Mental Health from Kindergarten to the NFL

From Kindergarten to the NFL, mental health, wellness & emotions are not just topics that should be discussed and discovered, but actively worked on by anyone and everyone.

For Mental Health Awareness Month we speak with Dr. Carrie Hastings & Brianne Gallagher about the importance of mental health & wellness and the impact it has on us that we don’t actively recognize.

Dr. Carrie Hastings is a sports psychologist and is the mental health clinician for the Los Angeles Rams. Brianne Gallagher is a K-5 school counselor at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Class is now in session. Time to learn about mental health.



Dr. Carrie Hastings Website

Los Angeles Rams

Engage Therapy

Note: Dr. Hastings will be opening a sport psychology facility in Fall 2021 in Westlake Village, CA. It will provide mental health services for athletes and applied mental skills training to enhance athletic performance. There will also be a library of sport psychology resources.



Pond Cove School Counselor Resource Center


American School Counselor Association

School Counselors and Mental Health

The Yellow Tulip Project

NAMI Maine

Lynn Lyons

Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset

Responsive Classroom



Carrie Hastings 0:00
You have to focus on yourself and self care and, you know, prioritizing your needs so that you can be the best version of yourself. For others, you know, whether it’s your family, whether it’s your team, whether it’s your classmates, it’s, it’s so important, you have to find that self love, you have to really become so familiar with your identity. And, and appreciate it recognize, you know, the flaws and, and recognize the positives and strengths and weaknesses and, and, and embrace all of that. Not that you can’t or shouldn’t make changes, but self acceptance first.

Kevin Oates 0:44
From Dirigo Collective, this is Renegades and Mavericks. Sharing the stories of people interrupting the status quo, and breaking new ground in their field.

So full transparency to you all, I go to therapy every week for the past six years. And wow, probably one of the greatest investments that ever put into my life. Just like any other muscle therapy and counseling are about taking care of your mind and emotions. But going to therapy seemed like such a taboo topic growing up even through my 20s it was assumed you would only go to therapy, if something was really wrong with you in one way or another. There was a data brief done by the CDC in 2019, that showed that only 9.5% of Americans receive counseling or therapy from a mental health clinician. But that’s over 31 million people! Obviously, we are learning that mental health and wellness is for everyone. But we still have a long way to go.

Annually, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And we thought it was important to educate and share about mental health from the K-12 education system perspective, all the way up to the NFL. Yep, the NFL. If you haven’t started your mental health journey, start today and begin to help yourself so that you can help others.

Carrie Hastings 2:08
Well, you know, I genuinely do have a passion for helping others. And I’ve always been somebody who has loved hearing people’s stories. I’ve always loved kind of putting the pieces together almost like a, like a puzzle or solving a mystery in terms of finding the roots of certain behaviors or tendencies or, you know, ways of thinking and, and so that’s always been interesting to me.

Kevin Oates 2:41
This is Dr. Carrie Hastings, she’s the mental health clinician for the Los Angeles Rams, formerly the St. Louis Rams, if you haven’t been keeping up with your football the past few years,

Carrie Hastings 2:50
I think having been an athlete really sparked my interest in sports psychology, and not just from the athletic side, but also the personal side in terms of, you know, things I might have been going through during my athletic career and feeling that I had to separate that from athletics. And really it was, you know, having a tremendous impact on my mindset or on my ability to focus or on my performance, or, you know, a lot greater than I thought at the time.

Kevin Oates 3:25
I asked Dr. Hastings, what are the stigmas that still exist, and the progression around mental health moving forward? You know,

Carrie Hastings 3:33
Mental health has come a long way, we’ve still got a long way to go. In terms of the stigma and, you know, it’s it’s not being taboo to talk about, I think, when I was in school, it really wasn’t talked about, you know, we had a guidance counselor at school and if you needed to talk to someone, that’s who you would go to. I was very lucky. I had phenomenal guidance counselors that you know, really served a lot of purposes, anything from applying for, you know, helping you with college applications to providing that extra support should you need it. I don’t know of a lot of people who use it for mental health reasons to be honest.

