Today’s guest on the Mitlin Money Mindset™ is Eric Kussin, founder and CEO of We’re All a Little “Crazy,” The Global Mental Health Alliance, and hashtag #SameHere. Eric got his start at the NBA League Office and while experiencing great success in his career, he faced a debilitating mental health crisis that stopped his career and life in its tracks for over two and a half years. After failed treatments, he was lucky enough to learn healing practices that enabled him to dig out of his abyss, in the process he found a higher calling.
Eric merged his love of sports and his passion to help those facing mental struggles by building an alliance comprised of athletes, celebrities, media members, expert practitioners, advocates, and everyday heroes who’ve come together to make talking about mental health a common topic for 5 out of 5 of us. Their #SameHere movement has swept across college campuses, corporate offices, and professional sports all throughout the US and now globally as well. Listen in for some great takeaways about mental health and making a difference. Eric wants mental health to be a common topic for all of us and is working towards that every day.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- Eric’s path to starting We’re All A Little “Crazy” [3:18]
- What is We’re All A Little “Crazy” all about? [8:46]
- About the #SameHere campaign [14:52]
- Is right now the time to move the conversation forward [24:55]
- The impact Eric’s seen from sharing his own story [28:19]
- #SameHere Scale and app [33:18]
- What is the best way for someone to make an impact [37:22]
- 3 things people can do to have an immediate impact on their mental health? [40:57]
- What Eric did today that put her in the right mindset for success? [45:13]
From Stigma to Story
The #SameHere movement was born as Eric researched the largest nonprofit websites in our country and looked at the main messages that are using to try to normalize the mental health conversation. Eric says there were three in particular that he saw that he felt were well-intentioned but he believes were actually moving us further away from understanding this topic and coming together as one large group.
The top two messages were that 1 in 5 people are mentally ill. It’s the boilerplate message of every article and was at the top of a lot of websites in 2017 when Eric started studying it. In reality, everyone suffers from some degree of mental illness at some point in their life.
The second issue was that all of the campaigns that were used to try to normalize the mental health conversation were action words, followed by stigma. The way that media was sharing stories was a celebrity name + their disorder + the erratic behavior. Britney Spears has depression and shaves her head. Lindsay has anxiety and dresses like a hot mess. Eric says that’s not the story. What #SameHere does as an organization is share the story, the “what” that we’ve been through. The ‘what’ is more relatable to people than the label, especially in a world where people don’t like to be labeled.
How Eric wants to see the #Samehere scale and app used
Eric explains when you look at society and how to make an impact you have to be strategic, but at the same time, you can’t go too wide so they created five areas of focus.
- K -12 called #SameHere Schools.
- Colleges called #SameHere Sit-Downs.
- Offices called #SameHere Safe.
- Service personnel called #SameHere Service.
- Sports teams called #SameHere Sports.
We don’t have a way to measure mental health. There are complicated forms to put you into a category. What Eric did with the #SameHere Scale is show a simple fluctuation of states of feelings that we’re in. There’s no right or wrong place to be. We don’t use terms like sick or healthy, normal or damaged, happy or unhappy. The scale goes from Thriving, Gliding, Surviving, Fluctuating, Struggling, Sinking.
The prevailing wisdom would be you go from happiest to saddest but that’s not what happens. Our neural circuitry goes from overwhelmed and highly anxious in Struggling to fried and not able to handle anymore in Sinking. It’s okay to get to that place, what’s not okay is when we stay there. That’s when we see a disorder develop. If you can track that over time and see those changes, you start to develop patterns.
The goal of the #SameHere scale here is to put a common language out there that allows people to see where they are relative to where they were on the same scale.
3 things people can do today to improve their mental health
Eric says there are 3 mindset things every person can do to improve their mental health. The first thing is thinking about mental health as this accumulation of stuff, as opposed to this concept that you’re either messed up or you’re not. When we change how we look at mental health from stuff that happens to us to stuff that we can work out that happens to us we take control back. Number two is thinking about whatever you’ve gone through as the greatest teacher you’ll ever have. What you have gone through will give you a perspective that you’ve never had before. By going through that challenge you are able to use it and turn around and look back and appreciate things that you never could before. The third is hanging onto people who’ve put their story out there as motivation for yourself to look at and say, if that person was able to pull themselves through it, I’ll be able to do that myself.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Eric Kussin
Eric Kussin is an 19-year professional sports executive, who got his start at the NBA League Office. After five years with the League, he went the team business route and rose the ranks with the expansion Chicago Sky, Phoenix Suns. He then switched over to the NHL, working with the New Jersey Devils, & Florida Panthers. However, a debilitating mental health crisis stopped Eric’s career and life in its tracks for over two and a half years. After many failed treatment modalities, he was lucky enough to learn healing practices that enabled him to dig out of his abyss, and found a higher calling, launching a non-profit at the end of 2017 called, We’re All a Little “Crazy,” The Global Mental Health Alliance. The Alliance is comprised of athletes and celebrities, along with media members, expert practitioners, advocates, and everyday heroes who’ve come together to make talking about mental health a common topic for “5 out of 5” of us. Their #SameHere Movement has swept across college campuses in the US from Cornell to USC, K-12’s, Corporate Offices frlm CNBC to JP Morgan Chase, and Professional Sports Teams from the LA Clippers to the New York Mets in just over two years. The Movement has recently begun to expand globally as well, with events in markets outside of the US. To “keep his foot in sports,” Eric consults for a number of professional sports teams and leagues, guiding their ticket and sponsorship sales and retention efforts.
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