7 Points of Hope to Reclaim Your Life from Mental Illness

If you or someone you care about has been affected by mental health concerns, trauma, mental illness, or addiction: …you may feel hopeless, overwhelmed, and exhausted. …you may not fully understand what you are going through. …you may think life is unfair or that you are being punished. …you may believe it’s all your fault … Read more…

Take the Advocacy Aptitude Quiz

What do Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill and Melinda Gates, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosalynn Carter all have in common? They are all known for their outstanding advocacy, in the areas of civil rights (King), world hunger and poverty (Gates), women’s rights (Anthony), and mental health (Carter). Although these famous icons have helped bring about … Read more…

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Get Treatment for Mental Illness

It’s probably no big surprise that many people with mental health issues don’t readily seek treatment for their concerns. But how widespread is this pattern? A 2004 report by the World Health Organization reviewed rates of psychiatric treatment usage across 37 research studies. The findings are unbelievable. Between 30 and 80 percent of people with … Read more…

Deciphering Your DSM-5 Diagnosis

If you’ve ever heard the terms “OCD,” “PTSD,” or “ADHD,” you probably know they’re all abbreviations for mental health diagnoses. Respectively, they stand for “obsessive-compulsive disorder,” “post-traumatic stress disorder” and “attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.” No wonder we tend to use the abbreviations since the complete descriptions are quite a mouthful. These diagnostic terms (and over two … Read more…

How Do You Diagnose a Mental Illness?

I’m often asked a lot of questions about how mental illnesses are diagnosed. What’s the diagnostic process? How is a specific diagnosis determined? Are diagnoses helpful or harmful? Let’s try to address some of these frequently asked questions now. How are mental illnesses diagnosed? The word diagnosis is defined in two different ways. It not … Read more…

Ten Commandments for How to Talk About Mental Health

I was giving a lecture to a group of college students and I described how to show respect toward people with mental health concerns by using appropriate language. As one example, I noted it’s better to say “John has schizophrenia” instead of “John is schizophrenic.” I explained how “John has schizophrenia” puts the emphasis on … Read more…

A Dozen Ways You Can Support Someone in Recovery

If you’re a friend or a family member of someone in recovery from mental illness or addiction, a common question you may ask is, “What should I do to support my friend or loved one with their recovery?” You want to be helpful and supportive, but you may feel at a loss as to what … Read more…

Stop Discrimination Toward People with Mental Illness

In a recent post, I discussed “5 Simple Steps to Reduce Stigma About Mental Illness.” In case you missed it, the 5 steps were: 1) Don’t label people who have a mental illness. Use ‘person-first’ language. For example, say “she has schizophrenia” instead of “she’s a schizophrenic.” 2) Don’t be afraid of people with mental … Read more…

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…

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