World of Psychology

Criminal Justice

Targeting Those with Mental Illness Will Not Prevent Mass Shootings

So now, according to the Washington Post, the Trump Administration is “...considering a controversial proposal to study whether mass shootings could be prevented by monitoring mentally ill people for small changes that might foretell violence.”1 As a psychiatrist, I keep wondering how many times the White House will scapegoat those with psychiatric illnesses rather than looking at the scientific data on mass shooters. To understand the problem, consider the case of “Tyler” (a composite of many mass shooter profiles).
Mental Health and Wellness

The 3 Pillars of Mental Health  

In recent years, researchers have emphasized that mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to a person’s overall wellbeing. Our mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional and social well-being and this can impact how we think, feel and behave every day. Mental health strengthens our ability to have healthy relationships, maintain our physical health, make good decisions and reach our fullest potential. Understanding the foundations to good mental health will help you feel happier and more fulfilled in your life. A formula to achieving positive mental health is recognizing the three pillars of mental health which are mental flexibility, mindfulness, and resilience
Grief and Loss

The Resiliency of Survivors of Suicide Loss

Being a survivor of suicide loss is a unique kind of grief. In the realm of mental health stigma, suicide is about as nightmare as you can get. 

A survivor of suicide loss endures many days of bewilderment. While the momentum of episodic depression, anxiety, and substance abuse that often precedes suicide comes to a screeching halt for your loved one in their death, the hurricane force winds rage on for the survivor, now compounded with even more pain, confusion, and grief, as you process the sudden loss of your loved one.
Children and Teens

How Youth Sports Can Help Shield Every Kid—for Life

A National Youth Sports Strategy to increase physical activity among America’s kids is slated to come out of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this month—and it can’t come too soon.

The reasons that our kids should participate in sports are many—from boosting cardiovascular health, to  helping them develop self-control, to the positive impact that exercise has on academic performance. 

But today, the most pressing reason to encourage sports participation among our youth is their mental health.

Our kids are struggling—and the data isn’t looking good.

Do Our Neighbors Matter to Us Anymore?

When I was growing up in my small town of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, neighbors were part of my everyday life. During the summers, the first thing I’d do everyday was head outside to see who was around, then spend the rest of the day playing with the other neighborhood kids. 

That was back in the 1960s and late 50s. It wasn’t just the kids who were friendly with the neighbors back then. The house where I lived had a patio and many evenings, after dinner, grownups from the neighborhood would gather there to chat and relax. 

Getting Off the Emotional Carousel

We all have strong emotions from time to time. We have all had that experience of feeling "emotionally hijacked" in which we feel powerless against the influence our emotions have on our behavior, mood, and general perspective. Strong emotions can prompt powerful thoughts, and sometimes, repetitive thoughts. If we are struggling with a persistent emotion, it can be difficult to put the feeling down or let it go. We carry the worry with us day and night. 

But if we can remove ourselves from the subjective experience of any given emotion, we might be able to size up its impact on our lives a little more realistically. What is it that really drives our emotions, anyway? How much power do they really hold over our lives and our decisions?

How to Empower Yourself When You Feel Powerless and Helpless

Lately, you’ve been feeling powerless and helpless. Maybe you’ve experienced a devastating loss. Maybe you’re going through a difficult situation, and you feel stuck. Maybe there’s always been an undercurrent of I just can’t do this. I can’t change my circumstances. This is just how it is (and maybe always will be).

Thankfully, just because you feel powerless and helpless doesn’t mean you actually are. This happens because when we get scared, we get tunnel vision, said New York City psychologist Lauren Appio, Ph.D. And it becomes “hard for us to take a step back and review our options because in this state of mind, we don’t feel we have any.”

Or, if we start considering options, we zero in on the potential threats, she said. We fear we’ll make the wrong decision, and feel deep regret.