Syndie Berrette is a psychiatric nurse of nine years. Berrette worked to reclaim her mental health, but she also changed her lifestyle, improved her products and relaunched Maraboo Cosmetics. Maraboo Cosmetics’ name was inspired by the Haitian tradition of calling beautiful Black women a “maraboo,” and that is also how the line’s users felt upon using it. The hair and skincare line believes in educating and empowering women while advocating for sisterhood.
Angelica: What are some ways people can express their mental frustrations healthily?
Syndie: First it is important to know when you are mentally frustrated, and what are the triggers. By recognizing the source of your frustration, it is less challenging to resolve or cope with the issues without mentally draining yourself. Based on the roots of the frustration you can use assertiveness to communicate your needs while respecting others, and sometimes just self-care like exercise and meditation.
Angelica: What does mental health awareness mean to you?
Syndie: To me it’s the recognition of my psychological well-being as a crucial part of my overall health, productivity and state of mind. It also helps me identify symptoms of my mental inabilities in order to either change my lifestyle or seek help if needed.
Angelica: What’s the best way to relax your mind when you feel overwhelmed?
Syndie: I love listening to my empowerment or meditation books on audible. They help me find my inner self.
Angelica: How should women manage their mental health?
Syndie: In order for women to manage their mental health they first have to understand that their mental health matters. Everyone is different, and there is not a one-size- fits-all when it comes to mental health and coping. As a nurse, I always make sure I interview my patients. Get an understanding of their background in order to create an individualized plan for them. As women, we need to prioritize ourselves. We are the heart of the household. We need to figure out what works for us. What do we need to do to put ourselves first and what is our meaning of self-care and do just that.
Angelica: Why is it critical that women do an internal mental evaluation every so often?
Syndie: Like I mentioned above, we are the heart of our family. More often than not we neglect ourselves at the expense of everyone else. We overwork at home and at the workplace. We get burned out. Having to internally evaluate our mental health will let us know when to pull the plug and invest in our well-being, to seek help, to have girl nights out or whatever methods used for self-care.
Angelica: How often should we check in with our “strong” friend, and why is that critical in the realm of mental health?
Syndie: Very often. Especially when they are trying to be strong for everyone else. It happens to me a lot. My family, my friends always think that I can handle anything. It is seldom that I get a “how are you doing, honestly?” I get to deal with a lot on my own. Sometimes a strong person is masking pain. Most of the time, them being strong for someone is to compensate for what they would want to hear. Sometimes, you hear people say: he or she was always so uplifting. How come she did this to herself. She could not handle being weak or being perceived as weak. We are our sisters’ keeper.
Angelica: What is some advice you can give to someone struggling with mental health issues?
Syndie: I would say mental health issues are health issues too. The difference is it is the brain not the body. The same way you need to manage your blood sugar by controlling your diet or taking insulin, it is the same thing for the mind. The brain gets tired, and stressed just like the rest of the body. Take control over your mental health, overcome the stigma of mental illness, seek therapy, open up and follow your treatment regimen, find a support group and know that you are not alone.
To hear Syndie Berrette speak, please attend SwagHer’s Reclaiming My Mind event on May 26, from 6PM – 8PM (CT). Click here to register!