Kevin Oates 4:19
Dr. Carrie Hastings grew up in a small town in the Poconos, a part of her that really shines through when working with athletes. She says her small town sensibilities help her explore mental health, tapping what she learned wandering around the forests of Pennsylvania when working with NFL players.

Carrie Hastings 4:37
But I really loved that small town feel I like to think I’ve still got I’m still that small town girl at heart and and there was a lot of nature. I really think in terms of mental health, I think I use nature a lot. I was out, you know, exploring and in the woods and just in that sense, and so it was very aesthetic in a way but talking to people It really wasn’t a thing I, you know, I struggled with my own ups and downs, you know, especially as a teenager never did, it even crossed my mind, really, to think of talking to someone professionally, I used my friends, I had some teachers I was close with that I felt I could confide in. When I got to college, my coach really was sharp in terms of the skills and the strategies and the sport itself, but didn’t really connect with the athletes the same way. And though I technically probably learned more, and you know, my times improved by greater intervals in college, I really value those high school coaches for the for the relationships and the time they took to get to know me and to be there for me to check in. How are you doing, you know, that that meant the world to me, and helped me to develop as a person, not just an athlete,

Kevin Oates 5:57
Whether we are working on our mental health in a personal or professional setting, there needs to be structure, direction and protocol, to ensure that we make progress individually, just as we would with any physical workout,

Carrie Hastings 6:12
We have a whole protocol that we developed, that actually really helped model, the protocol for the league in terms of total wellness and, and our IR program.

Kevin Oates 6:26
IR stands for injured reserve, just so you know.

Carrie Hastings 6:30
And so we have infused mental health as part of rehab for people who end up on IR. And that’s a huge component. And that really, I’ve seen that, get players back on the field and come back stronger. And it’s hard, it’s a hard thing to be patient with. But that really those success stories are so crucial. And then those athletes, you know, are such a resource for them players who do get injured, you know, the next season or for the first time or have a season ending injury. So we really, there’s such a collaborative feel to our work.

Kevin Oates 7:09
So one thing I was wanting to ask Carrie was, what is a sports psychologist, I’ve heard this over and over again, by actually never understood what this position meant.

Carrie Hastings 7:20
I am a sports psychologist, which means in order to use the term psychologist, which is a legally protected term, you have to have a doctorate in psychology. And to be a sports psychologist, you have some sort of formalized training experience in that field. You can work with athletes and be a mental skills consultant is typically the term most used and work with athletes and work on those concepts. So sports psych really focuses on the the mental side of things that will enhance performance. It’s not getting into any of the psycho emotional stuff. I love as a sports psychologist, I, I can do everything. And that’s that was a real goal of mine in terms of even why I wanted to go the route that I did specifically, if you’re a mental skills consultant, you can work on things, you know, those mental skills, that enhanced performance, but if it gets into some of that psycho emotional stuff, you have to refer out. And, and a lot of people do that. And, and so it’s just kind of knowing when to do that and having those resources. But that’s that’s kind of the difference in and I have found, really, so most of the time, there’s such a crossover. And even if somebody comes in wanting, wanting to work on their, their confidence in the batter’s box, you know that that bleeds into anxiety that may not just be sport related. So I love being able to explore that. And then, you know, as I said in the beginning, kind of just put those pieces together and get to the root of that issue and see how we can then translate it into their athletic performance.

Kevin Oates 9:10
So what does your day-to-day look like, as a sports psychologist for the LA Rams?

Carrie Hastings 9:17
With my role in particular is though, as a practitioner, I specialize in sports psychology. But as the team psychologist for the Rams, I kind of have to know a bit about everything because people you know, come with, with anything and everything. And so it really, you know, and a lot of the guys have been through a lot before they got to this level and they’re dealing with things for the first time or, you know, it’s it’s the pressure of playing but it’s also, you know, financial aspects. It’s relationship issues. It’s a lot of guys have lived in a bubble, all they’ve ever talked about their whole lives is football. So they don’t have a strong sense of identity Other than that, and so it’s, I love that I really do. I, for me to say that I don’t take it home with me sometimes would be a lie I do. But I also, I, I’m fine with that. I don’t think I wouldn’t be in this position if I weren’t. I like kind of being on that personal level level with people to where they know that I’m sharing and things with them to that level, you know, they’re not just giving it to me to analyze or to, you know, dissect and then I leave, and it’s all there. And I’m not thinking about them. And I’m not capable, without to be honest. So So yeah, it does, it does affect me in, but in good ways, really, I would never complain about that.

