Battling with mental health has always been a task for Shernita Wiggins-Wynder.
Wiggins-Wynder was only 6 years old when her mother’s ex-husband killed her mother. Wiggins-Wynder carried that grief with her for decades, to the point where she developed congestive heart failure and went into depression.
A nurse told her to seek a therapist. At first Wiggins-Wynder was hesitant, but the nurse understood that people need someone to talk to and help process their emotions.
“When I did go to my therapist, it was a different type of conversation than you have with your spiritual counselor and it helped,” Wiggins-Wynder said. “From there, it released my stigma and the myths that I had about therapy. And it helped me to understand that this wasn’t the end of my life, per se, it was just the beginning of a different chapter of it. So from there I always pushed for mental health.”
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Wiggins-Wynder used her therapy and new found sense of passion to advocate for mental health and establish a nonprofit called Hattie M. Wiggins Beacon of Light Inc., which was named after her late mother. The nonprofit organization works to transform public views on sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse while giving support and resources for survivors and children.
Wiggins-Wynder also used her experience as a journalist, educator and activist to launch a streaming talk show, “The Coffee Shop Talk with Shernita,” last year. The show premiered on Blab TV in January, and features “inspirational and motivational stories from people who share ‘real world’ life experiences.”
On Monday, the show will focus on men’s mental health and will include Pensacola-area men who are advocates for mental health, therapy and healing. It will air on Blab TV, Roku and Fire TV at 8 p.m.
Alicia Williams, co-host of The Coffee Shop Talk with Shernita and CEO of LOVETAGS INC, a nonprofit that provides resources and safe spaces for those dealing with trauma, said she contributes to this discourse because she wants to help heal people through her services.
“Hurt people hurt people is no longer an excuse to not heal, because healed people heal people when they make the decision to heal properly,” Williams said. “It is time for the wounded healers to come forth.”
Members of the group Masterminds of Mental Health and Wellness will be on the show Monday to raise awareness of how people learn how to process their emotions in a healthy way.
Felipe Muñoz, a member of Masterminds, is the co-founder of Empathic Practice, a holistic wellness clinic in Pensacola that focuses on stress management using tools like acupuncture, massage therapy, mindfulness, and hot stones.
“A lot of the people that we see are trying to escape reality, they’re trying to escape that pain, they’re trying to escape the trauma,” Muñoz said. “We approach this more in a more integrative way where we can allow and accept that pain, that trauma, as part of … their lives and not their whole life.”
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Gregory “Pop Star” Finley is another member of the Masterminds who, along business partners Sofia May and Patrick Hill, teamed up to make an app called Mendable dedicated to men’s mental health.
Mendable provides tools and resources for men like breathing techniques, as well as a chat room in the Clubhouse social app that serves as a safe place for men to vent and express themselves.
For Finley, the Clubhouse room isn’t therapy but its therapeutic, as it allows him to be vulnerable and find a community of people who can support him and give him the feedback he needs to hear.
“Now I got like an army behind me just to say, ‘Hey, it’s okay to feel like you’re failing, try this, be thankful for this, change your perspective this way,’” Finley said. “You don’t feel alone and also you’re accessing people all over the world, not just in the United States but health professionals. So you get different cultural perspectives, things you don’t normally get.”
Medford Haynes, a holistic wellness coach, uses his organization Lift Point Holistic Wellness to provides resources such as hypnotherapy meditative techniques.
Like many men, Haynes once considered it a weakness to show and share his emotions. Haynes understood from his own life experience and getting out of the Navy that he needed to change his ways if he wanted to live the best life possible.
“I’m staying tense, I’m staying anxious, and I’m staying depressed all the time, calling it ‘strength,’” Haynes said of suppressing his emotions. “Knowing that staying on guard all the time was making me readily more weak, it was like, ‘Man, how can I be the man I want to be without learning how to recuperate and recover, to become as strong as I can be?’ And only then, when I stopped trying to be so tough and meet this image, was I able to lose this weight.”
All the men of the show each have different techniques for people, but each one of them are coming together to help people heal and bring awareness to mental health. The show on Monday will focus on men’s mental health but the group consists of women such as Kimberly Bowens, Rodneisha Jones, Marni Woodson, Mia Bolden, Amber Lynn Thompson and Camellia Willis.
For more information about The Coffee Shop Talk with Shernita visit the show’s Facebook page at facebook.com/TheCoffeeShopTalk or at blabtv.com.
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