Photo Credit: Steven Grant & Armando Martinez 

By: E’Vonne Gipson

Author and Entrepreneur, Morgan Simon says it is time to help end the stigma and lift some barriers surrounding mental health! The ‘Mentally Pretty’ founder created the mental health platform focused on helping create a life that’s pretty in every area! She uses her knowledge, her personal mental health experiences and her heart to assist in creating the opportunity for more individuals to live pretty in wealth, lifestyle, mind, fitness and relationships! This platform launched at a time where according to the World Health Organization, mental health conditions are increasing worldwide. Mental Health Awareness Month is held in May, but Simon and her team are making it their business to provide resources and funding for more accessible and affordable mental healthcare along with life-saving research all-year round!

With the current pandemic and tragedies in and out of our country it has never been more imperative than right now to recognize the role mental health plays in our overall well-being and the importance and the urgency to help those in need receive proper treatment.

Unfortunately, research says suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15–29-year-old demographic. This indicates an increase in internalizing symptoms in girls. These symptoms are linked to distress such as fear and sadness which may exacerbate depression, loneliness, anxiety, and somatic complaints. The Lake Charles native was able to learn more about some of these areas while attending Grambling State University studying Recreational Therapy. With that, the now 29-year-old has a plan and a goal to make a positive social impact by better educating individuals young and old nationally about available services, highlighting different ways to receive treatment and advocate.

That ball is now rolling, as Simon has partnered with licensed therapists to create a mentally pretty therapy service. This is a free therapy session offered to evaluate where one stands in the area of mental health and to determine what additional services may be needed. This is extremely important to Simon because she is aware of the misconceptions about mental health, the fear behind discussing mental health out loud and more importantly how financially straining receiving treatment for mental health can be. These few things can cause many to suffer in silence and allow their mental health conditions to remain untreated. ‘Mentally Pretty’ was created so that nobody feels like they are going through a mental health challenge alone, they’re here to not only inform, but to ensure support!

Simon’s purpose continues and her efforts to educate never stops! In addition to becoming a growing mental health advocate, she became an equally passionate author. She released two children’s books in January 2022 entitled ‘Timothy Buys Real Estate’ and ‘Timothy’s Lego City’ in honor of her son, Timothy. In this series she wanted to introduce money, investing and ownership in a fun and educational way that’ll help create a brighter financial future.

She chose children’s books because she believes that the first years are the most important for learning basic skills in every child, as they set the basis for overall success in life. She wanted to be apart of building a strong foundation in young minds.

Ultimately, her main focus is to assist in improving lives and building stronger communities. Along with her children’s books, ‘Mentally Pretty’ will produce weekly podcast episodes, in-person mental health events, scholarships and apparel to positively bring about awareness and intentional wellness change.

Discussing mental health might be uncomfortable, but that one conversation can make all the difference. Let’s do it along-side ‘Mentally Pretty’ where they believe mental health is not something you have, but it’s something you practice!

We asked Simon some questions to learn more about becoming an author, about the platform ‘Mentally Pretty’ and how we can all better understand mental health. Check it out:

  • What inspired you to become an author?
  1. After graduation I worked as a recreational therapist for children with disabilities. I enjoyed the aspect of finding creative ways to teach them and found myself often creating scenarios or personal stories to help the lessons stick. From there, I had the idea that I should start to write my stories out, but never took it seriously. After getting pregnant with my son, I would think about all the lessons and things I wanted to teach him and that’s when I was inspired to actually write and publish educational children’s stories dedicated to him.
  • What is the book about? What are a few of the main things you would like for readers to take away from the book?
  1. I have a handful of activity books for children introducing them to numbers, letters, shapes, animals, counting and simple words, responsible for developing their motor and recognition skills. Those specific activity books are targeted for children between the ages 3 and 5 and they include Letter Tracing, Simple Math Workbooks, Maze Word Searches and Dot to Dot Coloring Books. I also have two titles for children ages 9 to 12 coming soon! The books entitled ‘Timothy Buys Real Estate’ and‘Timothy’s Lego City’ focus on an early introduction to money lessons, ownership and investing for a bright financial future.
Photo Credit: Steven Grant & Armando Martinez

Q) How do you feel that your education helped prepare you to become a successful author and entrepreneur?

