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The Just A Mom Podcast Profile

The Just A Mom Podcast

English, Children-Kids, 1 season, 69 episodes, 2 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes
My name is Susie.  I have three children, the youngest of whom struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. I never thought this could happen to me, and I missed the signs.  Being a parent is really hard, and I'm here to help! I'm talking to parents and experts to help you with the issues your kids may face.  I want you to know that you are not alone and there is hope. 
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Season 5 Episode 12: Kyle

In this episode of the Just A Mom podcast, Susie converses with Kyle about his journey as a parent raising a child grappling with mental health issues. Kyle delves into the hurdles he encountered in identifying early indicators and the opportunities for intervention. He sheds light on the struggles of securing suitable treatment and the toll it took on his family. The dialogue underscores the pressing need for enhanced accessibility and resources within the mental health care framework. Throughout the discussion, Kyle reflects on his experience navigating parenthood amidst his child's mental health challenges, highlighting the adversities faced, such as bullying and mental health societal stigma, stressing the importance of empathy, and fostering candid discussions on mental well-being. Kyle also underscores the significance of attentive listening and the necessity for parents to prioritize their therapy. Offering guidance for parents of young children, he emphasizes the value of trusting instincts and commemorating minor victories while maintaining optimism and acknowledging the transient nature of tough times.Key TakeawaysEarly detection of mental health issues in children is pivotal for timely intervention.Even parents, including those in healthcare, can overlook signs and must remain vigilant.Challenges persist in mental health care accessibility and insurance coverage.Mental illness profoundly affects family dynamics and warrants support and understanding.Parenting a child with mental health issues can reshape healthcare professionals' approach to medicine.The effects of bullying on mental health and well-being.Addressing bullying and eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health remain pertinent issues.Promoting the importance of empathy is crucial despite potential developmental constraints in youth.Open dialogue about mental health and empathy cultivation are vital for children's well-being.Providing support through attentive listening, devoid of a solution-driven agenda, is immensely impactful.Prioritizing personal therapy is essential for parents navigating a child's mental health challenges.Parents of young children should focus on individualized understanding and foster open communication.Trusting instincts and seeking early assistance are pivotal when suspecting a child's mental health struggles.Embracing a day-by-day approach and celebrating small victories aids in navigating parenthood amidst mental health challenges.Maintaining hope and acknowledging the transient nature of adversity is crucial for resilience.Topics: bullying and mental health, the effects of bullying on mental health and well-being, the importance of empathy
4/9/202437 minutes, 13 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 11: Ryan Lefebvre Part 2

This is the second in a two part series with Ryan LeFevbre, Kansas City Royals Announcer. Ryan continues his story by sharing more about his mental health journey and his road to healing. We discuss Ryan’s book, The Shame of Me: One Man’s Journey to Depression and Back ( Don’t miss the conclusion of this honest and vulnerable conversation that is sure to encourage you.
4/2/202443 minutes, 45 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 10: Ryan Lefebvre, Baseball Announcer for the Kansas City Royals

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Ryan Lefebvre"In this episode of the Just A Mom podcast, Susie engages in a conversation with Ryan Lefebvre, the baseball announcer for the Kansas City Royals. Together, they delve into Ryan's profound journey through depression and his subsequent recovery. Ryan candidly shares his upbringing in a fractured family, shedding light on its impact on his self-worth and self-esteem. He explores the relentless pursuit of external validation in shaping his life. The episode delves into Ryan's battle with major depression, highlighting the moment when he reached out for assistance. Ryan also reflects on the role that counseling, journaling, and medication played in his path to recovery.Throughout the conversation, Ryan emphasizes the importance of discussing mental health, particularly for men who might be hesitant to share their struggles. He advocates for seeking help and support and delves into how his faith significantly contributed to his healing process, stressing the significance of surrendering to God's plan. Ryan also touches on the different facets of intimacy in relationships and underscores the need for balance. He addresses the stigma surrounding mental health in religious communities and underscores the importance of recognizing mental health as a medical condition.Key Takeaways:Childhood experiences and family dynamics can have a profound impact on one's emotional well-being, self-worth, and self-esteem.The pursuit of external validation and material success may lead to feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction.Seeking help through counseling can provide valuable insights and support in navigating depression.Journaling and creative outlets are effective tools for processing emotions and gaining clarity during the journey to recovery.Discussing mental health is crucial, especially for men who may be hesitant to open up about their struggles.Faith can play a significant role in the healing process, offering hope and purpose.Intimacy in relationships involves physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connections.Understanding mental health as a medical condition helps reduce stigma and promotes effective treatment.If you want to hear more about Ryan’s story we warmly recommend his book “The Shame of Me”. This book represents Ryan’s sincere wish to help others by sharing more stories from his life.Topics: mental health in religious communities, mental health and religion, self-worth and self-esteem
3/26/202448 minutes, 35 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 9: Carron Montgomery, Licensed Professional Counselor and Author, Part 2

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Carron Montgomery, Licenced Professional Counselor and Award-Winning Author Part 2"Introduction: Welcome back to the Just a Mom podcast! In this highly anticipated episode, Susie is joined once again by Carron Montgomery. Carron brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, delving into topics ranging from neuroplasticity to the therapeutic benefits of nature. Throughout the conversation, Carron shares invaluable insights into the challenges faced by individuals and families in today's digital age, emphasizing the importance of balanced emotional expression and the power of human connection. As an added treat, Carron discusses her new book, "The Invisible Riptide" , a testament to her dedication to empowering individuals of all ages with the tools they need to navigate life's complexities.Parental Concerns Amidst the Pandemic:The discussion starts with the anxiety parents face during the pandemic while needing to work.Emphasizes the difficulty in reverting to a pre-digital era but stresses the importance of understanding and communicating these concerns to children.Exposure to Inappropriate Content:Concerns were raised about children encountering explicit material online, including pornography and inappropriate pop-ups, even on seemingly safe platforms like Roblox.Advocates for open conversations with children about these topics rather than avoiding them, referencing resources like "Good Pictures, Bad Pictures" and "Yes, Your Kid."Embracing Emotions and GrowthDiscussion on the importance of allowing children to experience and process emotions without immediately seeking to fix them.Recognition of the value of mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning.Introduction to The Invisible RiptideCarron shares the inspiration behind writing The Invisible Riptide series during the pandemic to address the shared struggles people face while feeling isolated.Emphasis on the book's aim to reassure readers that they are not alone in their experiences and to guide managing emotions.Providing Resources and SupportCarron discusses the additional resources provided in The Invisible Riptide, such as discussion guides, songs, and a toolbox for emotional management.Recognition of the overwhelming nature of seeking resources and the importance of presenting information in a manageable and accessible format.Upcoming Graphic Novel on Social MediaIntroduction to Carron's upcoming graphic novel on social media, aimed at providing non-preachy guidance on navigating online interactions.Discussion on the role of generational wisdom and character dynamics in the graphic novel, fostering understanding between different age groups.The Importance of Human ConnectionDiscussion on the intrinsic need for human connection and the impact of social media on interpersonal relationships.Carron emphasizes the significance of understanding emotions and using them as guides for healthy technology usage.Carron stresses the importance of education over-reliance on protective apps, highlighting children's resourcefulness in bypassing parental controls.Impact on Mental Health and Peer DynamicsExploration of the phenomenon of self-identification with mental health diagnoses among tweens and teens, influenced by peer dynamics and trauma bonding.Carron shares anecdotes illustrating the complexities of adolescent social dynamics and the importance of fostering open dialogue and support networks.Parental Support and Modeling BehaviorReflects on the challenges of balancing support and guidance without controlling or fixing children's problems.Emphasizes the importance of acknowledging children's struggles and providing unconditional love and acceptance.Advocates for validating children's experiences and offering support while respecting their autonomy and boundaries.Recognizing the Need for Professional HelpExplores indicators that may signal the need for professional intervention, such as persistent emotional distress or changes in behavior.Discusses the role of pediatricians and the importance of seeking help without stigma or shame.Empowering Personal Growth and NeuroplasticityDelves into the concept of neuroplasticity and its role in personal growth and behavioral change.Carron discusses the importance of consistency and engagement in activities to promote positive neuroplasticity and overcome mental ruts.Gratitude and AppreciationExpresses gratitude for the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise on mental health and parenting through the podcast.
3/19/202441 minutes, 16 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 8: Carron Montgomery, Licensed Professional Counselor and Author

