Mental health advocate Taylor Nolan hasn’t let the public eye get the best of her. Instead, she uses her platform to focus on mental health, relationships and personal development on her podcast “Let’s Talk About It.”
For Nolan, substance abuse and addiction took several family members away from her. She thought of how she could help prevent it someday. At the same time, an AP psychology class in high school sparked Nolan’s interest in mental health. Combined, they have been a source of passion ever since. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Johns Hopkins University and works as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate in Washington.
“Oftentimes we try to numb our pain, our hurts and our discomfort. When you try to numb that, you’re also numbing things like joy, love and connection and all those other things. When you stop numbing, you really start feeling all of the feelings. It can be such a roller coaster sometimes,” said Nolan. “I think one of the biggest struggles that people have with feeling their feelings is the notion of having self compassion. Oftentimes I think we beat ourselves up for even feeling certain emotions.”
After her stint on “The Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise”, Nolan admits that her popularity skyrocketed, which was damaging to her mental health causing anxiety. She was able to overcome that and credits staying grounded to get through the rough times.
“It’s a lot to manage, and I think if you’re not careful, you can very much start to lose yourself in that,” she said. “You’re gaining a new part of your life, a new part of your identity and a new part of your personality. One of the things that I found so important was making sure that I did stay grounded by staying connected with family and friends and to who I truly am as a person.”
She believes that empathy and relating to others’ experiences, especially feelings of loneliness, are the keys to reducing mental health stigmas. Nolan is hopeful that an increase in empathy would help reduce substance abuse and suicide rates.
“Even just to be able to seek help for any kind of mental health requires a certain layer of vulnerability, right?,” she said. “There’s even shame and negative stereotypes around just that act in itself to reach out and get help, so I’m doing that work around shame and vulnerability. I think it’s again, something I’m very, very passionate about.”
Nolan created her “Let’s Talk About It” podcast after connecting with people on Instagram who asked for advice. She wanted to connect to her followers while also showing more of who she is.
The content on the podcast episodes are not in anyway related to tabloid gossip, or recaps from past episodes of “The Bachelor.” Her podcast is made up of real conversations. These conversations might make someone feel a little bit uncomfortable, but they have a goal of creating moments of reflection for listeners.
“I’ve [had] all kinds of public figures, and different authors that come on who are just writing cool books. Sometimes they’re experts in psychology or whatever the topic is, [and] sometimes they’re just sharing their knowledge and their own personal experiences,” said Nolan.
“It’s not necessarily a public figure, but to me her story was so important, and [it’s] not something that you always see in mainstream content or news. I’m like, ‘this person’s story is really important, and I really appreciate their message. So, we are going to share it’,” she said.
On top of seeing clients in Seattle and working on her podcast, Nolan has her own sustainable garden, and she has an affinity for advocating on behalf of animal rights and sustainable living.
“Gardening gives me such a greater appreciation for food. I don’t want a single leaf in my lettuce to go to waste. I think about how much water I have to use, the soil, and all of these things… that all this energy that had to come together to create this [garden] and it will nourish my life so should be held with such value,” she said. “To me it brings so much value to my life and our environment overall that is a part of my life that helps ground me like we talked about earlier.”
Nolan has mental health advice for other social justice leaders who have the privilege of being able to use their platforms to help others. She emphasizes that it doesn’t matter if you have 100 followers, or 1 million followers on your social media platforms. Everyone has influence.
“We all are our granted with this level of influence that we have on our Facebook, on our Instagram, [and] on our Twitter,” she said. “I think taking a second to have these important conversations and to share your voice is really helpful. Even if it is sharing that you’re struggling because there are so many things happening out there. Be compassionate with yourself and try not get so overwhelmed by it all, because it is so overwhelming.”