Darling! It’s a pleasure to have you on YS.com and a part of this series! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thank you, thank you, Yetti! Well, My name is Davia Roberts, and I am licensed therapist. I am also the creator of Redefine Enough, an online space and community I created for women of color to be able to discuss womanhood and mental health! I think we’ll get to the more juicy stuff throughout the interview.
We sure will, so let’s get right to it! When and how did you figure out what anxiety and depression was? What made you want to pursue a counseling degree?
People may not believe this but I didn’t truly understand anxiety and depression until I was in graduate school. Quite frankly, my family didn’t speak about mental health… ever. It wasn’t until launching Redefine Enough that a family member reached out to me and disclosed a mental health diagnosis. Prior to that, the only nod to mental health was saying someone had “bad nerves.” It failed to capture the full picture of what was happening.
Since my family was so “hush hush” about mental health, I had no intention to become a counselor when I went to undergrad. In fact, my B.A. is in Spanish because I wanted to work with Black and Latino youth doing non-profit work. Thankfully, my career with students of color prompted me to pursue a counseling degree after recognizing their academic performances were greatly impacted by factors outside of the classroom. If I wanted to support the academic success of my students, I knew that I needed to support their emotional wellness as well. Within a year of that realization, I sat in my first counseling skills class as a graduate student. I haven’t looked back.
As a licensed therapist, do you have any non-conventional coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety and/or depression that you recommend to your clients?
To be honest, laughter has been so healing when I work with clients.
Naturally, I think I’m hilarious. My clients may not agree but they’ll humor me and laugh at my jokes. With laughter, we get to break the ice and give ourselves permission to not be so serious. That gives me an opportunity to blow bubbles, play Connect 4, draw, and create a moment of peace and reduce the day to day tension. Once they realize how much joy they can experience, they begin to integrate more play in their life to cope with the anxiety and/or depression. Before a difficult test, they may sit on a bench and blow bubbles or use coloring pages to calm their nerves. It’s a way to use the simple things in life to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
2017 has already been a big year for you! Congratulations on the release of your new Podcast, “Affirm!” With your platform “Redefine Enough” being heavily dedicated to helping us delineate what “good enough” is to us, as well as helping us to manage our mental health, what can we expect from you and this series?
I don’t know where to begin because there is so much that I want to do with AFFIRM. As of right now, we’ll continue to highlight the presence of mental health in communities of color and work to make it “ok” to acknowledge and discuss mental illness.
My biggest hope is that AFFIRM will spark deep thought and healthy dialogue about mental health and emotional wellness. Hopefully, giving women of color and communities the freedom to seek support without shame. Obviously that won’t immediately happen after 5 or 6 episodes but we want to spread awareness as much as possible.
We’re hopeful to host a live podcast recording in July, during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, to raises funds for prospective clients of color to receive up to 15 free counseling sessions at a local mental health center, as well as provide scholarships for graduate students of color pursuing degrees in counseling. We’re striving to make an impact and hoping that people will support our mission.
You may be the only person I know that loves affirmations as much as I do, so it’s only right that I ask you to share two with the YS crew before we let you go!
Haha! You’re completely right, I love a good affirmation. It’s extremely hard to pick my top two affirmations because they change based on my stage of life but as of right now…
- I’m in love with the woman I’m becoming.
- I am where I need to be in this moment… and that’s enough for me.
These two affirmations allow me to recognize that I am constantly growing and evolving into a better woman. At times, I want my growth to look different but I gently remind myself that growth takes time and every step of the process has value and lends to my evolution.
Where can we find you (websites, social media, etc.)?
You can find me at RedefineEnough.com, where you’ll find dope content about wellness and womanhood. You can connect via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the handle @RedefineEnough.
Don’t forget about AFFIRM, the podcast for women of color who affirm their worth, value mental health, and seek wholeness. You can find episodes on SoundCloud and iTunes. Plus, AFFIRM can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the handle @AFFIRMpodcast.
So if you dig what’s happening with Redefine Enough, you should definitely join the newsletter for affirmations (I told you I loved those things, lol), self-care tips, and giveaways.2