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As with many other physicians, recommending physical activity to patients was just a doctor chore for me – until a few years ago. That was because I myself was not very active. Over the years, as I picked up boxing and became more active, I got firsthand experience of positive impacts on my mind. I also started researching the effects of dance and movement therapies on trauma and anxiety in refugee children, and I learned a lot more about the neurobiology of exercise.

by Lynne Siqueland People often wonder. When does it make sense to begin therapy? Therapists use two primary reasons to see if treatment would be recommended.
Emotional responses of witnessing and experiencing disasters, mass violence, and traumatic events can vary from person to person.

The news of the world can be scary for children and teens (and adults for that matter). Whether it’s rioting in the U.S. Capitol, looting in the streets of Portland, or people dying of COVID in the hospitals of New York, images of out-of-control behavior and death can be terrifying. When my son was a young teenager, he loved to watch horror movies but dashed out of the room at the first sight of the nightly news. He understood that it was real and it scared him because he imagined that someone else’s reality could extend into his world. 

Symptoms of depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders have emerged or worsened for many during the pandemic. This is no surprise to clinicians and scientists, who have been increasing worldwide access to mental health information and resources.

I recently had a Zoom call with a patient who leaves deliveries on her porch for a week and then disinfects the packages before opening them. Another patient shared how upon returning home she removes all her clothes in the garage, sprays her body with rubbing alcohol, and immediately showers. Following those two sessions, I walked outside and saw a man driving alone in his car wearing a mask. A female jogger, across the street, was wearing a mask too. She was by herself, a hundred yards from the nearest person.

“Mindfulness” has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years. It’s not unlikely that you, or a friend or family member, may have tried out a meditation class, downloaded the app Headspace or Calm, or participated in a workplace-sponsored mindfulness training. So perhaps you already have a little bit of knowledge about mindfulness, which can be described as paying attention to one’s thoughts and feelings in a way that is kind, curious, and grounded in the present moment. 

About a year ago I began to follow my interest in health and fitness on Instagram. Soon I began to see more and more fitness-related accounts, groups, posts and ads. I kept clicking and following, and eventually my Instagram became all about fit people, fitness and motivational material, and advertisements. Does this sound familiar?

1. How can you know if something is an intrusive thought, or monkey brain, and what is a genuine desire to do something bad? Where do the intrusive thoughts even stem from? 

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, especially those who are prone to anxiety and depression.  The social isolation, uncertainty about employment, income, health and the health of Covid vulnerable people you love has posed a unique challenge for us all.  It is completely understandable for you to have some apprehension about the upcoming holidays.

In addition to its staggering impact on physical well-being and mortality, COVID-19 is also taking an unprecedented toll on our mental health. Numerous recent studies have shown global increases in the prevalence and severity of depression and anxiety as well as increases in post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. These increases likely stem from the changes to daily life we have all been asked to make in attempts to mitigate viral spread.

Well-meaning advice for people freaking out about current events often includes encouragement to be patient, stay calm and keep the faith… but how on Earth are you supposed to do that amid the insanity of 2020?

As a practicing clinical psychologist and professor who studies how to manage anxiety and tolerate uncertainty, I offer 10 suggestions to make it through this highly stressful election period.

The virus has upended the world as we know it, and kids are struggling.  Kids were not meant to live this way.  None of us were meant to live this way, but as a child therapist, I have a special focus on kids and their well-being.

During this time of national crisis, we must manage two things simultaneously: 1) Protect ourselves from the Coronavirus, and 2) Protect ourselves from anxiety. If your anxiety, fear, and worry has been overwhelming, put these ten strategies into practice.

