Episode Description

Who To Ask For Mental Health Support: With Susan Crooks

Learning how to ask for support — and how to get support — for mental health conditions is a crucial life skill. After all, one in every five people live with a mental illness of some kind. Countless high-functioning individuals struggle daily with depression, anxiety and other life-altering diseases, which can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and apathy. 

The question is: what kind of tools can we use to improve our mental health and the health of those we love? What’s more, who can we turn to when we need mental health support? We’re going to look at five different tactics to try when you’re going through a difficult mental health period. 

Our guest on today’s episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast is Susan Crooks who, in honor of her son, founded an organization called Walt’s Waltz. Her mission is to destigmatize the conversation on mental health, create safe spaces for people who struggle with mental health conditions, and ultimately to spread a message of hope to reduce suffering.

Susan’s challenge is getting funding for her organization. They have accomplished a lot in just a couple of years, but Susan is not sure how to ask for financial support.

How to get support when you’re struggling with mental health

Take your mental health “temperature” 

One of the first things you should do when you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health episode is to “take the temperature” of their current condition. This means assessing the severity of what you or they are going through — is this a small “funk,” or something more?

There are all types of mental health conditions, and each of them have their own warning signs. Learning more about specific indicators of mental un-wellness can help diagnose the seriousness of the situation at hand, and knowing the severity can help you accurately treat what you’re going through more effectively. 

One caveat before we move on: we aren’t always the best judges of our own mental health situation. Talking to a professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, is absolutely crucial if you’re dealing with intense feelings of depression, despair or anxiety. The following tips (and this entire article) is specifically for those living with mild-to-medium mental health conditions that can be addressed using non-clinical means. 

Start gratitude journaling 

One way to get mental health support involves gratitude journaling. Journaling itself is a proven de-stressor, and it’s been known to help those with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Try starting up your own journal (or journaling with a pal) and start writing down everything you’re grateful for. 

Alternatively, you can write about other positive things, such as everything that went right today, or what your favorite TV shows are and why. The subject matter isn’t as important as the thinking behind it: if you start to consistently notice and appreciate all the things you’re thankful for, you can begin to “rewire” your brain to naturally pick up on all the positive stimuli in your environment, instead of the negative factors weighing you down. 

At the same time, journaling can help you break out of circuitous thinking patterns that are harmful and self-destructive. That’s because it’s easy to repeatedly tell ourselves negative things in our heads, but it’s a lot more difficult to write them down over and over again — in fact, the very act of putting negative self-talk into written sentences can make those thoughts seem far less consequential. 

Invest in a life coach 

If your mental health struggles are tied to a specific facet of your life, such as your financial situation or romantic life, a life coach may be able to help. Life coaches don’t take the place of therapists; instead of reflecting on past experiences, a life coach helps you structure what you plan to do in the future. 

While a therapist is the right answer for severe mental health conditions, a life coach is wonderful for young professionals or other high-functioning individuals who deal with chronic, low-grade anxiety or depression. A coach will challenge your negative thoughts, help you see new opportunities and stop you in your tracks should you end up in a circular-thinking spiral. 

Consult with a trusted group of friends 

“No man is a failure who has friends.” Put another way, nothing is as hard in company as it is alone. A solid group of friends, coworkers, community members or family can be absolutely essential in maintaining and improving your mental health. The problem is, many people who suffer from mental health conditions don’t think their inner circles want to hear about their struggles — they think they might come off as a burden.

In fact, the opposite is true. Sharing your mental health struggles with people you love and trust is far more likely to strengthen your bond than keeping them to yourself. Your circle will feel grateful that you’re able to open up to them, and they’ll feel more willing to share their own internal struggles with you as well. 

Remove major life stressors from your routine

Think about your life for a moment. What parts of it are no longer serving you? If your career is the number one contributing factor to your ongoing anxiety, it may be time to start looking at alternative job options. Conversely, if your relationship with your family is fraught, you might want to consider ways to see them less often. 

