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Navigating Mental Health Through Coaching

Episode 403

Recommended Book:

Talk Like TED

Best Way to Contact Shannon:

shannon@shannonjaccard.com

Shannon’s Book:

The Forgotten Survivors: a sister’s journey through her brother’s mental illness

Navigating Mental Health through Coaching with Shannon Jaccard, CEO & Co-Founder of Ballast Health transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Navigating Mental Health through Coaching with Shannon Jaccard, CEO & Co-Founder of Ballast Health was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking. improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. I have the privilege of hosting Shannon Jaccard. She is the CEO and co-founder of Ballast Health. Ballast Health is creating stability in turbulence by providing peer and family coaching. She recently stepped down as the CEO of National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI in San Diego. After eight years, an organization dedicated to the lives of individuals affected by a mental illness and their family members, Shannon serves on several board of directors, including RI International and the Meeting Place Club House in San Diego County. She has received numerous awards, such as the Channel 10 News Leadership Award and the Rona and Purdy End Discrimination Award. She was named one of San Diego’s 50 people to watch by San Diego magazine. In 2002, Shannon founded Compeer San Diego, a nonprofit organization to provide friendship and support to individuals with mental illness. As we tackle this issue of mental illness and mental wellness as well, I think more and more providers and payers and really the industry as a whole are starting to really see the importance of of taking care of both and not just one. And so I’m excited to hear Shannon’s insights today. And I want to give you a warm welcome, Shannon.

Shannon Jaccard:
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez:
It’s a pleasure. Now did I miss anything in the intro you want to share with the listeners?

Shannon Jaccard:
Yeah, actually, I have one. It’s kind of exciting my book that is in siblings and mental illness will be available on Tuesday, April 9th.

Saul Marquez:
Awesome.

Shannon Jaccard:
I’ll have it launched. Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
Congratulations.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you.

Shannon Jaccard:
So what we’ll do, folks, is when this podcast goes live, we’ll be sure to provide a link to this book so that you could check it out. And we’ll definitely be asking some questions to Shannon about what it’s about and what major pearls could be gained from it. So appreciate that and that insight. Shannon. What is it that got you into health care?

Shannon Jaccard:
Well, over my years in the field, I’ve found that many people enter health care, mental health care due to their personal issues by themselves. their own illnesses or because of a loved one. So I have kind of like my book alluded to being a sibling. My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and when he received the diagnosis, my life changed course. So beforehand, I was a marketing director at a software firm which did give me the tools that I needed to run a company. But that was no longer where my passion stood. And his diagnosis change the trajectory of my career into a mental health care.

Saul Marquez:
Well, it’s definitely something life changing for sure. And everything happens for a reason, right? I mean, the work you were doing at the software firm, how it parlayed into the work you’re doing now? I think it’s interesting. And so now that you’ve been working in the mental health space, what’s your perspective on what needs to be on health leaders agenda and how are you pursuing that?

Shannon Jaccard:
So that no matter if you’re in a physical health care field or a mental health care field, mental health needs to be at the top of everyone’s lives. We’re kind of in a crisis situation in this country. We know now that our former surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, stated that we are in a basically a loneliness epidemic which is causing more deaths than heart disease, cancer, diabetes over. And in fact, we are at a 30 year suicide rate high in this country as well. So mental health care not just for the patient perspective, but somebody who’s walking in your doors or into your firm. But from your employees perspective as well. You have to have both hats on, because every person who has a mental health issue also has a family. And that family is in as much crisis as the individual who has the illness. So to support both really create a healthier environment and then ultimately actually helps productivity, which then serves more people. You know, it’s a ripple effect.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think it’s a good call out, Shannon. And the suicide rate point, I mean, just the other day I had a friend reach out to me and let me know that they’re doing some counseling at his daughter’s school because one of the teachers just committed suicide. And even even when you take a look at families and you take a look at schools and and the impact that that people have on their communities, this this also becomes a societal thing that that needs to be addressed. So I’m curious about the work you’re doing. Maybe you could share an example of how you guys are making a difference in the space.