“If we lose, I just don’t know whether the country can survive,” my client said. “Things are getting too crazy.” I heard those words before. From clients of the opposite party. The upcoming election has become every American’s—Republicans and Democrats, therapists and clients— worry number one. To many of us, the idea of losing feels like an existential threat, one that is igniting core fears about our health, our safety, our connections with our loved ones and community. We may be donating time and/or money to our campaign of choice, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

My OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) clients often ask me at some point early in therapy, "Why do I have OCD? Why is this happening to me?" While many environmental factors can play a role and a predisposition to OCD is certainly hereditary, the ultimate answer to this question is quite simple.

To answer it, we need to know what is different about people who develop OCD compared to people who do not develop OCD.

Steve has served as a police officer for 24 years, including being a SWAT team member for years. He and I have worked together on his traumatic experiences. He has told me that in a given day a police officer might have to deal with two to three overdoses and do CPR.

I was recently interviewed for an article on how the behaviors people use to avoid getting Covid 19 might make OCD worse or cause OCD to develop. After my interview the reporter notified me that the story was “killed” by the editor of the publication because he wanted to publish a story that suggested living through the pandemic would result in an increase in OCD or the development of OCD.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

A muffled crack of thunder, followed by a flash of light that lit up the bedroom wall. Then another, louder CRACK! I had been lying in bed awake since 1AM, for three hours, my husband next to me, deep asleep. But now the wind was pushing violently against our windows, and I woke him up. I did not want to be experiencing this alone. We pulled the slider open and stepped out onto our bedroom deck, surveying western Sonoma County. Every thirty seconds another jagged bolt of lightning flashed somewhere on the horizon. In forty years of living in California we’d ever seen anything like this.

If you engage in some positive distracting activities during this crisis, then the flow of the day will move like a steady stream rather than a slow drip.

Time might seem to go by slowly and you only measure your day by the time between newscasts.

Do not just stay glued to the tv related to the pandemic.

Look up a new recipe and try to cook it. Get creative with what you have in the pantry.

Let’s first acknowledge that going back-to-school is harder this year. As you write lesson plans, you’re trying to figure out how to execute them online. As you set up your classroom, you’re dodging the new partitions that have been installed. As you meet with your staff about the upcoming year, you struggle to regain a connection with them over Zoom or WebEx. You’re sitting through professional development that’s more about proper hygiene and about using personal protective equipment than curriculum development and teaching strategies.

My client Tom had been working from home since the pandemic hit in March, but now his boss had set a date for returning to the office, in only three weeks. Tom felt anxious about prolonged exposure to his co-workers, as his partner had an underlying health condition. He was stuck on what to do. Should he negotiate to continue working from home, or comply with his boss’s request to go back to the office? One choice could put his job at risk, the other his partner’s health.

Many parents around the country are being faced with deciding whether or not to have their children return to school — whether it be part-time or full-time — for the upcoming school year. For parents who suffer from significant anxiety, this can be a very difficult decision. The last thing any parent wants is to make a decision that won’t be in their child’s best interest, or that causes the child to be exposed to the coronavirus. 

As a parent, how can you deal with the anxiety that this situation creates? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly and abruptly changed human life in unexpected ways. In the last few months, since the COVID-19 stay at home restrictions came into place, millions of people have been working from home and practicing social distancing. As the lockdown restrictions are getting lifted or eased in various places, most people are experiencing some degree of re-entry anxiety, as they contemplate or attempt to navigate some degree of resumption of required pre-lockdown activities, such as going to work.

Today I said thank you to the staff at the senior living facility where my 97-year-old grandmother lives.  At the outbreak of COVID-19, she found herself hospitalized with bacterial pneumonia – nothing related to COVID-19.  Just poor timing.  

The illness you fear might not be the illness you have. I recently conducted an online support group for people with all sorts of health fears, from cancer and heart disease to ALS and MS.

Racial and related inequities have immensely traumatized Black and Brown citizens of the United States for centuries. The COVID-19 pandemic and its rates of infection, disease burden, and fatality have unprecedentedly exposed the devastating consequences of racially defined health, mortality, and economic disparities in the US.