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Carron Montgomery, Licenced Professional Counselor and Award-Winning Author"Introduction: In this episode of the Just a Mom podcast, Susie introduces Carron Montgomery, a licensed professional counselor, registered play therapist, level two trained EMDR, and trauma specialist. Carron shares her wealth of knowledge and expertise, offering valuable insights into neuroplasticity, the therapeutic benefits of nature, and the importance of balanced emotional expression. Additionally, Carron discusses her new book, "The Invisible Riptide," underscoring her commitment to empowering individuals and families with the tools they need to navigate life's challenges. Stay tuned for an engaging and informative conversation with Carron Montgomery on the Just A Mom podcast.Introduction to Carron's WorkCarron explains her current work in private practice, specializing in treating anxiety, depression, ADHD, and trauma across various age groups.Increase in Youth Mental Health IssuesDiscussion on factors contributing to the rise in mental health issues among youth and teens over the past decade.Influence of smartphones and social media on shaping perceptions and exacerbating anxiety.Lack of breaks from social issues due to constant connectivity leads to increased stress and feelings of exclusion.Impact of Technology on Youth DevelopmentConcerns about the early exposure of children to electronic devices leading to a lack of preparedness for the emotional and social consequences of online interactions.Carron's efforts to address these issues through educational resources like her graphic novel on social media.Role of Parents and EducatorsImportance of parents and educators in providing accurate information and teaching emotional regulation skills to children.Encouragement for parents to experiment with limiting screen time and observing its impact on their children's well-being.Emphasis on fostering healthy relationships with technology and recognizing signs of unhealthy usage.The Importance of Learning Through MistakesDiscusses the necessity for children to make mistakes under parental guidance to facilitate learning and development.Highlights concerns about overprotective parenting potentially hindering children's ability to navigate challenges independently.Understanding and Accepting EmotionsEmphasizes the importance of allowing children to experience and process strong emotions without feeling the need to immediately fix or suppress them.Advocates for a balanced approach to addressing emotional needs, acknowledging the value of both validation and guidance.Introduction to "The Invisible Riptide"Explores the origins of the book "The Invisible Riptide" and its mission to provide comfort and support to children and teenagers struggling with mental health issues.Discusses the book's accessibility and inclusive approach, designed to resonate with both young readers and their parents.Creating a Common Language and ResourcesHighlights the significance of establishing a common language between parents and children regarding mental health and emotions.Provides insight into the book's discussion guide, dyslexia-friendly font, and diverse representation to enhance accessibility.Empowering Through Resources and CollaborationCarron shares the motivation behind offering additional resources and free materials on the book's website to support parents and educators.Expresses commitment to endorsing helpful products and providing valuable information without financial gain.Upcoming ProjectsCarron teases the release of a new graphic novel aimed at addressing social media issues in a relatable and non-preachy manner.Discusses the decision to utilize a graphic novel format to cater to diverse learning styles and meet readers where they are.Shares plan for future projects and collaborations to promote mental health awareness and emotional well-being.Join us for the next episode of the Just a Mom podcast featuring Carron Montgomery, a licensed professional counselor and trauma specialist. In this enlightening conversation, Carron shares invaluable insights into youth mental health. Discover how Carron's new book, "The Invisible Riptide," can provide comfort and support to children and teens struggling with mental health issues. In the second part of this episode, learn about the resources and strategies Carron offers to parents and educators for fostering healthy relationships with technology and promoting emotional resilience in children!
3/12/202433 minutes, 54 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 7: Pat Aussem, The Partnership to End Addiction

On the latest episode of the Just a Mom Podcast, Susie brings in Pat Aussem, Vice President for Consumer Clinical Content Development at the Partnership to End Addiction. They delve into a conversation exploring the Partnership's goals and services, the intricate link between mental health and substance abuse, and the consequences of marijuana legalization on substance use.The discussion extends to critical topics such as the dangers associated with fentanyl and counterfeit pills, the growing prevalence of vaping and alcohol use among teens, and the risks tied to hosting alcohol parties for teenagers. The spotlight is on the fentanyl crisis, emphasizing the necessity of Narcan, and the importance of safe medication storage to mitigate risks.Pat Aussem sheds light on treatment options for substance abuse, ranging from counseling and harm reduction methods to intensive outpatient programs and residential care. The conversation underscores the significance of addressing the root causes of addiction and emphasizes the need for ongoing dialogues about drugs and alcohol with children.Key Takeaways:The Partnership to End Addiction provides comprehensive support and resources for families dealing with substance abuse, covering prevention to treatment.Recognizing the strong connection between mental health issues and substance abuse is crucial, advocating for a simultaneous approach to address both aspects.Marijuana legalization has contributed to increased substance use among young people, necessitating education about associated risks.Fentanyl and counterfeit pills pose significant threats, highlighting the importance of Narcan availability to reverse overdoses.Safe storage of medications and firearms is imperative to prevent misuse and accidents.Treatment options for substance abuse encompass a spectrum from counseling to intensive residential care.Addressing the root causes of substance abuse is vital, requiring support and resources for individuals and families.Initiating conversations about drugs and alcohol with children at a young age is a preventive measure against future substance abuse.Normalizing substance use conversations from a young age facilitates open communication, making it easier for children to discuss these topics.Establish open lines of communication with your child, letting them know they can approach you for help.The Partnership to End Addiction offers free and confidential resources for families in need. Their helpline number is 855-378-4373.Topics: alcohol use among teens, substance abuse, mental health issues and substance abuse 
3/5/202457 minutes, 25 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 6: Major General Gregg F. Martin, Part 2

Podcast Episode Show Notes, part 2: "Major General Gregg F. Martin"Introduction: In the second episode featuring Major General Gregg F. Martin conversation extends to the prevalence of bipolar disorder in the military, addressing the significant challenges faced by service members. Major General Martin underscores the persistent stigma surrounding mental health issues and acknowledges the positive strides made in mental health support within the military while acknowledging the remaining hurdles.Medication Cocktail and Treatment ApproachMental illness treatment often involves a trial-and-error process to find the right medication and therapy combination.Gregg highlights the importance of a holistic, multidimensional approach to mental health care, involving medication, therapy, and support from various professionals.Quality of Psychiatric Care in VA HospitalsGregg shares his positive experience with the psychiatric department at White River Junction VA, emphasizing its exceptional quality compared to other VA hospitals.However, he acknowledges that the standard of care may vary across different VA facilities due to factors like size and patient volume.Prevalence of Mental Illness in the MilitaryGregg suggests that the military environment, characterized by stress and high-energy expectations, may contribute to a higher prevalence of mental health conditions like bipolar disorder.There has been progress in the military's approach to mental health, allowing service members with conditions like PTSD, depression, and anxiety to continue serving with proper treatment.Promoting Mental Health Awareness and RecoveryGregg's book, "Bipolar General: My Forever War with Mental Illness," aims to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and promote recovery strategies for individuals struggling with mental illness.The discussion emphasizes the importance of seeking timely help and effective treatment to prevent the detrimental impact of untreated mental illness.Personal Experience with Bipolar DisorderGregg provides insights into the manic and depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder, describing the euphoria and grandiosity of mania contrasted with the lethargy and despair of depression.He underscores the biological nature of mental illnesses, emphasizing that they are not character flaws but physiological conditions affecting brain function.Topics: bipolar disorder survivor, bipolar survivor, bipolar disorder in the military 
2/27/202435 minutes, 3 seconds
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Season 5 Episode 5: Major General Gregg F. Martin

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Major General Gregg F. Martin"Introduction: In this episode of the Just A Mom podcast, Susie engages in a compelling conversation with Major General Gregg F. Martin, a combat veteran and resilient bipolar disorder survivor. Major General Martin candidly shares his tumultuous journey of grappling with bipolar disorder, shedding light on the unique challenges he confronted within the military. The first part of this interview delves into the complexities of misdiagnosis and the onset of his illness during the Iraq War, exploring the profound impact on his career. Major General Martin’s BackgroundMajor General Gregg F. Martin, PhD, US Army veteran, combat veteran, bipolar disorder survivor, and advocate.Extensive military background with notable achievements and command positions.Major General Martin retired due to a state of full-blown mania, exacerbated by bipolar disorder, which had been undiagnosed and untreated for over a decade.His dismissal from National Defense University marked the climax of a 10-year struggle with bipolar disorder triggered during the Iraq War.Medical EvaluationDespite seeking medical evaluation multiple times, he received misdiagnoses and was deemed fit for duty, leading to spiraling depression and psychosis.Proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder type one and psychosis came after severe depression episodes in 2014.Impact on Work and RelationshipsMajor General Martin's manic episodes went unnoticed or were attributed to high performance during his military career, but erratic behavior was observed closer to his retirement.His wife noticed gradual changes in behavior over the years but didn't associate them with mental illness until the situation escalated in 2014.Psychiatric HospitalizationMajor General Martin's positive experience with inpatient psychiatric care at the VA followed ineffective treatment from military and civilian providers.A thorough assessment at the VA led to the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, including inpatient care.Major General Martin's book, 'Bipolar General,' aims to save lives, foster recovery, support bipolar survivors, and combat the pervasive stigma surrounding mental illness.Topics: bipolar disorder survivor, bipolar survivor, bipolar disorder in the military 
2/20/202436 minutes, 46 seconds
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Season 5, Episode 4: Meggin Part 2

Podcast Episode Show Notes, part 2: "Meggin Rose"Introduction: In the second part of the episode, Meggin reflects on her son's high school years, highlighting his compassionate nature. The narrative unfolds to reveal significant changes before college – a noticeable loss of energy and breakdowns in communication. Meggin courageously shares her son's accusation of emotional abuse, revealing the strain on their relationship. Throughout, she advocates for openness and compassion in addressing mental health challenges, stressing the interconnectedness of individuals and the pressing need to eradicate the stigma and shame linked to these struggles. This episode encapsulates an exploration of resilience, support, and the continuous quest for mental health awareness and understanding.Observations in High SchoolMeggin reflects on her son's high school years, describing him as a compassionate and supportive individual.Talks about the noticeable changes before he left for college, including loss of energy and communication breakdown.Meggin recounts her son's accusation of emotional abuse, leading to a strained relationship before college.Understanding Psychotic EpisodesMeggin shares insights into psychotic episodes, recounting her son's experiences with disorganized thinking, short attention spans, and altered perceptions.Meggin talks about moments of fear and precautions taken, shedding light on the complex relationship between mental illness and violence.The conversation delves into Meggin's struggles and moments of despair, emphasizing the importance of self-care.Finding Strength and Coping MechanismsMeggin discusses finding strength and coping mechanisms, from therapy to engaging in activities like oil painting, writing, and volunteering.Meggin shares insights into how her son's illness has affected her marriage, highlighting the partnership with her husband and their collaborative navigation of challenges.Breaking the Silence and Building SupportAddressing societal stigmas, Meggin encourages open conversations about mental health, touching on historical blame and the shift towards shared responsibility.Meggin provides an update on her son's current status, discussing his part-time job, challenges, and aspirations. She candidly shares struggles with maintaining hope and the ongoing need for better treatments.NYU's On Track Family Support GroupMeggin sheds light on her work with NYU's On Track Family Support Group, detailing her role as a family connector and the group's aim to support caregivers.Meggin highlights the collaborative nature of the mental health community, emphasizing the need for education and understanding among healthcare providers.Final Thoughts and EncouragementIn concluding the discussion, Meggin encourages openness and compassion in addressing mental health challenges, emphasizing interconnectedness and the need to eliminate shame.
2/13/202444 minutes, 10 seconds
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Season 5, Episode 3: Meggin Part 1

