Cassandra Vesey-Wells is a registered counselor from Newcastle Australia, who specialises in domestic violence and women’s mental health. To compliment Cassandra’s warm, friendly, non-judgemental counseling service approach, Cassandra also allows women from all walks of life online counseling sessions as well as walk and talk therapy and in-house counseling for women. We discuss how Cassandra has always had a passion for wanting to help people and provide guidance to others and how her own mentor provided her with the opportunity for her to think outside of the box.
Can you take us through your journey as to how you arrived at where you are now?
I have always had a passion for wanting to help people and provide guidance to others. In my 20’s I decided to study a Diploma of Counselling. While learning about Family and Domestic Violence, at that moment I realised that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship myself. It all of suddenly clicked and I decided to leave my ex-husband.
I completed my Diploma of Counselling and then went onto studying a Bachelor of Counselling where I completed my clinical placement in a women’s center specialising in Domestic Violence and women’s mental health.
I felt as though I could connect with these women who had been through similar experiences to myself, by offering the support, guidance and also empowering these women to have the best possible psychological health and wellbeing.
What was the incentive behind Mentally Nourish Yourself?
I find that we tend to always look after our physical health more than our mental health. So, I thought about how one can nourish themselves mentally. I thought about how important it is for us to take of our mental health by ensuring that we incorporate self-care and ensure women look after the number one person, themselves! Mentally nourish yourself sounded like a good fit!
Why do you think so many of us struggle to open up about our mental & physical health which in turn limits us to get the right help we require?
I believe that there still is a lot of stigma around mental health. People tend to hold onto the negative associated with mental illness such as it being self-inflicted, they are unpredictable, criminal offense and are unsociable. People fear exclusion and discrimination associated with mental illness and find it hard to reach out and get the appropriate help.
I like to keep it real on my Instagram and let people know about my mental health of dealing with depression, anxiety and PTSD and how they are not alone.
Who does the team involve at Mentally Nourish Yourself?
I’m self-employed and don’t have a team.
What does your company structure look like?
No company as I’m self-employed and this is a solo business.
Where can you see your self within the next 3-5 years?
I’m currently working on a psychoeducational workshop program for women on self-esteem, resilience and unhealthy relationships so I would love to see this workshop being utilised all over Australia, especially in rural areas, and schools. I would also like to write a book about my previous mental health struggles, domestic violence and incorporate strategies to mentally nourish yourself
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as a counselor specialising in domestic violence, anxiety, and stress?
As my work can be mentally and emotionally draining it is so important to practice self-care. In the beginning, I did struggle with this, as at times I use to bring my work home with me. I found myself becoming drained and not being present with my clients to help them.
When I finish working with a client, I ensure that I schedule in some me time, take a walk and also make time to debrief with my supervisor. Once coming home, I also ensure that I schedule in me time! This time is so so important otherwise I wouldn’t be able to put in 100% in my counseling practice.
Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I had a great supervisor throughout my clinical placement. My mentor provided me with the opportunity for me to think outside of the box and taught me that counseling cannot be learned through a textbook, but each client’s unique circumstances.
What outlets do use to market Mentally Nourish Yourself?
At this stage Mentally Nourish Yourself is accessible through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Which methods are you using to build your own network?
At the moment I build my networks through counseling organisations and social media. I like to connect with people of similar interests and who also want to empower women.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being a counselor?
I feel that people tend to have this misconception that counselors just sit there, take notes, and fix your problem. If I had a magic wand and was able to do that I would be a billionaire! This is where I like to break that stigma and explain to people how I work as a counselor, how I will help the client provide the insight into their own issues and how to develop skills to resolve this.
What would you like to see changed for mental health awareness?
I would like to see more mental health advocates who have also suffered from a mental health illness speak out. I think it’s important for people to be able to open up and not be afraid to talk about their experiences.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
I think I’m still waiting for it!
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Thanks to time management, I ensure that I have a work routine that works for me and more importantly that I separate this from my own personal life. At the end of my workday, I make sure that I switch off all my work devices so that I can spend time with my family.
The highlight of your career so far?
Throughout my clinical placement, I counseled a client for 12 weeks. Throughout that 12 weeks, I could see so much change positive change happening for this woman and it was amazing for her to be able to recognise the change in herself and how empowered she had become. It was an amazing feeling that I could be part of that process.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
I think being able to see a client change for the better is a good feeling, and they feel empowered.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Lately, I have been connecting with people of similar interests or who have been through similar experiences. I really admire
How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others regarding mental health issues?
I’m currently in the process of writing a workshop which will be aimed at women. This will touch a little about self-care which is important for one’s mental health and not to be ashamed or afraid to take care of yourself. When we are feeling unwell we see a doctor, so why should this be any different from reaching out to see a counselor for your mental health.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I’m currently reading ‘First We Make The Beast Beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson. It is helping me come to terms with my own anxiety and shed more light on this.
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
I’m still behind times and have not listened to a podcast yet! Recommendations please?!
How do you measure your terms of success?
I compare myself to myself. I think a lot of people still compare themselves to others and feel as though we should be at the same place. I like to keep my expectations simple and achievable.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
To be our own unique self and not to let anyone tell us how it is or should be.
Lastly, what is next for you and Mentally Nourish Yourself?
I am currently in the process of finalising my workshop on self-esteem, resilience and unhealthy relationships. I can’t wait to start empowering women.