Kfm's Sherlin Barends recently revealed details about her struggle with mental health, the reason she's been absent from Kfm Mornings.
Now that she's back on air, we chatted to her about how she's doing, how her colleagues and listeners have responded, and in light of Women's Month, she shares some powerful advice for women in the industry trying to get to the top and to get that work-life balance right.
It’s nice to have you back, Sherlin. It must have been extremely difficult to go through what you did. Tell us a little bit about how you got through it and how you’re doing now.
It’s great to be back! I got through it by making peace with the fact that I needed help, in fact, I now embrace it. I have a solid team of mental health professionals and I’ve always had an incredible personal support system, but now I’m more deliberate about being authentic and vulnerable in these relationships. It’s a lot easier for people to support you when they know you need help, when you ask for it. The good days far outweigh the bad ones. I try to embrace both. The bad days remind me to take things slower and to be grateful for the good ones.
Having gone through this experience, what advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
Listen to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. It’s easy to talk about self-love and self-care, but this journey has taught me the importance of making it a daily practice. Ask for help. Seek help. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are not alone. You are worthy of rest, assistance, support and love.
How important do you think the support of close friends and colleagues were to your wellbeing?
I’m incredibly grateful for the entire #KfmMornings team. I’m especially grateful for Sibs who showed up for me when I couldn’t show up for myself and Rameez who referred me to a team of incredible professionals. Thanks to technology my good friend in Dubai (Nadia Thys) was one of a handful of people I spoke to during my time away from the show. These connections are so important.
What’s it like being back on air and what has the response been like from your listeners and your colleagues?
I love radio, so it’s great to be reunited with Darren, Sibs, Brad, Rameez, Jeanne and the rest of the Kfm family. I’ve been showered with love and support. I wasn’t put under any pressure to share my story. Darren asked if I was sure that very morning. Many listeners shared their own struggles with mental health, while others sought help after I shared my story. The power of radio.
#KfmMornings team, Sherlin Barends with Sibongile Mafu (more affectionately known as Sibs) and Darren "Whackhead" Simpson.
It being women’s month, what advice would you give to women in the radio industry, with regards to making it to the top and getting that work-life balance right?
Be authentic and think about your 'why'. I do radio because people are my passion and connecting with people is my purpose. Don’t wait for your dream job. Start creating engaging content online and on other platforms. This is a great way to find/refine your voice. What is it that you want to say?
Join your campus/community radio station. I got my start at Mfm92.6 in Stellenbosch. I’m clearly still figuring out how to maintain that balance, but I’m learning to be patient with myself. We can be so hard on ourselves. I can only do my best each day, and my 'best' doesn’t look the same every day and that’s ok.
What is your hope for the next or future generations of women in the radio industry?
Equality. Space. Money. Respect.Catch Kfm Mornings with Darren, Sherlin and Sibs: Weekdays 6-9am on Kfm 94.5 and follow Barends on Facebook and/or Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow Kfm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.