Images of the murder of Black Americans, discussions about systemic racism, sirens blaring, crowds protesting, curfews, fires. It’s tough for adults to make sense of the hurt in the world right now, but how do we help our children and teens with it?

Grief is a natural multifaceted reaction to loss.

We all have the capacity to adapt to even the most difficult loss.

Recognize that grief contains love; try to let it in and not push it away. 

COVID brings new potential risk factors, such as physical distancing that can derail healing after loss. 

In the grocery store, you are told to stand back on the red line. You feel ashamed for not seeing it in the first place.

You tell your in-laws you are not comfortable having them visit their grandchildren in person, and you worry that they may never forgive you. 

Someone asks you to stand farther away from them, and you feel embarrassed for making them feel uncomfortable. 

Feeling anxious, worried, and tense? You are not alone! Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects 6.8 million adults (or 3.1% of the population) every year (https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics). When feeling overwhelmed with worries and tension, the first step many people take is to ask their doctors about medication.

It is time to stop dreading anxiety.

Few things motivate escape and avoidance more than the feeling of anxiety, the sense of apprehension and worry that a catastrophic outcome may lie ahead. Sometimes we can name it – tomorrow is the big test, the first online date, a telemedicine check-up by Zoom – other times, we are unsure of the source of our unease. Of course, few words promote anxiety more than coronavirus.

The only thing certain in life is, seemingly, uncertainty. These days, especially, we don’t need to look very far to find uncertainty. We find it when we go to our local grocery store and see faces covered in masks, or when we turn on the news and hear that even our nation’s lead medical professionals don’t have the answers when it comes to stopping the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There is a lot of anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is there concern about getting sick, but financial strain, social isolation and uncertainty of the future are contributing to an increasingly concerned and nervous society. Many people have learned coping strategies to deal with anxiety, such as going to the gym, talking with friends and family, or attending peer support groups. Unfortunately, many of these supports have been eliminated or reduced due to social distancing requirements.

Unfortunately, there’s been no shortage of bad news lately – from COVID-19, to unemployment numbers, to businesses closing their doors. We’re living in unprecedented times, where many of us are stuck in our homes, and possibly fearful of the outside world and all that comes along with it. That certainly seems like an environment that would naturally breed anxiety, especially when it comes to finances.

The coronavirus has disrupted the schedules of Americans in ways not seen since -- well, maybe ever! Some of us have a lot more free time than before, and some have a lot more stress than before. Whichever of the two camps you’re in, mindfulness exercises have much to recommend them right now.

People deal with stress in different ways and while there is no right or wrong way to deal with the stress of a pandemic, I figured it would be helpful to share a few ways that I have found balance during this time.  

Find Acceptance

For all athletes, the outbreak of COVID-19 brought competition to a striking halt. Many who were ramping up their training regimen for an upcoming tournament, or helping their team strengthen their playoff seeding, were heartbroken to hear there were no more games to be played. Some athletes have spoken publicly about their immense feelings of disappointment, sadness, and anger. However, some athletes who describe themselves as being more anxious in nature are reporting that the absence of competition has actually been more of a relief.

In this unprecedented novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many parents are left struggling with navigating a new, uncharted territory of challenges, while trying to grapple with and establish new norms in the household. Given the rapid and drastic changes in daily life that the world has witnessed recently, it is not uncommon for parents to doubt their parenting approach, whether they are doing enough, and/or wonder about what else could they be doing. Many parents are understandably feeling overwhelmed.

Why Can’t I Stop Watching the News?

We are living with unprecedented levels of uncertainty right now. How long will the current restrictions last? When we will be able to see friends and family again? Will the economy recover? How do we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe? 

Telling oneself not to be anxious during the COVID-19 pandemic is like trying to tell water not to be wet. These are anxious times. The question is not how can I be anxiety free right now, but how can I best manage the anxiety that shows up?

