RICHMOND, Va. -- A VCU employee turned YouTube star says his gardening videos are more than just helping people pick up a few tricks and tips, it's helping their mental health.
Do what you love and what brings you peace.
That's the mantra of Randy Battle. The Henrico County man affectionately calls himself Skinny Boy Randy.
Randy Battle's gardening tips and energy filled videos have attracted thousands on YouTube. He's such a sensation, he's even featured in a national YouTube commercial, watched by more than 77 million viewers.
Randy works a full-time job at VCU then tends to his ever growing backyard garden everyday.
During the pandemic, followers asked him to keep posting inspiring clips and revealed that his tips not only help them in their own garden, but in their mental health journey.
"She's like, you uplift me after a long day of chemo. When I get the messages like that I just keep me going. It makes me tear up actually, it's amazing, it touches my heart," said Randy.
Social worker Gayle Harris, founder of Living Life Matters, knows feelings of anxiety and stress may become more pronounced during a global pandemic.
She says people impacted by mental health issues should know there are so many paths to emotional and mental well-being.
"Figure out what peace means to them and how to find it in all of these turbulent times with everything going on. They try to identify peace for them and work towards getting it as opposed to focusing on the fears," said Harris.
"Mental health is very serious. All of us have something... This is therapeutic for me. So, shout out to those out there struggling. You can do it... Plant a garden, It'll help," said Randy.
Harris believes keeping the conversation going about mental health awareness is what helps break the stigma. Randy says he's just glad to be able to help others by sharing his true passion.
Whether it's gardening or yoga or any other self care activity, experts say people should find an outlet to support their emotional and mental well being during the pandemic.
If you need help, or know someone who does, you can always call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.