Interested in starting your own journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Abbie Rosenberg, Founder of Mental Health Collaborative, Inc., located in Hopkinton, MA, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your members?
Mental Health Collaborative is a nonprofit organization with the mission to build resilient communities through mental health education and awareness. We deliver evidence-based programs to schools, organizations, parents, and community members, teaching Mental Health Literacy. Mental Health Literacy, an important component of health literacy, is a proactive and critically needed education for all individuals.
Tell us about yourself
I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner and have been working as a therapist and psychopharmacologist for over 30 years in a variety of settings. After a former patient died by suicide, I became increasingly aware of the lack of mental health education in our country. This was attributed to stigma, lack of knowledge about mental illnesses and the different states of mental health, lack of knowledge about self-care, and lack of knowledge of when and how to access professional help. I founded Mental Health Collaborative with the vision of bringing this vital education throughout the U.S. I am motivated every day when I am reminded of our programs' potential life-saving impact. Nobody should suffer silently or shamefully, and everyone deserves and needs to be mental health literate.
What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?
One of my biggest accomplishments is knowing that through our programs, we have saved at least one life (probably more) and positively impacted countless lives. Additionally, building an organization from the ground up and seeing it grow one step at a time is very gratifying. Most important to me are the connections and relationships that I have built and continue to build on this journey. I could not have done this without the amazing people that I have on my team.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being an organization?
As a start-up, one of the most challenging aspects for me is to have so many different balls in the air, managing and overseeing all parts of the organization and remaining organized and efficient while growing. It's very important to have colleagues and supporters to talk to and run things by, or it can get very isolating.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?
- Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed, believe in you, give you honest feedback and listen to you, and always have your back.
- Embrace imperfection, and know that things won't always go as planned. We all make mistakes and need to practice self-compassion and need "our people" to do the same. There is always plan B, plan C, etc. Stay true to your beliefs and passions, but also know when something is out of your control and keep on going.
- Set your sights high and dream big, but also know that Rome was not built in a day. Persistence and perseverance are key, and not letting the disappointments get you down because there will be disappointments, there will be unexpected curveballs, and there will be days that you are filled with doubt. This is one of my favorite quotes by Zora Neale Hurston, "Jump at the sun. You may not land on the sun, but at least you will get off the ground." Keep on going, and don't give up!
Where can people find you and your group?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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