Rianna Patterson is the founder of Dominica Dementia Foundation. She is also the director of the Dementia Island Journey Film. Rianna is a fellow TEDx speaker, Queens Young Leader awardee and RCS Associate Fellow. Rianna is also the Marketing, Business pathways and Young Adult Programme Lead at ReapSource.

This Mental Health Day Rianna shares her advice on how to take care of your mental health as a young leader.

Being an entrepreneur, I have found myself in a period of exhaustion and burn out. The line of work that I do can result in mental exhaustion because I am very passionate about what I do, and I always put 100% into everything I pursue. I am trying to maintain a work life balance because it is necessary and being a mental health advocate, I need to also practice what I advocate for.

Be honest with yourself

I think the first set in taking care of your mental health is to do a mental check in. If you feel that your calendar is overwhelming, then exchange events on your calendar for break periods. It is important to be still and allow yourself to reset. If your calendar only has meeting agendas, find time to include time with your family and your friends. When you make mental health a priority it will become easier to clear your mind for what is important. I enjoy doing illustration and listening to music. Being creative has worked for me in many situations. I am also practicing not answering my emails on the weekend and once in a while I will do a social media detox.

Reset your values

What is important to you? What is fulfilling? Redefining your values and goals can help you to understand what you should commit to. Saying no is okay and should be normalised. You should not take on more than you can offer.

Seek Professional help

Mental illness can affect anyone. Age is not a limit to what can develop a mental illness. You must be honest with yourself as to severity of your mental health and seek professional help. There are various resources for finding a therapist.

I have been involved in BAATN network which is a network of Black, African and Asian Therapists. I have personally sought counselling during my year of high school when my grandfather had Dementia. If you already have a therapist, book in a session to catch up and talk about your good days as well as your bad. You can seek a therapist for various life difficulties - this includes changing habits or relationship issues. As a community we must normalise talking about mental health because it is important to get the support we need to live well.

Revamp Your Business

As an entrepreneur, seeking help also includes asking for help for your business. Are you short staffed? What resources are you missing to help achieve your goals? Is the workload at work overwhelming, what is your system for delegating work?

You don’t need to do it by yourself. Mental health is a collective process. Look at your network and ask for help.