Mental Health Champions: Why & How Joan Hampton Of Oasis Mental Wellness Is Helping To Champion Mental Wellness

An Interview With Michelle Tennant Nicholson

Michelle Tennant Nicholson
Authority Magazine
9 min readDec 19, 2022


I schedule self-care appointments that relaxes me, such as getting massages at the spa. I try to schedule these bi-weekly because those are activities that help me to destress.

As a part of our series about Mental Health Champions helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Joan Hampton.

Joan Hampton resides in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and CEO of Oasis Mental Wellness, LLC and owner of Shop Oasis Wellness in Biloxi, MS. She is a Mental Health Maven whose 20-year career spans multiple areas. Joan is affectionately known as The B.O.S.S. (Building Others Strategically and Successfully) Therapist.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Sure! I grew up in a rural area and was raised by my parents and grandmother. Oftentimes I say that I come from a small and large family because My mother was an only child and my father had 19 brothers and sisters to include 4 sets of twins. I am the youngest of my tribe and could always be found hanging out with my twin brother. My mother that had a fulltime job and was an entrepreneur, my father was a jack of all trades and they both were always busy. We spent a great deal of the time with our grandmother.

You are currently leading an initiative that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit more specifically about what you are trying to address?

So, because I am a trauma counselor, I work to address damage that people have experienced as a result of abuse and traumatic experiences. I use therapy to propel individuals from places from their lowest places to being leaders. I have a passion to help those who need assistance with decarceration as well as our veterans who are struggling to get acclimated back into society.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause? Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I knew I wanted to do something different from what I witnessed when I was growing up. I had a great mother, but she was always working in someone else’s business while trying to run her own and trying to create a better life for her children. She missed a lot of special moments just trying to provide for us and support her family. However, everyone that she encountered, she tried her best to help in her own way. My goal was to find something I love to do; follow my passion so that what I did everyday did not feel like work.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

Probably the most interesting thing that has happened since I begin leading Oasis Mental Wellness is the lifelong connections that I have made with some great people. This means people that land on the couch and others that I have met networking. I feel so honored to get to witness people in a not so good place flourish into someone they never thought that they could be.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

Of course! I tend to think that a person cannot truly witness and enjoy success without the company of good people. For me? A mentor who I credit with providing me with knowledge and insight in this mental health field is Dr. Lee Lee Marlow. I worked under her leadership and learned a lot about how to successfully lead a team and program from her. She has always led in ways that was best for her department and the company without fear of making necessary waves. I have a brother who is in law enforcement and has a background in the mental health field. He has always been known to make good sound advice, so he gets credit for being my most impactful mentor. I met Dr. Marlow through my brother. Years ago, I moved back to my hometown broke and without purpose. I called my big brother up and asked if he knew if there was anyone hiring, and he called Dr. Marlow. I was hired as her secretary and learned in that environment that I had a passion to help others. I guess you can say, I found my passion. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a mental health therapist and I immediately enrolled in school to begin my journey. I have had a multitude of cheerleaders. My best friends who are more like sisters who consistently motivate me and share encouraging words when I am tried and tested in this role of leadership. I can’t articulate in any type of word or language what these beautiful women have sown into me. I also would like to acknowledge my mother who holds so many other titles in my life and assisted me with making sure that my son was taken care of while I was busy rolling up my sleeves and seeking to put in the work daily to connect with my clients and provide quality services.

According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?

There are numerous reasons why I believe that is so. Historically, mental health conditions have been viewed negatively and people with mental disorders have been labeled as “crazy”. With that erroneous title, people are made fun of, their opinions are not held in the highest regard and therefore they are not taken as seriously. If someone is viewed as “less than” because they are deemed insane, then why would that person come forth and be truthful about their mental health condition. They would most likely feel disgraced. Social media is another reason while there is still a mental health stigma. For instance, when Kanye West shared that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, every behavior that he exhibits online is chastised and attributed to the fact that he has a mental health disorder. If he says anything outlandish, the rhetoric is, “oh, just look over him, he is crazy as hell”. That mindset may have someone else that has that diagnosis thinking that that they should never share that information because they do not want their every action to be judged and connected to their mental illness.

In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?

Individuals should listen. Not with the intent to provide the help themselves but to validate a person’s feelings and support them in their journey to getting help. We don’t always make the mark, but we can at least try.

Society should seek to not be so judgmental and educate themselves on mental health stigma and how a negative mindset can contribute to that.

As for government, if we can get them on board with allocating funding to help in underserved areas and for those who are unable to pay for rising healthcare costs. Basically, quality mental health services are not affordable, and for this reason, less people have access to this type of assistance.

What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own well-being and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?

This is probably my favorite question from this interview. One strategy I have is to align myself and spend time with people who make me feel good mentally. I make it a habit to converse with my friends when I feel good and am open with them when I don’t. I have a friend that introduces me like this: “Hey, this is my friend Joan, she is a big deal!” To hang out with people like this and position yourself with these types of people will instantly boost your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself.

Second thing is setting healthy boundaries. If I don’t do this and I let the wrong people in my heart, then it weighs on me and my mental health heavily. I have barriers set in place that allows me to protect my heart and my mental status when engaging with people.

Third thing is travel. When I am home, I have a hard time winding down. I am always in business mode; looking and researching information to help improve my clients, coming up with new coping skills and new business ideas. In order to force myself to relax, I travel often to get myself out of my environment. That makes me wind down and focus on recreational activities and relaxation.

Next, I schedule self-care appointments that relaxes me, such as getting massages at the spa. I try to schedule these bi-weekly because those are activities that help me to destress.

Finally, I also make sure that I have identified self-care activities at home such as, reading, using my diffusers with essential oils that helps me to reduce instances of overwhelming anxiety and depression, meditation and journaling.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?

I love books so, some of my favorite are:

Relational Intelligence by Dharius Daniels. This body of work was helpful with putting people and relationships in perspective. Some of us want to call everyone friend and all people do not go into that category. This book helps compartmentalize people. I also love the Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. And I can’t tell you how many times that I have read Three Feet from Gold by Greg Reid and Sharon Lechter. The latter book always motivates me. Because I am The B.O.S.S. (Building Others Strategically and Successfully) Therapist, I love material that encourages and motivates me in my purpose. I love to share this book with my clients who are seeking their purpose or who are in leadership positions and need to know how to build others around them.

A podcast that I listen to regularly Is Love Happiness and Success with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. Great topics on various issues regarding mental health. Again, because I love all things business and counsel entrepreneurs, I like to listen to the Millionaire Mindset Podcast. They are so enlightening. These people share a lot of tools that help people to be educated on financial freedom and mistakes to avoid when seeking success.

Shop Oasis Wellness is my online wellness boutique that is my personal go to for wellness products and resources. Shameless plug, ha! Check us out at

If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them? Why should others consider making a positive impact?

It is our way of creating change. I don’t care if it is one person or two. Everyone should seek to roll up their sleeves and do the work to encourage positivity. It is like sowing a good seed and watering it. That seed, though it may be small, can grow up to flourish, blossom and turn into a whole tree of fruit that can produce a harvest and seeds that will continue to create more positivity.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me at

All my other links and contact information will be there.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

About the Interviewer: Inspired by the father of PR, Edward Bernays (who was also Sigmund Freud’s nephew), Michelle Tennant Nicholson researches marketing, mental injury, and what it takes for optimal human development. An award-winning writer and publicist, she’s seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Michelle co-founded



Michelle Tennant Nicholson
Authority Magazine

A “Givefluencer,” Chief Creative Officer of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., Creator of