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Family

7 Ways to Better Understand and Be Understood

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.” – Ralph Nichols
Being human, we all have certain basic needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs outlines them quite well and encompasses all that we generally think about when it comes to what we need.

Yet one of our most basic needs, the need to understand and be understood, seldom gets much attention.

It should.

Without the ability to understand what others say or the meaning behind their words, we can miss important cues, lose out on opportunities, fail to see changes in time to appropriately react, and go off in a totally different direction. Worse, if we lack understanding, we’re more prone to selfish acts than helping others.
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Children and Teens

Everything I Was Too Afraid to Be: On Fatherhood and Mental Health

Recently, I had the good fortune to meet a fellow mental health advocate in person. Gabriel Nathan (Gabe – just like me) is the Editor-in-Chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries and a man who lives with depression, anxiety, and obsessive thoughts. We talked about a great many things, but the topic that fascinated me the most is that he is the father of twins.

“How on earth can you manage mental illness AND a child -- let alone two?” was my first thought.

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General

10 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Try Right Now

People often tell Zen teacher Jay Chozen Bays, M.D., that they’d love to practice mindfulness. But they’re too busy. They have too much going on. You probably feel the same way. After all, it’s another activity to add to your already full schedule. It’s another activity to feel guilty about not doing. And who wants that?

Thankfully, you can easily include mindfulness in your life. Yes, it requires a switch in perspective. But you don’t need to be on a meditation cushion for an hour to savor the benefits.

Bays, also a pediatrician, wife, mother and grandmother, understands what it’s like to have a bustling life. She created a wonderful deck of cards, aptly called
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Alzheimer

Psychology Around the Net: May 6, 2017


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month (or, "Mental Health Month"), but of course you knew that, didn't you?

Whether or not you did, Mental Health America (which started Mental Health Month way back in 1949) has provided a ton of information for individuals and organizations to help them promote mental health awareness this month. There's even a handy dandy toolkit you can download.

Go check it out and get busy this month! But before you do, check out this week's Psychology Around the Net which covers political correctness personalities, how Alzheimer's patients' caregivers can take better care of themselves, how maternal smoking does (or doesn't?) affect a child's mental health, and more.

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Bipolar

World Mental Health Day 2015: We Belong Together

I’m a big fan of the singer/pianist Gavin DeGraw. As a writer, I tend toward musicians who write compelling lyrics, and he does that and puts compelling melodies with them.

World Suicide Prevention Day was about a month ago. About a month before that, I spent some time in a psych hospital, trying to recover from a mixed episode. That’s a special piece of bipolar hell where you’re manic (bouncing off the ceiling) and depressed, often suicidal, at the same time. I maxed out two credit cards -- overspending is a hallmark of mania -- and yet told the ER doctor that while driving to the hospital, I kept thinking about opening the door and playing in traffic on Highway 52. Time between checking in at the admissions desk and getting a security escort to a bed on the mood disorders unit? Two and a half hours, shortest ever.

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General

Dignity & Living with a Mental Illness

Dignity is easy to take for granted. It's something we assume will be afforded us when we come in contact with the government, a healthcare system, or even strangers on the street. After all, aren't we all worth of simple respect?

Sadly, dignity is one of those things all too often lacking in mental health care and treatment. From the language some people use to label people ("That schizophrenic I treated the other day...") rather than their behaviors, to how too many doctors and nurses in a hospital turn their noses up at someone with mental health issues.

All human beings are deserving of dignity. Especially when being treated for a mental illness.

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General

Join Us! 5th Annual Mental Health Day Blog Party

Next Saturday, October 10th, we’re celebrating World Mental Health Day. If you’re a blogger (on any topic), we'd like you to join us for our 5th annual blog party.

World Mental Health Day is promoted by the World Health Organization to help raise awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, as well as what the world's governments and health organizations are doing in mental health prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year’s theme is "dignity in mental health," but you’re welcomed to blog on any topic in mental health you’d like.

This year, we’re inviting you to join us for our 5th annual blog party on Saturday, October 10.

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Addiction

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Most people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” -- to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

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Antidepressant

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Reasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way
...
~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

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Disorders

What It’s Like to Live with Schizophrenia


Thirty-one years ago Elyn R. Saks was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her prognosis was grave: she wouldn’t be able to live independently, hold a job or find love.

After her hospitalization at 28 years old, a doctor suggested she work as a cashier. If she could do that, they’d reassess her abilities and possibly consider a full-time job.

Today, Saks is the Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School. She’s a mental health advocate and the author of a powerful memoir, The Center Cannot Hold. And she is happily married to her husband, Will.

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Disorders

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014


Living with any mental illness is never easy. Nowhere is this more true that when a person has to deal with the likes of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder.

Sometimes treatments don't seem to work as effectively as promised. Other times we run into friends or family members just not really knowing how to act around you. It can be overwhelming, challenging, and frustrating -- all in the scope of one day.

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