Kevin Oates 10:53
So the importance of mental health for your players is crucial, and a vital part of their well being both on the field and off. But where do you work on your mental health as clinician and trying to get better at yourself, while helping others?

Carrie Hastings 11:12
I’m always, you know, a work in progress. And I think everybody is, you know, I think it is very important. If you’re going to go into this field, to, to prioritize your well being and it’s not selfish, it’s not shallow. In fact, it’s really, it’s such a great model of what you’re encouraging other people to do, you have to focus on yourself and self care and, you know, prioritizing your needs, so that you can be the best version of yourself, for others, you know, whether it’s your family, whether it’s your team, whether it’s your classmates, it’s, it’s so important, you have to find that self love, you have to really become so familiar with your identity. And, and appreciate it recognize, you know, the flaws and, and recognize the positives and strengths and weaknesses and, and, and embrace all of that. Not that you can’t or shouldn’t make changes, but self acceptance first.

Kevin Oates 12:18
How do you explain to the players of the LA Rams, that it’s a safe space for them to come and explore their mental health and heal from that, in a profession that has generally been focused on just being tough, rugged, and almost a shield up in front of them?

Carrie Hastings 12:39
And it doesn’t I tell this to our team all the time, you know, if you’re going through something, it doesn’t have to be me, you know, we’ve got a team chaplain, we’ve got such a great support staff, our, like I said, our player, engagement staff, there are people there, depending on what your comfort level is, you know, and, and we all work together to you know, if somebody is working with me, and I know they, they really connect on a spiritual level, then I’ll also bring in, you know, the, our team chaplain to the conversation and it’s, it’s just important that you know, your resources, and you feel comfortable using them, you, you may never need to that would, you know, that would be ideal, but you also don’t need to have something terribly wrong in your life, to use, you know, psychotherapy to use some sort of support resource. I always loved sports. And, you know, when I, when I started studying psychology, I knew I wanted to work with athletes in some capacity. I didn’t even know if that necessarily meant becoming a sports psychologist, I think over time, I ended up working with athletes or coaches and sport parents. The whole time anyway, so then, you know, I thought why I should get the credentials and get the specialized training for that population. So I did. I, the timing was, you know, fortuitous, and that the Rams came out here and and set up their practice facility in Moorpark. I’m located in Westlake Village. There’s nobody who really does what I do specifically. I have always loved football. Since I was a little girl, my grandmother was actually a huge football fan. And she got me into it when I was little. And so I understand the game and which, which is an asset because you know, players come in and they’re talking about, you know, this play in this game and you know, and I’ll have seen it and say, Yeah, I remember that one. And so, so it just makes it easier to be able to speak their language and, and, and it’s, it’s all the more enjoyable for me. really, truly loving and appreciating the game

Kevin Oates 14:58
Though we are focusing on mental health at all levels, it doesn’t start and end there, how we treat our bodies and lifestyle has a significant and direct impact on our mind.

Carrie Hastings 15:11
It’s been shown now, through research that physical activity decreases levels of anxiety and depression. And it’s, it’s so good for the body, the mind spirit. A lot of the techniques that are used, you know, within sports psychology are absolutely applicable to someone, you know, go into a spin class for the business person. It’s all about setting goals, which is easy to do. Now, there are specific ways of setting goals that give you a better chance of accomplishing them, you know, you got your long, long term goals, you got shorter term goals that you can even break down into process and procedural goals. So, you know, how do you get to your long term goal? Well, you got to break it down into what do I need to do today? You know, what do I need to do specifically? So, for example, if a baseball player wants to have a certain batting average, okay, well, that’s the long term goal. So what do I need to do I practice today? Well, I want to hit maybe my goal is to hit three shots to left field in a row, or hit three fast balls, something very specific, and then you know, okay, well, what do I need to do that? So you break that down even further? Well, I need to choke up on the bat here, and wide my stance. So you can see how the process and procedural goals really fuel the long term outcome goal. And that’s, that can be applied to anyone doing anything, whether it’s even, you know, whether it’s physical fitness, whether it’s in the workplace, whether it’s in school!