While these sorts of life changes can feel hard and scary at first, it’s worth it to try and build a daily routine that allows you to flourish. The truth is that we can thrive under almost any conditions, provided we’re thinking productive thoughts — and it’s a lot easier to have those productive thoughts when you’re in a routine that’s authentic, spiritually nurturing and enjoyable.  

Mental health help is possible 

It’s not always easy to get support when you’re struggling with a mental health condition. But, if you’re like the millions of other young professionals who’re currently experiencing a mental health illness of some kind, then you know that addressing the root causes of your concerns will help improve your quality of life immensely. 

***

Below are links to national and international hotlines you can call to get help:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

https://www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I'm the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. You have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.

Today, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce to you our guest. Her name is Susan Crooks and she comes to us from a very, very interesting organization called Walt's Waltz. Susan, welcome.

[00:00:35] Susan Crooks: Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:39] Kim Ades: So tell us a little bit about you, tell us about Walt's Waltz. Give us a little history, a little background. Tell us where you're at.

[00:00:46] Susan Crooks: Okay. Awesome. Well, in August 22nd, 2019, my son after 20 years struggle with treatment resistant anxiety, which eventually also led into depression... He died.

[00:01:02] Kim Ades: Can you go back and share with the audience? What does treatment resistant mean?

[00:01:06] Susan Crooks: Yes. Well, what happened was for him, the medications that he was prescribed. The treatments, for instance, there are some different treatments like magnetic resonance treatment, there's also an electric shock, there are different therapies as well. So when I'm saying "treatments", you'd also includes medications.

He tried so many different medications, treatments, and even like ketamine and things that are newer and they would not help. What happened was... We discovered late in his life that he had a faulty fight or flight reflex. And so it's like a response in my family.

So we have that anxiety, eight of my brothers and sisters. So nine of us children, six of us have really strong anxiety. And for him with having this fight or flight, not working correctly, the tiger kept coming, right? And so it was so many sleepless nights, so many medications not working.

And it was, if you saw a man just getting... almost as if it was a cancer or something else, just kind of eating away at him. Although he continued to work all the time and no one knew it. I mean, on the outside he looked so good and healthy, but on the inside, there was a lot of shame and exhaustion.

And as treatment after treatment, didn't help with this panic and anxiety that kept creeping, you know, that just kind of haunted him and... He died. I was there 45 minutes before he died, so you can imagine how difficult this is, right? As soon as my son died, two days after he died, my son Will looked me in the eyes and said, "mom"... 'cause he knew I might not make it, right?

[00:03:14] Kim Ades: Your other son.

[00:03:16] Susan Crooks: Yes, I have a son named Will, and they are seven years apart, but they were best friends. And my boys took me everywhere. You know, rock climbing, mountain biking, you name it. He looked me in the eyes and knew and said, "mom, we're gonna start a movement", and if we save one life...

And I always say Will spoke my language because I've been a teacher my whole life, in fact, son Walt, who died, he and I taught together for 10 years and we were actually members of the oldest critical thinking think tank in the world, and we went around and did presentations on mindfulness and critical thinking, and we were getting ready to head to Hong Kong.

I always say my son was very smart and I always say, well, I was just like, you know, [...] "hi, everybody!" You know? So we were a really good team and he was really my best friend. And so when he died, we had decided that we needed to let people know how he died and how he suffered, because there's way too much suffering going on.

As you know, every 40 seconds a human being dies by suicide. This is just such a big deal. And also... Okay, we think about the deaths, which are 800,000 a year, approximately. But if we really think also about the suffering, people kind of discount that. We know the CDC says that 1 out of 5 people have a mental health condition at any given time.

So I often say like, look around the room, right? At least 1 out of 5 people, right? And that person, you know, someone else is going to have a family member that has a mental health condition. This is a large audience, you know?

[00:05:11] Kim Ades: Yeah. I mean, I want to go kind of forward, but I don't want to go too fast. So can we back up for a minute?

[00:05:17] Susan Crooks: Yes. Sorry.

