Can mental health awareness bring hope? What are some of the early signs of poor mental health? How can you make genuine and sustainable changes for the better? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about mental health awareness with Erik DaRosa.


Erik DaRosa, known by friends and clients as “Yoda,” is an inspirational speaker and both the Founder and Co-host of the From Survivor to Thriver podcast. Erik is upending the front-end of mental health conversations along with his Co-host Marc Fernandes. Each week, he tackles different mental health topics through honest and relatable "kitchen table" conversations with real people who are helping to shatter mental health stigmas and find their voices. He aims to normalize discussions around mental health topics and remind his audience they are not alone, there is strength in community and "it's perfectly ok to not always be ok." In addition to the podcast, Erik spends winters as a ski instructor for the Aspen Skiing Company and also sits on the Board of Sacred Cycle, a Colorado based nonprofit whose mission is to empower survivors of sexual trauma through mountain biking and community. Listen to Erik's podcast and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.  


  • Why mental health should be discussed
  • Signs and tips
  • Make small changes

Why mental health should be discussed

Some people struggle in life without realizing that the way they are living does not have to be that way. You may know or feel that something is not right but may not have the access to make a meaningful change in your approach to life if you do not have the correct information.
The more we get talking and the more we open up about it, the less stigma [there is], the less fear there is, and there’s more awareness, and I think [it brings] hope. Hope that things can get better. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
Talking about mental health and making intentional space for it in discussions helps people to know that they are not alone, that their experience is valid, and that things can always change for the better.

Signs and tips

Some signs of degrading mental health include:
  • Chronic stress
  • Trouble eating and sleeping
  • Struggling with motivation
  • Agitation
  • Severe moods
  • A sense of numbness
There are many different ways that mental health issues may make themselves present in a person. These symptoms, and others, are essentially warning signals that are asking you to look deeper into yourself, observe your lifestyle, and emotional health, and find the thing that needs some attention within you. In recovering your mental health, try things like:
  • Energy healing
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness and awareness
  • Reaching out to professionals and loved ones
  • Spending time in nature
[Check] in with yourself … I call it, “Meeting yourself where you are at”. We’re all taught throughout our lives to meet others where they’re at, but I like to say, “You can’t meet others where you’re at until you know where you are.” (Erik DaRosa)
Check-in with yourself each day so that you lessen the risk of falling into a spiral. Strengthening the connection you have with your mind, body, and emotions helps you maintain balance.

Make small changes

If you are just starting, or you have a goal to go further, make small changes. Add one new thing into your daily routine that you would like to form into a habit, and take away one old thing from your routine that you feel drags you down. Consistent small changes are almost always better than a few big changes.
If you start making some of these small changes, you’ll find … a better balance overall in your life. (Erik DaRosa)
You will figure out what the right balance is for you.


I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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