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Our Mental Health Blogs

Childhood Mental Disorders Are Not Always the Parents’ Fault

Childhood Mental Disorders Are Not Always the Parents’ Fault

Childhood mental disorders are not always the parents’ fault. When I graduated from college, my mother dragged me to see a Christian psychiatrist who she was convinced could fix me. She asked the psychiatrist what caused my borderline personality disorder (BPD). The psychiatrist looked her in the eye and explained that BPD is caused by poor parenting. That is not always the case, and we as a society need to change our attitude that childhood mental disorders and illnesses are somehow the parents’ fault.

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Alcoholism Symptoms Should Not Vary By Culture

Alcoholism Symptoms Should Not Vary By Culture

I recently returned from a trip to Quebec, where I learned alcoholism symptoms should not vary by culture. Sadly, they do. In the United States, having a drink in the morning is called an eye-opener and is one of the CAGE Test symptoms of alcoholism. Even WebMD lists it as a sign of a drinking problem. In Quebec, a brunch cocktail such as a mimosa or a bloody Caesar is normal. I even posted to my Facebook page that I had no clue how Canadians diagnose alcoholism because it seemed like everyone drank like fish. Interestingly enough, the alcoholism rate is higher in the U.S. than it is in Canada–but is that because of culture? There needs to be a clearly defined international standard for alcoholism symptoms–not one that seems to vary according to where you are.

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Caring for Your Mental Health While Traveling

Caring for Your Mental Health While Traveling

I’ve been thinking about caring for your mental health white traveling as I’m writing this on a train, traveling from Montreal to New York City as part of a vacation. While travel within the country is much simpler than travel out of the country, the following vacation tips are good advice for caring for your mental health while traveling.

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Is It Age-Related Behavior or Mental Illness Symptoms?

Is It Age-Related Behavior or Mental Illness Symptoms?

Sometimes we don’t know if a child’s behavior is age-related or a mental illness (Brain Disorders: Mental Disorders vs. Behavioral Disorders). For example, how do you know if your two-year-old is hyperactive or just high-energy? Yet according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, half of all chronic mental health conditions manifest by age 14, and three-fourths by age 24. In this video, I discuss the difference between age-related behavior and mental illness symptoms.

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Using Emergency Rooms as Mental Health Wards Doesn’t Work

Using Emergency Rooms as Mental Health Wards Doesn’t Work

Sometimes the emergency room becomes a mental health ward. Frequently there are no beds available in psychiatric hospitals so the emergency room is the one place a mental health consumer can be kept relatively safe and under supervision. This has happened to me a few times, and it’s such a problem that USA Today mentioned it in an article series.1 But this is ineffective at best and makes things worse at worst. Here is why using emergency rooms as mental health wards doesn’t work.

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Call the Police in a Mental Health Crisis as a Last Resort

Call the Police in a Mental Health Crisis as a Last Resort

We should call the police in a mental health crisis only as a last resort. I spent some time at a psychiatric hospital that used off-duty but uniformed Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies as security. I thought this was a bad idea because many mental health consumers have had bad experiences with the police. Even though I have no criminal record, I have a mild fear of police officers, especially when in crisis, because I’ve seen confrontations end badly (Mental Health Crises and Calling the Police). For example, one night a patient refused to go to his room, and security was summoned. One deputy pulled out his can of pepper spray and yelled, “You want some of this?” That’s one reason why calling the police during a mental health crisis should be a last resort, especially in hospitals.

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Manage Self-Harm Urges with the Calm Harm App

Manage Self-Harm Urges with the Calm Harm App

You may be able to manage self-harm urges with the Calm Harm application, or app. Recently, a counselor shared this app with me. Calm Harm, a British app, is designed to help people of all ages deal with self-harm urges. It mainly does this by inviting the user to “ride the wave”–self-harm, the app says, is like a wave–strongest when you want to do it, and then weaker with time. The app then provides suggestions, a timer, and feedback on how you handle self-injury. It’s an interesting app for anyone, but I cannot recommend it strongly enough for someone who struggles with self-injury. Here is how you can manage self-harm urges using the app.

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How to Handle Toxic Facebook Friends

How to Handle Toxic Facebook Friends

Let’s face it–Facebook attracts some toxic people and you need to know how to handle toxic people on Facebook. Whether they’re posting belittling comments or mocking any honest, heartfelt post, they leave you feeling worse than before you read their comment. There are three major types of toxic people on Facebook, and the good news is there are ways to deal with people with issues. Here are the three toxic people on Facebook and how to handle them.

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For Mental Illness, Should I Check the Disability Box?

For Mental Illness, Should I Check the Disability Box?

I have a mental illness–a disability–but should I check the “disability” box when applying for a job? I recently was laid off at one job and had my hours cut at another, for a total loss of around $500 in income per month. I’ve dusted off my resumes and started applying for jobs, but have been hindered by a question: “Should I check the disability box?” Several businesses claim to be equal opportunity employers and make an effort to hire people with disabilities (Should You Disclose Mental Illness in the Workplace?). But can we trust them not to discriminate? Should we check the box that says we have a mental illness disability?

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Stop Speculating on President Donald Trump’s Mental Health

Stop Speculating on President Donald Trump’s Mental Health

Ever since his election many people, including some mental health professionals, have been speculating on President Donald Trump’s mental health. This is unethical and dangerous. President Trump may or may not have a mental illness, but going public about it should be his decision. And his diagnosis, if any, should be between him and his doctor. Speculating on his mental health reinforces mental health stigma and keeps people from seeking help (Are You Afraid to Ask for Mental Health Help?). It’s time to stop speculating on President Donald Trump’s mental health.

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