Mental Health Talk: Guest Blog Post Author Felicia Johnson

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Felicia Johnson guest blogs on Mental Health Talk and shares how she suffered from depression and child abuse while growing up. It was writing that helped her through those years; a catalyst for finding an invaluable form of therapy and her voice.

This has lead Felicia to write her first novel titled Her. Based on her own experiences and those with a close friend who she lost to mental illness, she has created a story about survival and the complexity of living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

To read Felicia’s guest post on Mental Health Talk, please visit: http://mentalhealthtalk.info/writing-mental-illness

Trish Hurtubise, Founder and Editor of Mental Health Talk

Empowering Our Youth: Journaling and Writing Speaking Engagement Testimonials

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Again, I’d like to say thank you to a group of North Atlanta youth mentors and advocates at LPYG for inviting me to speak to a wonderful group of brilliant kids who are on their way to becoming amazing young writers! I had so much fun speaking and answering questions about how journaling can jump start your writing career. That day, I handed out journals as keepsakes for the children to start writing in their own personal journals. They seemed to be delighted with their gifts. Some of them began writing in their journals immediately! I was overwhelmed by the welcoming atmosphere and the keen interest of the children as I spoke to them about my own personal experience with journaling and how keeping journals had helped me to produce and publish my first novel. Read more about this event here: https://feejohnson.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/encouraging-our-youth-journaling-writing/

Here are testimonials from the the boys and girls and staff:

“It was nice of Miss Felicia to bring us journals. I am going to write in my journal every day because I want to write a book about my life one day.” Shimaya age 14

“I found the session to be educational and fun. I learned that it’s important it keep your journal private so that you can write anything you want inside of it. I never thought that I would want to write in a journal, but it seems like it’s worth a try. ” Jonathan age 15

“The best thing that I can say about Miss Felicia is that she made me feel like anything is possible! Like if I want to write a book, I can and if I want to help inspire other people like me, I can do that. Listening to her story was very encouraging. Some of us go through a lot, but when you do your best, you can do anything.” Kelly age 14

“I was touched by her story and I think that anyone who can get through hard times and stand up and talk to other people to help them are brave. She helped me to appreciate that lot of us have had hard times but when we make a choice to do the right thing, we don’t have to go down that bad route. We can take a path to choose to do good things, like write and journal and help others.” DK age 14

“I’m going to write in my journal as much as I can so that I don’t forget the good memories. Like when Miss Felicia said that she wrote in her journal to remember her friend who had died. I don’t want to forget how she helped us and brought the journals for us. That was one of the nicest things anyone has done. I don’t want to forget this.” Victoria age 15

“Thank you, Felicia, for coming to our little space to speak to our kids. You have made a tremendous impact with your sisterly warmth, kindness, and generosity. I am sure that the kids have thoroughly enjoyed you speaking with them today. We hope that you will come back and visit us again soon!” Sharon K. – Youth Advocate and Mentor

**For more information about Felicia Johnson and other events please click here to visit http://www.feliciajohnsonauthor.com.

Also, please write to Felicia at herthebook@gmail.com if you would like to educate, inspire and empower your group, Felicia Johnson is just what your event needs! Felicia’s message is inspired by hope , original, motivational and educational. For over five years, she has been empowering audiences both small and large as a Speaker, Author and Advocate for youth, mental and behavioral health and creative arts.

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Encouraging Our Youth: Journaling & Writing

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Thank you to a group of North Atlanta youth mentors and advocates for inviting me to speak to a wonderful group of brilliant kids who are on their way to becoming amazing young writers! I had so much fun speaking and answering questions about how journaling can jump start your writing career.

We began our day at LPYG with a lively group of teens who are part of a youth mentoring group that focuses on building life skills. Today’s topic was about how journaling can help build writing skills. Most of the youth in the group did not keep personal journals. Most of them admitted that they had not given much thought to keeping a journal. I explained that journals are used to keep personal thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories and experiences that we hold dear.

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The best part about keeping a journal is that you can write down anything you want and you do not have to share it with anyone if you do not wish to share what you’ve written. The teens seemed to like the idea of keeping a journal that they can be open with expressing themselves through words and language openly without fear of judgement. I brought a few starter journals for the teens to keep so that they can begin writing in journals. Some of them even said that they wanted to see if they could use the journals to write stories.