Shannon Jaccard:
So one thing that we have found to be the most successful way is supporting other is by being vulnerable yourself. I think health care has done a disservice. From the providers perspective and the patient families perspective, is that our provider community has basically been taught not to share and not to be vulnerable in their experiences. And we need that paradigm to shift because the more that the story is shared and the more that there is this commonality, the more you feel that you can trust the system and by trusting a trusted everything when it comes to any type of healthcare. So when you have trust in your provider, you trusting your medicine and your community and your support system, you’re more likely to offer to take part in it, which then hopefully should be a better healthcare outcome. So what we have found is just the act of being vulnerable. Sharing your story, you know where it sounds so simple and it is so simple and it’s just not being done. It’s done in these one to one situation very loosely, but it needs to be done systematically.

Saul Marquez:
So how is that possible? You know, I mean, because I definitely am wondering Right. some folks listening, they like, well, OK, I’ve got 10 minutes with a patient. How do I do that? You know, as a provider, how do I do that?

Shannon Jaccard:
Well, you know, if you’re if you’re a provider, you’re doing a lot of listening to stories because you’re sharing or sharing what they’re feeling while you’re feeling it. And you have to throw in some kind of questions that are personal. And then you you married back. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I had this situation that kind of it takes one or two that. Is that really create that sense of community etc that you have to go into your whole family back story? Yeah, but there’s going to be a point that your patient’s going to say something and you’re going to ask the question in a way that will mirror back. And that right there creates a sense of trust and community.

Saul Marquez:
I like that. You know, I like that you kept it so simple. And if you have the moment to really reflect it back, it’s possible to create that trust and vulnerability without that whole backdrop. I think that’s key. So something to think about on the individual level. And then as we take a look at medical directors and even system CEOs thinking through how can we better improve the effectiveness of our programs? And so maybe that’s that’s the thing that we do is is take a note from Shannon and say, how can we within as quick of a time as possible, given the shortage of time that we have with patients today, create trust and vulnerability? This is something definitely that I think we all need to be thinking about more. I think it’ll lead to more satisfaction right. Shannon, for even the provider.

Shannon Jaccard:
So definitely, yes,.

Saul Marquez:
Because there’s a lot of providers that are super burned out today.

Shannon Jaccard:
Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s not creating a healthy environment now.

Saul Marquez:
Interesting. So so as you’ve worked in this space for for a longtime now close to 10 years, maybe you could weave in some of the content from your book, an idea or two and talk to us about some of the common mistakes that happen when addressing mental illnesses.

Shannon Jaccard:
So when addressing mental illness, that one of the some of the mistakes that I find that are still out there is the lack of understanding that stigma alone is deadly. Stigma is one of those words that we kind of fluff off and say it’s not that big of a deal or if we know about it, but we’re not going to concern ourselves with it. That stigma itself has led to a lot of issues. In fact, I had a patient once come up to me and say, Shannon, it is more dignified to take your own life than to admit you have a mental element and that people really listen to those words. That should be astounding, that someone would think that way, that it should never, ever be the answer for taking one’s life before seeking help for mental illness. So when it comes to mistakes, is that mental health is that we have to, one, not assume things. The patient saying X, Y and Z just don’t assume you know, everything. Listen, active listening, that mirroring is really important. And then bringing in the family. This is something that goes actually really to insurance companies that we need to work on, is that they provide reimbursable for family support when it comes to the son or daughter that has a mental illness. And it’s something that I’m working with through balanced as well, just not there yet. But if you do more work with the families because you see your patient, like you just said, you, what, 10 minute at that and then they leave. And even our therapist, if they’re working with therapist, is still a very short period of time compared to the amount of time they’re living at home. So we need to create the best healthy environment at home, which really boils down to education as well. And think there’s just so little education around this, especially in their growing up years. There’s not that much about it. I would just say the biggest thing is understanding the impact. Stigma, truly understanding that it is deadly and then really listening to the patient’s story as much as possible. I know you have a short time period. They need to earn that trust. It has to go. Most people with mental illness enter this deal and be at the back of a cop car. So already their trust is pretty much negligible. You are actually in charge of rebuilding it back up so that they want to be involved in the mental health community. So there is a lot a lot of work for providers to do.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, really? It really is. But you bring up some really great points. And I think the stigma. You know, if you’re not suffering with it and folks, by the way, we’ve we’ve talked about this in previous episodes. You know, we’re talking about one out of every four people in the US has a mental illness. That’s 25 percent. That’s a big number of people. And the stigma associated with it. You know, I think it’s good to keep in mind right.. I mean, gosh, I mean, frankly, when you mentioned that, Shannon, I was like, yeah, you know what? Wow. This is definitely a problem. And how can we be more sensitive toward that and speak to it more openly so that people don’t stigmatize it as much and see that actually more people than you believe are actually going through these things?