[00:05:18] Kim Ades: 'Cause I am very interested in part of your story. So you mentioned a few things. The first thing you mentioned is that 6 out of 8 of your family members, in other words, your siblings--

[00:05:28] Susan Crooks: Yeah, 6 out of 9 children.

[00:05:31] Kim Ades: 6 out of 9.

[00:05:31] Susan Crooks: Yes.

[00:05:32] Kim Ades: Okay. 9 have anxiety. Are you one of those?

[00:05:35] Susan Crooks: Yes.

[00:05:36] Kim Ades: So how do you cope with your anxiety?

[00:05:39] Susan Crooks: I actually used to... on and off I'd exercise a lot, and then I also went on a medication, and I have been on and off of a few different medications throughout my life. And those things helped me to a point.

[00:05:58] Kim Ades: Okay, helped you to a point. And then, is there something else helps you to the next point? Or what are you doing when it's only helping you to a point?

[00:06:07] Susan Crooks: Then I talk to people, I try to get it out of my system. Sometimes I'll have, for example, circular thinking, which would be... Normally for me, it would be, for example, I will be afraid I hurt somebody's feelings, and it may seem ridiculous, but I will circle that "oh my gosh, what if they took it this way?" and it's always purely innocent. There's nothing there, but this is where logic and things don't play into it.

[00:06:37] Kim Ades: Is there someone in your life that kind of helps you move past that circular thinking?

[00:06:42] Susan Crooks: It helps, but yeah, I have a sister that I call, and I came up with a plan and said, "I'm just going to call people and let them know", and usually they don't know what I'm talking about and they'll go, "what are you talking about?" And I'll say, "oh, I dunno! I was just worried that maybe I hurt your feelings or something!" And they'll reassure me.

That helps some as far as that goes, but there are just times where it's hard, right? There are levels of anxiety and that's something that we try to teach people as well, because some people's anxiety is more situational.

[00:07:23] Kim Ades: Yeah.

[00:07:23] Susan Crooks: And so, that's one of our things that we do as well. But if we want to go back just even to our nonprofit and how we really got started, something that's kind of curious or interesting is that when we started our non-profit, it was right away. Like, we became a business, a corporation because that's your first step, within three weeks, less than three weeks of my son's death, because I didn't know what else to do, right?

[00:07:51] Kim Ades: Right.

[00:07:51] Susan Crooks: And we were fortunate that the USC law clinic and Clemson University, and the small business Alliance there and Ferman University have been big helps for us throughout this time. And so we became a nonprofit very quickly.

[00:08:07] Kim Ades: I want to talk about that in a minute, but I still want to go back. I think mental health is a very, very important subject, and I think our audience deserves to hear your story thoroughly.

[00:08:16] Susan Crooks: Absolutely.

[00:08:17] Kim Ades: And I think that this is not a subject that we need to skim over, we kind of need to dig in a little bit, we need to shed some light. It's very, very important. We, as a company, feel very strongly that people need support. We have created a program for young professionals ourselves.

Now, we're not dealing with people who are suicidal, we're not dealing with people who need the support of a doctor, but we know that a lot of young people experience anxiety, depression, overwhelm... All of those feelings, stress, of course... and at a broad level, we're here to support them.

But I think that what we're talking about is something a little bit more severe, that needs a little bit more attention than that. Something that really requires perhaps medication, perhaps the help of a therapist, perhaps some kind of extended treatment. So, I want to just kind of go back. You knew your son was struggling with anxiety and you were watching him struggle.

[00:09:25] Susan Crooks: Yeah, and we couldn't get help, and this is one of the things that I think people don't completely understand, and that's part of our mental health moonshot, because people sometimes think that-- they forget that there's genetics involved and it can be somewhat complicated and people might not understand it, but it's as simple as heredity, right?

We understand the science as far as the idea that if you-- actually you're somebody who has anxiety, there are parts, your genes, there are specific changes, differences in your genes and someone else that you're literally born with.

So sometimes it can be very difficult for people to hear my son kept a gratitude journal for 10 years. He did mindfulness. He became a yoga instructor. Didn't just do that, okay? He exercised every day. He did a 10 day fast. He had an entire bookshelf full of self-help books. He lifted weights. He was extremely handsome and brilliant.

