By Alia Mcdonald.
Research has proven that mental health is improved by physical activity, and I caught up with Smethwick based Talisa Mesquitta to find out more about her hybrid approach to her work, her book, and her interest in supporting black women.
Talisa Mesquitta is a woman of many talents: she is a qualified personal trainer, and cognitive behavioural psychotherapist, who incorporates her expertise in mental health with exercise. Using her combined expertise Talisa has created a unique approach to personal training and written a book to help families cope with anxiety and depression.
On her website, Talisa shares her motivation and aims, stating:
‘I am passionate about encouraging women to become the best version of themselves. I understand how difficult it can be at times, to find the time and motivation, to focus on achieving your fitness or personal goals. As a full time, working, single mother, I have struggled with these issues also. Sometimes, all we need is some encouragement’.
Talisa hosts various classes and PT (personal training) sessions with her clients who are mainly women. But she is a Jack (or Jacqueline) of all trades: and as well as being a psychotherapist and a mental health nurse, she is also a published author!
Greeting me with the biggest smile, Talisa radiated her approachable personality in our meeting. Speaking about what influenced her she said:
“Exercising with my ex-partner influenced me to become a personal trainer. It made me realise how important fitness was.”
But her routines incorporate more than just exercise and she shares the simple things that help to achieve a healthy mind, even socialising is an important factor for the fitness trainer’s mental health.
“I like to be one with nature. I like to go on walks at the park and do meditation. I like to do 20-30 minutes of meditation each night.
“I like going out with my friends and family. I think it’s important to let my hair down.”
Talisa’s book titled ‘When Mommy is Feeling Sad, I Know What to Do’, details what she did to help herself from the rut she was in when she suffered from anxiety and depression.
She said “[The book] was loosely based on my experiences. The main character was based on my daughter who was around 8 years old at the time, so one character is loosely based on her. The mom is based on me because I had recently left a toxic relationship.
Having a mixed Caribbean background was an important inspiration for her book, which is primarily aimed at both women children.
Talking about how the stigma towards mental health is prevalent in the Black diaspora, the mental health nurse highlights that she ‘wanted to target the Black community’, especially in her area.
Talisa Mesquitta Book Launch
“As Black people, I know that we don’t really talk about mental health. I just want to make sure the book is something to relate to.”
“[It was also for] the children to understand what is going on, to spot things early.”
“I think education is the key – I think education is the key to all things. It is really important to educate children from a young age, so they become more resilient on how to recognise when things go wrong and learn how to help themselves.”
Talisa adds that it was important for her daughter too.
“I wanted my daughter to see herself in characters because a few years ago, she didn’t have characters that looked like her.”
Even during her school days Talisa liked to write. She happily recalls the time she won a Gifted & Talented writing competition. The Author shares that she intends to publish something new very soon and is planning a series around mental health.
To find out more about Talisa, follow her Instagram pages:
To see more of her, visit her website.