Dr. LaKesha Legree is on a mission to help others live their very best lives by ending the stigma and shame associated with mental illness. She created her platform to show others who may be suffering from mental illness that it is possible to fight off anxiety and even severe depression, and live your best life ever.
While a medical resident and private practice anesthesiologist, Dr. Legree endured rigorous 70-90 hour work weeks, which caused her to fall into a depression that she hid from everyone. “Unfortunately, some of my colleagues didn’t come out of depression and decided to end their lives,” said Legree. This is part of what sparked her desire to open Elev8 MD Wellness Center, a ketamine clinic for depression and chronic pain.
In response to the pandemic, Dr. Legree co-founded Help Mask A Hero, which provides personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers on the front lines.
We spoke with Dr. Legree about what continues to drive her mission of helping others live their very best lives.
Describe your specialty and why you chose to focus on this area of health.
Currently, I am an anesthesiologist by trade as well as the founder and medical director of Elev8 MD Wellness Center.
I chose the field of medicine and anesthesiology because I loved physiology and pharmacology and had a deep desire to altruistically help people. I also loved working with my hands in the form of procedures and this specialty is procedure heavy.
What are three things people should give up in order to live a healthier life?
Toxic people, comparative analysis and imposter syndrome. The importance of mental health must be as much of a priority as physical health. When mental health begins to suffer, physical health follows.
What effect does stress have on your health?
Stress can be beneficial for immediate and short-term situations, but consistent stress over a longer period of time can lead to headaches, physical pain, irritability, insomnia, anxiety and depression. There are many ways to relieve stress including rest, making time for leisure activities and changing your perspective to focus on gratitude.
What is seen as harmless that, in fact, has an unhealthy impact on our lives?
People are familiar with annual physical exams or wellness checks, which is great. However, it’s important that annual wellness checks include mental health visits. It may seem harmless to not to schedule these appointments, but mental health is directly related to and can impact physical health.
Finish the sentences:
Annual checkups and doctor visits … should include annual mental health exams in the form of therapy
A great day for me at work results in … helping my patients feel better about themselves, their day and their lives.
What medical school did you attend?
I attended medical school at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. I attended undergraduate school at the University of Notre Dame.
What are your favorite vacation spots and why?
My favorite vacation spot is Costa Rica because of the beautiful environment that allows for introspection and because of the beautiful people and their culture! PURA VIDA!