Healthy Mind - Successful Life

How It Began:

The start of my platform Healthy Mind – Successful Life started when I was only 9 years old, although I did not know it at the time. My Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease when I was 3 years old and therefore all of my memories of her are of someone who did not even know I was their granddaughter. When my Grandmother passed away, right before my 10th birthday, I was able to see the devastating effects of how a mental illness can take a toll on the individual and their loved ones. It was then that I knew that I wanted to do something in the mental health field in my attempt to never have a family go through what my family did during that time.

The Formative Years:

After much prayer and with the support of my family, I decided that I wanted to be a psychologist. My initial step to achieving that goal was to become a Licensed Professional Counselor first. The education and training needed to be in the mental health world is no easy feat. Through college and my master’s program, there were days when I wondered why God had me on this journey. There were many late nights reading, researching and writing papers and it was often times overwhelming. It was not until my Mom told me that my Grandmother had always hoped that one of her 7 children or 20 grandchildren would have a career as a therapist, that I begin to realize my choice of pursuing this field was no coincidence. Knowing that was my Grandmother’s desire gave me the extra strength I needed to push through!

My Platform:

As a therapist, I have felt the tremendous honor of being invited into my patients’ lives in order to help them navigate through a time of crisis. Working with individuals who are suicidal, addicted to drugs & alcohol, have severe psychosis, you name it, has challenged me in so many ways, but it has also allowed me the opportunity to realize that in so many cases there were situations that could have been prevented if the proper tools and resources had been in place. So then I had my light bulb moment… what if I provided those tools and resources? And with that thought, Healthy Mind – Successful Life started.

With my platform, I have had the opportunity to speak to children, teens and adults about the importance of staying mentally healthy and breaking the stigma associated with mental illnesses. We live in a society where talking about mental health is sometimes considered a “taboo” topic. So my mission is start the conversation allowing people to feel more comfortable discussing questions they may have about their mental health and seeking professional help, if needed.

As Miss Texas International, I started working with the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) as their ambassador to continue my efforts in breaking the stigma. I also work closely with H.U.G.S. Autism as their spokesperson and with the Houston Rockets, Dwight Howard’s D12 Foundation to be able to reach a broader audience. My focus is to continue to give people the tools that they can incorporate in their daily lives in the hopes that they may not need to resort to professional help, although it is there if they need it. I feel incredibly blessed to have alliances with these amazing organizations to support me and my platform, and I am thrilled to see what God has planned through my year as Miss International!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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