am and say that as horrifying as this was, it honestly just seems like a matter of time until your city is the one, right? It's almost weekly in our nation that we have someone shot or many people shot in a shooting and we're not making any headway.

We literally could spend a whole entire episode talking about this, which we might at some point because I think it's important to keep circling back to hard things. Perhaps, yeah, we'll see where it goes, but I wanted to comment on a few things and I just want to make clear in no way, am I siding with anyone? This was a horrible decision made by an individual and it has forever changed everyone's lives, right? Everyone, everyone who knew these folks. So my first observation would be people who feel supported and connected to others do not pick up a gun and end another human's life. If they have kindness and humanity and connection in their soul, they don't do that kind of thing. There's an African proverb that says, the child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth. And I'm going to circle back to Scarlett Lewis and say in her episode, she basically says, if this were only about guns, we would have solved this already, but we're not doing that. We're not addressing these things. So she decided to take a very different approach, which is to spread far and wide a program that teaches youth and teachers and staff members of any kind how to care about one another, how to choose love. And again, if you have not listened to this episode, just do it next, just cue it up and do it next.

Serena: Yeah, so Scarlett lost her son. He was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy, which is horrifying. And I know as a parent, you know, my gut instinct is to like avoid all of that, right? To stay far away from it. And we've certainly heard that feedback about her episode, people being afraid to listen, but really, really, I encourage you to listen. It is super important. And she does not dwell on her son's death. He is the reason for everything she does. And he is part of her story, but her story is one of hope. If you can believe that, please go listen to it.

Tina: Yes, it's really amazing. So my second observation would be a really important one, which is, shake things up. What is it Einstein that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, right?

Serena: I don't know if that was Einstein, maybe.

Tina: Okay, well, it's someone important who said a very important thing. So we have often used the same social programs to quote, help people struggling with mental health and trauma. Many of these programs, and this is a very important observation that Serena and I made as we were doing our work that we did with families in the counties in New York. Many of these programs are designed by professionals who we greatly respect, who do not have lived experience

themselves or at least aren't coming at that issue with their lived experience. So here is the invitation I will put out to each of you,

invite families and people with lived experience to inform the creation of these programs and policies. We believe that people know what they need. We saw it over and over again. You asked people what they need.

They tell you what they need, invite, connect and really listen to people.

So by the way, this is true of youth as well and you have tons of wisdom.

Serena: They absolutely do. So I guess what I would say to anybody out there, if you are designing a program that affects another person and that person is not in the room, they need to be in the room. Again, all due respect to all of our professionals, they need to be there too. But equally as important is the people who are affected, the people with the lived experience. So bring them into the room, bring the youth,

bring the families. And all of these perspectives are important to inform our decisions and our programs and our opportunities. And so the other episode where we discuss school shootings was with a guest named Aaron Stark. And he has a TED talk that he gave entitled, I Was Almost a School Shooter and our episode has the same title. And he talks very openly about his own story and what stopped him from becoming a school shooter. And he was primed that he had all of the reasons to do it and what made a difference for him. So again, super important conversation, please go listen to that.

Tina: About perspectives, we all need to hear the perspectives, right? And I admit that was a lot. We, yeah, it was a lot. And I appreciate you letting me kind of dump that out in the last episode of having a lot of feels about that.

Serena: Yeah, absolutely. So let's continue for a moment talking about social emotional connection to one another and address a very particular challenge that's coming up. Kindness, connection, humanity for one another is going to challenge us in the upcoming election year.

And politics is something that I don't like to talk about in a bit of an ostrich in the sand if that's a real thing. I don't know.

Tina: We are not bird experts here.

Serena: I don't know, but what we know is that any election year brings a lot of divisiveness and quite frankly, ugliness to the mainstream media. And our country has been so divided and we are lacking kindness, connection, humanity. We don't have those things right now.

Tina: We need to have civil conversations and that's a whole episode in itself.

Serena: Mm-hmm.

Tina: So I was talking to a friend last night on this topic. She lived in China for a while and if you know much about China, there's a lot in countries like that. There's a lot of media restriction and there aren't negative stories on the news. There just aren't. And so she found herself not being upset that she wasn't hearing the news, but instead feeling really positive, right? She's a really negative thing. So it's a really interesting observation for sure.

Serena: Well, and I do wonder too, you know, not that bad things don't happen and it's important to know about them, but if we're inundated with them all the time, we feel bad. And so the idea that if you're not in that state and you know, we make more of a difference in the world

in terms of hope and kindness. And so, you know, we're not in the business of advice giving, although we certainly have done it. We might suggest gently that you take good care of yourself around this challenge, right? So in the words of Brene Brown, limit your consumption of the news cycle.

