Say hello to Ashley Hughes. We sat down and chatted with her about her story and how she got into the mental health world. Read about how she started Supple[Mental] Sports and is changing the mental health game here in Summit County.
“I founded Supple[Mental] Sports to be the person I needed when I was struggling. In general, mental health is a difficult system to navigate worldwide. On average it takes 5-7 weeks on a waitlist before someone can get a psychology appointment. There are multiple levels of psychology too; psychologists with different specialities — sometimes people don’t need a doctor, but rather a life coach or career coach. With our mental welfare on the fritz, doing the research to find the right help feels daunting.”
“I wanted to educate people to reduce stigma so they could avoid waiting to seek help like I did. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. I waited until it was almost too late to finally get the help I needed. Moreover, when I finally sought help, I went through multiple therapists before I found one I liked, and was placed on long waitlists and had to take initiative to find alternative resources.”
“Supple[Mental] Sports works to make mental health support feel and be accessible — both from a cost and a comprehensive perspective. Mental health is often treated like taboo or rocket science, yet throughout my recovery I learned 25% of Americans were struggling right alongside me. I also learned a multitude of skills that were easy, free and often fun. I wondered why these skills were not integrated into my early education. Life as an athlete or offered at many of the companies I worked for for years. I wanted to simplify the system and help people get the help they need without worsening their situation.
“Many people are unaware that supporting someone who struggles, whether from an injury, trauma, depression or a long term health issue can feel just as difficult as being the person struggling. I was fortunate that during my initial recovery programs, my parents were invited to what’s called, “Secondary Survivor Programs,” where they received eight weeks of free therapy. Here, they not only learned better tactics to support me, but were given a safe space to vent their frustrations, meet a network of other parents/caretakers struggling and learn to better take care of themselves. Like everything in life, caretaking starts with the self too.
“My ultimate goal for this class is to support others. I want people to understand they are certainly not alone, that resources exist and that their experiences and feelings are valid. I want people to avoid my personal experience. To be brash, it sucked. I also feel it didn’t have to be as bad as it was. If I had access to something like Supple[Mental] Sports before trauma, I feel my recovery process could have been a lot easier.”
Interested in working with Ashley? She offers 1:1 coaching, workshop series, and company programs tailored to individual needs or company goals. She teaches in two ways: tailored to sports or tailored to the general public. Curriculum revolves around statistics, education, emotional intelligence, communication, boundaries, value alignment and self-care practicums. She also helps people navigate the mental health system by connecting them with resources to better support their needs like clinical psychologists, life coaches, career coaches, books, Ted Talks, podcasts and more. Outside of educational courses, she teaches yoga and trauma informed yoga to enhance the mind body connection too – a very beneficial tool when struggling mentally.
Check out her website to learn more!