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Meggin Rose"Introduction: Join us for a powerful and insightful Just A Mom podcast episode as Susie sits down with the remarkable Meggin Rose. In this emotional conversation, Meggin candidly shares her journey as a parent navigating the complex terrain of mental health challenges within her family. From the early signs of her child's struggles to the hurdles of finding appropriate care during a pandemic, Meggin takes us through the heart-wrenching moments of hospitalization, medication challenges, and the delicate balance between advocacy and respecting autonomy.Background and FamilyMeggin provides an overview of her family, residing on a farm outside Ithaca, New York, and touches on her son's mental health struggles during high school.Early Signs and ChallengesMeggin reflects on the early signs of her child's mental health struggles, initially misattributed to typical adolescence. Challenges escalated during college, leading to serious mental health issues.Hospitalization and TreatmentMeggin shares the pivotal role of a compassionate psychiatric nurse in securing voluntary hospitalization. The family's connection with OnTrack New York and challenges with medication management are discussed.Medication Challenges and AdvocacyMeggin discusses the emotional roller coaster of medication changes, highlighting challenges with side effects, non-compliance, and the balance between mental health treatment and autonomy.Involuntary Hospitalization ChallengesMeggin advocates for changing standards for involuntary hospitalization in psychotic cases, emphasizing the need for a flexible approach.Parental Feelings and SupportMeggin opens up about intense parental emotions and the importance of seeking support, emphasizing advocacy and trust-building.Advocacy and Fierce Advocacy SkillsThe discussion covers Meggin's advocacy within the mental health care system, addressing challenges and emphasizing the need for family support.Join us in Part Two to hear more about how:Psychotic episodes can vary in symptoms and severity, and it is important to seek professional help for diagnosis and treatment.The impact of mental illness extends to the entire family, and support and understanding are essential for siblings and grandchildren.Coping and self-care are vital for caregivers, and finding joy in small moments can provide respite from the challenges.Marriages can be affected by the stress of caring for a loved one with mental illness, but open communication and support can help navigate the difficulties.Sharing the journey with others who have similar experiences can provide valuable support and understanding.While hope for the future may fluctuate, advancements in research and treatment offer potential for improved outcomes.Access to appropriate medications and treatment is crucial, and ongoing research is needed to develop more effective options.Anosognosia, the lack of awareness of one's mental illness, can complicate treatment and adherence to medication.
2/6/202445 minutes, 21 seconds
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Season 5, Episode 2: Dr. Samantha De Caro, The Renfrew Center

Introduction: In this episode of the JAM podcast, we explore eating disorders with Dr. Samantha DeCaro, a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. DeCaro discusses the prevalence, causes, and prevention of eating disorders, touching on the complex relationship with mental health, anxiety, and depression.Pandemic's Impact on Eating Disorders:Isolation during the pandemic contributed to eating disorders.Increase in social media use, body dissatisfaction, and comparison.Food insecurity, anxiety, grief, and loss as triggering factors.Factors Contributing to Eating Disorders:Social media's role in body image dissatisfaction.Challenging myths about who can have an eating disorder.Awareness efforts lead to increased diagnoses.Populations at Higher Risk:Elevated risk for those identifying as female.LGBTQ+ community, victims of weight stigma, and those feeling unsafe at heightened risk.Difference Between Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating:Eating disorders as complex psychiatric disorders.Disordered eating exists on a spectrum, ranging from clinical disorders to healthy relationships with food.Common Eating Disorder Protective Factors:Avoiding dieting behaviors, promoting body acceptance.Encouraging a healthy relationship with food beyond fuel.Breaking down scarcity mindset and fostering body diversity awareness.Promoting Healthy Attitudes in Children:Importance of language around food and body image.Teaching that all bodies come in different shapes and sizes.Encouraging connection with body signals and cues.Recognizing Patterns of Emotional Eating:Differentiating between occasional comfort eating and problematic patterns.Suggesting additional coping tools beyond food.Signs of Eating Disorders:Intense dissatisfaction with body image.Increased isolation and anxiety around food.Preoccupation with ingredients, calories, or cooking without personal consumption.Presence of depression, rigid thinking, and elevated suicide risk.Acknowledgment that everyone may experience some form of disordered thoughts or behaviors regarding food and body image.Dr. DeCaro discusses common signs of eating disorders, emphasizing hyper-focus on food and weight.Preventing Eating Disorders:Strategies and protective factors are explored, challenging societal norms and promoting holistic health.The importance of prioritizing mental health and normalizing mental health treatment is highlighted.Dr. DeCaro introduces a transdiagnostic approach, emphasizing a multidisciplinary team.Levels of Care at Renfrew Center:Overview of residential, day treatment, intensive outpatient programming (IOP), and outpatient care.Addressing the affordability of treatment and Renfrew Center's acceptance of insurance plans.Dr. DeCaro hints at a future episode focusing on practical ways parents can help children with a healthy relationship with food.The episode concludes with gratitude from Susie and Dr. DeCaro for the informative discussion on eating disorders and the importance of mental health care accessibility.
1/30/202458 minutes, 1 second
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Season 5, Episode 1: Will Gurley

Introduction: Welcome to a special episode of the "Just A Mom" podcast, where we kick off Season Five with a heartfelt and personal update. In today's episode, Susie is excited to be joined in the studio by a very special guest – her son, Will. As Susie expresses her joy at having Will home for the recording, the focus of this episode is centered around providing listeners with a detailed and intimate update on Will's life.School Journey:Will details his transition from Shenandoah Conservatory to Mid-American University, studying acting and directing, and anticipated graduation next year.Will reflects on his time at TCU, the decision to transfer to Shenandoah, and the challenges he faced with anxiety and social circles.Shenandoah Experience:Will discusses feeling isolated and the impact on his mental health.Will candidly opens up about his ongoing mental health struggles, highlighting that transferring to Shenandoah didn't eliminate the challenges.Support and Intervention:Susie intervenes after Will expresses depression, ensuring his safety and exploring therapy and medication adjustments.Will's psychiatrist increases his dosage to address current circumstances, emphasizing the importance of medication adjustments.Loneliness and Isolation:Despite a busy schedule, Will shares his experience of loneliness, challenges with roommates, and feeling like an outsider.Will discusses challenges in classes, rehearsals, and breaking into established relationships as a "freshman sophomore."Emergency Visit:Susie narrates the decision to fly Will home during a difficult month, emphasizing the difference between FaceTime and in-person observations.Will contemplates alternatives to going back to school, expressing determination not to give up and considering job options.Drive Back Home:The 16.5-hour drive home reflects on Will's hesitation to return to Shenandoah, navigating a challenging storm, and the importance of being together.Will shares positive aspects of the summer back home, acknowledging the internal struggle of giving college another try.Decision to Return to Shenandoah:Family discussions lead to the decision to encourage another try, emphasizing the importance of auditions and a new class.Will gets callbacks for several shows at Shenandoah, receiving positive feedback from industry professional professors.Susie praises Will's lead role as the only non-senior cast, highlighting his experience playing dark characters.Challenges Faced:Will reflect on challenges during the rehearsal and performance period, discussing the disconnect between personal values and the adaptation.Closing Thoughts:Susie summarizes Will's journey from struggles to returning to Shenandoah, teases upcoming episodes, and expresses gratitude for Will's openness.Susie asks Will about mental health preparations, leading to discussions on counseling as a couple, premarital counseling, and planning.Will discusses planning with fiancée Kayley, seeking advice from experienced couples, and staying flexible.Therapy and Professional Support:Susie emphasizes Will's ongoing medication and regular psychiatrist visits, recognizing the need for professional help.Will discusses ongoing therapy with personal therapist Dana Dahl, encouraging everyone to benefit from therapy.Will emphasizes the importance of being proactive and seeking support, acknowledging that mental health challenges require ongoing effort.Support System:Will describes reaching out to his wife, parents, and therapist if needed, emphasizing the importance of a united front.Discussions highlight the reality of ups and downs in every marriage, with Will emphasizing the importance of a positive mindset.Will seeks advice from experienced couples, recognizing their wisdom and acknowledging ongoing struggles with depression.Acknowledging Personal Growth:Despite ongoing challenges, Will acknowledges personal growth and positive changes, emphasizing the non-linear nature of the mental health journey.Recap of "The Brightest It's Ever Been":Susie recaps "The Brightest It's Ever Been," a play about anxiety, sharing its impact and plans for a regional tour.Fundraising Opportunity:A fundraising The Culture House link (designate Balladeer Theatre Company) is mentioned for supporting the regional tour, encouraging contributions from those interested in mental health and theater.Susie shares her impact from the play, urging listeners to attend when it tours and acknowledging bias as the director.Encouragement and Gratitude:Susie expresses gratitude for Will's openness, encourages listeners, and emphasizes the non-linear nature of mental health journeys.Susie mentions potential future updates from Will, thanks listeners for their support, and appreciates Will for the conversation.Closing remarks express gratitude, anticipation for future episodes, and thanks to the listeners for their support.
1/23/202454 minutes, 6 seconds
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Episode 13: Karen Dickson and Kathleen Harnish McKune, Remarkably Resilient (