Tina: Agreed and great reminder and permission slip, granted.

Serena: So now for another shift. So if you're following us out there.

So things are changing a little bit in the mental health mama world.

And we're gonna be very honest with you and admit that we're not sure what this podcast will look like next year. We both agree that our audience value is the content. We love putting this out for you all the time. And it is a lot of work to put out a podcast every week. We've dropped an episode every week for three seasons that?s three years.

It's like, you know, a few little breaks, but there are other projects we've had on the back burner. So we're looking at maybe pulling those up front on the stove, right? And we will continue to put out the podcast

as much as we can. But yeah, it's gonna be a little less frequent

perhaps every other week as we work on some different things for you.

Tina: Yeah, we'll see what we can manage. So some exciting things on the horizon. And it's clear to me from the feedback, you know, we get that you're listening and enjoying the content. And this is a great opportunity for us to mention that we are always happy to hear from you. We would love to hear about topics that you want us to explore, want us to revisit things that are relevant to you and your life, other meaningful things to perhaps, you know, your family or you've heard from other people, let us know what you need. And we will be happy to hear you.

Serena: And yeah, and we really are all about connection. I know it's easy to sit here on the other side of this microphone and say that to you. And I hope you believe us and that we really want to connect.

With our audience. So I thought we would, as we bring our episode

and our season to a close today and look ahead for the summer, you might remember that we had an episode in January where we shared our vacations that weren't really vacationed.

Tina: And yes, and that seems so very long go. And here we are again, making plans.

Serena: Hmm, yeah, so, you know, maybe you're planning a trip

this summer, maybe you're just envisioning what your summer's gonna look like. I think, you know, there's a lot of expectations about about summer, about trips, about family time, about, you know, whatever.

And so one of the things we've certainly learned and I think, you know, have known, but it's a good reminder that sometimes we need to check those expectations as we plan. If you're envisioning that perfect summer, you might want to think about that a little bit.

Tina: Yes, that is one of our learned, our gives us the LE and MLE,

Right? We have learned that summer is a challenging time, no matter where you are, where you go, even if you stay home, right? It is a shift in total schedule, which can be really, really challenging. And I have to say, not just for adults, because if you remember, I have adults, people.

And even my adult people struggle with shifts in season because other people take vacations that affect you. And yeah, so we could go on and on about that. But what I'm gonna, the advice that I'm not gonna give you and we're gonna give it to you, is validate your feelings, we're all about the feels here at the Mental Health Mamas, No Need to Explain Podcast, and it's important to just acknowledge your feelings and it matters, right? Just saying, gosh, okay, I need a moment here because I'm feeling scared, I'm feeling fearful, I'm feeling a little bit sad, whatever it is that you're feeling, take the time, acknowledging it helps.

Serena: Right, right, and something that we certainly embrace and my family is to expect the unexpected. The unexpected always happens, and I'm always trying to reframe it for my kids, right, to turn it into an adventure. It's certainly always a story that can be told. It's never boring.

Tina: This is never boring, that is true. And we will end with laugh a lot.

I often say at times in my life, if I were not laughing, I would be crying.

So let's just laugh because you gotta laugh. I miss Serena?s laugh every time I don't talk to her for a few days. It is the thing that I miss, well, not the most, because I like a lot of things, right? But I miss your laugh, seeing that laugh, I miss it.

Serena: And I'm just gonna, thank you, Tina, I don't think we express our gratitude to one another as much as we could, just certainly, so it's a labor of love and I'm glad to be doing it with you.

Tina: And I'm gonna take a moment and say, Serena and her people take on a lot of this podcast and have for a while and I have tried to step up and do a little bit just in the last two episodes, which probably hasn't been all that helpful, but I have appreciated how much work it is and it's so much work and I'm not even doing it all. They're still doing some of it, so please know how grateful I am to you and your fam for all the stuff that you do to make things awesome.

Serena: Yeah, thanks. Okay, we're gonna stop now.

Tina: Love fest, love fest!

Serena: And so podcast friends, we are as always grateful for you.

Spending your time with us today, and listening. We know that you have literally millions of choices out there and you took the time to spend some time with us today and we really, really appreciate that. If you get a chance, please go to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, subscribe, share with others. It gets our podcast out to more people and the more people our podcast reaches, the more we can continue giving you a podcast. So you will find more content on our website, no need to explain, find us on the socials, leave us a voice message, we again, love connection. So you'll find that number in our notes.

Tell us what's in your toolbox. Tell us your slimmer plans.

Tell us the vacation that wasn't, whatever you want.

Tina: All the funny stories.

Serena: All the funny stories are just call them say hi.

Tina: And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself

while you are also taking care of your people.

Serena: Thanks for listening.

Tina: Bye.