He had all these things that you would think, "my God, this man can do anything", but inside he had shame, he also felt anxious. And the day he died, he said, "mom, sometimes people just don't get better". And this is what we're trying to promote because also, as you had said that you don't work with people this way or whatever, but you don't know their level and that's what we have to make people aware of, in a sense.

[00:11:05] Kim Ades: Yes. So our job is to... If we flag it, if we identify it, if something comes up that is even mildly suggestive of self-harm, we bring it forward and we hand it over to people who can handle it. But I just want to go back. So I think this is very important. You know your son is struggling, did you know that he was ready to take his life 45 minutes after you saw him?

[00:11:36] Susan Crooks: No, but the thing was there were signs that he was struggling and he had been struggling forever. He had told me throughout the years, "I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this". We went to neurologists, he had a psychiatrist, he had a site-- you know, he had all these things, he did every single thing. My son wanted to live, but we found no help.

And what people don't want to admit is that we are not there in the sciences. We're not. We're not there in genetics. We haven't had a mental health moonshot. Cancer? Yes. Started with the war on cancer 50 years ago. But we have not given the funding, if you would see it, from the National Institute of Health for research is barely there. What we have is reactive, most things are reactive. Right?

[00:12:25] Kim Ades: Yeah.

[00:12:25] Susan Crooks: All right, it's a triage. We're going to put a band-aid on, we're going to do this, we're going to do that. But we aren't looking at the genetics and also being able to really target if someone needs a specific medication.

[00:12:37] Kim Ades: Yes.

[00:12:37] Susan Crooks: We have them fill out a form and look at it that day, and then the doctor may even say, "well, what's your family on?" Or "does somebody else in your family have this?" But they're not looking at specific biomarkers. And this is something that we are different at Walt's Waltz, that we are trying to say that we... What's it going to take for us to kind of start marching on Washington and say enough is enough. My son's life mattered. We begged for help.

We saw a neurologist, it was like, "here's your hat, what's your hurry?" You know? I mean, he had bags of different medications. And what people have to understand as well is that you're put on a medication, you're on it for approximately six weeks, they really try to keep you on it for six weeks, and then you have to get off of it.

[00:13:27] Kim Ades: Yeah.

[00:13:28] Susan Crooks: Now they prescribe a new one and then you have to go on it. And I just had an interview with Dr. Nicholas [...] Because we're doing interview series with scientists and geneticists and people to actually understand these things more as well, along with mindfulness coaches.

All these types of things are great, but just like, say for instance, Kim, you have anxiety and I have anxiety. Oh wow, now we've understood each other, right? Oh, no, we haven't. Because we think we know what that means through our own perspective and our own vision, but we don't, right?

So what we think about is-- one of our things we promote is we say, "take your mental health temperature". And on our website, we have that, where people can click on a screening. And even though it's not diagnostic and we always stress this, it is not diagnostic, but it will give a picture of where you're at.

Say, for example, I'm worried about somebody and I want to even check on them, right? And I'll say, "Hey, I saw this. How about taking this diagnostic screening?" In the screening takes you to Mental Health America screening, which is one of the most widely used screenings.

And say, for example, for anxiety, there are four levels, okay? So say that you have situational anxiety, for instance, which of course, it's not that when you talk with people, you get anxious, you know, when you're on the film or whatever, right?

[00:15:01] Kim Ades: Right.

[00:15:01] Susan Crooks: And that is when you have anxiety. For me, my anxiety is almost every single day. I'm verging from a three to a four, and there's a set of questions that you can go to. Well, this should be an alert to me that, oh, I'm really struggling here, or my friend is struggling. Because people are afraid to bring it up too, right?

[00:15:22] Kim Ades: Yeah, of course.

[00:15:22] Susan Crooks: We don't talk about it. And it's not without having any kind of understanding of these things...

[00:15:30] Kim Ades: So Walt's Waltz is in honor of your son and you're here to shed a light on mental health issues and really get people the help that they're truly needing. And that help is individualized for each person.

