Previous Guest

Jack Berkenstock Jr., MHS (he/him)

Jack joined Momma on October 4, 2021 for a live Q&A via Twitch and YouTube to talk about Pandemic Exhaustion, Return to “Normal” & SAFe

About Jack

Jack has been a gamer since the first time he grabbed a set of paddles for Atari 2600 in one hand and a 1st Ed D&D in the other. He was worked in the human services field for over 25 years, in settings including emotional support classrooms, in-patient and community based settings. He has worked with pre-adolescents, teens and adults, both with and without developmental and intellectual disability. He has specialized in working with persons with sexually problematic behaviors as well as those impacted by sexual trauma for over 20 years.

He is one of the Founders of and is the Executive Director of The Bodhana Group, a 501 c3 non-profit based in York, PA that utilizes and advocates the use of tabletop gaming in education, skill building and therapy. He is one of the organizers of the annual convention Save Against Fear and is one of the co-organizers of TAGGS.

Socials / Links for Their Info

Episode Summary

In this Mental Health Monday conversation, MommaFoxFire welcomed Jack Berkenstock, Jr as her guest. Together, they delved into the topic of "Pandemic Exhaustion, Return to 'Normal'." Jack, an advocate for mental health and the founder of the Bodhana Group, shared insights, experiences, and reflections on navigating the challenges brought about by the pandemic and the prospect of returning to a semblance of normalcy.

Key Takeaways

The conversation kicked off with Jack discussing the multifaceted impact of the pandemic on individuals' mental health. He emphasized the importance of acknowledging the exhaustion many people are feeling after enduring prolonged periods of uncertainty, isolation, and stress. Jack highlighted the resilience of individuals in coping with these challenges but also recognized the need for continued support and understanding as society transitions to a post-pandemic reality.

Throughout the interview, Jack and MommaFoxFire explored various themes related to mental health and well-being. They discussed the significance of creating safe spaces where individuals feel heard and supported, particularly in the context of gaming communities and therapeutic environments. Jack emphasized the importance of establishing environments where individuals feel comfortable expressing their emotions and boundaries without fear of judgment or reprisal.

Another key aspect of the conversation was the importance of ongoing education and awareness surrounding mental health issues. Jack underscored the need for open dialogue and continued learning to dispel misconceptions and stigma surrounding mental illness and disabilities. He highlighted the value of approaching conversations with empathy, curiosity, and a willingness to learn from one another's experiences.

The interview also touched on the concept of returning to "normal" after the pandemic and the complexities inherent in this process. Jack acknowledged the mixed emotions many individuals may be experiencing as they navigate the transition back to pre-pandemic routines and social interactions. He emphasized the importance of self-compassion and patience during this time of adjustment, recognizing that everyone's journey will be unique.

Throughout the discussion, Jack shared personal anecdotes, reflections, and insights gleaned from his advocacy work and experiences within the mental health community. His authenticity, humor, and passion for supporting others shone through as he engaged in meaningful dialogue with MommaFoxFire.

This conversation provided a rich exploration of the challenges and opportunities inherent in navigating pandemic exhaustion and the return to "normal." Jack's perspective offered valuable insights into the importance of fostering supportive communities, promoting mental health awareness, and approaching the journey toward recovery with compassion and understanding.