5 Simple Steps to Reduce Stigma About Mental Illness

If you tune into any conversation about mental illness and addiction, it won’t be very long until the term “stigma” comes up. Stigma has various definitions, but they all refer to negative attitudes, beliefs, descriptions, language or behavior. In other words, stigma can translate into disrespectful, unfair, or discriminatory patterns in how we think, feel, … Read more…

9 Benefits of Support Groups

It seems like there are support groups for just about any topic, concern, or health condition. Common types of mental health issues addressed in groups include alcohol and drug addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, grief, borderline personality and eating disorders. While some groups may have professionals as leaders, many will be led by peers, who … Read more…

“What Do You Know About NAMI?”

There are many wonderful mental health organizations doing great work all around the world. So, when you single one out for praise, you run the risk of ticking off all the others. I’ll take that risk, because I want to recognize the many fine efforts of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org). NAMI … Read more…

“Know the Five Signs” to Change Direction for Mental Health

US First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced the launch of the new “Campaign to Change Direction” (www.changedirection.org), backed by a host of non-profit organizations, mental health leaders and corporate sponsors. The campaign’s goals are to see mental health as having equal value to physical health, to recognize the signs of emotional suffering, and to encourage … Read more…

Why ‘Engagement’ is Better Than ‘Compliance’

People who are living with mental illness or addiction often have difficulty following through with the recommendations suggested by their health care professionals. A frequent example is not taking medications as prescribed, which can mean missing doses or discontinuing the medicine altogether. Other typical scenarios include not keeping follow-up appointments, not completing homework assigned in … Read more…

Suicide Is Something We Can Definitely Live Without

This is ultimately a tale of heroes and life winning out over death. But first we must acknowledge some clear and painful truths. The tragic epidemic Suicide is a global public health issue and a personal tragedy affecting untold numbers of individuals and families. In case you didn’t know, suicide claimed the lives of over … Read more…

a little conversation about recovery

Let’s talk a little about recovery from mental illness and addiction. Ok, sounds good. Once upon a time, we didn’t think people with mental illness could get better. They were just that “odd” relative or they lived in an institution. Now we know better. People with mental illness can recover! Really? What exactly is recovery? … Read more…

How We Think About Mental Illness – Time for Plan B

Depending on who you talk to, there are dramatically different views of mental illness. One scenario which captures the unpleasant reality many have experienced looks something like this: Plan A – Many people with a mental illness: Have never been diagnosed Have received a diagnosis but have a lack of insight or deny it Are afraid … Read more…

100 Days on Twitter: A Psychologist’s Take on the Benefits of Social Media

I’ve been active on Facebook for about 7 years. I love keeping up with friends and family, sharing pictures and updates, playing games, and all that stuff. A few years ago, I found LinkedIn and I’ve enjoyed networking to find connections with common professional interests. But I never got into Twitter. Sure, I had signed up … Read more…

9 Strategies to Manage a Personal Setback

In several previous posts, we talked about setting personal recovery goals, developing a successful plan, and putting your plan into action. Sometimes this process will go quite smoothly, but more often than not you will encounter significant challenges or obstacles along the way. Here’s a great example from American history: In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and … Read more…

How to Put Your Personal Recovery Plan into Action

In two previous posts, we discussed “How to Set Achievable Personal Recovery Goals” and “How to Develop a Successful Personal Recovery Plan.”  Please review these if you haven’t already as they form the foundation for this post. I’ll give a very brief summary here: Identify one or more specific personal recovery goals that are important … Read more…

How to Develop a Successful Personal Recovery Plan

I’ve been fortunate to be able to help a number of people in recovery develop plans to begin to achieve their personal goals. Careful preparation and planning is a critical step, for as artist Pablo Picasso said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which … Read more…

How to Set Achievable Personal Recovery Goals

When I help people who are in recovery from mental illness and addiction, one thing we often discuss is setting goals. Usually, personal goals have gotten off track or have gone by the wayside completely as a result of stress, illness, or other challenges. People often feel adrift and without clear direction in their life. As Robert … Read more…

10 Steps to Better Health Through Improved ‘Health Literacy’

Toni Cordell recounts the story of feeling comforted when told by her doctor that her medical concern could be solved with an easy surgery. She agreed to proceed without asking further questions and didn’t understand the medical consent forms because she didn’t read well.  At a follow-up office visit a couple of weeks after the … Read more…

6 New Programs to Learn More About Mental Health Recovery

Comprehensive recovery training programs now available through SAMHSA “Recovery to Practice” project The concept of “recovery” as applied to mental illness and addiction is widely accepted by both mental health professionals and by people who have experienced these issues first-hand. Recovery has been endorsed by both the US Surgeon General (1999) and the President’s New … Read more…

Why You Need a Little “TLC” for Better Mental Health

Exercise regularly. Relax. Eat healthy foods. Reduce stress. We’ve heard these recommendations over and over again. They are all widely recognized as being good for your physical health. But did you know these and several other simple but important behavior changes can also be vital for maintaining and improving your mental health? Psychologist Roger Walsh (University … Read more…

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