Brianne Gallagher 17:06
Yeah, well, I would say the basics are the same, right? Like the first thing you have to do is listen and validate.

Kevin Oates 17:13
This is Brian Gallagher. She’s a school counselor at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth, Maine,

Brianne Gallagher 17:19
And have that unconditional positive regard, kind of be like, ready to hear anything and and let kids know that you’re there with them, regardless of what they share. And that I think that’s the same if you’re working with an adult.

Kevin Oates 17:34
So let’s just take a step back and reflect how we view mental health for children in elementary school. It’s not about a diagnosis or a problem. It’s about wellness and understanding feelings.

Brianne Gallagher 17:47
I love that you focus on the feelings, because one of the things is when I again, one of the things I love about being a school counselor is I’m not a clinician, I’m not diagnosing kiddos. So I actually like I veer away from the word anxiety or depression because they’re associated with that diagnosis. And not like I think there’s a place for diagnoses, I think there’s a place for medication and an all of that. with children, in particular, especially, I feel like those labels I really tried to focus on again, more normalizing. Everybody has feelings that come and go. That’s part of being a human being. And it’s really about how you respond to those feelings and the tools and skills that you give yourself to be able to react. And then one of the things I particularly do with kids that I think would work with adults, too, is asking them what they’re already doing. Because a lot of times, you know, as adults, we sweep right, right in and give strategies and we don’t give value and credit the things that they’re already doing. And a lot of times I’ll say, like a kiddo comes and says like, I feel sad a lot. And we talk about the sadness, what it feels like where it comes from, and then what of how have you been managing that right? Because you here you’ve come to me and it’s January and you’ve gotten through this whole school year and you’ve said you felt sad feelings pretty regularly all school year. And look at you like you’re coming to school, what are you doing, and a lot of times they are able to share some strategies that are already working for them that we can then build off of. So that again, I think is the same the things that are different that I love about my gig I love working with kids, is we can make it really fun, right? We use play manipulatives we lose use puppets. We use a lot of role plays and one of the things I love with kids that tend to have a pretty negative mindset and something goes wrong and it colors their whole day right it makes them feel like the whole day has gone badly is I have a ton of fidgets in my room like stress balls and things that twist and turn and playdough and all that stuff. So the big basket full of ball squishy fidgets and They’re different colors. And I hold up, you know, one, let’s say it’s a red ball, there’s one red boss, okay? Look at this basket. And this basket, like all the balls that are blue. And all the balls that are green are either good things, or neutral things that happen today. And the red ball is like your friend saying, I don’t want to play with you anymore. Right? Everything else happened, I was either good or neutral. And this one thing happened that really stunk. But what I see you doing is picking up the one red ball and holding on to it, and ignoring all these other things that happened today, right. And so kids really get that right like, and I honestly think that would work for adults, too. We want to make it real, we want to make it tangible. Going back to worry, I think externalizing something especially like worrying anxiety is really helpful. And this is also part of the work of Lynn Lyons is naming your worry, it’s your worry monster, you recognize his or her voice. And you can draw a picture of the worry, we come up with crazy names for the worry. And again, it makes, there’s like a playful aspect to it. And I think I’m also someone that believes in like not taking yourself too seriously. And I think that works for kids. But I do think it could work for adults too. I think adults need more of that in their life. So I have a little bit I had to struggle with how it’s different because i think i think a lot of it could work for adults too.

Kevin Oates 21:32
I think back to when I was in my K-12 years, and I remember there being much more focus on physical wellness within the school day, but not so much the mental wellness. I mean, I learned about emotion, sure, but how to handle and recognize those emotions definitely doesn’t seem as prevalent. However, that was 25 years ago. And as Brianna explains, there definitely has been growth within the education sector.

Brianne Gallagher 21:55
But I’ve actually seen a lot of positive change in public education. In part because I feel like social emotional learning has really been held up more recently, training, and professional development for teachers and staff is something that we’re spending so much more time not just focusing on teaching, reading, writing, and math, but really teaching these social and emotional skills. So I think that’s huge. Our school uses Responsive Classroom, which is an approach that does talk about good teaching. But it one of its kind of tenants is that social emotional learning and social emotional needs of students needs to be as important if not more than academics. So I think in that way, that has been really helpful. I feel like in the school setting, it used to be if a student was struggling socially, or struggling with their emotional regulation, it was the school counselors job, it was a social workers job. I think there’s been a shift in the last five years where it’s everybody’s job.

