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Psychology Around the Net: September 21, 2019

This week’s Psychology Around the Net looks at the successes and failures of New York City’s mental health first aid program ThriveNYC, whether or not eco-anxiety should be classified as a mental illness, the problems with controlling partner therapy veterans, and more.

Chirlane McCray’s ThriveNYC Fell Short of Mental Health Goals: Mayor’s Report: The mayor’s annual performance review of city agencies was just released and it highlights ThriveNYC’s shortcomings. ThriveNYC, the $1 billion “mental health first aid” program spearheaded by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray, included eight-hour seminars to teach people how to identify and help others with mental illness. ThriveNYC didn’t reach target numbers for the seminars or for homeless teens who were supposed to receive mental health support at city-funded residential centers, and several other programs lacked goals. Additionally, ThriveNYC has been in the news for cancelling a mental health training on Staten Island because of a dispute with pro-cop organizers, as well as city personnel reporting difficulty reaching program staffers to schedule seminars.

Is This Typical Teenage Behavior or a Warning Sign of Mental Illness? It’s common for teens to exhibit wild mood swings and behavior changes, but sometimes a huge personality shift can indicate a mental health issue. Healthline breaks down several factors (such as sleep, grades, alcohol experimentation, moodiness, and lying) to help parents of teens understand what’s usually within the range of normal teenage behavior and what’s potentially concerning behavior.

I’m a Therapist: Here’s What Annoys Me…: Psychotherapist Nathan Feiles gets real about controlling partner therapy veterans: who are they, what are they, and why are they so freaking annoying.

Should ‘Eco-Anxiety’ Be Classified as a Mental Illness? The Clinate Psychology Alliance (CPA) says it has seen children treated with psychiatric medication of “eco-anxiety,” what the American Psychological Association describes as “a chronic fear of environmental doom” but is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and is campaigning for the condition to be diagnosed as a psychological phenomenon.

Why Anger Matters and What to Do About It: We often frown on anger, but it’s actually a pretty important emotion. Anger is a response to a problem or something you perceive as a problem; it alerts us that something isn’t cool and it pushes us to take necessary action.

Virtual Assistants With Personality Can Help With Mental Illness: Could more “natural” automated virtual assistants help people struggling with mental health issues? Maybe. SMERTI (pronounced like “smarty”) is a new method that enables virtual assistants to use natural language and emotional cues to help them better connect with and help people with mental illness. Says Steven Feng, an undergraduate student in Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science: “There is an increasing number of people who require mental health therapy, but there are not enough therapists to deal with these cases. Being able to automate some aspects of treatment will be beneficial as it would reduce wait time and make the process more affordable. But the emotional aspects of mental health are a major challenge for virtual assistants.”

Psychology Around the Net: September 21, 2019

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2019). Psychology Around the Net: September 21, 2019. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 18 Sep 2019 (Originally: 21 Sep 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 18 Sep 2019
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