During the Q&A, I invited the youth to ask me questions about journaling and writing. There were a few interesting questions, but the one question that stood out to me the most was from a 14 year old girl named Shamiya. Shamiya said that she was interested in writing a memoir about her life when she grows up. She asked me, “If I write in a journal, will I be able to make it into a book about my life?”

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I encouraged Shamiya to keep a detailed journal and write in it daily especially if she wants to write a memoir one day. A daily journal will hold memories that she may not be able to remember in the future. Writing in a journal can help with keeping your most sacred and cherished memories for you so that when you want to look back and reminisce or recall the memory to write your memoir, the memories will be there.

Everyone seemed to be happy with the idea of keeping a journal. Some of them began writing in the journals as soon as I handed them out. When I was asked to share something from my journal, I helped them to appreciate the privacy of a journal. I told them that the privilege of having a journal is so that you can keep your thoughts private until you’re ready to share. For example, when I had written in my journals as a teen, I did not want to share what I had written about my memories of my late best friend Holly and what it was like for me growing up with major depression. It wasn’t until I grew up and decided to write a book about surviving child abuse and mental health that I decided to share thoughts from my journals. It’s more relevant now today because now my book can actually help other people who are dealing with those same issues.

My hope is that the teens were inspired by my experience with journaling and how it helped me build my writing career. I hope that they will write in their journals even if it’s just to have a way to release their thoughts and feelings openly and freely. I look forward to following up with them and their mentors to see how they are using their journals.

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Please visit my website to find out more about mentoring and speaking and to find out how you can book me to speak at your next event: http://www.feliciajohnsonauthor.com

Leave No Girl Behind International Girls’ Empowerment

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Can I just say how much I adore Haseena Patel! Please check out her organization called Leave No Girl Behind. Their mission is “to empower girls worldwide through our Leave No Girl Behind International programs and radio show. To raise awareness of why doing this is essential”.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege and honor of speaking with a group of girls at their school in Africa about the importance of journaling, setting goals, reaching them, and writing. There is about a 8 hour difference between where I live and where Leave No Girl Behind is in Africa. Therefore, I was on Skype at 6:30am EST to meet with the girls and begin our discussion. It was a delightful and enlightening conversation about life, journaling, and empowerment. It was a deep discussion as I shared with them how I grew up in an abusive home and suffered from depression and the suicide of my best friend. It was important to share with them how I overcame these challenges and was empowered and inspired to get better and help others.

I found the girls to be very bright and engaging in our discussion. They asked me the most brilliant questions after I spoke to them for about a half hour, sharing my story with them and how I came to be where I am today. One of the questions that stood out the most to me was when one of the girls asked, “How do you tell your parents that you want to go into things like writing and theatre when they expect you to go into something else?”

The reason that question stood out the most, was because it’s common for children to want to please their parents. Most children want to choose a career that their parents would be proud of, but would allow them to be true to what they are passionate about. If what their passionate about conflicts with what their parents want for them, then it makes it hard for that child to talk their parents. I encouraged the young lady who asked this question to speak up to her parents. I said, “Speaking aloud and clearly is the best thing to do. Honesty is always the best route, no matter if it makes them upset. You avoid the complications that would come up later. In the long run, your parents will see how happy you are in choosing a career path that doesn’t make you miserable or feel like you’re wasting your life. And if your parents truly love you, which I’m sure they do, they’ll eventually come around, or they may even hear you out right away and support you without opposition. You never know! Therefore, don’t put aside your hopes and dreams. ”

Thanks to Haseena Patel, Shameema Patel, and Jenita Raghoo for putting this wonderful event together! As a thank you for having me as a guest speaker, I’m sending journals to the group of school girls and to the three amazing women who made it all possible. Each journal will have a personal note written inside for all of them. I truly hope that they will enjoy their new journals! I look forward to Skyping with them again in the future to see how they are coming along with their journaling.

Testimonials will be posted soon. Stay tuned!

Leave No Girl Behind can be found on FB https://www.facebook.com/LeaveNoGirlBehind
They also have a website: http://www.leavenogirlbehind.org/

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