Kevin Oates 22:58
So with a school staff and you as a school counselor, where does your job stop with the student’s well being? And where does the parents job start?

Brianne Gallagher 23:08
So I’m a I’m a parent, I have three kids, I have an 11 year old son and twins that are nine. And I think parents jobs never end right. Like I always had a big reaction when someone would say that they were a full time mom. Then I was like, Well, I’m pretty sure I’m a full time mom, too. I’m pretty sure one of my kids is sick, or struggling, I still get that phone call, like I’m always on, I never get to like clock off of that mom hat. So parents are definitely always a part of the team. Right? They’re, they’re right up there, the kid is most important. And then the parents are definitely neck. So in terms of my role, I think my role is to have great relationships with kids and strong relationships with their parents. In terms of Okay, so this year, I will say if you were asking me in any other year, it might be a little bit different this year with the pandemic. And the remote learning piece, right? Our school has been hybrid most of the year that that line between what school and what’s home has become really blurry, which I think there’s pros and cons to in a normal year. If there was certainly if there was a situation that was impacting the child at school, then it would be something that I would be more than willing to talk to a student about, work directly with them offer support with if a parent calls me up and says, Hey, Bri, we are struggling. I can’t think of a great example right now. Oh, um, maybe a grandparent has died. And they’re like, you know, that my child seems okay. You know, the teacher says they’re fine, but I want to, I want to make sure I’m supporting them. I probably wouldn’t grab that kiddo unless they wanted to have access to me, I would. I’m really like a child centered counselor. So I’m going to go where A child leads me. That being said, I would absolutely provide resources to that parent be a sounding board. Parenting is hard. Like that being a parent is a harder job than being a school counselor. It’s so hard. So I am always so grateful. We were talking about, you know, stigma. And I think, I think there’s sometimes a stigma around parents saying, I’m struggling, and I don’t know what to do here. So I’m always encouraging those kinds of conversations, it might not mean I’m directly checking in one on one with that child.

Kevin Oates 25:33
We’ll come back to Brianna’s experience in just a few minutes. But with Carrie, I’d love to know, what are the next steps we can do to work on our mental health, whether we are just starting for the first time, or we’ve already begun this journey.

Carrie Hastings 25:48
It’s not a quick fix, you know, everybody’s different, and everybody comes in with different issues. But yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s nice to have it in place, you know, people just like having that as part of their regimen and knowing they have that to look forward to, whether it’s something a little during the week, or it’s a long term view that they’re working on. But yeah, to really invest in that, you know, as, as you would anything else, to better yourself externally, or internally, it really makes a difference. I mean, you know, you just, it’s breaking it down into those very specific baby steps and committing to them, and, you know, making it manageable and achievable. All the while, you know, pushing yourself and, and setting up challenges, too. I am so passionate about a holistic approach to coaching to participating in athletics, and really that total wellness focus, you know, not to say, I mean, I think it’s human to consider how you look, but you will look better if you feel better. And if you are healthy, and, you know, if you get so hung up on just, you know, the the external factors, the external features of yourself, you know, you’re really missing out on on inner elements that could enhance, you know, your whole present to external presentation.

Brianne Gallagher 27:25
Yeah, I think I mean, we know this as adults, too, right? If we are stuffing emotions, if things are coming up, and we’re not dealing with them, it’s our body’s gonna let us know whether it’s getting sick or at school. So with kids, belly aches, and headaches are the most common, but some kids get really creative, like my toe hurts, right, like my left ear lobe is bothering me. So I think it It definitely can come out in our body also. And this is where I start to get concerned when it’s affecting sleep, or eating habits are exercise impacting kids that way physically. That’s when I start to get concerned.

Kevin Oates 28:08
What are some of the signs from K-12 students who are struggling with their emotions and wellness, both in school and at home?