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Kathleen McKune and Karen Dickson"Introduction: In this insightful episode, Karen and Kathleen, integral members of the resilient Harnish family, join Susie on the Just A Mom Podcast. Co-authors of the impactful book "Remarkably Resilient," the three sisters delve into their experiences, upbringing, and the profound motivation driving the creation of the Remarkably Resilient program. From traumatic discoveries to launching a nationwide initiative, this conversation explores the neuroscience of trauma, coping mechanisms, and the transformative power of resilience.Background and Introduction: Karen and Kathleen introduce their family background, authors of "Remarkably Resilient," exploring their upbringing and the motivation behind the program. Kathleen discovered adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in 2017, leading to a realization about childhood trauma and its impact on mental and physical health. Remarkably Resilient Program: Kathleen and Karen discuss launching the program based on their book, aiming to share their story, discuss trauma neuroscience, and build resilience. Turning point moments for Kathleen and Karen, highlighting their resilience and coping mechanisms in adulthood. Impact of Trauma on Health: Discussion on ACEs' impact on mental and physical health, sharing the sisters' experiences and positive counterbalances. Susie empathizes with the sisters, acknowledging the lifelong impact of trauma and discussing the challenges faced by survivors. Delving into the neurobiology of trauma, stress responses, and the importance of addressing trauma for well-being. Kathleen and Karen share their survival journeys, emphasizing the importance of boundaries and self-regulation. Empathy and Understanding: Susie expresses understanding for the sisters' experiences, highlighting the need to break the silence around trauma.Difficult Summer and Impact on Kathleen: Challenges faced by Kathleen and Karen during a difficult summer led to a purpose-driven focus on helping others.Interview Challenges: Anecdote about challenges in discussing sensitive topics on mainstream media.Sharing Their Experience and Helping Others: Emphasis on not staying silent, motivation to help others, and the importance of shedding light on often hidden topics.Dysregulation and Coping Mechanisms: Introduction to dysregulation, recognizing triggers, and employing regulating techniques. Discussion on emotional regulation, mindfulness activities, and preventing impulsive reactions. Exploration of individual coping mechanisms during childhood, including dissociation and the therapeutic use of work. Challenges in remembering traumatic experiences, differences in coping mechanisms, and the impact of therapy. Acknowledgment of coping mechanisms and the role of therapists in the healing process. Four Rs of Resilience: Introduction to the Four Rs of Resilience: Relationships, Regulation, Response, Recovery, and Their Significance. Launching Remarkably Resilient Together with Johnson County Mental Health Center, emphasizing community awareness and resources. Supporting Organizations: Kathleen and Karen express their dream of widespread adoption, mentioning collaboration with schools and corporate support. Susie encourages engagement with local providers, schools, and corporations to support well-being. Program Launch and Availability: Details on the program launch and material availability through, emphasizing donation for access. Discussion on donations and accessing materials, providing instructions for support outside Johnson County. Availability of information on various platforms, including Google and Susie urges listeners to explore and support the program, highlighting its universal benefits. Self-Care Discussion: Kathleen shares personal experiences of trauma and emphasizes the impact of self-care on resilience and well-being. Karen discusses the transformative impact of prioritizing self-care, reflecting on personal experiences. Susie expresses gratitude for sharing their story, praising Kathleen and Karen for resilience, and guests express appreciation.
12/12/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 20 seconds
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Episode 12: Wesley Hamilton, Disabled But Not Really ( Part 2

Podcast Episode 2 Show Notes: "Wesley Hamilton"Introduction: The last episode of the Just a Mom podcast captures the life story of Kansas City native Wesley Hamilton.  The episode explores Wesley's mental struggles, including battles with depression, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts amid a lack of mental health support. Wesley Hamilton's impactful foundation, "Disabled But Not Really," takes center stage in this episode. Founded to empower individuals with disabilities, the foundation prioritizes fitness, identity, and confidence-building. Offering a wellness center with specialized programs, Wesley ensures a space where physical disabilities don't limit self-perception and fitness goals. The foundation tackles the issue of inaccessible gyms by providing an inclusive environment with adaptive equipment and accessible facilities.Disabled But Not Really Foundation: Wesley founded the "Disabled But Not Really Foundation" to empower individuals with disabilities, focusing on fitness, identity, and building confidence. The foundation offers a wellness center with specialized programs to help individuals with physical disabilities improve their self-perception and fitness. Wesley's own experiences in inaccessible gyms and the lack of awareness in society influenced his approach to creating an inclusive space at his wellness center. The center is equipped with adaptive equipment, widened doors, and accessible facilities, striving to serve individuals with various challenges and disabilities. The foundation's programs not only focus on physical fitness but also on helping individuals with disabilities regain their sense of identity and confidence. Wesley's ultimate goal is to ensure that people of all abilities feel welcomed, empowered, and served by providing adaptive equipment and inclusive facilities. Wesley's Efforts for Accessibility: Wesley discusses the importance of creating accessible public spaces for individuals with disabilities. His foundation, Disabled But Not Really, aims to eliminate barriers in these spaces, allowing people to focus on their goals. Becoming a TV Star: Wesley talks about his unexpected experience of being featured on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Emphasizes the authenticity of the show and his continued friendship and collaboration with the cast. Family Support: Wesley acknowledges the crucial role of his mother and daughter in his recovery and healing. Highlights the strength and support of his mother during his journey. Words of Advice: Wesley's advice to listeners revolves around self-awareness, encouraging them to know themselves. He emphasizes that self-awareness is key to shaping one's reality. Mental Health Advocacy: Wesley shares his growing awareness of mental health issues, especially within marginalized communities. Discusses the importance of addressing mental health and seeking help when needed. Self-Care: Wesley outlines his self-care routine, which includes affirmations, morning gratitude, exercise, a healthy diet, journaling, and having a venting person and a confidant.Challenges in Accessing Mental Health Services: Wesley highlights the lack of mental health services and awareness in marginalized communities. Advocates for a more holistic approach to healthcare. The Value of Life: Wesley talks about how confidence in oneself allows for a fulfilling life, regardless of physical condition. Emphasizes the importance of valuing life and maintaining a positive mindset. Acknowledgment of One's Past: Wesley appreciates the depth of the conversation and the significance of understanding one's past to appreciate personal growth.Gratitude and Inspiration: The episode concludes with mutual appreciation, with Susie commending Wesley for his inspirational journey and positive impact through his foundation and advocacy.
12/5/202338 minutes, 58 seconds
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Episode 11: Wesley Hamilton, Disabled But Not Really (

Introduction: In this episode of the Just a Mom podcast, host Susie welcomes Wesley Hamilton, a Kansas City native known for his personal struggles, foundation work, and TV stardom. Wesley reflects on his upbringing as a product of his challenging environment, growing up without his father, and battling low self-esteem and negative thinking. He shares how he once believed he wouldn't live past 21 due to societal expectations for young black men. Becoming a father marked a turning point, but an altercation led to a life-altering shooting incident, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The episode explores Wesley's journey from hopelessness to resilience.Background and Upbringing Wesley describes his upbringing as a product of his environment. Grew up in a single-parent home without a father figure during crucial adolescent stages. Struggled with self-esteem, lacked positive role models, and felt the impact of the inner city environment. Admits to being influenced by older figures in the streets and developing a negative mindset. Believed he wouldn't live past 21 due to societal expectations for young black men. Highlights the challenges of growing up in an environment that limited his perspective. Living Recklessly and Seeking Change Discusses the allure of the streets, drug dealers, and the desire for a better life. Emphasizes the lack of positive influences and role models, leading to a misguided pursuit of success. Reflects on his disregard for education despite having potential and smart capabilities. Talks about dropping out of school, attempting to change his life through Job Corps, and facing challenges. Expresses the impact of poverty and the absence of exposure to life outside his community. Discusses the negative mindset, feeling trapped, and the influence of media representations. Becoming a Father and Pivotal Moment Becoming a father at 22 and gaining full custody of his daughter at 23. Highlights the unexpected shift in responsibility and the desire to be a better father. Recounts a verbal altercation at 24 that resulted in a life-changing event. Describes being shot twice, instantly paralyzed from the waist down. Shares the immediate realization of the severity of the situation and the surreal experience. Recalls the moments after being shot, the lack of hope, and the acceptance of impending death. Living with Depression and Hopelessness  Reflects on the possibility of living a life in depression and hopelessness. Acknowledges the lack of hope and role models contributing to a sense of resignation. Mental Struggles Wesley reflects on his mental state before the shooting, feeling hopeless and battling low self-esteem, influenced by societal judgment and a lack of empowerment.Facing Reality Wesley discusses the early days of realizing he was paralyzed, the initial hope of a miraculous recovery, and the emotional toll of the uncertainty during the recovery process. Exploration of Wesley's loss of hope and faith after learning about the permanence of his condition, the absence of positive representations of people with disabilities in society, and his struggle with self-love and acceptance amid societal judgments. Suicidal Thoughts and Lack of Mental Health Support Wesley opens up about contemplating suicide, the struggle of feeling like a victim after surviving a violent incident, and the lack of mental health support for individuals with disabilities, particularly in the black community. Surprising revelation: Wesley did not receive counseling or therapy during his recovery. Discussion on the systemic issue of mental health support for black individuals with disabilities and the layers of challenges in addressing mental health in marginalized communities. Self-Healing Journey Wesley's self-healing journey the role of food in his mental recovery, overcoming depression through dietary changes, and the challenges faced during bed rest and their impact on mental health. The importance of protein and nutrition in Wesley's recovery, the lack of awareness about proper nutrition in marginalized communities, and Wesley's decision to pursue education in dietetics to transform his life. Wesley's eagerness to learn and change his perspective on life, the revelation of the value of food and its impact on well-being, and applying newfound knowledge to his diet and seeing positive results. Coming Up:In the next part of the series, we will explore Wesley's continued transformation, his advocacy work, and the valuable lessons he has learned from his remarkable journey.
11/28/202331 minutes, 47 seconds
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Episode 10: Rennie McKinney, Administrative Director of Behavioral Health Services, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission

Podcast Episode Show Notes: "Rennie McKinney" Introduction: In this "Just A Mom" podcast episode, Susie engages with guest Rennie McKinney, Administrative Director of Behavioral Health Services at Advent Health Shawnee Mission. They delve into the evolving landscape of mental health, influenced by reduced stigma, younger generations' openness, and the media's role.The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health is highlighted, with a focus on enduring effects and a call for increased mental health awareness.Rennie discusses Advent Health's services, including inpatient units, assessment centers, and expansion plans. They touch on reduced licensing requirements for mental health professionals and introduce the 988 crisis helpline for immediate support.The episode concludes with a strong message: seeking help is a sign of strength, and it's vital to break the stigma around mental health.About Rennie McKinney:Rennie describes her role as the leader of the behavioral health service line at Advent Health and her journey in the mental health field.Acknowledging Rennie’s Impact:The host acknowledges Rennie's impact on the community and their shared experiences on panels.Importance of Sharing Information:Rennie emphasizes the importance of sharing information and stories for the benefit of others.Call to Action:Both the host and Rennie stress the need for more people to join their efforts in addressing mental health issues.Changing Landscape of Mental Health: The discussion shifts to the increasing demand for mental health treatment and support. Factors contributing to this change are mentioned. Discussion on Changing Mental Health Landscape: The conversation revolves around the changing landscape of mental health, including reduced stigma. The impact of external pressures on mental health recognition is discussed. Media's Role in Promoting Mental Health:The podcast host acknowledges the role of media outlets in promoting mental health awareness.Younger Generations Leading the Way: The younger generations' role in normalizing mental health discussions is highlighted. The impact of celebrities openly discussing mental health is mentioned. Pandemic's Impact on Mental Health:The impact of the pandemic on mental health is discussed.Discussion on the Class of 2023:The host highlights the unique experiences of the class of 2023 and the impact of the pandemic on students.Impact of the Pandemic on Different Age Groups:Personal experiences and observations regarding the pandemic's impact on different age groups are shared.Long-Term Ramifications of the Pandemic:The conversation underscores the long-term ramifications of the pandemic on mental health.Overview of Services Provided by Advent Health: An overview of mental health services provided by Advent Health is given. The existence of an intensive outpatient program is teased, with further details to come. Description of Mental Health Programs:An overview of different mental health programs is provided.Introduction to Outpatient Program:The guest introduced the outpatient program and its high demand.Age Range and Expansion:The age range served by the outpatient program is mentioned.Challenges Faced by Hospitals Closing Inpatient Units: The host raises the issue of hospitals closing inpatient psychiatric units. Advocacy for increased reimbursement rates is emphasized. Acknowledgment of Quality Mental Health Care: The host expresses appreciation for the mental health care provided by Advent Health. The importance of seeking help is underlined. The Advent of an Unexpected Event:The conversation is interrupted by a power outage, creating a unique moment.Highlighting the Assessment Center:The guest explains the role of the assessment center and its importance.Reducing Licensing Requirements for Mental Health Professionals:The host mentions the guest's involvement in advocating for reduced licensing requirements for mental health professionals.Introduction to the 988 Crisis Helpline:The conversation shifts to the 988 crisis helpline.Expanding Mental Health Services:The guest discusses the expansion of mental health services.Substance Abuse Program:The presence of a substance abuse program is discussed.Final Thoughts and Encouragement: The guest encourages listeners not to underestimate what someone is going through. The importance of seeking help is underscored. Closing Remarks:The host expresses gratitude for the guest's expertise and advocacy for mental health.
11/21/202339 minutes, 7 seconds
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Episode 9: Coach Jareem Dowling, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, Kansas State University, Part 2

Season 4, Episode 9 Show Notes: "Coach Jareem Dowling"Introduction: In the first part of this episode, we've delved deeply into Coach Jareem Dowling's life, uncovering a powerful journey filled with moments of reflection, tragedy, and resilience. Coach Dowling's story underscores the significance of mental health awareness and the unwavering support of a community, both in times of triumph and struggle.Admission to a Mental Hospital At the suggestion of his brother and medical professionals, Jareem is admitted to a mental hospital. He shares his initial fears and experiences within the hospital. He discusses scheduled activities and classes designed to help residents cope with their mental health challenges. Discovering Common Ground Jareem shares his surprise at discovering fellow residents, including NFL players, doctors, and judges, seeking help for their mental health. This revelation fosters camaraderie and reduces feelings of isolation. The Turning PointDespite initially wanting to leave the mental hospital, Jareem's condition deteriorates after discharge. He discusses his decision to accept help offered by mental health professionals.Coping Mechanisms and Openness About Mental Health Jareem Dowling discusses using exercises and coping mechanisms to manage his mental health. He emphasizes his openness about mental health and how it allows him to make choices that promote well-being. The Ongoing Journey of Mental Health Jareem highlights the importance of continuous efforts in mental health recovery. He reflects on accumulating hospital bills during his struggle with mental health. The Power of a Support SystemJareem acknowledges the role of friends and family in supporting him during difficult times.Progress in Addressing Mental HealthThe conversation explores progress in addressing mental health in the medical community and society.Using Personal Experiences to Help OthersJareem shares how he uses his personal experiences to connect with his players and educate them about mental health.Pressure on Student-Athletes and Mental Health SupportThe pressure on student-athletes and the importance of mental health support are discussed, especially in the context of collegiate sports and the introduction of NIL.Navigating the Challenges of a Basketball Career Coach Reem discusses the often-overlooked side of pursuing a career in basketball. He highlights the importance of recognizing the mental toll that comes with pursuing a basketball career and the need for long-term well-being. Preparing Athletes for Life Beyond Basketball The focus shifts to preparing young athletes for life after their sports careers. Coach Reem's approach of nurturing players to become good, productive citizens is emphasized. The role of Coach Tang and the staff in supporting players is discussed. The Importance of Kindness and Empathy The significance of kindness and empathy is highlighted. They discuss the three-times rule and the impact of small acts of kindness. Not Judging Happiness Based on Smiles Coach Reem dispels the misconception of equating smiles with happiness. He shares a personal story about his brother, emphasizing the importance of genuinely asking how someone is doing. Seeking Therapy and Overcoming Stigma The conversation touches on the stigma associated with seeking therapy. Coach Reem admits his initial reluctance to attend therapy sessions but reveals how it has become a safe space for him. Focusing on Relationships and Kindness The focus shifts to the importance of nurturing relationships with good-hearted individuals. Coach Reem expresses his gratitude for the many people who have supported him. Final Thoughts and Gratitude The episode concludes with Coach Reem expressing gratitude to Susie for creating a platform to share his story and raise awareness about mental health. Susie reciprocates the gratitude and looks forward to meeting Coach Reem in person.
11/14/202341 minutes, 27 seconds
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Episode 8: Coach Jareem Dowling, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, Kansas State University

*WARNING–This episode contains explicit talk about suicide and methodology.*Coach Jareem Dowling doesn’t hold anything back as he talks about losing his brother to suicide, the beginning of his own mental health battle, and his quest to get help. I first learned about Coach Dowling’s transparency about his mental health when my son-in-law sent me this article: Grab your tissues and listen to this extremely difficult but heartfelt episode. 
11/7/202342 minutes, 15 seconds
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Episode 7: Brenda and Faith Ferber

When I first saw the title of the article “My Daughter Told Me She Wanted To Die. To Save Her Life, I Gave Her Permission To End It,” ( I was taken aback. But then I read it, and I knew I wanted to interview the author, Brenda Ferber ( I was overjoyed when Brenda responded to my request and also wanted to include her daughter, Faith, in our conversation.  Don’t miss this extremely candid conversation with this amazing mother/daughter duo where they talk about Faith ideating suicide at the age of 9, some of her significant acting-out behaviors, and getting an accurate diagnosis after trying a myriad of treatments and therapies. Learn about Faith’s journey to wellness and how she has used her personal mental health battle to help others as a Licenced Master Social Worker and Trauma Informed Therapist (
10/31/20231 hour, 11 seconds
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Episode 6: Beth Part 2

This is a continuation of episode 4 with Beth. Beth’s son, Zach, suffered from anxiety, depression, and substance abuse ultimately cost him his life on March 25, 2019. Beth tells listeners that parents need to have open communication, and if you feel that something is wrong with your child you need to reach out for help. While Beth grieves the loss of her son every day, she is grateful for the last year and a half of his life and sees Zach every day in his daughter, Kinley.
10/24/202343 minutes, 52 seconds
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Episode 5: Beth

In this heartbreaking episode, Beth chronicles her son, Zach’s, early years and how his battle with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse started and ultimately cost him his life on March 25, 2019.  Beth believes mental illness and substance abuse went hand-in-hand for Zach, and that Zach’s substance abuse started when he self-medicated with illegally purchased Xanax and then moved to prescription pain medicine after his wisdom teeth removal. Beth talks about the difficulties she experienced parenting him, the fine line between enabling and helping, police involvement that led to jail time, and dealing with the grief of losing her son.  
10/17/202350 minutes, 23 seconds
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Episode 4: Jason Bohn, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Adolescent Services, Renew Counseling (