Shannon Jaccard:
Yeah. And for every person who has it, they have a family who’s right there with them. So that that number just keeps growing. The number of individuals that are impacted by mental illness and then you take that further to the community, the number of police officers that are impacted, the number of yards. Everyone in some way is touched by mental health issues. So we if we really go back to that, that mirroring this story sharing, then you’ll see that it’s really that wave of individuals. The commonality actually now excel.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. You know, and and the other thing that comes to mind as far as stigmas is it’s like the opioid crisis, you know. And I was that I was at Ted Med last year and I got a chance to sit down with the.

Shannon Jaccard:
I was there, too.

Saul Marquez:
Oh, awesome. That’s so OK. You remember the surgeon general. It was amazing that he talked about his brother and folks, and Shannon, you know, maybe you could tell the story, but he shared a very personal story and I think was impactful you want to tell them.

Shannon Jaccard:
I can’t remember the whole…

Saul Marquez:
No problem, I could I could dive into it, too. That’s fine. So going to the opioid epidemic, the surgeon general got up there and said this is more normal than you think. My brother is in jail and my brother abused heroin. And he talked about how he took his kids to visit his brother because guess what? He’s not ashamed. And it’s something that needs to be more normalized so that people can learn and understand that this happens to a lot of people and that you’re not alone. And the fact that he got up there and talked about this very personal thing was amazing to me. And I think the same thing can happen for mental health. What are your thoughts?

Shannon Jaccard:
Oh, definitely. Unfortunately, people find it a little bit easier to talk about drug and alcohol abuse openly. Patrick Kennedy is a big example as somebody who’s been very open about his past and people are pretty open about talking about suicide and suicide attempts, but they shut down when it comes to mental illness and they will somewhat talk about anxiety and depression a little bit. But they’re very hard to talk about bipolar or schizophrenia, major depression, major anxiety sort of issues. So they just pocket that effect both really the opioid crisis and suicide and suicide ideation. And yet we don’t talk about it nearly as much. And then, in fact, much more people. Yeah. Than both of those actually combined. So that’s very frustrating to me, is that this is like treating treating just the symptom but not the cause.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Shannon Jaccard:
And that’s that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re talking about kind of the sentiment issue, high use of drugs, the suicide rate, but not the underlying cause of either.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Shannon Jaccard:
And there’s different stigmas. So like I had one of my staff say he has drug induced psychosis. So diagnosis is schizophrenia, but it has a way higher stigma than drug usage. And he would just say I have drug induced psychosis to make it less stigmatizing, which truly I don’t care what you call it as long as you but you’re living a life that you want and you’re getting the help that you need to live that life. But that really shows the stigma.

Saul Marquez:
No, in a big way and a really big way. And I think, you know, I’m glad we’re having this conversation, Shannon, because the you know, for everybody listening. Sure. You could think of somebody in your life. I mean, I could think of a few people in my life. Right. That have struggled. And frankly, until this point, I haven’t really even thought about the stigma to the extent that that you’ve discussed it on so some to think about and really like the call to action. I mean, what’s the call to action here? To people…