Brianne Gallagher 28:16
Number one, helplessness. Right? And when I think about suicide prevention training. So the state of Maine such a great thing has a law now that everyone that works k 12. Whether you’re a cafeteria worker, or whether you’re a classroom teacher, you have to have the Suicide Prevention training. And one of the things that you look for signs that you might need to check in with someone about some suicide ideation is that helplessness that kind of like, things aren’t going to get better? I’m always going to feel like this, that kind of giving up. So that’s, that’s a huge, that’s alarm bells for me for sure. So then I have, you know, a set of questions I’m going to ask, if I either hear that, or an effect is showing me that effect is big. A lot of times when I’m in a room or on zoom, I’ve been actually pleasantly surprised by how about you can still pick up on on zoom. If I am seeing, you know, if I’m seeing a kiddo that’s detached, that shut down, maybe they’re answering my questions, but it’s just not there on their face. Or there’s a disconnect between their words and what I’m seeing on their faces in their bodies. That’s that’s definitely an alarm for me. And then so those are like in the moment, and then more thinking like if I’ve been working with a student for several weeks, and they started out the teacher was concerned or the parent was concerned and we’ve had several weeks and there’s no change. The student the parent, the teacher isn’t isn’t reporting that things are getting better than then that’s that’s gonna, that’s going to make me concerned and that’s where I might be. jesting outside counseling or some outside support. It’s where I might be consulting with my colleagues. But yeah, that would be a reason to be concerned too.

Kevin Oates 30:09
Just like any professional, an individual seeks out whether as a student or an adult, what should happen when they don’t click?

Brianne Gallagher 30:17
So click, I struggled with a click, I think, um, I think part of having a lot of training and active listening and a lot of training and empathy is I can, I haven’t met a kid that I haven’t been able to have compassion and unconditional positive regard for. I have had kiddos that I’m not very effective with. Right, I have had kiddos, I can be a lot like I have a big personality. I do like puppets and fidgets and I’m, I’m, I’m pretty colorful and lively. And not all kids respond to that. Well, and I can adapt. But I’ve definitely had kiddos that, that I’m feeling like, okay, I am, there’s something that I’m not giving them that they need. And I need to either figure it out. So I have colleagues, we have two social workers also one full time on one part time that we consult regularly. So they’re doing the same for me. Nikki, one of our social workers, in particular has a very different, amazing, she’s a very different style than I do. So I will often go to her and be like, how would you approach this? And I might try it. And then there are times where I might say, Hey, will you give it a try with this kid, like we do some check ins, and let’s see if this is a better fit. We’re lucky that, especially now with our with our second school counselor, we have more ability to do that. I will say what’s harder is when I click with a kid, and I love them, and they love me and the relationship feels good. But we’re not really getting anywhere. Like that, that can be hard that like admitting that someone else needs to try that we need to use a new approach that that can be tricky.

Kevin Oates 31:59
This is what Dr. Hastings had to share.

Carrie Hastings 32:02
I would add, it’s very important to have a good fit with your therapist. And and we don’t take it personally if it’s not when you go. But we encourage you, you know, you got to keep trying. Because you know, it’s not it doesn’t mean therapy isn’t for you necessarily. It doesn’t mean you know that, that you shouldn’t do it. Sometimes it’s just keeping at it until you find that person who’s who you connect with the best.

Kevin Oates 32:33
What have been some great initiatives and next steps that you’ve seen to support students more emotionally in the K-12 education system?

Brianne Gallagher 32:41
I think there’s been a lot of great initiatives. The It’s Okay Not To Be Okay initiative. Our school has been our district has been involved in the Yellow Tulip Project, which I love because it was originated by high school kids in Maine about sharing their stories of mental health struggles and really having that conversation going. Nami. Maine is an amazing organization. It’s a very, that’s been very involved in getting that training I was talking about, about suicide prevention to all schools. Because when we think about suicide ideation, we look at the data and I don’t have enough in front of me, but the data on in your lifetime, will you consider suicide is incredibly high, right? It’s the most people. So this is something we need to be talking about. And I feel like there’s a lot of great organizations and great people doing this work. So I do think that it’s evolving. I’ll go back to that access piece. I said before, we need better access. Right? We need it to be like right there. The second that we need it we need to be we need it to be right in front of us. Which is why again, plug for school counselors was why the school counselor role is so important in schools because we are there for all kids, anyone can access us at any time when they need us.