[00:15:46] Susan Crooks: Exactly.

[00:15:48] Kim Ades: Okay. So you're here now. You've had this tragedy in your life, you've been trying to deal with it by mobilizing yourself into action. What is your greatest challenge right now? Is it personal or professional?

[00:16:04] Susan Crooks: It's professional, I would say, to a point. I haven't run a nonprofit. I've been an educator my entire life. So little businesses here and there and things, but I've not been running a nonprofit. And one of the challenges that we face is even just getting people to be comfortable enough, normalizing this conversation so that we can even talk about it further.

A challenge for us, as far as professionally is, how do we get this information out to people? For example, the genetics, like our mental health moonshot, we know we need constituents to be aware of what's going on and make demands, because there aren't changes to the national Institute of health and things. These are all political things that happen. And without constituents making demands, we're not going to see certain changes that we feel we need.

[00:17:13] Kim Ades: I'm a Canadian. Politics work a little bit differently here in Canada. But I will say this, one of the things I do know is that politics are highly driven by the business community, right?

[00:17:27] Susan Crooks: That's true as well. Exactly.

[00:17:31] Kim Ades: Businesses support politicians. And so there's a direct kind of tie between all of these pieces, which is the business community and political movements, political change. Right? Money talks.

[00:17:43] Susan Crooks: Right.

[00:17:44] Kim Ades: And so it's interesting 'cause you're trying to go directly to the constituents and perhaps what you need to consider is, who are the political influencers in the world who care about mental health?

[00:17:58] Susan Crooks: That's a really good point. One of the things that we were trying to do, as far as trying to get businesses on board, is we create these stigma-free zones. You know, we're trying to show that we know that right now, it's hard to hire young-- you know, the young people are coming and going. We feel like this is a perk to show that they, actually--

[00:18:18] Kim Ades: Yes, exactly!

[00:18:19] Susan Crooks: And so we aren't doing that, but... It's like the idea and the power to actually even make the connections that we need to, trying to get to talk to the powerful people isn't always so easy as well, right?

[00:18:33] Kim Ades: Yes. And sometimes what we need to do is kind of just knock on one door at a time and ask for that person to introduce us to the next person. I kind of call it leapfrogging. But you might start with organizations or associations that have wide bodies of young people, who are part of those industries, like retail, hospitality, that kind of thing... And partner with the associations.

Because associations have link to government and link to substantially sized businesses as well. And so what you're really trying to do is go in through the association door. But in your case, identify people who have some exposure, who may have taken their lives. Perhaps Kate Spade, for example.

[00:19:22] Susan Crooks: Exactly.

[00:19:24] Kim Ades: Right? So, she comes from a massively sized company and this matters to them. This matters to them as an organization, at a very, very personal level, and they have dollars to back it up. So it's kind of finding those entry points where there's an alignment and they care about mental health. And if they don't care about mental health, it represents a huge weakness or a huge vulnerability in their workforce.

[00:19:51] Susan Crooks: We do understand that, it's just that it's difficult to-- we have tried these things, it's just difficult to get anybody to get back with you, because I am Susan Crooks, you know, I lost my son, but I am not a wealthy person, I am a teacher. I am in passion, though. I mean, so that--

[00:20:18] Kim Ades: Hold on a second. Let me kind of back up a second. Back you up, okay? So "I am Susan Crooks..." I'm just going to repeat what you just said. "I'm Susan Crooks, I'm not a wealthy person. I don't have any experience in fundraising. I'm a teacher". What you're doing is you're saying, in your words, "I'm not a big player".

[00:20:44] Susan Crooks: Exactly.

[00:20:45] Kim Ades: Right? And in your description of not being a big player, what did you just do? Did you step up to the plate?

[00:20:51] Susan Crooks: Of course-- no, exactly not. It's exactly what I tell our people not to do, because... In fact, we just had a conversation with someone who said, " oh, you need a million dollars to do this or that", and I'm like, have you seen everything that we've done? I mean, we have international Walt's Waltz stigma-free zones. I mean, we actually have trained hundreds and hundreds of people and things that, you know, you have to compare what we've done with zero employees.

