The Incredible Power of Peer Support

If you’re at all familiar with issues surrounding mental health and/or addiction, you’ve probably heard of the idea of peer support. But what is peer support and how do you become a peer supporter? Let’s cover these and a few other important points about this very effective and helpful approach. What are the origins of peer … Read more…

“Stories of Hope” – Behind the Scenes

Perhaps you’re already familiar with my “Stories of Hope” series, in which I interview people who have dealt with mental health challenges and who share the lessons they have learned through their journey. I’ve completed and published several Stories of Hope interviews; you can click here to see and read them all. I think you’ll … Read more…

Do You Have a Healthy Lifestyle?

What constitutes a healthy lifestyle? Perhaps even more importantly, is your lifestyle healthy? Also, how are healthy lifestyle factors associated with health markers such as cholesterol level, blood sugar, and blood pressure? In a study of 4,745 US adults recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers assessed for the presence or absence of four “healthy lifestyle” … Read more…

Musings of a Mental Health Hero

Stories of Hope: An Interview with Christina Huff This is part of a series featuring individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Recently, I asked mental health advocate Christina Huff about her history of mental health challenges and about some of her current advocacy work. Here’s our interview: DS: How did your mental health concerns develop? What … Read more…

Top 20 US Mental Health Organizations (Part 2)

In a recent post, I listed the first 10 of my personal list of 20 top US-based mental health organizations. Now, let’s go over the other 10 organizations comprising the rest of the list. As I mentioned before, my informal criteria for including an organization on the list are: a) being well-established and credible; b) having … Read more…

Top 20 US Mental Health Organizations (Part 1)

It’s always a risky venture to do a “top 10” list. You invariably leave out some really worthy and wonderful entries, which may create some hurt feelings among the groups who weren’t included. Nevertheless, I’ll take that risk and offer not just 10, but 20 of the top mental health organizations based in the United States, in … Read more…

How to Evaluate Online Health Information

It’s well known that most people go online to find health information. In fact, 80% of Internet users have searched for health information online. However, there’s great variability in the quality and reliability of online health information. While some is from top-notch health care organizations, other information can be misleading and even harmful. How can … Read more…

10 Healthy Benefits from Your Next Vacation

Are you ready for a break, a holiday, a sabbatical, or a vacation? Whatever you like to call it, I know I sure need one. As I write this, I’m getting ready to head out for a much-needed family vacation. It’s interesting to look at the comparison between the amount of vacation typically offered in the US … Read more…

Psychotherapy Works!

Chances are good either you or someone you know has participated in psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, you and a trained mental health professional work together to help you reduce distress, feel better and work toward achieving your personal goals. But how well does psychotherapy work? I still run into folks who question whether psychotherapy is really … Read more…

7 Myths about Physical Restraints in Psychiatric Facilities

We’ve probably all seen movies such as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (starring Jack Nicholson), where an individual with a mental illness is placed in a straitjacket in a psychiatric hospital due to being aggressive or out of control. These images are often disturbing and hard to forget. Further, they perpetuate the myth that … Read more…

How to Identify Your Personal Strengths

Much has been written about the importance of finding and developing personal strengths as a vital part of the overall process of recovery when dealing with mental health or substance use issues. This is in contrast to an illness-based approach which has typically focused first on cataloging symptoms and problems associated with a person’s illness. … Read more…

How to Help People with Challenging Behaviors

I’ve often been asked to address how to deal with a person with a mental illness or a substance abuse issue who is very symptomatic and who may be displaying unusual, disruptive or challenging behaviors. This is an important topic to address because the situation can be very uncomfortable and the person’s behavior may be … Read more…

Mental Health Awareness Q & A

Recently, I was asked to be interviewed by Melanie Luxenberg, a mental health advocate and writer, who blogs for the International Bipolar Foundation. In recognition of Mental Health Week in Canada and Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, Melanie asked me to respond to several questions about mental health, stigma and support for people … Read more…

11 Effective Ways to Recruit New Members for Your Cause

Are you involved with a great club, group, charity or organization you really feel passionate about? Would you like to recruit additional new members or supporters? This may sound easy on the surface, but it can be quite a challenge. The past decade has seen steady and significant decreases in various types of group membership, … Read more…

It’s Time to Raise Awareness about Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a great time to get involved in promoting greater understanding of mental health issues and helping those who are dealing with a mental illness. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, encourages individuals and organizations to take the “stigmafree pledge.” It has three parts: Learn about mental health—educate … Read more…

10 Easy Ways to Root for the “Mental Health Team”

As I was watching our state championship high school basketball game, I couldn’t help but notice how enthusiastic and organized the supporters for each team were. I’ve seen this happen time and time again over the years in all different types of sports venues. So I thought, “Why can’t we show this same level of … Read more…

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