Kevin Oates 34:02
We asked both Dr. Hastings and Brianne Gallagher, what are the next steps we can do to support students, our circle and ourselves when it comes to mental health and wellness?

Brianne Gallagher 34:13
Yeah, well, I have two things come to mind. And I’m not sure that I can just pick one. The first is definitely emotional regulation, awareness. And I think sometimes you’ll misunderstand that term emotional regulation, it doesn’t mean turning feelings on and off. Like being a human doesn’t work like that. But that is that being able to recognize I was just reading a book today I forget the name of that. Maybe it’s breathing makes it better with some second grade students about feelings coming go and when they come we want to recognize and we want to like talk about Oh, hi loneliness, like, what’s up, you know, checking in with those feelings. But then having this understanding that there are things we can do to help process that There are people that will help us. And then that feeling, it’s, it’s gonna go away, right? It’s going to come and go, like, we’re going to struggle, things are going to get better, we’re going to struggle again. And that’s what being a human is. I think that’s, that’s huge. And there’s obviously a ton of skills, I could talk all day about all the skills that go into that emotion regulation. Like, it starts really young, right around, like, having a vocabulary around how we’re feeling, being able to being able to name that feeling, being able to come up with coping strategies that work, knowing who the trusted adults are, knowing how we can ask for help. All of those are such important skills that I think create really healthy humans that can get through the tough stuff. And then the other the other. The other big piece is empathy. I think I had mentioned before, you know, our country is pretty divisive right now. So when I think about being a renegade or a maverick, you need to be able to have empathy for yourself. And know that being a human is hard. And there’s going to be days I said, it could sometimes I say to kids, you know, I’m, I’m usually like, I usually run out 100%, right, I’m all in. But there are days where I’m not feeling great that I might be an ad, and that’s okay. And I’m gonna still be sweet to myself and be my own friend and get myself nice messages. And then it’s also really important to have an awareness of how other people are failing and to recognize, you know, what that person looks like they’re struggling, and I know what that feels like. And I know that when I’m struggling, I like people to check in and say, Hey, it looks like you’re struggling. My lesson today, today, at my school was about this, like checking in, hey, it looks like you’re struggling, can I help. And maybe that person’s like, I just actually just need to be left alone, okay. But that friend knows that you care about them. And I think that is so powerful, right? actions like that have the ability to truly change the world. So yeah, empathy, emotional regulation, those are my two.

Carrie Hastings 37:08
It’s really so much about education. And, you know, even if it comes down to just providing resources for people to at their own pace, you know, pick up and read, or, you know, keep churning out articles doing this, I mean, you know, just providing these platforms where it’s talked about and talked about freely, and, and made accessible, and, you know, it’s, it’s just important to keep at the forefront of the conversation, of wellness of just thriving as human beings. And, and so, you know, and providing resources were for all ages, and I think, the more we can add to specialties, that would be helpful to in terms of, you know, kids going to a facility where they see other kids or where, you know, the environment is catered to that, to that demographic, putting, you know, mental health facilities and clinicians who offer sliding scales, you know, even if it’s not one on one, you know, giving, asking clinicians to give of their time or, you know, providing, providing workshops or, you know, like I said materials that they can read or listen to, or watch, and then having prominent people speak out about how it’s helped them and, and, you know, there’s no shame in that I think that it’s, I think anyone and everyone could benefit from, from talking to someone from listening to others from learning how to improve themselves and, and just manage, just manage their place in the world and you know, get through the day. That’s what it’s all about, you know, what, what better purpose is there then trying to be happy? Nothing else matters as much really, in my opinion.

Kevin Oates 39:29
Discover and learn from all the resources Dr. Carrie Hastings and Brianne Gallagher have to share at Renegades and Mavericks is a production of Dirigo Collective. Production and hosting by Kevin Oates, copywriting and script writing by Jeremy Glass, and our project manager is Claire Closson. Make sure to subscribe and review wherever you listen to podcasts so that we can keep sharing more educational stories. And give us a follow on Instagram @renegadesandmavericks