Don’t miss this information-filled episode with Jason Bohn, who holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and has almost 30 years of working with children, youth, and families. Jason’s career started in the child welfare system, and he developed the Renew Counseling Center Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program for adolescents struggling with anxiety and depression. Jason attributes the youth mental health crisis to a variety of factors, including the rapid advancement and lack of training in regards to technology, that our institutions are no longer reliable, and that young people’s brains are not fully developed. The adolescent  IOP program blends a few different treatment theories into what Jason calls the BOLD living skills to help kids find more effective ways to regulate their emotions and then their behaviors. Listen as Jason enumerates the BOLD process of the IOP program and gives listeners tips on how to help themselves or their loved ones.
10/10/202356 minutes, 49 seconds
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Episode 3: Kyle Roberts, What Rhymes With Reason movie (

10/5/202338 minutes, 59 seconds
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Episode 2: Kristina Miller Part 2

This episode is a continuation of my conversation with Kristina Miller, mom of former Ohio State University football player Harry Miller. In this episode, Kristina recounts some of the fears and challenges of parenting an adult son with mental health issues. Kristina also gives us an update on the amazing things that Harry is doing now, including pursuing a Rhodes Scholarship (Harry has a 4.0 GPA as a mechanical engineering major) and founding the Don’t Make It Weird Foundation (, whose mission is to normalize the conversation around mental illness. Kristina has also started a support group for parents in her local area and is a fan of several other mental health organizations like NAMI (, Hillinski’s Hope ( and Sack the Stigma (
10/3/202335 minutes, 31 seconds
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Episode 1: Kristina Miller, mom of former Ohio State Football player Harry Miller

Harry medically retired from football in March of 2022, citing mental health issues. You may have seen him on the Today show ( discussing his battle and decision to retire from football.  I knew when I saw Harry on the Today Show I wanted to talk to his mom.I am so grateful that Kristina was open to having a conversation for The Just A Mom podcast. In this episode, Kristina talks about the beginnings of Harry’s mental illness at a young age and all the things she did to help him. We discuss the tremendous pressure on student athletes, particularly high-profile ones. Kristina also shares about the day she received the call that Harry was contemplating suicide and rushing from Georgia to Ohio to be with him, and how difficult it was to leave him there after six weeks. 
9/26/202340 minutes, 44 seconds
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Special Episode—Phyllis Fagell, author, Middle School Super Powers

Middle school is a tough time for everyone—kids, parents and teachers.  Author, licensed clinical professional counselor and school counselor Phyllis Fagell joins me on this special episode of The Just A Mom podcast to talk about her recent book, Middle School Super Powers.  This book is a practical and easy to read guide on helping middle schoolers (and kids of any age) learn resiliency. Phyllis will be in Overland Park, Kansas on Wednesday, September 13 for an event sponsored by Madame President ( and BV Well ( Blue Valley Educational Foundation). Don’t miss this episode to gain valuable insight on raising and educating tweens. You can learn more about Phyllis, her appearances nationwide and her other works at 
9/6/202337 minutes, 25 seconds
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Episode 14: Sonya Parker Goode, Director of Outreach and Partnerships, The Grant Halliburton Foundation (

I first learned about The Grant Halliburton Foundation when a college friend emailed me about it. After researching and learning about all of the work they do in North Texas in mental health education, collaboration, encouragement, and information, I knew I wanted to be part of their annual conference, “When Life Hands You Teenagers” ( on September 28, 2023. In this episode, Sonya Parker Goode talks about the work of the Foundation as well as “When Life Hands You Teenagers.” Early bird registration ends August 31, so register today and come see me at the resource tables!Make sure you visit the Grant Halliburton Foundation website ( to learn about their programs, donate or volunteer. 
8/15/202341 minutes, 15 seconds
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Episode 13: Jennifer Part 2

This episode is a continuation of Jennifer’s story. Jennifer has done extensive research and been an incredible advocate for her son.  Here are some links/definitions to things we talked about:TheraPlayPCIT - Parent-Child Interaction TherapyWhat is CBT Therapy?What is EMDR?Accelerated Resolution TherapyProblematic Sexual Behavior Therapy ABA Therapy Neurofeedback Therapy  "safe room" - sometimes called a seclusion room- neuro-psych testing- Thompson Center (Columbia, MO)- "Alternative School" - this is a school within a public school district, which is still considered free and public schooling, but has increased levels of services for students with specific accommodations and high levels of need.- pharmacogenetic testing - FosterAdopt Connect- CASA
8/8/202338 minutes, 53 seconds
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Episode 12: Jennifer

This incredible episode is about a young couple who fostered and eventually adopted a boy who was a student in Jennifer’s kindergarten classroom. He was in seven foster homes in five years (some were shelters). Jennifer and her husband became foster parents in their first year of marriage. This young boy had been abused sexually and physically and neglected and had his first suicide attempt at eight years of age, and has a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Jennifer and her husband have worked non-stop to get their son the help and services their son needs, and Jennifer has compiled an incredible database of resources.TheraPlayPCIT - Parent-Child Interaction TherapyWhat is CBT Therapy?What is EMDR?Accelerated Resolution TherapyProblematic Sexual Behavior Therapy ABA Therapy Neurofeedback Therapy  "safe room" - sometimes called a seclusion room- neuro-psych testing- Thompson Center (Columbia, MO)- "Alternative School" - this is a school within a public school district, which is still considered free and public schooling but has increased levels of services for students with specific accommodations and high levels of need.- pharmacogenetic testing - FosterAdopt Connect- CASA
8/1/202340 minutes, 22 seconds
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Episode 11: Stephanie and Dr. Caroline Danda, Licensed Clinical Psychologist (KS LP 1208) Specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Children and Adolescents

This is a unique episode in that Stephanie, a mom with a special needs child who also has anxiety and depression, requested that her son’s psychologist also be part of our conversation. Stephanie’s son had a stroke in utero that they discovered when he was 3 months old. He has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. At age 6, he had surgery where the right half of his brain was removed because of severe epilepsy.  Stephanie’s son is also autistic and has anxiety and panic attacks.   Dr. Caroline Danda ( is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialized training in children and adolescents and health conditions. Stephanie credits Dr. Danda and her work with Stephanie’s family in the transformation of their household. This episode is chock full of challenges and hope and reminds us that people with special needs have feelings, too. Dr. Danda developed The Invisible Riptide with Carron Montgomery to create resources to help fill in the gaps because so many parents don’t know what to do (
7/25/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 11 seconds
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Episode 10: Renee VanMeter and Jessica Murphy, Deputy Division Directors in Emergency Services, Johnson County Mental Health

Renee and Jessica are responsible for some of the crucial Johnson County, Kansas mental health services: the open access walk-in clinic, 988, the mobile crisis response team, and mental health co-responders.  My conversation with Renee and Jessica solidified what I already knew—the country in which I live is incredibly fortunate to have the county mental health resources that we have. This episode highlights those resources, their functions, and how the country is continuing to expand and improve the mental health services offered to the community. This county’s mental health co-responder program is the model for other counties across the country and is responsible for founding the National Co-Responder Conference.No matter where you live, I promise you will find this episode informative and encouraging. These two women are passionate about helping people, and their enthusiasm for doing so is contagious. If you do not have such robust county mental health services in your area, or you are unaware of what your county offers, I encourage you to listen to this episode and use it as a springboard for action in your own community.
7/18/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 24 seconds
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Episode 9: Jason Reid,

Jason Reid knows the pain of losing a child to suicide. His youngest son, Ryan, died by suicide in 2018. Jason has since dedicated his life to preventing other parents from experiencing the devastating loss of a child to suicide. Jason feels like by not being vulnerable with his kids he didn’t invite them to talk to him. He thinks we need to show kids we are normal and human, that we all have had bad days. Jason founded and made a movie by that same name that explores the potential reasons adolescent suicide is on the rise and is available on amazon prime ( Jason has also developed What I Wish My Parents Knew; this is a school program and a talk back that incorporates local resources. If you are interested in getting What I Wish My Parents Knew at your school, go to
7/11/202349 minutes, 36 seconds
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Episode 8: Courtney Part 2

This episode is a continuation of my conversation with Courtney.  Courtney’s daughter’s mental health journey didn’t end in high school. Courtney recounts her daughter’s time at The Renfrew Center ( well as her young, toxic marriage and subsequent inpatient hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment at Hopeway ( in Charlotte, NC. Courtney also talks about how she has learned from her daughter how to manage her own mental health.
7/4/202351 minutes, 35 seconds
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Episode 7: Courtney Part 1

Courtney’s story of parenting a child who has battled mental illness most of her life starts with the first of a two-part series. Courtney says her daughter has always been “the most”.  Courtney’s daughter started struggling with anxiety around four years of age, survived a brain aneurism, and developed anorexia, all before graduating from high school. Listen as Courtney shares the challenges of their journey and parenting a “fiercely independent, wildly intelligent” daughter.  
6/27/202353 minutes, 33 seconds
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Episode 6: Dr. Brian Barash, M.D., Board Certified Psychiatrist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine

Dr. Brian Barash ( shares a wealth of mental health and substance abuse information on this episode of The Just A Mom podcast. Dr. Barash refers to several mental health facilities in the Kansas City area, including Marillac (, Crittenton ( and the Menninger Clinic ( Dr. Barash also discusses the distinction between mental illness and mental health problems, the different levels of care for mental illness, and pharmacogenomic testing ( As a certified addiction specialist, Dr. Barash gives a strong warning to parents. He is staunchly against the legalization of marijuana and warns parents about the dangers of kids mixing alcohol and antidepressants and the potential disastrous outcomes that could bring.
6/20/20231 hour, 18 minutes, 21 seconds
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Episode 5: Josh

