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Amanda Seales wants to destigmatize therapy: 'I wish I had gone earlier'

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Terms like wellness and self-care are more than just trends in 2020, they have become a necessity. The collective stress is high — with the CDC reporting that 2 in 5 people are struggling with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the Built By Girls Summit, Amanda Seales addressed the roller coaster of emotions brought on by this chaotic year. The comedian and actor has turned to puzzles, positive affirmations, meditation and has famously spent time destressing on her trampoline. She also points to therapy as one of the tools she uses to check in with herself.

“Therapy is important for me because it allows me to see things in a very logical way that are seemingly unimaginable for me,” she told Yahoo Life. “I’m a very logical thinker so I can really understand things and how to manage them better when they are presented to me in a certain fashion.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Amanda Seales attends the Build Series to discuss 'Small Doses' at Build Studio on October 03, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)
Amanda Seales addressed the roller coaster of emotions brought on by this chaotic year at the Build By Girls Summit. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)

“I wish I had started earlier,” Seales added.

Finding the right therapist can take a few tries, and Seales suggested that you might have to “give it more than one shot” in order to find the right person. She met with non-Black mental health professionals in the past, before connecting with a Black female therapist.

“I deal so much with race, not just in my personal daily life, but also in my professional life. And I wanted to speak with someone who could relate, who I didn’t have to explain the nuances of that too,” said Seales.

Mental health professionals are trained to treat people of all races and genders, but in a study published in the Journal of Black Psychology, Black therapists expressed how their understanding of the Black experience helped to create easier therapeutic connections with Black patients. There is even an app called Ayana that helps connect people with therapists who share their race, gender or sexual orientation.

Though it may take a few tries to find the right therapist, Seales believes that seeking support should no longer be stigmatized.

“When I hear someone talk about going to therapy, I know that’s a different kind of person,” she said. “When you’re responsible about your own wellness, that is a sign of how you’re being responsible in the world because you’re taking care of yourself, which means you’re going to be a better addition to this society.”

Part of balancing wellness during this time can mean taking breaks from social media. Seales admitted that her ultimate goal is to one day get off of social media altogether. In the meantime, she has created her own social safe space called SFB Society, which is an extension of her “Smart, Funny, Black” brand. This paid membership, which starts at $12.99 a month, gives users access to an online community where the focus is on facts and respect.

“It’s social media for people who want conversation without confrontation,” said Seales.

Watch the full Build By Girls Summit:

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