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Wellness Within

Insights on Mental Health from Local Counselor Keisha Saunders-Waldron

Many titles can be used to describe Keisha Saunders-Waldron: licensed professional clinical counselor, adjunct professor at Northwestern University, entrepreneur, mother of two and loving wife are just a few. Saunders-Waldron is a highly accredited mental health professional and the owner of Confidential Confessions Counseling in Liberty Township. She brings a unique combination of academics, hands-on counseling experience and a commitment to professional development to her field.  

Saunders-Waldron has been published in Forbes, The Baltimore Times, Business Insider, FEMI Magazine, Yahoo News and numerous local publications. We talked with Saunders-Waldron to get her insights on mental health, counseling and the intersection of academia and entrepreneurship.

What made you decide to become a mental health counselor?

It was a very unexpected source, a seemingly trivial episode of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Bugs Bunny portraying the role of a therapist to Elmer Fudd sparked an interest that would later guide my educational and professional pursuits. Later, in high school, I encountered an exceptional psychology teacher who further fueled my curiosity and ultimately led me to choose psychology as my academic path. 

As I immersed myself in the complexities of mental health, it became evident that the accessibility and comprehension of mental health services were not universally straightforward, particularly in marginalized communities. This realization became a driving force, compelling me to further my education to become an advocate for those voices that often are unheard.  

What does mental health mean to you? 

Mental health is the foundation of a resilient and stable mind. It is also the gateway to leading a healthy and fulfilling life, and it is essential to one’s overall well-being. It encompasses a state of balance and strength that helps individuals navigate life's challenges with clarity and purpose. In practical terms, mental health is vital for fostering cognitive strength, emotional resilience and the ability to engage meaningfully with oneself and the world. 

Is mental health the same as happiness? 

From my point of view, mental health and happiness are two different entities. You can feel content and find your "happy place" even when things seem a bit confusing in your mind. Happiness is more about feeling good emotionally, but only temporarily.

Mental health, on the other hand, is on a broader spectrum. It's about your overall well-being–not just your emotions, but your thoughts and how you connect with others. Mental health is more than just those fleeting moments of joy; it's about taking care of your mind and your emotions in different ways to ensure you’re doing well overall.

In what areas does Confidential Confessions Counseling specialize? 

My practice is dedicated to specialized interventions, with a primary focus on addressing anxiety and depression diagnoses through both individual and couples counseling. One intervention is cognitive-behavioral techniques, which help individuals recognize and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with anxiety and depression. Another is mindfulness-based strategies, which help individuals develop a non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts and feelings, fostering a more balanced and grounded mindset.

In addition to this clinical emphasis, we extend our expertise to the realms of work-life balance and corporate training, particularly in employee engagement. This multifaceted approach allows me to contribute meaningfully to the well-being of individuals and the dynamics within corporate environments.

What makes your practice unique?

Our practice distinguishes itself through a unique and client-centric approach. We strategically introduce our clients to our entire dedicated team during the initial consultation. The collective understanding we develop as a team means that the client will not have to repeat their information, even if a specific practitioner is unavailable. Despite the challenges of varying schedules, this method ensures the client only needs to share their stories once, regardless of who they see within our practice.

What advice do you have for someone who is on the fence about whether they need help?

I encourage thoughtful reflection on their current challenges and emotions. It's crucial to recognize that seeking support is not a sign of weakness, but rather a proactive step towards personal well-being. Consider the impact of these challenges on your daily life, relationships and overall functioning. If you find persistent feelings of distress or difficulty coping, or if these challenges hinder your ability to lead a fulfilling life, seeking professional help can provide valuable insights and strategies. It's essential to approach the decision with an open mind, recognizing that reaching out for assistance is a courageous and empowering choice that can lead to positive transformation and improved mental health.

What are three things anyone can do to help improve their overall mental health?

1. Establish a consistent routine.

This includes setting regular sleep patterns and maintaining consistent mealtimes. Consistency provides a sense of stability, which can positively impact mood and overall mental health. Prioritizing self-care through routine helps create a supportive foundation for managing stress and enhancing resilience.

2. Prioritize physical activity.

Engaging in regular physical exercise has been consistently linked to improved mental health. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It also reduces levels of stress hormones, promotes better sleep and enhances cognitive function. 

3. Cultivate strong social connections.

Social connections provide emotional support, reduce feelings of isolation and contribute to a sense of belonging. Actively participating in social activities, whether in-person or virtually, fosters a support system. Connecting with friends and family or joining community groups can offer a sense of community and shared experiences, which can be protective factors against mental health challenges.

Individual needs may vary, and seeking professional guidance when needed is a valuable part of enhancing mental health. Incorporating these lifestyle adjustments can contribute positively to overall well-being, but if challenges persist, consulting with a mental health professional can provide personalized strategies and support.

Can you share some of the training and accreditations you have?

With a Master's Degree in Services Agency Counseling, I am currently on a scholarly journey pursuing my Doctoral Degree in Biblical Counseling. I am licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor in North Carolina, and hold the title of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Ohio., I currently serve as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, where I impart counseling skills to graduate students.  

I am affiliated with Babson College, through their Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, and Cornell University’s Women Entrepreneur Program. These experiences have provided me with a unique perspective allowing me to enhance my counseling practice and integrate a viable business acumen.

To learn more, schedule a free 10-minute video consultation with Confidential Confessions Counseling. CCCounsel.me 

Mental health is more than just those fleeting moments of joy; it's about taking care of your mind and your emotions in different ways to ensure you’re doing well overall.

It's crucial to recognize that seeking support is not a sign of weakness, but rather a proactive step towards personal well-being. Reaching out for assistance is a courageous and empowering choice that can lead to positive transformation and improved mental health.

My journey, while unconventional in its beginning, has evolved into a purposeful mission to effect positive change in the field of mental health.

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