[00:21:25] Kim Ades: Exactly.

[00:21:26] Susan Crooks: That's what I try to say, because what happens with me is when someone tells me I can't do it, it's within myself to say that I can. I think that it's just sometimes when I get discouraged thinking, how do I make myself stand out to get someone to even read a letter or look at us?

[00:21:48] Kim Ades: I'm going to change your thinking for a minute. And it's something that I learned not too long ago. It's not the question of "how", it's the question of "who" that you need to ask yourself. So who is the person that can help me open doors? Who is the person? Who are the people? The who's?

And so, you know, I remember years ago, my dad used to say, "if you can't get in through the door, climb in through the window", and really what it means is identify the individuals, the people that care about this. Your passion is there, you care about it, but it's not about "how am I going to do it". I'll find a way. It's about who is the person that's going to make that massive difference for you. Who cares right alongside with you.

[00:22:39] Susan Crooks: I think that it's still difficult to get them to respond to you because they get so many... You know, it's like, how do you get them to hear you? For instance, we are going to be in the documentary, which with Will Harper who produced Oprah, he had this first documentary was highly sensitive, with Alanis Morissette... And I was interviewed and we're in the one, which is The Genius of Sensitivity. It's about masculinity and how we need to address that.

[00:23:18] Kim Ades: How did you get into that movie? How did they hear about you?

[00:23:22] Susan Crooks: The way that it worked is, I actually had-- A couple of different ways. One of my friends from the foundation for critical thinking, he's brilliant. As I said, these people are brilliant. And we were part of the close knit group of the very people in the top. And he actually is in the movie. He is co-producing it, yeah. And so he knew about me, and also I had reached out to his wife who was the producer on Highly Sensitive. And so those were the things I did for that.

[00:24:19] Kim Ades: So hold on a second. So you knew someone who was creating this movie, he knew you, so he invited you to be in the movie. And while you were there, you asked for an introduction to the next person.

[00:24:30] Susan Crooks: Well, actually, no. I had met her as well. It was separate. It was just weird. It was a weird coincidence. [Chuckles]

[00:24:37] Kim Ades: But are you asking for introductions to the next person?

[00:24:40] Susan Crooks: No, I'm not from there. 'Cause I always feel-- I would say one of my weaknesses is that I don't like to ask people for things, I feel uncomfortable, but then what I keep telling myself is I'm not asking for money for myself, I'm not doing anything like that. What I'm trying to do is I'm trying to say it helps save people and reduce suffering.

And that's really what we're trying to do, reduce suffering, because we know how many people are carrying when they get home from work, how many people are exhausted, you know? And so I understand my mission is correct, and I feel very strongly about it, and I am not benefiting financially from any of this.

[00:25:22] Kim Ades: I understand.

[00:25:23] Susan Crooks: I guess I just keep questioning.

Well, so that's exactly it. Right? So you question it because you feel uncomfortable about knocking on doors and asking for help. But I would say to you exactly that: ask for help. "I'm looking for some help. I'm hoping you can help me. I'm trying to figure this out. I'm trying to figure out who the next... kind of like how to open these doors. I'm a little lost. I could use your help". And so it's not "I need your money". "I could use your help. I'm trying to figure something out".

We're members of the chamber and we go every month to the different functions or twice a month. And I did the ask again, you know, I put out the ask to 70 people that we just need help. That's what we put out as well. We say we're looking for donations of time, even a couple hours, if you could give us to help us figure out. But we just aren't getting much responses.

[00:26:22] Kim Ades: I'll tell you, we just want something new, and I mentioned it earlier. It's The Journal That Talks Back and it's a whole new market for us. It's a whole new business, in a way, for us and we're trying to figure it out. We don't have all the answers.

[00:26:35] Susan Crooks: Right.

[00:26:36] Kim Ades: But what we do do is we reach out to people saying, "hey, I'm interested in figuring out how to, for example, get sponsorship. I don't know anything about sponsorship. I've never gotten sponsorship and I'd love for some advice. Would you be willing to spend a few minutes on the phone with us? Here's what we're trying to do. Here's our mission".