Life in the time of a pandemic is difficult. Our lives have suddenly and dramatically narrowed while we try to avoid an invisible threat which has been spreading across our planet. And where there is even the whiff of a threat, there is anxiety.

I’ve heard from friends countless times that they have considered therapy, but their lives were just too busy for it. Maybe when they had more time, they’d say.

What better a time than now, when you’re safe at home 24/7, and likely anxious about the world’s current state?

A cancer diagnosis brings a wealth of psychological challenges. In fact, adults living with cancer have a six-time higher risk for psychological disability than those not living with cancer. Patients and families have to deal with not only the physical stress to their lives and potential livelihoods, but also with family dynamics and changes in their sense of self and future.

If you are like most families with young children, these past few weeks have been filled with playing simple games, such as who can run the fastest from one side of the room to the other, or who can accurately recite the alphabet backwards. When my children were young, their favorite game involved my hiding their stuffed animals in the house.

Much of the mental health community is moving to teletherapy.  While some parents and providers have experienced this type of therapy before, for many it’s brand new! Here are 10 teletherapy tips to help kids and teens get the most out of their teletherapy sessions: 

1.    Find a space. 

You know that anxious feeling when you’re not sure what others think of you, leaving you with a sneaking suspicion that you’re making a fool of yourself? It’s called social anxiety. And while everyone has some social anxiety, for many, high social anxiety gets in the way of meaningful social connections and quality of life. 

Experts suggest that the surge of COVID-19 patients is still coming for many hospitals in the United States and throughout the world. Health care workers on the frontline are waiting for a wave, a wave of unknown height and unknown force to hit the hospitals. In some areas that wave has already begun. Faced with harrowing tales from Italy and China, hospitals count supplies, teams shift staffing schedules, and providers fear the worst.

Yesterday I received an email from a former client with the subject line HELP!! Six months ago, Angie came to me with contamination OCD. Obsessed with germs, Angie washed her hands and used hand sanitizer compulsively, avoiding touching everything from the door handles to the magazines and armrests in the waiting room of my office. (Just like we all are now.) Working together, using incrementally progressive exposure response prevention, Angie’s obsessions and compulsions faded, and satisfied, she ended therapy.

As many in the United States (US) stay home and practice social distancing to protect themselves from COVID-19, individuals from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds face heightened barriers and risks.

Major crises raise people’s concern for personal safety and heighten anxiety. One effect of this heightened anxiety is that it can intensify bias and discrimination as we start focusing our attention on our own well-being. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis many individuals with disabilities and those managing medical conditions who face additional hurdles due to the alterations and disruptions to their lives have been reporting a lack of sensitivity towards their needs.

What if you have the kind of anxiety that makes you feel trapped and panicky because of the stay at home orders due to COVID-19?  While there are some whose anxiety disorder might find it a relief to have to stay at home and engage in social distancing, there are many for whom this situation creates a special nightmare.  This nightmare occurs for several understandable reasons.  First, many people with panic disorder feel safer when they know they have easy access to emotional support and physical safety.

Coronavirus has turned our world upside down. Many businesses that typically require being present in person are shut down and unable to operate. Everyone is aware that in most places across the country right now, you can't do things like eat out at a restaurant or go to a nonessential doctor's appointment. 

Hoarding behaviors range from the normal (i.e., acquiring and saving items we do not need and/or will not use) to the clinically diagnosable (i.e., having areas of your home that are not usable due to clutter). Most of us fall somewhere on this continuum. In times of crisis, humans and other animals can have an increased drive toward hoarding behaviors.  However, these efforts to secure material resources can be problematic to the individual and our community.

Parents can't be constant companions, teachers or saints at this time. You can be enough.

  • It’s not possible to be a really good parent now - aim for good enough for you and your kids.

  • Do what you can - be calm as much as you can - and apologize when you can’t.

Kids will remember this as a boring time but kids love time with their parents. They will remember the extra time spent with parents - even your teens.

