Mental Health Library

Welcome to Psych Central's mental health library. This is our primary repository for all of our articles on mental health, relationships, parenting, children, human behavior and psychology.

We also have an extensive collection of mental health and psychology book reviews.


Meeting Your Needs Is the Key to Happiness

The key to happiness is meeting our needs. Although codependents are very good at meeting needs of other people, many are clueless about their own needs. They have problems identifying, expressing, and fulfilling their needs and wants. They may be very attuned...

Relationships & Love

How to Succeed at Influencing People in Difficult Conversations

The current political climate has made talking to one another easily polarizing and adversarial. Common approaches to emotionally charged conversations often unwittingly invite reactive rigid responses, control struggles, and resistance to new information -- reinforcing the beliefs we hoped to challenge. Whether...


Factors Linked to Psychological Distress

Psychological distress, a widely-used indicator of the mental health of a population, nevertheless remains vaguely understood. In numerous studies, psychological distress is “largely” defined as “a state of emotional suffering characterized by symptoms of depression and anxiety.” But how do you know if what you’re experiencing is psychological distress or a diagnosable psychological disorder, such as anxiety or depression? If you’ve had a bad day, does that mean you’re suffering psychological distress? If you lose your job and feel anxious and short-tempered, is...


A Pep Talk for People Pleasers for Setting Boundaries

Saying no to someone makes you very uncomfortable. So you don’t.

You’re always available to everyone. In fact, you tend to put others’ needs above your own. Without hesitation.

You rarely express a differing opinion (even when you clearly disagree).

You apologize. A lot.

You hate when...


The Connection Between Physical and Mental Health

Many of us seriously underrate how strongly our body affects our state-of-mind. We don’t realize how strongly poor diet, lack of sleep, and too little exercise can affect our emotional and mental health.

Better Nutrition Can Alleviate Depression and Anxiety

Over the...


Do Men and Women Experience Bipolar Disorder Differently?

Bipolar disorder affects men and women in equal numbers, and the symptoms are essentially identical. But some key differences do exist—differences that might be due to biological factors, and social ones, too.

For starters, research has consistently shown that women have higher rates of bipolar...


How to Be a Supportive Listener by Asking One Important Question

Humans are hard wired for compassion and caring. We need each other to survive and thrive. According to University of California, Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, our brains are hardwired to feel compassion. “We’re wired to care. If you feel pain, a part of your brain lights up, and if you see someone have physical pain that same part of your brain lights up,” he says.

Mirror neurons play a part as well....


Anger, the Misunderstood Emotion

Looking at a range of issues facing society these days, including family conflicts, bullying, domestic violence, road rage, and online behavior. Anger can be seen to be a central component of much dysfunction. While anger is a normal emotion, its nature tends...


8 Ways to Work Smarter (Not Harder)

We often hear the phrase "work smarter, not harder,” but what does this phrase actually mean? What does it look like to take a smart approach to everything you do at the office—and outside it.

According to Melissa Gratias, a workplace productivity coach and speaker, people who work “hard,” put in extra hours, check their email on nights and weekends, and maintain a rapid pace even when they’re tired. “They are motivated, well-intentioned people who want to do a good job.”

However, people...


Narcissists and Abusers Use This to Target Empaths

Projection is a defense mechanism commonly used by abusers, including people with narcissistic or borderline personality disorder and addicts. Basically, they say, “It’s not me, it’s you!”

When we project, we’re defending ourselves against unconscious impulses or traits, either positive or negative, that we’ve denied...


What Psychotic Episodes Really Look and Feel Like

When we hear someone is psychotic, we automatically think of psychopaths and cold-blooded criminals. We automatically think “Oh wow, they’re really crazy!” And we automatically think of plenty of other myths and misconceptions that only further the stigma surrounding psychosis.

In other words, the reality...