A) My undergraduate degree is in Recreational Therapy and as a recreational therapist I helped people reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; recover basic physical and mental abilities; build confidence; and socialize effectively. I was taught to use interventions, such as exercise, mental stimulation, creative projects, and other fun activities to help patients. So, although I didn’t graduate in business or English, I think most skills were transferable when it comes to the mental and creative parts of entrepreneurship and becoming an author. 

Q) In addition to becoming a new author you started the platform, ‘Mentally Pretty’, in a few sentences tell us about the purpose of the platform and what inspired you to create it?

A) Mentally Pretty is a platform designed to help women establish healthy mental practices and achieve an elevated state of wellbeing. I was inspired to create this platform because I always focused on achievement and spent very little time making my mental health a priority. I was so focused on scholastic achievements, my career success and outward appearance, but I found that I was still struggling inwardly. Anxiety and depression started to overtake me at times and I realized accomplishments and success mean nothing if we aren’t mentally, physically and emotionally healthy enough to enjoy it. I wanted to create a platform where I would be able to help other women find peace and balance when it came to their mental health. 

Q) In recent years, unfortunately many lives have been lost due to poor mental health and suicide, what do you believe can assist in helping individuals improve their mental health and decreasing the number of deaths?

A) I believe education is the key factor in helping decrease these numbers. 

It’s hard to change what we don’t know. Mental health education provides necessary awareness and resources for individuals and their loved ones. It helps break the stigma associated with mental health. Additionally, it can promote efforts for treatment and recovery. It’s important to spread the word on resources and any helpful information associated with educating the community in mental health.

Q) We know, ‘Mentally Pretty’ is geared toward women, but proper mental health is important for both genders, however, do you believe mental health affects men and women differently? Why?

A) I believe mental health affects everyone differently, man or woman. Mental health is an individual journey. I chose women specifically because I am able to educate and identify with women more than I would male individuals. In doing research, I found that women experience depression rates twice that of men and the need is particularly acute among disadvantaged groups, who experience lower treatment rates and poorer outcomes. I am working to see a change in the accessibility for treatment in these groups. I believe access to help is critical for improving mental health outcomes in both men and women.

Q) Why do you believe people normally avoid receiving the proper mental health treatment that they may need?

A) Speaking for our mentally pretty community specifically, financial barriers to receiving mental healthcare has been one of the leading concerns that our community has reported facing. Research also shows that affordability is still a top barrier to care. This is why we introduced scholarships for receiving therapy sessions.

Q) That is awesome! Tell us more about the “Therapy Scholarship’ opportunity. How can individuals apply and how those who would like to support can donate?

A) This opportunity was put together to give underserved women the opportunity and access to reliable and consistent treatment. Therapy is a positive way to deal with trauma, pain, or any issue you have in life.  Healing leads to becoming a healthier, happier, more peaceful person. Unfortunately, this can be pricey and not as affordable to those who may need it the most. This is why we try to make it as assessable as possible! Our therapy scholarships are on a rolling basis. Anyone is free to apply and can do so on our website at Anyone who wishes to donate can also reach out on our website via the let’s connect section or email

Q) What has the experience been like collaborating with licensed therapists? What have you learned and what role have they played in ensuring that ‘Mentally Pretty” is a success?

A) Working with licensed therapist has been an amazing experience! The Mentally Pretty platform solely connects recipients with certified and trained mental health professionals. I am not a licensed medical professional, so to have a long and trusted list of medical professionals to send people who are in need has been the most rewarding part of starting this platform. 

Q) What signs and symptoms do you believe are good to look out for that can suggest that someone may need to seek assistance for their mental health?

A) This is a resource from The National Alliance on mental health on the most common signs of mental illness: 

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • And many many more (etc.)

Q) Many actually say that poor mental health can begin to affect you physically? Have you ever experienced this or how do you feel about that statement?

A) I believe this statement to be true. I have experienced physical affects from poor mental health specifically after giving birth to my son. Dealing with postpartum depression included having mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Luckily, I have an enormous support system and I was blessed to have access to resources that helped me through it. Although the mind and body are often viewed as being separate, mental and physical health are actually closely related.