Josh is a husband, father, triathlete, coach, and suicide survivor. As a teenager, he deliberately drove his car into a tree—and walked away.  Josh recounts his long-time battle with depression, trauma, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and his complex relationship with an abusive father. Josh talks about his significant distrust of mental health professionals based on his experience as a teenager and young adult, and how his mental illness is an ongoing battle still today.Josh has used his experience to help others and frequently speaks to groups and organizations about mental health. Here is a video Josh recorded with NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) called It’s OK to not be OK:
6/13/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 1 second
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Episode 4: Kori Hintz-Bohn, The Anxiety Center at Renew

In a continued effort to educate and bring resources to the listeners, this episode features Kori Hintz-Bohn, founder of Renew Counseling and the Anxiety Center at Renew (  Kori give parents valuable information on how to access help for a child experiencing mental health problem as well as some everyday tips for good mental health, including mindfulness apps like Calm (,  Headspace ( and Balance ( Cori and I also discuss what goes into the clinical diagnosis of a mental illness. Kori references the DSM 5, which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (
6/6/202345 minutes, 34 seconds
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Episode 3: Tricia Part 2

Tricia and I continue our conversation about her daughter’s lifelong battle with anxiety.  Not only has Tricia’s daughter had serious anxiety related to school, but Tricia also shares a memory about a very scary time when she was afraid for her daughter’s life and called 911. Tricia shares that she has learned, over time, that her job as a parent is not to fix but to support her daughter and her mental illness.
5/30/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 25 seconds
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Episode 2: Tricia

This is the first of a two-part series with Tricia.  Tricia chronicles her daughter’s journey with anxiety, starting as early as preschool when she experienced significant separation anxiety that did not resolve with time. Tricia talks about her strong advocacy for her daughter’s needs at school.  Tricia talks about Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and a 504 plan, which help students with diagnosed disabilities access certain supports and accommodations. To learn more about what an IEP and 504 plan do, click on this link: ( Things were going pretty well for Tricia’s daughter, and then Covid hit. Make sure and listen to Episode 3 for the conclusion of Tricia’s story.
5/23/202349 minutes, 1 second
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Episode 1: Ronda

My conversation with Rhonda is a no-holds-bared one. Her son battled an eating disorder and undiagnosed depression in high school. He found a bottle of narcotics after a family member’s surgery and took one to numb his pain—and was hooked.Ronda recounts the moment things changed when they realized her son had been hiding a fentanyl addiction for 31/2 years in college, the failed rehab stent, followed by a 2.5-year successful recovery journey. Ronda’s message to parents is this: addiction can happen to anyone.Ronda’s son celebrates six years of recovery on May 21, five days after the release of this episode. Sam has turned to extreme sports in his recovery, is partnering with SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic), and is competing in an Ironman race in Tulsa, OK, too. If you are so inclined, you can donate by clicking this link to support Sam’s efforts for SAFE ( recently shared her story at a recovery group. You can watch that here:
5/16/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 21 seconds
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Special Episode: The Brightest It's Ever Been- Will and Kayli

My son, Will, and his girlfriend, Kayli, are back for another special episode of The Just A Mom podcast. After a very successful debut in December, The Brightest It's Ever Been, a play about living with anxiety, will be back for another limited engagement from May 11-13 at Hillcrest Covenant Church, 8801 Nall Avenue, Prairie Village, Kansas. This show will sell out--get your tickets here. The Brightest It's Ever Been is an incredible portrayal of dealing with a mental illness.  Anxiety is an actual character in the play.  Unique and creative, The Brightest It's Ever Been helps audience members who have not personally struggled with mental illness truly understand what it must be like to do so.  In this episode, Will and Kayli talk about the challenge and rewards of writing, performing, directing, and producing a show like this. For more information about the show, see Brightest's Instagram or Facebook or The Father's Club's Instagram and Facebook. 
4/25/202329 minutes, 59 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 13: Good Faith Network

This inspiring episode features Vicki Love, co-vice president, and Jennifer Savner Levinson, treasurer, of The Good Faith Network ( The Good Faith Network is an interfaith justice group of over 20 different congregations in Johnson County, Kansas that has identified three pressing problems in our community: mental health, homelessness and affordable housing. They conduct research to discover solutions to those problems and speak with one voice to local leaders to press for the adoption of those solutions. Listen as these remarkable leaders talk about the work they are doing to make systematic changes in regards to mental health in our local community.  For those who live outside of Johnson County, Kansas, you will want to listen as well—you may be inspired to start something similar in your community.For those in Johnson County, all are invited to the Good Faith Network’s Nehemiah Assembly on May 2, 2023 at 6 pm at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. 
4/4/202354 minutes, 58 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 12: Sylvia Harrell and BJ Thomas, #GiveMe20

For Sylvia Harrell and BJ Thomas, convincing young people that waiting just 20 minutes when contemplating suicide is personal. They have both lost children to suicide, and neither of their children gave any indication they were contemplating taking their lives. Sylvia and BJ want to make sure others have the tools to cope when dark moments arise. Listen as they share about  #Giveme20 ( and the positive impact it is having on the mental health of our community. While this is a local program, plans are in the works to expand.  Sylvia and BJ also talk about their family foundations, Keep the Spark Alive ( and Shifting Gears for Reagan ( These women and their families work tirelessly to end teen suicide in our community.
3/28/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 13 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 11: Erin Part 2

On this episode of the Just A Mom Podcast, Erin talks about the challenges of parenting a son with bi-polar disorder. She shares about his in-patient hospitalization, and how those were some of the most challenging days of her life. Erin also talks about her son’s transition to college during COVID, and how having an emotional support animal (ESA) has been an incredible support to her son.
3/21/202337 minutes, 31 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 10: Erin Part 1

On this episode of the Just A Mom Podcast, Erin talks about the challenges of parenting a son with bi-polar disorder. She shares about his in-patient hospitalization, and how those were some of the most challenging days of her life. Erin also talks about her son’s transition to college during COVID, and how having an emotional support animal (ESA) has been an incredible support to her son.
3/14/202342 minutes, 57 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 9: Dr. Matthew Quick, Dean of Students, Rockhurst University

Sending a child to college is always challenging, but handing over one who struggles with mental health problems can be even more difficult. On this episode of the just a mom podcast, Rockhurst University Dean of Students Dr. Matthew Quick gives parents some strategies and tips on what to look for in a college or university and how to work will college officials to make a young adult’s transition to an institute of higher learning as smooth as possible.Dr. Quick refers to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), which parents and students should become familiar with before sending a student to college. He also suggests some resources like the Sanvello app (
3/7/20231 hour, 49 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 8: Suzanne

This may be the most difficult episode of The Just A Mom podcast to date. My incredibly brave and strong friend Suzanne talks about losing her son, Nic, to suicide in 2017.  She started noticing signs of anxiety and depression before people were really talking openly about mental health. Suzanne shares deeply intimate details about losing her son and her grieving process, and how losing a child to suicide can happen to anyone. Suzanne encourages parents and says there is hope even when you lose a child.
2/28/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 58 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 7: The Fathers Club- Brad Holdhusen and Tom Herzog

What started in 2018 as a couple of dads with the vision of being intentional as dads is now in over 25 schools and counting. Brad and Tom share how they started the Father’s Club ( in their children’s high school to let kids know that you matter, right here, right now, and linking arms as dads to make a difference in their corner of the world.  Brad and Tom share how over 100 dads became certified in mental health first aid, and how the Father’s Club works to utilize many resources in the community to help parents.If you are interested in starting a Father’s Club in your area/school, please go to
2/21/202358 minutes, 1 second
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Season 2 Episode 6: Mandy

Mandy’s son deals with depression and anxiety. Mandy shares some deeply personal parts of their story, including her son’s marijuana addiction, his time at an in-patient psychiatric hospital, wilderness therapy ( and ultimately his journey to sobriety through Full Circle (, all before the age of 15. Mandy also talks about how sometimes conventional parenting wisdom had to take a backseat to what was best for her child on his road to healing, and how she learned not to always try to “fix” her son.  Mandy discusses how her journey as a parent led to her founding BVWell (, which helps parents and families navigate mental health and wellness with their children.
2/14/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 36 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 5: Screen Sanity- Tracy Foster

This is a do not miss episode for any parent! A myriad of studies link heavy social media use to mental health problems like anxiety and depression, and about 10 percent of teens have reported being victims of cyberbullying (  Tracy Foster, co-founder and Executive Director of Screen Sanity (, joins me on this episode of The Just A Mom podcast to talk about digital health and the way Screen Sanity can help parents navigate this tricky digital world.  
2/7/202358 minutes, 9 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 4: Sherri

In this episode of the Just A Mom podcast, Sherri shares her story of parenting a child with sometimes crippling anxiety. Depending on what you read somewhere between 50-60% of teens and twenty-somethings are dealing anxiety, so I know you will find Sherri’s experience helpful. She talks about the difficulties in convincing her daughter to go to therapy as well as how hard it was to find a good fit once she agreed to go.  Sherri also discusses the genetic testing that her daughter did to help figure out medications.
1/31/20231 hour, 1 minute, 33 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 3: Danna Dahl, Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

I learned so many things during the interviews for season one. Almost every parent to date that I’ve interviewed has told me they didn’t know what to do and they didn’t know who to call when their child needed mental health treatment. I’m excited to bring more resources to parents in season two.In this episode, Danna Dahl, Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, shares invaluable information about how to find help, what kind of help your child might need and how to know you’re getting qualified help. Here are some helpful websites if you need to find a qualified therapist/counselor:Psychology Today ( the Therapist Locator through the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (, or through the American Association for Christian Counselors ( Danna also references Apria Healthcare but then realized later she said the wrong organization—it’s actually Acadia Healthcare (
1/24/202351 minutes, 56 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 2: Trevor

