October 5, 2021

Episode 06 – “Mental Health, Black Dignity, and The Importance of Humor” with Dr. Christina Edmondson

We need to take care of all the parts of who we are. That includes not just our physical selves, but our mental wellbeing too. Dr. Christina Edmondson is here to share why it's crucial to treat ourselves—our whole selves—with dignity, love, and empathy.
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Show Notes


Guest Bio:

Christina Edmondson holds a PhD in counseling psychology from Tennessee State University, an MS degree from the University of Rochester in family systems, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hampton University with an emphasis in race, class, and gender. For over a decade, Christina has served in a variety of roles including most recently as the Dean for Intercultural Student Development at Calvin University. A certified cultural intelligence facilitator, public speaker, and former mental health therapist, Christina is often contacted by churches to consult about leadership development, antiracism, and mental health issues. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Truth’s Table podcast.

Summary of EPISODE:

The brain is an important part of the body. So why is there often a stigma related to pursuing brain health? And why do people often avoid getting the help they need? How can we deal with things in all of our lives that are harming our mental health? Today, Rasool asks Dr. Christina Edmondson, “Where ya from?”, and ends up in a practical conversation about mental health, Black dignity, and the vital role of humor in healing from trauma.


Notes and Quotes:

  • “This intersection of both orthodoxy and orthopraxy, this lived and body faith are just deeply rooted into what I think we’re supposed to be living.”
  • “The seeds of the gospel, that this God who is fully sufficient, a God who is not lonely, a God who did not need us, out of love, created a people, for Him to love and to love each other. That same God who loves me, would give himself up for me to claim me. There is no greater love than that.”
  • “I had a strong sense of the way that grief and the trauma of grief can shape and misshape us. But, the way also that hardship can create what we call . . . post-traumatic growth. The way that hardship for some people actually can reveal really who they are, and it can really push them, it can really inspire them.”
  • “Who we think of as family is different from culture to culture. . . . That comes from being a part of a people group who endured the transatlantic slave trade, who endured being sold from plantation to plantation and having to create family anew and claim to family anew—claim family for yourself.”
  • “I have to listen to my body oftentimes to know how I feel or to know what I’m thinking and not the other way around. Stress for me is felt physically.”
  • “My very being, my very presence in a room when I was counseling people could trigger all kinds of reactions from them. Just my being. My female-ness, my perception of what my age might have been, perceptions of what my race or ethnic background might be. . . . That’s what shows up when I walk in the room, my grandmother shows up when I walk in the room. The African ancestry that I’m disconnected from, that shows up when I walk into the room. My faith convictions about justice and about love and about grace, that shows up.” 
  • “What we will see in Glory is a representation of every tribe, nation, and tongue. We will not see every caste system, but we will be united with our brothers and sisters that reflect the entire globe and, certainly, Europe is a part of that.”
  • “Laughter and trauma live in the same building.”
  • “If we’re going to keep living and breathing and enduring, we’re going to have to have laughing within that.”
  • “Sometimes in spaces we look at people who are struggling with a physical illness, a biological issue, and we’re like, ‘Well, you haven’t studied God’s Word enough.’ That is an unloving refrain to say, and it also is an inappropriate use and expectation of the first and foremost intention of Scripture.”
  • “All truth is God’s truth, and God’s been using all kinds of people for a mighty long time. Thanks be to God that [He] works through deeply imperfect people to bring forth nuggets of truth that need to be critically discerned and engaged.”
  • “Our brain is a part of the body and we need to pursue good brain health.”
  • “Our brains are impacted by things like sugar. They’re impacted by screens, they’re impacted by unresolved trauma. They’re impacted by head injuries, concussions. We’re biological beings.”
  • “What we know is that our phones are designed for us to be addicted to them, they are intentionally designed, the lighting of the phone, the blue lighting of the phone, the way that it energizes the brain, the way that our brains release serotonin when we get a like, or when we get a message, or we hear the ding that comes through, that helps us shape an addictive impulse in us. We just have to own it.”
  • “If I’m overwhelmed by feelings of depression, and I decide I’m just going to rough it, I can play that game if I want, but that’s going to impact my children, it’s going to impact my spouse. While we can pretend that the struggles that we have are not affecting other people, it absolutely is.”


Links Mentioned In Show:


Verses Mentioned in Show:

  • General reference to God laughing in Scripture (Psalm 2:4; 37:13; 59:8)
  • Proverbs 31:25:  “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

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