Photo: Charley Gallay / Stringer via Getty Images
  /  07.14.2023

While speaking with REVOLT, pharmacist and wellness coach Dr. Robin Barrett disclosed the importance of shifting your mindset about physical fitness and the significance of Black doctors being seen.

July is observed as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, which, per the CDC, aims to bring more attention to “the challenges that affect the mental health of racial and ethnic minority groups.” For African Americans, the impact of trauma and hardships most endure due to systemic oppression plays a significant role in mental health issues some face in adulthood. Earlier this year, a new study released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics revealed that African American adults are more likely than white and Hispanic Americans to visit the emergency room for mental health concerns in a variety of categories. This means on average, 97 out of 1,000 Black people — double the national average — are seeking help for mental illnesses.

One key to boosting brain wellness is physical activity, which improves function and decreases potential health issues, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Some of the benefits of working out are refined cognitive thinking skills, better quality of life, a reduction in depression and anxiety, and enhanced sleeping efficiency.

Dr. Barrett recently spoke at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans. As a guest speaker for the ESSENCE Health Hub, a branch of the magazine’s ESSENCE Wellness House program, she discussed vital tools that can help with weight loss at any stage in your fitness journey. In addition, she sat down with REVOLT to share her thoughts on one of the main things holding people back — the fear of starting the process.

“I think it’s really important that we focus on mindset, especially when it comes to the fitness mindset,” the Nike ambassador told REVOLT.

“A lot of us are intimidated… We’re not encouraged, we’re not motivated… when we realize it’s really about discipline and having a plan. That’s the only thing — we don’t know what to do. Once we know what to do, we have mental clarity. So, I think this month, we need to practice really setting out that plan and really pushing for success,” she added.

“The Dose Show” podcast host also shed light on the positive effects music has on people during a workout from the perspective of a personal trainer. Dr. Barrett hinted that songs can not only help restore someone but be a great source of encouragement to complete a workout.

“I think music is a really good therapy method, especially when you couple a playlist with physical activity in the gym,” the Syracuse University graduate said. “I think hip hop is a big thing in the gym because that [genre] motivates and pushes you to do your workout, so that’s why I incorporate it every single day. I really love music!”

In the spirit of inspiration, to model what a healthy lifestyle consists of, the recognized wellness influencer is intentional about how she uses her social media platforms. Dr. Barrett values words being backed up by actions and takes pride in being honest with her fan base. The content she creates to share with her followers includes workout demonstrations, tips and best practices, nutritional education, fitness products, and more.

“Right now, I feel we’re in a great groove. With Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a lot of us are starting to talk about mental health in the Black community, which is super important,” she said. “I love kind of being a pioneer in that and leading by example. I prioritize self-care, self-love and doing certain practices each and every day that get you one percent better.”

Furthermore, with people being more open about their struggles with mental health, Dr. Barrett believes Black medical professionals, therapists, nutritionists and other wellness experts need bigger platforms to further educate the African American community. When resourceful information reaches the masses, it can transform negative lifestyle practices and lower the number of mental illness cases among people of color.

“I think it’s an honor and a privilege [to be speaking at ESSENCE Fest] because we don’t take up space. Black doctors don’t take up space in this entertainment world, but we need to be seen there as well. We have to be able to show up and take up space. It’s what we need to do,” she expressed passionately.

Dr. Robin Barrett continued, “With a greater platform comes more [adversaries], so I think what we should be doing now is being fearless, confident, telling our stories and pushing our narratives, so we control the narrative.”



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