Each of us is facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that impact our ability to respond effectively. Some of us are facing severe financial costs, heightened risk due to age or physical conditions, experiences of racism and other forms of discrimination, systemic inequities and injustices that make every adjustment more challenging and threatening, psychological challenges that heighten the impact of anxiety and isolation, jobs that require them to put themselves at risk, or the challenges of caring for ourselves and others alongside other demands.

Major crises raise people’s concern for personal safety and heighten anxiety. One effect of this heightened anxiety is that it can intensify bias and discrimination as we start focusing our attention on our own well-being.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a term that is commonly used these days. What really is mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves bringing awareness to the present moment, through non-judgmental noticing and observing, with the goal of being fully present in the current moment. 

Benefits of Mindfulness

I’m a specialist in the treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders. OCD is a debilitating mental health disorder whereby patients experience unwelcome, intrusive, disturbing thoughts (obsessions) that create anxiety.

Since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, many of us, even those who have not been infected by the virus, will choose to quarantine in our homes for the upcoming weeks. Capsized travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over scarce re-sources and information overload could be a recipe for unchecked anxiety and feelings of isolation. Here are a few pointers that could help you survive spiraling negative thoughts about this uncertain time.

1.) Reframe “I am stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on my home and myself”

Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are bound to be heightened with wide-scale disease outbreaks that are contagious, particularly when they involve a new, previously unknown disease-causing agent, as is the case with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This fear and anxiety can especially affect people already suffering from anxiety, and repeated news cycles about the spread of coronavirus do not help this anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often wears down children and parents.  Prior to beginning treatment, parents often state that they can no longer understand or recognize their child.  They see their child as being rigid, stuck, and exhausting.  They do not know how to respond to the grip OCD has on their child. 

Family #1: Rachel avoids wearing clothes that make her feel itchy or uncomfortable.  As a result, she insists on wearing the same outfit to school and at home. Rachel’s parents feel forced to wash her clothes daily to avoid conflict.

The onset of OCD typically occurs during adolescence, with 25% of cases starting by age 14. Because teens typically live at home, accommodations by family members are common. Accommodations occur when others attempt to aid sufferers by assisting in rituals.

Checking my email last night, I noticed that “coronavirus” appeared in the subject line of about 70% of the messages. It makes sense that the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, and The Washington Post would be featuring stories, but Wired and The Atlantic and other newsletters have all caught COVID-19 fever. The media are turning this into a payday. I don’t begrudge them that. Panic sells. It’s good business.

Are you feeling sad or lonely this Valentine’s Day? We don’t usually associate Valentine’s Day with depression, but if you’ve recently gone through a breakup or if you’re dealing with persistent disappointment in your love life, Valentine’s Day can be a depressing affair.

Emotions Related to Loss

Many different emotions can arise when a romantic relationship ends, including sadness and depression.

Most of us started out playing sports for fun. Practices and games were a chance to meet up with friends (old and new), to get away from our work-a-day lives, and take on an athletic challenge that got our hearts pumping and our endorphins firing.  

For many competitors, however, there’s a point at which the fun-dial gets turned down, and the pressure to perform makes our heads spin, our hands sweat, and we start fearing mistakes rather than embracing opportunities to improve.   

Did you know the inability to experience your emotions causes anxious sensations? But that does not mean it's part of an anxiety condition. 

One of my favorite concepts to challenge in session is the idea of "My Anxiety." It's often a term people will use when they are struggling with both an anxiety condition and emotional regulation. People suffering from an anxiety condition will often begin labeling uncomfortable emotions as an anxious state or part of an anxiety condition- like generalized anxiety, OCD, or panic disorder. 

What is OCD? OCD is composed of two components: obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images. The thoughts, impulses, or images are not excessive worries about real-life problems. Individuals attempt to ignore, suppress, or neutralize such thoughts, impulses, or images. Typically, individuals recognize the thoughts, impulses, or images that are merely products of his/her own mind. For example, an individual might have a fear of being contaminated, losing control, or might focus on an idea excessively. 