And looking for some help in understanding what is the right approach to get into this area, to get to the ears of sponsors. You have no idea how many people are willing to spend time with you. But if you talk to them and you build a relationship, what happens? They introduce you to the next person and the next person, and that door opens and that door opens, and they say, "wow, this is completely aligned with our mission!" But it's asking for help for something specific, as opposed to asking for donation dollars.

[00:27:33] Susan Crooks: Right.

[00:27:33] Kim Ades: Or you might say, "here's my mission. Here's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to figure it out and I'm trying to figure out what is the best move".

[00:27:40] Susan Crooks: Yeah. I actually say that to a point as well, but maybe I possibly need to start calling directly businesses and asking for... like, getting a hold of them. Like, I say it out loud to this group of people, I say, if you have any time at all, we are needing help--

[00:28:08] Kim Ades: But you need to say specifically what you're-- cause help is very broad.

[00:28:12] Susan Crooks: Well, yeah, I actually listed even like on LinkedIn, like "we're looking for help in this, this, and this area".

[00:28:21] Kim Ades: And you you need to be as specific as possible. So if you see that there's someone on LinkedIn who specializes in sponsorships, you say, "Hey, I'm trying to figure out how to position this".

[00:28:32] Susan Crooks: It's a good point.

[00:28:33] Kim Ades: Right? "And I'd love to get your feedback on our deck, on our proposal. I'd love to get your insight". And then when you get their insight, you say, "do you know anyone I should be talking to?" And then you go to the next person and you just keep going.

[00:28:47] Susan Crooks: Yeah, that was how we got our funding to actually start our 501(c)(3) was that. I just kept calling people until I found people who would help us. Like, I didn't know, there was a law clinic that we could get a 501(c)(3).

So I did all of that in the beginning, and then it's like, I've sort of, like, been running on this wheel as we are doing so much, and then just working two full-time jobs, and I'm wearing myself out to a point and not being as efficient as I should be.

And also, one of the things that we were doing poorly is advertising and actually keeping strong data and we have the data, we just need to actually pull it together. And so we can show people exactly what we have accomplished in such a little bit of time with actually no paid employees and really no funding.

And so, people tell me " you're way past what you need to be doing to actually get people to help you and see you"... And we are being seen and heard, don't get me wrong. We have a lot that's happened.

It's almost like now we're ready for the next, because we figured things out, we were able to have certain companies and non-profits be stigma-free zones and things like that, so that we could work through it.

They're like, "we'll be your guinea pig", and they're so nice, so we're like, "okay, let's figure out this. What would not work with HR? What would work? What looks good? What would a company want?" so we feel like we've gotten there, but we still, like... I think I feel overwhelmed. [Laughs]

[00:30:41] Kim Ades: There are two thoughts that I have for you. Number one is that every single hospital has a fundraising department and they have an individual in that fundraising department who is in charge of fundraising campaigns. And it's not that they will help you raise funds, but they will help you examine your plea, and help you say, Hey, if you position it like this, or if you angle it like that, that might be useful".

So find the people in the hospitals who are willing to give you their time to review your positioning and your plea. So that's thought number one. Thought number two, and I think this is very important for everyone who's listening is success leaves clues, and sometimes we ignore the clues.

And so when you look at your history, there are some things that worked. It's only been two years and you've done an amazing amount of work in a two year period, two and a half years. That's not a lot of time. And so you've done some things in the past that have opened doors, you've done some things in the past that have helped you make progress. And then we ignore those things that we've done that worked and say, "well, okay, what's the next thing?"

And it's very important to keep track of our success, because if we're doing something that works, we want to really, really get good at that thing that works and keep doing that only better and better and better and better. So for you, if it's knocking on doors and simply saying, "I need help specifically here", do that.

[00:32:08] Susan Crooks: That's a really good point because I was thinking, well, we've kept track of all of our successes and everything we've done, but we really haven't kept track of how did we do it, right?