This is a different episode and one that is a must-listen.  Trevor is an adult who suffers from depression and suicidal ideation.  Trevor was a middle school teacher and coach for my two oldest kids and went on to be a middle school principal.  I can tell you from personal experience that Trevor was the teacher all the kids wanted for social studies—he was young, fun, cool, and energetic.  But over the years the darkness started creeping in. Trevor helps us understand that even though a person can appear to have it all together, there is often a very different scenario going on inside. Trevor was at the top of his profession, being named National Digital Principal of the Year in 2021, when, for the sake of his mental health, he made a significant career move to the world of E-Sports.  His passion for teaching and reaching kids through e-sports is inspiring, and he even gives us a glimpse into how e-sports can be a great activity for many kids.
1/17/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 15 seconds
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Season 2 Episode 1: Kristen

I’m not sure how I hadn’t met Kristen before starting the podcast. My oldest two kids went to the same high school, and we have many mutual friends and acquaintances.  My husband, Dan, is the one who introduced us.  He knew Kristen would be willing to share their family’s story and that it would have a tremendous impact on those who hear it. Kristen’s story is one of fear, patience, endurance, love, and hope.  It’s also another example of how the mental health battle is a journey—more of a marathon than a sprint.  Kristin and her husband have gone to great lengths to help their son with his mental illness.  You will no doubt be both impacted and encouraged by their journey.  
1/10/202349 minutes, 27 seconds
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Special Episode: Will and Kayli

I am so excited to bring you this special edition of the Just A Mom podcast.  “The Brightest It’s Ever Been” is a play written by Kayli Slayden about living with anxiety.  It is based on Kayli’s personal experience with anxiety and is being directed and produced by my son, Will. Like the Just A Mom podcast, Kayli hopes that by sharing her story through the medium of a play people will know that they are not alone and there is hope.  The play is also a great way for those who have not struggled with anxiety to perhaps gain a new understanding of what it’s like to live with anxiety or other mental illnesses.  If you are in the Kansas City area, I highly encourage you to come see The Brightest It’s Ever Been on December 28, 29, or 30 at Hillcrest Covenant Church, 8801 Nall Ave., Prairie Village, KS. 66207. You can reserve seats here:  You can also follow the play on Facebook or Instagram at the Brightest Play.
12/26/202228 minutes, 17 seconds
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Episode 13: Shana Part 2

This is the second time I’ve interviewed Shana.  Yes, this is the same Shana from episode 12, but in this episode, she shares from a personal perspective as the mom of a child with Tourette Syndrome.Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder (, but often those with Tourette also battle mental illness.  Shana talks about the challenges of raising her son with Tourette syndrome and his accompanying mental health struggles.
11/22/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 21 seconds
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Episode 12: Shana Part 1

Shana Burgess serves as the Director of Prevention and Community Relations for Johnson County Mental Health ( in Johnson County, Kansas, which is a suburb of Kansas City and the largest county in the state of Kansas.Shana shares several valuable nuggets in this episode, my favorite of which is “You don’t have to wait until it’s crisis enough” to call 988.  988 is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and wants people to know that if you are concerned about someone, please call them.
11/15/202243 minutes, 45 seconds
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Episode 11: Jamie

Jamie and I were connected by a mutual friend five years ago when Jamie’s son entered an inpatient mental health hospital. Jamie was quickly trying to figure out next steps after his release. I’ve kept in touch with Jamie over the years and am glad to report her son is doing well and managing his mental illness successfully.In this episode, Jamie references her son’s call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) and how it saved his life. If you or anyone you know needs help, please call 988. Remember, you don’t have to wait until it’s “crisis enough” to call.
11/8/202242 minutes, 41 seconds
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Episode 10: Carrie

Once again, #Zeroreasonswhy( is part of this podcast and this episode. They connected Carrie and me, and Carrie was excited to share her insights as an about-to-be therapist (now a fully licensed practicing therapist— shares her own journey and how it propelled her to become a therapist. She also gives valuable insight and information for parents and caregivers on tween and teen mental health. You don’t want to miss this episodes and all of the valuable insights Carrie has to offer.Make sure you check out the Just A Mom podcast website at
11/1/202256 minutes, 1 second
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Episode 9: Melanie

I met Melanie five years ago at the first You Matter Festival. She was there representing her son’s organization as part of the resource fair. There is always an immediate bond when two moms who have fought similar battles meet. And that was Melanie and me.Melanie was one of the first people I reached out to interview when I started the Just A Mom podcast. And she was more than willing to share their ongoing parenting journey. I know you will find this episode poignant, raw, real and helpful as you listen to Melanie’s story.Make sure you check out the Just A Mom podcast website at
10/25/202253 minutes, 21 seconds
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Episode 8: Denise

I’ve known Denise for several years. But we were typical women who would be social with each other, neither revealing anything other than “everyone is doing well” about our kids.A little over a year ago Denise and I were on a trip together. We started talking more deeply about our kids, and I learned for the first time that, like me, Denise had a child who struggles with clinical depression.Please listen as Denise shares some amazing insights and vulnerabilities on parenting a child with mental illness.Make sure you check out the Just A Mom podcast website at
10/18/202233 minutes, 21 seconds
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Episode 7: Alice

When my mother passed away recently, an acquaintance asked my husband if her name was Alice. That’s because Alice is my surrogate mom. I’ve known, loved, and been loved by Alice for 15 years. Ironically, I met Alice when 4-year-old Will went to her house (next door to ours) when we were moving in because he was bored. I knew some of her story as a mom of a struggling child but I learned a lot more when we sat down to talk about it.
10/11/202253 minutes, 37 seconds
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Episode 6: Kari

I’ve known Kari for many years. She is the wife of my oldest son’s high school football coach. My son was very close to him, and his tragic and early death in 2017 rocked our community.Kari is one of the many parents who have called me over the past few years because her daughter was suicidal. Kari was also an early encourager of the Just A Mom podcast. Kari has chosen to use her pain and experience as a young widow to help others as a professional grief coach ( In our conversation Kari shares her daughter’s mental health journey and some of the ways losing her dad at such a young age impacted that.
10/4/202259 minutes, 31 seconds
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Episode 5: Dr. Shayla Sullivant

I first encountered Dr. Shayla Sullivant, child and adolescent psychiatrist, four years ago. My husband and I attended a mental health event in our area, and Dr. Sullivant was there presenting her research on safe storage as well as the prepped and ready program. And then COVID happened. But like it was for some things, COVID was a blessing in disguise for Prepped and Ready. Dr. Sullivant took this opportunity to tap into many experts to create an amazing video series for parents. You can find them here ( Sullivant shares her insights and expertise with parents who have a child struggling.  She also helps parents know what to do if they ever face issues, even if they aren’t presently.Make sure you visit the Just A Mom website at
9/27/202244 minutes, 51 seconds
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Episode 4: Stacy

I first met Stacy in august of 2021 when her daughter, Isabel, sang and spoke at the You Matter Festival ( We immediately bonded over the common experience of parenting a child with mental health issues.Stacy and Isabel have been wonderfully candid about Isabel’s battle with Anorexia and Bulimia. They shared Isabel’s struggle on a Kansas City new station ( conversation with Stacy was real and raw and can no doubt help someone.Eating disorders are on the rise due to the COVID pandemic ( Parents, please listen to Stacy share her unfiltered account of parenting a beautiful young woman with an eating disorder.
9/20/202251 minutes, 43 seconds
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Episode 1: Will

The first show is the whole reason I became a mental health advocate and, ultimately, started the Just A Mom Podcast.  Will is my youngest son, and he struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.  When Will was in the worst of his battle, I felt alone and hopeless.  There were basically no resources that I could find other than one book to help support me as a parent of a child with mental illness.  And then Will started the You Matter Festival ( and became a local teen spokesperson and advocate for mental health.  Will is a musician, actor, writer, singer, and overall creative with many talents (  I am so thankful that he is my son and he asked for help when he was struggling.Will and I not only talk about his mental health struggles, but Will shares some solid insights from his perspective that I think all parents would benefit from hearing.  I wish I had heard a lot of these things when my kids were little!Check out more about the Just A Mom Podcast at and make sure you follow @thejustamompodcast on Instagram and Facebook. 
9/13/202244 minutes, 30 seconds
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Episode 2: Dan Part 1

I felt like this episode was important to tell our story from my husband and my perspective. We talk about feeling like failures as parents, the isolation, challenges to our marriage and lots of other hard things.  We share things we’ve learned along the way and how we managed the hardest, darkest days.  This is the first of two episodes with Dan.During those hardest, darkest days I felt very alone.  That is one of the reasons I started the Just A Mom podcast.  I want you to know that you are not alone and there is hope. Make sure you check out my website at 
9/13/202244 minutes, 38 seconds
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Episode 3: Dan Part 2

This episode is a continuation of Episode 2 with my husband, Dan.  We talk about the You Matter Festival (  that our son, Will, started, and how a little video I did for #ZeroReasonsWhy ( was the impetus to the Just A Mom podcast. And, to be clear, our journey as parents of a child with mental illness isn’t over.  Will has a chronic disease that needs continual monitoring and treatment. Make sure you check out the Just A Mom podcast website at 
9/13/202239 minutes, 15 seconds
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Just A Mom Trailer

My name is Susie.  I have three children, the youngest of whom struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. I never thought this could happen to me, and I missed the signs.  Being a parent is really hard, and I'm here to help! I'm talking to parents and experts to help you with the issues your kids may face.  I want you to know that you are not alone and there is hope. Check out more about the Just A Mom Podcast at and make sure you follow @thejustamompodcast on Instagram and Facebook. 
9/7/20223 minutes, 51 seconds