Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi is a board-certified psychiatrist who joined Doctor On Demand in 2015. She trained at some of the top universities in the country, including Johns Hopkins University, New York University School of Medicine, and Columbia University. But aside from her educational background, what are some of her particular passions in the field of mental health? What is her approach on dealing with everyday situations that can cause stress? And what are some of her hobbies outside of work that keep her healthy?
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself aside from your credentials.
Well, at my core, I believe that life is just too short to not enjoy it. I love to laugh as much as possible, and even though I work hard, I am also very laid back. It is too easy to let work or personal matters take over, and I do get stressed out sometimes. I have to actively remember to take deep breaths during these times, which helps a lot. Slowing down for even a minute helps remind me of who I am, what my priorities are, and how to best tackle any challenge in front of me.
Do you think that could be surprising for people to hear, that psychiatrists like yourself can be stressed out?
Absolutely! Many people buy into the idea that mental health professionals always have it all together, and it can be a shock to learn that we have issues too. No one is perfect. Like so many, I am just trying to figure out how to make my life and the lives around me a little better one day at a time.
To that end, do you have an area of focus that you feel particularly passionate about?
Women’s mental health and advancing knowledge on this topic is especially important to me. I generally feel passionate about any opportunity to give a voice to those who otherwise might not have the chance to be heard, which is also why Doctor On Demand is particularly satisfying for me. There is such an unmet need for mental health care, and being able to provide access through this platform is tremendous. So often, I meet people who, half-jokingly, tell me that friends or family members could use my services! The opportunity to meet and help so many diverse people every day expands my scope of work in a way I truly appreciate.
Hopefully, this also means that the stigma of mental health treatment is lessening day by day.
Yes, I certainly hope so. Some people may feel the need to speak to a psychiatrist but find the prospect too intimidating or embarrassing. My advice to them is to just give it a try! Appointments often feel like nothing more than a conversation, and I try to put my patients at ease by actively listening to their stories and lives. I just want to know about who they are as individuals; sharing that with someone is nothing to be ashamed of, and can be the beginning of a trustworthy relationship that fosters healing and growth.
And for those who may not need a psychiatrist at this moment, do you have any advice for them to continue to live healthy and happy lives?
Exercise–it goes a long way towards maintaining physical and mental health. To be completely honest, I don’t enjoy the idea of exercising. However, every time I engage in any type of physical activity where I can work up a sweat, I end up feeling better after!
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