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Not just a pretty face: Pageant queen uses spotlight to address mental health issues

Posted on 10-13-2015 Posted in Alzheimer’s, Mental Health, Therapy - 0 Comments

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She wears a tiara and a sash onstage, Miss Waco USA 2007, Miss Bay Area USA 2012, Miss Texas International 2015, Elise N. Banks. This pageant queen boasts multiple degrees in counseling and is a professional counselor in private practice and school settings.

The mantra of Elise N. Banks – “Healthy mind, successful life” – germinated when she was nine years old after her grandmother died from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. Banks became aware of the devastating effects such an illness can have on a family and she vowed to work in the mental health field to help families in similar situations.

As a therapist, Banks worked with patients afflicted with suicidal ideation, addictions to drugs and alcohol, psychoses and other mental health disorders. Banks realized that many sad scenarios had taken place that could have been prevented had the right resources been available. Banks decided to do something about it and Healthy Mind, Successful Life was born, a platform geared toward ending mental illness stigmatization.

Her public persona gives Banks the opportunity to address children, teens and adults about the importance of maintaining good mental health while banishing the stereotypes still linked to mental illness. She never hesitates to bring up the subject of mental health, which allows people who may not feel comfortable discussing the subject to talk about their experience with mental illness in an open setting.

As Miss Texas International, Banks began working in conjunction with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to continue her work to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. She communicates with NAMI offices all over the United States and discusses expanding the reach of her platform with board members and state directors. NAMI Texas has invited Banks to speak at two conferences in the fall of 2015. These conferences will be attended by several thousand mental health professionals.

Banks will be visiting schools and talking to students about mental illness and the importance of asking for help. She will teach the students coping skills to use in their everyday lives and provide resources for those needing professional help. During her tenure as Miss Texas International, Banks visited many mental health facilities and visited with staff learning what services were available to help people. Banks says of NAMI, “To have an organization that matches what my personal platform stands for is an absolute blessing and I am honored to be a part of work that will change lives.”

Mental health care advocates like Banks are working to find solutions to mental health problems while reducing stigmas that prevent people from seeking treatment. Treatment centers are pivotal in solving problems posed by mental illness. Sovereign Health Florida treats addictions, mental health disorders and behavioral problems. Any person can acquire a mental health disorder at anytime and our credentialed clinicians are ready to help. If you would like further information, please call to speak with a member of our team.

Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer

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