In life, we are always evolving, searching, and looking for a way to do our part in society and Kenya Jay Scarlett embodies just that. Her natural calling to the radio industry where she is a jack of all trades handling managing, audio engineering, and journalism is only the tip of the iceberg for her. It’s not her only passion, and honestly, this is exhilarating to think about. Her second passion has come with her own personal experiences with mental health and this has led life to be funneled around the importance of listening, helping, and fighting against mental health stigma. Join me in welcoming Kenya Swholemates! Thank you for allowing us to share your story. Your journey will shine a light on so many in this world.
I AM KENYA
I’m a freelancer in the radio industry where I am a studio manager, audio engineer and broadcast journalist. Originally, this is where my passion lay (and still does) but I found because of my personal experiences with mental health, my passion and purpose became centered around this topic. I have such a passion for helping others but, most importantly listening to others as we know how important it is to let people speak without any judgment from others. This is where the idea for the social enterprise Understanding Each Other comes from. It’s the idea of being open with each other and helping people feel more comfortable about starting conversations that might seem difficult at first.
The Celebration Never Had
People who struggle with mental health should be celebrated and not be seen as taboo. However, I am constantly hearing horror stories relating to people and their mental health. Because we are still not educated enough about it as a society there are unfortunately people who feel ashamed with who they are, or they have things going on in their mind and body that they don’t quite understand, because nobody has explained that mental health is a thing.
This was the case for me growing up. I was depressed as a child, but no one around me including myself saw the signs because nobody knew what mental health was at the time. Things got worse for me as I grew up and went through a traumatic event when I was 18. Years went by and I struggled a lot. But, I didn’t know what was causing the struggle until I ended up in a hospital and was told I had post-traumatic stress disorder, further down the line getting panic disorder and now suffering from a mixture of all but mostly anxiety.
Thanks to therapy, a good amount of personal research and a good support network I’ve been able to take control of my mental health. It is who I am and I’m not ashamed of it. I have some bad days as we all day, but most days are good and productive.
It’s so important to share stories so others know what they are going through is completely normal and there are ways to help.
We Are Creatives
I think sometimes people in the creative industries can struggle due to things like 0-hour contracts, freelancing, work habits, and unhealthy working environments. The creative industries are really competitive which may lead to people overworking and becoming exhausted. They are also some anxiety for some having the feeling that you are replaceable. It seems that when I talk to people who are creative they’ve had to work so much for free and have been taken advantage of, which isn’t good or fair on anyone’s mental health.
"Self Care. I'm Treating Me Right"
When it comes to self-care Kenya seems to have a healthy balance and gives herself more than one outlet! Check out what she says below!
I’m quite bad for it, but when I can I make sure I slow everything down and just give myself a few hours to ignore my phone, lie in bed and watch TV… Sometimes with a cheeky takeaway! I like to exercise gym, yoga, cycling! I run quite a lot; I ran my first half marathon a few months back which definitely helped my mental health.
Try to stay away from negativity and judgmental people.
Socialize and be open with my emotions. Have a drink but don’t go overboard!
Social Media Handles
Twitter: @understandeo / @kenyascarlett
Instagram: @understandingeo / @kenya.scarlett