[00:32:19] Kim Ades: Exactly.

[00:32:20] Susan Crooks: You know, and some of it was just the idea of, we got a lot of media, you know, we've gotten a lot of media, which has been really good for us. And that's helped us, but... I think that sometimes I become a bit anxious-- not anxious, I suppose... Thinking that we are right here, we're growing, we are getting big and now I need help in the next phase, because we're climbing the steps and we are ready for this next revamp.

[00:32:52] Kim Ades: And maybe your request is, "Hey, I want to be doing this full time and I need to be supported in doing that. And so I'm raising funds so I can commit all of my time to this". And that's okay. That's a feasible request. It's okay to request a salary.

[00:33:09] Susan Crooks: Yeah, I know. I was like, why would I have to make hardly anything? We've talked about it actually, just even because I'm used to not having... you know, whatever [chuckles] and it's difficult because I'm teaching full-time and running Walt's Waltz full-time, and I got up at like 3:50 this morning and worked till like, say... I have meetings till seven, and then I just go to bed. [Laughs]

[00:33:37] Kim Ades: Right. Well, and you need to take care of yourself.

[00:33:41] Susan Crooks: Yeah.

[00:33:42] Kim Ades: So, I hope that this conversation kind of gave you some ideas...

[00:33:46] Susan Crooks: Yeah, it did.

[00:33:46] Kim Ades: But really examine what's working and keep doing that.

[00:33:50] Susan Crooks: Yeah.

[00:33:51] Kim Ades: 'Cause you've had a lot of success, things have worked for you. Even if you've had success in gaining media attention, there was a way that you did that. So think about that and say, "how do we apply the winds over here to over there?"

[00:34:05] Susan Crooks: Yeah. I really like your ideas of like connections on LinkedIn, as far as asking for help that way, and also just the business communities. What would your thoughts be, super quick, about just even reaching out to people, like, across the United States as well, and things like that?

[00:34:23] Kim Ades: I think you should be business focused. Of course across the United States, don't stay local.

[00:34:30] Susan Crooks: Because I mean, we have stigma-free zones across the United States and I have done some things that way, but not been as much seeking help in a sense that way as much, you know? So, I do need to do that. That sounds good.

[00:34:47] Kim Ades: Alright! I hope that that was helpful. Thank you.

[00:34:50] Susan Crooks: Hey! It was, I appreciate it.

[00:34:52] Kim Ades: Thank you for being on the podcast. Thank you for sharing your challenge and thank you for sharing your story. I think that it wasn't an easy story to share, and I'm glad that you did share it with us and gave us an opportunity to hear some of your experiences and the experiences of your son as well.

[00:35:09] Susan Crooks: Yeah, and he's a beautiful human being. I just wanted to add that, you know, his nicknames where the Renaissance Man, St. Francis and the General [...]. So he was a beautiful human being and we're losing way too many people and too many people are suffering and we need to get people out there and really coming forward and saying, we need change. It's so pastime.

[00:35:40] Kim Ades: Absolutely. If people want to support you, if people want to make a donation, how do they find you?

[00:35:47] Susan Crooks: We have a website and we're on Facebook and Instagram, we're waltswaltz.com. And we have volunteer opportunities and we're actually doing a film series-- If there's any geneticists listening or scientists or doctors, we actually are doing another series as well.

[00:36:13] Kim Ades: Amazing. You're doing incredible work. Please reach out to Susan, and please look up Walt's Waltz. For those of you who are listening, thank you for tuning in. This is an important subject. Mental health is something we really, really need to take seriously. We need to look around and see how are people feeling. We need to check in, tune in and see if there's anything that we could do to support the people around us. And not just keep our eyes and ears closed, but let's keep them open and let's tune in with one another.

Again, if you're listening and if there's a challenge that you have that you want to share on this podcast, please reach out. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. If there's a challenge that you want to share, but not so comfortable sharing it on the podcast, please reach out as well. We'll have a one-on-one conversation, not on the podcast. My email again is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.

Thank you guys for listening. We would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Please, send them our way. In the meantime, have a great week.