Children and Teens

Teen Depression and Suicide: The Tough Lessons I Learned

There are important warning signs -- knowing them could save someone close to you.

It started out like any other Friday Fall morning. The foliage was slowly turning to stunning yellows, reds and oranges. Workers and students alike were heading off to their respective responsibilities, likely looking forward to the weekend.

And then the devastating and shocking news started to circulate amongst our friends, loved ones and community.

A 15-year-old 10th grader had taken her life.

Continue Reading


Mental Health in America: A Shakespearean Tragedy

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 16 million adults in the United States experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2012. Major Depressive Disorder is defined as “Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks and symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day.”

Along with diagnostic criteria for depression, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V is also notorious for a whole doctrine of pathologies under which the field of psychiatry preaches its creed; a grim gospel for any ardent disciple to follow. Social factors, environmental triggers, and increased stress in modern life all influence mental health, including the onset of depression. With healthcare expenditures approaching $3 trillion, our disorders and diseases are helping to keep the U.S. economy rolling.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Memory Isn’t Important to Recover from Trauma

Memory comprises all the ins and outs of our lives. We go looking into it for everything from survival to simply making a joke. We use memory every day and sometimes it’s hard to separate the things we’ve done or experienced from our very identity.

For us who survived child abuse, memory isn’t our best friend. Memories may be intrusive. We might flashback suddenly and relive the trauma all over again. We can be well on the road to recovery, and these images and all the feelings they evoke may return.
Continue Reading


Psychology Around the Net: November 21, 2015

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we're in the throes of the holiday season here in America; unfortunately, this isn't a happy time for all. However, psychologists have a few tips and tricks to keep your holiday blues in check.

Of course, we've also got the latest on sex and happiness, how a mother's age could affect her daughter's mental health, whether your child's ADHD medication puts him or her at risk for bullying, and more.

Have a happy Saturday!

Continue Reading


ADHD Overdiagnosis? Most Done After Checklists, Neuropsychological Testing

A lot of people have gotten this idea -- myself included -- that a diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is pretty easily obtained. I've been led to believe this by media hype about the "overdiagnosis" of ADHD. Some journalists I've spoken to in the past believed this so insistently, they based their entire story around the premise.

But what if the common wisdom and journalists are wrong?

What if most ADHD diagnoses are made after careful consideration of a child or teenager's actual behaviors, verified through a behavior rating scale or checklist? What if most children who receive an ADHD diagnosis actually go through neuropsychological testing too? What if, before giving an ADHD diagnosis, most parents were also questioned about their child's behavior in different settings too?

Could so many diverse measures and datapoints all be wrong?

Continue Reading


Think Twice Before You Label Events as Good or Bad

There is a Taoist parable about an old farmer who owned one beautiful horse. One day, this beloved horse ran away. His neighbors, upon hearing the news, came over to give their condolences. “We are so sorry,” they said. “How terrible this must be for you.”

He replied with a simple “Maybe.”

A few days later, the lost horse came back with three wild horses. His neighbors rushed to his home. “How wonderful! You are so very fortunate!”

The old farmer just said “Maybe.”
Continue Reading


Healthy and Unhealthy Anger

You know the feeling: that raw emotion that ebbs up when things aren’t going your way. It could be anywhere from a momentary annoyance with another (or with yourself) to uncontrollable rage.

Typically, anger is stirred up by frustration. You’re not getting what you want or deserve. Frustration may stem from healthy, legitimate needs (such as the need to be treated respectfully); from depression, which may be an outward expression of anger (such as realizing that you've taken all the blame but now realize that it’s not all you); or from narcissistic, false entitlement needs (feeling that you should be able to spend as much as you want regardless of your income).

Continue Reading


What I Want You to Know about Mental Illness

Even on my worst days, I feel extremely lucky to have my job. It grants me the opportunity to hear stories and engage with people in the most raw, vulnerable way possible.

I have the privilege of studying, knowing, and working intimately with mental health issues; placing me on the front lines of this issue.

But it is easy to forget that an all-too-real stigma exists within the four walls of a therapy room.
Continue Reading


Mental Health Hygiene Habits

Parents, teachers, and doctors regularly encourage young people to establish good physical hygiene habits. Here are just a few: Bathe daily. Eat healthy meals. Brush your teeth at least once a day. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Clip your toenails before they get too long. These habits become routine after a while.

Most of us probably were not intentionally taught good mental health hygiene habits. These habits also bring consistency to our lives, promote wellness and resilience, and protect us from becoming overwhelmed by mental illness.

Continue Reading


Storytelling Will Save the World

Captain’s log. Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m 26 years old and thinking about dying. Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop, and I don’t know how to do that. Both my father and grandfather didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop, and now both are dead.
Continue Reading