It’s easy to feel unsettled when we hear unsettling news on television or social media, particularly when several events happen at once. The combination of Kobe Bryant’s death, the fires in Australia, and the spread of the Corona virus, can trigger an escalation of anxiety or depression for those already in a fragile state. It’s normal to experience an emotional reaction to events such as these but we don’t want them to overwhelm us.  We can prevent stories in the media from hitting us hard emotionally by taking four simple steps. 

ADAA member Dave Carbonell, PhD wrote this blog post to accompany his new ADAA webinar. 

“The harder I try, the worst it gets!”

Sometimes parents who seek consultation with me about their child’s worries or fears are surprised to learn that the child has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

“But she doesn’t wash her hands all the time…”

Or they do not realize that certain symptoms are part of OCD.

“He had bad thoughts that bothered him. He used to tell us about all the time. To get away from that, he developed OCD and started worrying about germs.”

Let’s face it.  The holidays can be stressful for anyone with all of the expectations for joy, gift giving and getting together with family, friends and co-workers.  When you are prone to worry, social anxiety or depression, however, the pressure can feel doubled because you feel out of sync with all the expectations that apply pressure to your vulnerable spots.  Here is some advice that could help you to feel better prepared to avoid the pitfalls of the holiday pressure to be something that you are not.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 alone, there were an estimated 7,277,000 police reported traffic accidents in the United States. Most of the time, the initial concern has to do with any physical injuries for the people involved and getting help immediately. After the accident, when that initial shock has subsided, many fail to recognize how these accidents effect their emotional and mental health. 

In the past few weeks, two people have contacted me seeking help for “real-Iife OCD.” I had never heard the term before, which is surprising because I am an OCD specialist. I spend roughly 75-80% of my clinical hours working with people who have OCD. I teach a course on OCD to psychiatry residents. I attend anxiety and OCD conferences every year and keep up with the latest research and treatment. So why didn’t I know about this disorder?

We all have that one feature on our face or bodies that we don’t like. Maybe your nose tip is a millimeter longer than you would prefer? Perhaps you feel that your cheekbones can be more pronounced? No matter the issue, body insecurity is common among us all. The most prominent evidence of this can be found in the media. 

Death by suicide is a major public health problem that profoundly impacts families in a way few other things do. Every year, many people at risk of suicide seek and get help, potentially saving themselves and their loved ones untold grief. The good news is that death by suicide can often be prevented through early screening and obtaining effective treatment. We as a society are recognizing the critical need for these services. As awareness of this health condition increases, more and more lives will be saved.

When a baby arrives, gifts are most often given to the new little bundle of joy rather than to the new parents.  Parents might find their homes heaped with adorable onesies, brightly colored chew toys, and board book editions of childhood favorites. What do new parents need?  I suggest some wisdom of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) from a book, a supportive friend, a group for new parents, or maybe even some sessions with a skilled therapist.

Why is CBT such a natural intervention for new moms?  

View the ADAA Live Webinar with ADAA members Drs. Kissen and Greene - What Are Intrusive Thoughts and How Can You Deal with Them?

If you suffer from anxiety, you probably have a contentious and complicated relationship with your mind. It feels like your mind tortures you. It gives you all these thoughts about what you should be scared of and horrible things that could happen to you.  

The “unknown” is anxiety provoking for just about everyone. So how will this upcoming school year be for our teens? We don't know, and neither do they. Rightfully so, this time of year can generate lots of emotions; feelings of happiness for new school supplies, reuniting with friends and some new back to school clothes, but it can also bring up feelings of fear. The dreadful feelings associated with summer ending, the fear of new classes, new teachers and being in a new grade can all make those feelings of uncertainty and discomfort increase.