Shannon Jaccard:
My biggest call to action would be if you yourself have an illness or have a family member with one start being more vulnerable with it. Talk about it to more people because I guarantee that the person sitting next to you. I mean, if you’re in a room in a meeting today, you are sitting next to somebody who has a level. You just are. And so the more you talk about it, the more it helps them. It helps everybody else around you because it will lower the stigma of it. I mean, I tell people that I ran NAMI and they would take a step away from me. They could step back. And did you think as if you actually look at they did this research study that compared stigma from the 1950s to today. And the only thing that got better was that people today say no, mental illness is a real disorder and not a sign of personal weakness, which they thought in the 1950s. However, if they ask you today, if your your child could marry somebody with a mental illness, if your neighbor have a mental illness, if your co-worker can have a mental illness, quite frankly, all three of these things are happening. All those values actually went down from the 1950s study. So what that really says is, I believe you have a true disorder that you you’re not making it up, that it’s a sign of personal weakness. So it’s not your fault. But you must maintain a 100 foot radius for me. All try that. That’s how bad things are today. One simple thing to me, Shannon. Things are getting better. No, actually, they’re not. The way I see them getting better is a little bit through social media because I do see more and more people talking about it there. And people like Lady Gaga. You have the Prince William and Prince Charles. You have them talking about it more now, which is great as well. So I need that. But you yourself can even just be a little bit more vulnerable to the person sitting next to you. And I guarantee they’ll spike a conversation that will help just that a little bit.

Saul Marquez:
Great call to action, Shannon, and super easy. That’s something that all of us could do. So take note of that and follow through, folks, as just happens as a collective. And and this is a great opportunity. Tell us about one of your proudest moments, Shannon.

Shannon Jaccard:
So hard one because there’s a little ones to big ones. I think some of some of the ones that I’ve really enjoyed over the years were just a little tiny notes that I’ve gotten from people that we’ve served that have said that come up to me and said, you know, you’ve saved our family and there’s nothing that can really top that. Knowing that you really helped this family that was struggling to stay together to get to a better place. Some of the other moments just when I took over and maybe we quadrupled in size. So, you know, we’re impacting a lot more people than we were before, which is great. We expanded to another county as well. So those are also real elements. And then I was able to really become the leader in hiring people with a mental illness, because a lot of people thought that can’t work. There’s a stigma around that. And I have 75 percent of my staff had a serious mental illness and we’re doing amazing work and supporting other people with mental illness with really big impacts. So to be a leader in that and show that other people need to also walk to talk when it comes to mental health with great.

Saul Marquez:
Love that congratulations on doing that and just kind of leading them by action, not just by what you’re saying within your own organization.

Shannon Jaccard:
Yeah, I’m a big believer that you have to show it, show that it can happen and then and then preach about it.

Saul Marquez:
I love that. And so what would you say today is is an exciting project you’re working on.

Shannon Jaccard:
The book was the biggest one so kind of had to be put on side by. Yeah. The book out and does so right now in balance. What we’re doing. It’s heart. California is actually one of the hardest states to really work this in. But some of the tools that I learned at NAMI I felt really could be done and more expansive way. So what we are creating is this platform where both peers of people with mental illness will be coaches to other people with mental illness as well as family members, and they’ll both get paid. So, you know, one of the highest rates of return. So if you if you look at the the ability to recover from a mental illness, employment is at the top of the list. Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to or they can work 40 hours a week. So by but they have this amazing wealth of experience. And when I go back to trust, they are that conduit for that trust building activity between the patient and their medical provider as well. So, you know, like we’ve talked about. The psychiatrist of the medical provider has a short window of time. And they have not been taught this very necessarily or what came with that. But the peer coach can really help facilitate that bond of trust as well. So not only will it help the patient side, but it will also really help the individuals that are working who also have mental illness. So I’m really excited about it. We’re still working on the platform development. Some UI interfacing. And then there’s a few other states that are just better suited to start it and counseling at this.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating idea. And as far as the book where the listener is going to be able to pick it up?

Shannon Jaccard:
It will be available on Amazon. The easiest place…

Saul Marquez:
Doesn’t it, nowadays? And what’s the what’s the title of it?

Shannon Jaccard:
It’s called The Forgotten Survivors.

Saul Marquez:
The Forgtotten Survivors. Then you spend a lot of time there. Obviously, folks, if you want to learn more about this topic, Shannon’s got the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. So definitely pick that one up. Go to outcomesrocket.health in the search bar type in Shannon Jaccard. That’s JACCARD. And you’ll see the show notes for this podcast pop up as well as a link to her book. Getting close to the end here, Shannon. We’re gonna do The Lightning Round. You ready?

Shannon Jaccard:
OK.

Saul Marquez:
All right. What’s the best way to improve mental health outcomes?

Shannon Jaccard:
I think we’ve kind of already discussed that a little bit. So I’m just going to go back to the whole listening, mirroring, sharing stories.