For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Q) What are some key things (lifestyle changes) that you incorporate in your daily life to assist with keeping your mental health in shape?

A) One of the main lifestyle changes I would say helps with keeping your mental health in shape is exercising regularly. Followed by having a healthy diet, getting enough quality sleep, spending time doing things that bring you joy, making time to relax and some form of meditation. Taking the time out to quiet my mind and meditate has also been a huge help to me when starting my mental health journey.

Q) You are a mom, entrepreneur, author, former NFL cheerleader and so much more, how do you and how important is it for your mental health to balance all of these such important roles in your life?

A) It’s not always easy to find balance but what helped me find a sense of balance was putting myself first. Taking the time to nourish myself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally helps me to show up better for the roles that I hold in my life. That means setting boundaries, getting organized, and asking for help when I need it. It is also important to me that I give myself grace, and not put so much pressure on myself to be perfect in every role. 

Q) What are some things you would do or some tips you can give to someone who discovers that their friend or family member is going through a challenging time with their mental health?

A) It’s important to educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms so that we are more equipped to help someone who is in crisis. Support goes a long way, be a non-judgmental listener and know that there are resources specifically for people who are having a challenging time. On our website we have a list of specific resources such as therapy assistance, prescription assistance, financial assistance, addiction screenings, LGBTQ help center, domestic violence assistance, and suicide prevention. 

If more information is needed please check out our list on our website, under the mental resources tab.

Q) Was mental health ever discussed in your home as a child? Now, as a parent yourself, how important do you feel it is to have these kinds of conversations?

Mental health wasn’t spoken of specifically as a child. At the time mental health wasn’t as prevalent and talked about as it is now. I was taught to draw to my faith when feeling down or low. As a parent I think it’s important to teach our children these things early in life so that they know mental health is just as important as our physical health and nutritional health. Teaching healthy mental health habits early in life can lead to improved recognition, earlier treatment, greater understanding and compassion, and decreased stigma around the topic.

Q) Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the entrepreneur aspect and in life overall? Why do you feel that they inspire you the most?

A) My most recent inspiration in this space is writer and wellness educator Alex Elle. 

She’s a mother, author, podcast host, business owner, and self-care advocate who made a name for herself writing empowering poems that lift up women and girls. I am inspired by her work because she is extremely passionate about wellness and teaching women how to prioritize their healing and wellness through her work. She took this passion of hers and turned it into a thriving business, while helping so many people along the way. It’s the representation that I love to see, an African American women making an impact in this wellness space, shows me that it’s possible. 

18)  What are a few mental health resources (apps, books, speakers, techniques, videos etc.) you personally use that you believe can be helpful to others?

  1. I believe that healthy mental health habits should be practiced daily and one thing I know that many people do daily is social media. What we consume is important and has an impact on us mentally. I try to follow positive, and motivational healthy accounts on social media. Some accounts that I enjoy following @mentalhealthcoalition @alex @chopra @morganharpernichols @yasminecheyenne @balancedblackgirlpodcast 

Q) Let’s talk a little bit about the upcoming ‘Mentally Pretty’ podcast. Podcasts have become more and more popular over the years, what topics do you plan to discuss, when can we expect the first episode and where can everyone check it out?

A) We have so many exciting episodes recorded and ready to be released! Our first season is almost complete and will be released all at one time on Spotify before the end of this year. The following season will begin January 2023, episodes will be released every Sunday and Wednesday. Our Sunday episodes are specifically tailored to prayer while our Wednesday episodes cover topics from wealth, wellness, business, relationships and lifestyle. 

Q) What’s next?! What is upcoming for ‘Mentally Pretty’, where do you hope to see your platform in the next two years?

A) Just putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to grow. Providing for and supporting good mental health is a public health issue. Unaddressed mental health problems can have a negative influence on homelessness, property, unemployment, safety, and the local economy, which is why we are working continuously to provide education, promote mental health awareness and break the stigma associated with getting help. Communities prosper when the mental health needs of the community members are met, and within the next two years I plan on Mentally Pretty being a valuable resource in multiple communities!

The information shared within this interview is generalized and is not medical advice. If ever in a Mental Health Emergency Crisis, please call 9-1-1, 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.


Instagram: @mentally.pretty and @morgands_



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