Wellness and Healing as a Community (feat. Juliet co-founder of WellBee UK)

What made you want to start your platform WellBeeUK?

I’ve always had an interest in mental health since sixth form/college – I’m currently in my final year of medical school and I’d like to train to become a psychiatrist. It was my clinical supervisor on my psychiatry placement who told me it was a doctor’s duty to know what local services are available in the area to help his/her patients. 

Jo (co-founder in WellBee UK) and I noticed that, currently, there is no widely used tool that points people in the direction of a website, charity or organisation that can offer support/help in relation to a specific problem. With WellBee, we hope to change that. 

Often, it’s major life events that tip the balance and cause someone to become mentally unwell, especially if they have had difficulties coping. Hopefully providing specific resources and practical tips can help people to cope better and maybe even prevent somebody from becoming ill.   

What would you say makes your partnership work so well?

We have the same goals in mind for what we want WellBee to do and where we want it to go. If we didn’t, I don’t think we would have been so consistent with our content so far. We’ve been friends for a few years now too, so we were already pretty open with each other beforehand, especially on anything mental health-related

What are your key objectives with the WellBeeUK platform?

With WellBee, we’re aiming to help encourage people to make their mental wellbeing a priority. Currently, we’re doing this in 4 ways:

We’re using our platform to share stories (via our Instagram story) to help continue the conversation around how different situations in our lives affect our mental wellbeing. We invite people to feature on our platform and share their work to help encourage others. 

We aim to provide relatable reflections and practical tips to help people stay on top of their mental wellbeing in a dynamic fashion. This hopefully means the tips we provide are manageable, doable and easy to apply to a number of situations. 

We hope to educate our community on specific topics that can have long term effects on our mental wellbeing. We’ve started working with qualified mental health professionals to do this and we released the first story of this nature in September this year. 

Most importantly, we provide resources every week specific to the story topic we are covering. We always signpost to the appropriate emergency services and leading mental health charities. We also signpost to other organisations, groups and individuals who could provide information, support or sometimes just a laugh (everyone needs to take a break at some time)!

Considering our current climate, how do you feel Black women are being seen, heard or acknowledged (if at all) within the sector you are in?

Honestly, I think black women are neglected. There’s a lot of battles that black women encounter as a result of racism and sexism. The frustrating thing is the general public does not seem to be aware of how this can result in black women being disproportionately impacted by mental health problems, but the evidence points to this very fact. Luckily, through WellBee, I’ve seen there are specific people and groups who are championing better mental health for black women. I go out of my way to connect with every black-owned page I can so I can signpost people accordingly. 

What 5 tips would you advise as a foundation for maintaining a balanced self-care routine?

This is a good one! I guess things I am trying to do would be: 

Practice self-compassion as often as needed

Learn to say no *without* feeling guilty about it

Be intentional with your time i.e. don’t waste it doing things you don’t want to do

Eat food that is good for you on a regular basis (not just when you “feel” like it) 

Enjoy yourself! Life is too short to not do the things that make you feel truly alive. 

I guess this is a bonus: keep good company. You can do all of the above, but the wrong company will undo all your hard work. Keep people around you who want the best for you and will also hold you accountable. 

What books or podcasts would you recommend for those who are seeking out acts of self-care?

The road less travelled by Scott Peck. This book changed the way I see love and self-care. The Receipts Podcast always reminds me to seek out joy because life is too short to not collect all the memories you can. 

In regards to the social media world, there is a lot of debate in the ways it affects us mentally. What advice would you give to help navigate these spaces?

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! I think it helps to think about why you’re on social media at a given time and to reflect on whether or not it is making you feel uncomfortable. It’s also worth considering if you are only scrolling away because you are putting off doing something else! Instagram has a helpful time limit reminder that has helped me spend less time on that app recently. 

The fact that you are both from different ethnic backgrounds I would like to know, how would you say this dynamic has impacted your platform (if at all)?

There hasn’t been an issue, to be honest. When we do write stories relating to race, I often speak from my own perspective or that of other black people I know. Jo will always work to amplify the voices that need to be heard, even if that means not having anything to say (from a personal perspective) at all (cc our story Week 7 –  “Take off your Cape). The work we are doing is bigger than either of our egos, so we keep it pushing and just get on with it. 

What is your favourite mantra and/or affirmation that gets you through those joyful/difficult times?

My favourite quote of all time is by Scott Peck, “ultimately, love is everything”. It reminds me of what’s really important when I forget. Plus, certain songs have a similar effect. Gospel music always helps me feel more connected to God whenever I feel sad or lonely. Soca cheers me up a lot too – who can be sad listening to soca?!

If you had the power to erase one negative belief that is commonly experienced by those who struggle with self-acceptance, what would it be?

The idea of not being good enough. It’s a lie! Before I get preachy, God did not put any of us on this Earth to be made to feel that we are ill-equipped to live life.  

BONUS – What is your favourite journal prompt and why?

At the moment I don’t journal at all but sometimes when I am especially wound up and can’t communicate my frustrations, I write a letter.  

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