There is no doubt that coping with chronic neurological illnesses can be very distressing. What is however not frequently recognized is the fact that the distress is often a full-fledged co-morbid (co-existing) psychiatric condition that is present alongside the neurological condition. Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Stroke, Epilepsy and Myasthenia Gravis (MG) are some of the neurological disorders that have been identified as having psychiatric co-morbidity.

If you have made the wise decision that it is time to get help, first of all: good for you. Treatment for anxiety disorders requires a significant investment of time, energy, and effort. If you are going to invest so much, there are a few key things you can do to maximize your chances that your recovery from your anxiety disorder will be successful.

One of the more difficult symptoms of OCD that my patients deal with is the presence of mental compulsions.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a natural compound that has gained popularity in recent years. Here are some frequently asked questions about CBD answered by two mental health professionals who are working in this area:

1. What exactly is CBD? Is it the same as Cannabis? Hemp? Marijuana plant?

Families often ask themselves what to look for to know if their child or teen is struggling with anxiety, depression or OCD. And other families are often beating themselves up for not noticing or missing what their children are experiencing.

Discussing mental health is difficult for everyone, especially for those who experience their own mental health challenges. Our society has made this a taboo topic, which only exacerbates the issue. As we all know, when mental health is not talked about, the stigma continues, leaving people who are suffering alone and in silence. Here are some quick tips on how to stay informed for yourself and the people in your life to keep the conversation going and help end the stigma.

Educate yourself.

Living with chronic illness can sometimes feel like an insurmountable challenge. It can be demoralizing, scary, isolating, and frustrating. But there is hope. Read on to learn several helpful strategies to cope with chronic illness.

The loss of a loved one to suicide is a far too common tragedy. In 2017 alone, 47,173 people in the United States died by suicide [1] and it is estimated that an average of 135 people are exposed to each suicide death [2]. These suicide survivors include immediate and extended family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and any others who were close to the deceased. Following a suicide loss, survivors may experience profound distress and emotional pain as well as feelings of stigma, guilt, and shame [3].

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Drs. Debra Kissen and Kevin Chapman hosted a Twitter chat under the title #MythBusters where they debunked common myths surrounding anxiety and provided the actual corresponding facts.

M1: Taking some deep breaths or breathing into a brown paper bag will help you when you feel anxious.

Culture affects the way we express our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. It is therefore not surprising that there are cultural differences in the way anxiety and depression is manifested and treated. One of the main differences seen across cultures is the way anxiety and depression is expressed.  Someone from a culture where it is common to know psychological terms, could easily describe anxiety and depression using those specific words.  In other cultures, other words might be more common.  For example, being nervous (nervios) is frequently used by Latinos to express anxiety.

College is an exciting time for many young adults. It’s a time of newfound freedom, opportunity to expand one’s social network, develop new friendships, engage intellectually and consider one’s future career paths. However, it can be a challenging and stressful time for many. For many, it is the first time they are not living at home where there is a built-in support network. First time college students also have to learn to navigate a cadre of new demands, set their own schedules, find effective routines, and balance a variety of demands in order to succeed.

Imagine one morning you wake up to a loud sound of explosion, and in disbelief find out the whole city is in chaos. There is no electricity, no tap water, grocery stores are closed indefinitely, and there is no gas for the car. Control of your neighborhood constantly transitions between different groups who may treat you differently based on your religion or ethnicity, and yourself and your family are under constant threat of torture, and injuries, or even loss of life. This is what happened in Syria.

Friends and family are great at being the go-to support for the occasional ups and downs we experience in our day-to-day lives. Venting to them can feel uplifting, but in order to learn tools to overcome life’s challenges feel and feel empowered in the long run, seeking professional help may be the best route. However, sometimes there is a barrier. The most common being the costs that seems to get in between people wanting to create change but not having the funds to do so.

You’re getting ready for a peaceful night sleep when you see something moving on the floor next to your bed. A spider! You yell for your braver-half to kill it. Your hero jumps into act