Saul Marquez:
What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Shannon Jaccard:
When you’re starting new programs or services be sure to test your waters first. So I always took a small amount of money that was coming from one program to showcase it in another way or another system before I expended more resources into it first.

Saul Marquez:
How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Shannon Jaccard:
You have to continuously be testing the waters for new programs. So why? One is up and running. Get another one. Start it and make sure you’re listening to the needs of the community that you’re providing because their needs are shifting, not just the everything else around you.

Saul Marquez:
What’s one area of focus that drives everything in your work?

Shannon Jaccard:
Customer need whatever that patient family needs. It’s driving me.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. And these next two are more on a personal note. What is your number one health habit?

Shannon Jaccard:
My number one health habit. So I follow a fairly plant based diet, which is helped us a lot. Yes. Talk about burnout. If you go back to burnout issues, you’re going to have digestion issues that health issues. So more plant based is easier on the stomach.

Saul Marquez:
And what is your number one success habit?

Shannon Jaccard:
You have to be willing to talk. So if you start if you go to Toastmasters, I had a friend who told me every time I went to her that I go to a lot of events. I’m very much an introvert as well. A lot of leaders tend to be introvert. So he told me I had to meet three new people before I could sit down. Again, you have to be willing to expose yourself and get out there. And instead of golf that way, if you’re an introvert like me, you know, once you hit that goal, you can feel like you’re dead.

Saul Marquez:
I like that. It’s like a little game, right., you meet three new people before you sit down.

Shannon Jaccard:
Yup.

Saul Marquez:
Sometimes I just sit down now, you know?

Saul Marquez:
Yes, I like that one. That would have helped me at TEDMED.

Shannon Jaccard:
Oh, you know. I don’t think I call that rule.

Saul Marquez:
That’s a good one. I love that, Shannon. Great tip there for the listeners. Aside from the book that you’ve written, what book would you recommend to the listeners?

Shannon Jaccard:
So I think the title is How to Talk Like Ted. That’s it. And it is an excellent book. So if you’re a leader in any field and health care field, though, you have to be able to talk and talk in a variety different ways to Right. different people. You have to be able to read them, especially with mental health. So if they start shutting down, you have to use a different tactic. You know, you can’t be forceful in certain situations. So I found the how to talk like Ted was really good at giving advice and not just doing a TED talk, but those small interactions with other people that you need to be a part of your organization.

Saul Marquez:
Great recommendation. Again, folks, go to outcomesrocket.health in the search bar type in Shannon Jacccard and you’ll find the link to that book as well as hers and all the show notes. Before we conclude, I’d love if you could just share a closing thought, Shannon and then the best place of the listeners to get in touch with you or learn more about your work.

Shannon Jaccard:
Yes. Since this podcast is for leaders in the health care field. Share one thing that I learned in my MBA program. I had this professor who was the only one who wasn’t a PFC. He was an MBA, but he had run multiple companies and even the CEO of many companies. And he said, you want to surround yourself by people who know what you do. And I listen to that to achieve. I’ve started three companies now, and each one of them have made sure that I’ve had people who know what I don’t know around me to help build a more successful company.

Saul Marquez:
It’s a great piece of advice. And I think as you consider some of the work being done in healthcare, a lot of it is physical care. And so the call out there would be. Surround yourself with people that know mental health and then we’ll be committed do together for patients. What’s the best way for listeners to get in touch with you or follow you?

Shannon Jaccard:
So the best way is everything is my name. So my Website is ShannonJaccard.com. I’m on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And they’re also just linked and actually they’re also at Shannon Jaccard. Everything is really simple. And my email is Shannon@ShannonJaccard.com

Saul Marquez:
Awesome. That’s easy to remember.

Shannon Jaccard:
Yes. If you know my name, you can find me.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Love it. Shannon Jaccard again, folks it’s JACCARD. And you’ll be able to find that on the show notes as well. Shannon, this has been a pleasure. Really appreciate you shining the light on mental health. The call to action, folks, is very simple. Listen, mirror and share and start now. Maybe after you press stop on this podcast, you go do that with somebody that you’re gonna go see. But big thanks for your time, Shannon, and I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Shannon Jaccard:
Oh, yeah. Thanks for having me.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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