Diversifying the Discourse (feat. Jo co-founder of WellBee UK)

What made you want to start your platform WellBeeUK?

From the mental health battles my first boyfriend had to contend with, to my own struggles, a lot of personal experiences have led to my interest in and passion for mental health. When Juliet and I became friends we quickly realised we held a lot of the same views, and we both wanted to create something positive that would help people.

What would you say makes your partnership work so well?

While having similar values and goals, we both bring very different life experiences to the table. This is great when we discuss our topics as we can both have very differing perspectives, which hopefully means the content we produce speaks to as many people as possible. Having already been friends for some years, we’re comfortable being honest with and challenging each other, to ensure we’re consistent and creating something worthwhile.

What are your key objectives with the WellBeeUK platform?

Our long term goal is to create a tool which people can use to find the help they need – a one stop shop for resources and services. At the moment we feel the process of finding support can lead to a rabbit hole of websites and links with no real clarity. Far from encouraging people to seek help it can act as a deterrent. We one day hope to remedy this.

Currently, our objectives are to create open and honest conversations about mental health and wellbeing, and to help reduce the stigma that surrounds it. We do this via our weekly stories where we both reflect and provide a more practical approach, along with signposting to helpful resources.

Another thing we have started in recent months is collaborations with mental health professionals, to better educate ourselves and our readers about specific topics.

Considering our current climate, how do you feel Black women are being seen, heard or acknowledged (if at all) within the sector you are in?

From listening to the experiences of both Black women I know and those I follow on Instagram, the intersection of race and gender causes a lot of the battles Black women face to be overlooked, dismissed or disbelieved. What has been great about WellBee though is that we have connected with a lot of people who have created spaces specifically for the betterment of Black women’s mental health, and we make sure we promote and signpost these pages and resources.

What 5 tips would you advise as a foundation for maintaining a balanced self-care routine?

Talk to yourself the way you would a friend or loved one (It can be shocking sometimes how mean we are to ourselves)

Be practical and realistic with your self-care goals (i.e. you don’t need to master every self-care tip in the book straight away to be doing it “right”)

Question your intentions – do you want to do this for you or because it’s what you think you should be doing?

Entrust at least one person you’re close to with checking in with each other, this can help you hold each other accountable to looking after yourselves

Practice saying no without apology

What books or podcasts would you recommend for those who are seeking out acts of self-care?

My friend introduced me to the Meditation Mixtape by Shelah Marie on Spotify and I absolutely love it. Another audiobook I love listening to is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle that my mum recommended me. I also love anything by Brene Brown.

In regards to the social media world, there is a lot of debate in the ways it affects us mentally. What advice would you give to help navigate these spaces?

Unfollow any people or pages who make you feel down on yourself or like you’re not enough; don’t think twice about this, you won’t miss them. Using Instagram’s time limit reminder can be helpful, I recently did this (at Juliet’s recommendation!) and it really helps me not to spend hours scrolling away. Be intentional with your time online: think about what you want to do and get it done. Or if you just want to catch up on the feed, give yourself a time limit and stick to it.

The fact that you are both from different ethnic backgrounds I would like to know, how would you say this dynamic has impacted your platform (if at all)?

I wouldn’t say it has necessarily impacted our platform, but it does alter the way I personally prepare stories when we do topics relating to race. We use it as an opportunity to speak to our respective demographics. I’ve read a lot in recent months about white people (women in particular) swooping in and taking over the conversation and the space, yet again, regarding anti-racist work, while Black people, particularly Black women, have been doing this. So, while Juliet will often write from her experiences and those of the Black people in her life, I instead will compile and signpost to relevant anti-racist work by Black people and activists I follow that relates to the topic at hand.

What is your favourite mantra and/or affirmation that gets you through those joyful/difficult times?

“There are good days, there are bad days, and today is just one day.” Also, Juliet and I met at our university gospel choir so it’s no surprise we both love a bit of gospel music for both the difficult and the joyful times! What I love about gospel is it almost always uplifts me when I’m down, and if I’m feeling good it makes me feel even better. It’s always a win!

If you had the power to erase one negative belief that is commonly experienced by those who struggle with self-acceptance, what would it be?

The idea that you will be happy or will accept yourself when…x, y, z. Whether it’s a certain body image, career, or financial position, this goalpost can be moved so easily, and we can end up putting an arbitrary limit on self-love and acceptance. I guess ultimately, it’s understanding that accepting ourselves as and where we are and motivating ourselves to achieve our goals isn’t mutually exclusive.

BONUS – What is your favourite journal prompt and why?

I actually used to write in a journal quite often until a few years ago. I have been wanting to get back into it for a while now, but I sometimes get anxious about starting things again when it has been a long time. To be completely honest though our recent collaboration with NPNarratives did inspire me so my new start might be sooner rather than later!

By Nadine Plummer

An Intuitive Coach who provides therapeutic writing practices/talking therapies to aid women of colour personal development. Through sisterhood and person-centered approaches Nadine Plummer is able to help her clients heal, grow and thrive collectively and individually.