Joshua Rivedal teaches Cerritos College students how to ‘live mentally well and crush it’


Joshua Rivedal was invited by Cerritos College Health Services to peak to students. He addressed some mental health myths during “How to Live Mentally Well and Crush it” Webinar, May 12.

Rocio Valdez, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Joshua Rivedal, author, global speaker, actor and arts entrepreneur, was invited by the Cerritos College Student Health Services to speak on “How to Live Mentally Well and Crush it” Webinar on May 12 via zoom.

Rivedal is the creator and founder of the “Changing Minds Mental Health Based Curriculum” and “The i’Mpossible Project.” He currently serves on the advisory board of Docz, a startup peer-to-peer mental health app.

He has spoken about suicide prevention, mental health, anti-bullying and storytelling across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

“Personally, even though I’m the guy talking about mental health and I’m the guy who talks about it several times a week to colleges all over the U.S. and Canada, in some ways I’m struggling myself,” Rivedal said.

To start off, Rivedal reinsured everyone that it is okay and you should allow yourself to process your feelings instead of diminishing them.

“You can certainly say I don’t have it as bad as so-and-so or it’s not as bad as this or that and that can be a source of gratitude,” he said. “But you can also own that and allow yourself to cry, or grief or to be still. Do whatever it is that you need to do for yourself in this moment in a healthy way.”

Rivedal emphasized that everyone is allowed to feel and process their emotions no matter the gender or race.

“One of the reasons why I got in this work into mental health, suicide prevention, social justice really is because I’ve been through a lot of crises and traumas in my life,” Rivedal said.

Rivedal shared his personal life story, including the fact that his father was abusive and committed suicide when Rivedal was 25 years old.

He also shared he dealt with his father-in-law’s homicide, a divorce and took care of a formal partner with cancer.

He shared an advice a friend of him told him when he had his first major awareness of trauma, which was “What if you changed the idea ‘why is this happening to me’ to the following, ‘everything is happening for me and not to me.’”

“So, if I get to choose that everything is happening for me and not to me, then with my dad’s passing, I could choose to use that as a learning experience, to learn more about myself, how to prevent suicide, how to help other people, how to be of service, how to take care of my mental health,” Rivedal said.

“We can’t choose what life throws at us. We can’t choose to have COVID-19 come into the U.S., but what we can choose is how we react and how we manage all the circumstances that arise from that,” he said.

For the second half of the webinar, Rivedal went through a PowerPoint presentation, starting with explaining mental health is a person’s psychological and emotional well-being.

He shared mental health is not necessarily debilitating, not mutually exclusive with an illness or disorder and not a character flaw or weakness.

He explained mental health can affect anyone and it is different for everyone, and is something that takes time and energy to develop.

Lastly, mental health has to do with biology, life experiences and family history.

Healthy coping skills are different for everyone, Rivedal emphasized.

“For sure we need a support system, we need to be as active as we can to get our blood moving, and we need to talk about our stuff,” he said.

Some healthy coping skills he shared were having a healthy support system, healthy distractions, relaxation or self-care, energetic activities or exercise and overall, watch for the things you consume.

Something Rivedal really recommends is to do service-based activities, “being of service is one of the quickest to find self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and in fact, it does help you boost your mood.”

To end the presentation Rivedal gave two challenges to the attendees: first to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (quote by Mahatma Gandhi); and secondly, he encouraged everyone to tell their stories.

“Speak up, speak out speak often,” he said.