Our Latest Blogs

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign: Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Our Schools

The numbers are in, and for those of us who have worked with teens for years, what we feared would happen is finally happening. Teen mental illness, self-harm, and suicide attempts have risen dramatically. Educators, mental health practitioners, and researchers connect this sudden upsurge to social isolation and loss of structure caused by the COVID-19 […]

Self-Injury Awareness: Why People Self-Harm and How to Help Them

hand on rainy window pane.

Years into my psychology degree, I still knew very little about self-harm. Armed with a vague idea that people self-harmed either in an attempt at suicide or as a cry for help, I had done no further research on the subject. The college I attended did not seem all that inspired to teach me anything […]

What Is Body Dysmorphia and How Is it Treated?

woman checking blouse in mirror.

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition that involves excessive negative thoughts about the appearance of a person’s own body. It is estimated that about one in 50 people in the United States has this condition. Characteristics of Body Dysmorphia People who have body dysmorphic disorder are hyper-focused on their personal appearance and their […]

How Seniors with Limited Mobility Can Cope with Social Isolation by Getting Outdoors

senior woman gardening in wheelchair.

Spending time outdoors is essentially crucial for people of all ages. Interacting with nature lifts spirits and boosts physical and mental health, and is a perfect way to relax and find peace. While being outdoors is important for every person, it is particularly crucial for seniors with limited mobility. Experts advise that spending time outdoors […]

Tips for Working with Bipolar Depression

happy woman walking

Bipolar depression can be a hard thing to deal with. Bipolar depression occurs after a manic or hypomanic phase of bipolar disorder. It doesn’t always happen after a manic phase. Manic phases can happen on their own, as can bipolar depression. The purpose of this article is to offer tips on how to manage bipolar […]

5 Easy Ways to Cope with Low Mood

sad woman

In these unprecedented times, many people across the nation have experienced some form of low mood. Whether triggered by an event such as stress at work, the death of a loved one, or illness, the feeling can be unbearable. Many describe a “low mood” as a feeling of hopelessness. Others describe it as a lack […]

Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Have you ever felt miserable because it seemed like winter would never end? Although it’s natural to get tired of the long, dark days, some people experience seasonal affective disorder or SAD. SAD, also referred to as seasonal depression, affects 10 million Americans each year, most of them women. If you experience depression at the […]

How Mental Health Awareness Is Changing in the Workplace

diverse businesspeople clapping

The days of hushed conversations surrounding mental health struggles are gone. People are more comfortable than ever discussing how they’re doing and what they need to find more inner balance. The change also affects professional spaces, which is great for both employees and management teams. Mental health awareness is changing in the workplace, making the […]

How to Manage Mental Health When Traveling in 2022

masked passengers boarding flight.

You’ve been planning a vacation for a few months, but is now the right time to go? Taking a break could do you some good. A 2013 study found that traveling can enhance empathy, attention, energy, and focus, so you have more reason than ever to book a flight. But what if the mere thought […]

Receiving VA Disability Benefits for Depression and Anxiety

worried man in business suit

It is always an honor to serve one’s country. However, no one really gets out of the military completely unscathed. According to the RAND research organization, there are more than nine million veterans who are currently enrolled in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. There was a time when the only […]

What is Mental Health: An Introduction to Mental Health Disorders and Their Symptoms

man walking on beach

Mental health includes a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts everything we do—how we think, feel, and behave. In addition, it plays a role in how we cope with stress, relate to other people, and make certain choices. As a result, mental health is essential at every stage in life, whether childhood, adolescence, […]

How to Improve Your Life with Mental Health Activism

three friends clapping

There is no doubt that mental health activism positively impacts those with diagnoses, but you may be surprised to learn that doing activism can improve your own physical and mental health. So why not do both—help others and yourself? When people think about activism, they often get stuck on stereotypes of protesting or calling elected […]

Making Connections when You Have Anxiety or Depression: Three Tips on Building a Strong Social Network

female friends take a break from art

If you’re using this site, you likely believe that family support is essential for managing a mental illness. And you would be right, for all the reasons cited in this article. And yet, most children and young adults crave some connection with peers and may suffer from loneliness if they do not have a social […]

How OCD Affects People in Adult Life

woman in front of window blinds

Mental health is a challenge for many people. Over 26% of US adults a year are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and of those, 2.2 million are affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that causes people to have unwanted thoughts and compulsions. Obsessions are typically intrusive thoughts or […]

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression? What No One Tells You about Your Mental Health after Giving Birth

new mother with newborn

Pregnancy is a beautiful process, but it comes with its hardships and problems. Many people think that giving birth puts an end to the struggles, and it all becomes sunshine and roses afterward. However, it is followed by the postpartum period, which sometimes can be even more difficult than pregnancy itself. According to World Health […]

Gaslighting: 5 Noticeable Signs of Emotional Abuse

Have you ever found yourself trying your hardest to make things work but feel like you may be going crazy? Being in a relationship where you always have to watch what you say and still get ridiculed can’t be pleasant. Chances are there is nothing wrong with you but the immediate company you keep. Gaslighting […]

11 Potentially Life-Saving Suicide Prevention Resources

woman in orange on floor

Suicidal ideation is a term that describes a range of complications, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide. In some cases, these thoughts lead to planning and attempts on one’s own life. In 2019 alone, there were around 12 million Americans who seriously thought about attempting suicide. This figure only accounts for reported thoughts, so […]

9 Ways to Turn Anxiety to Your Advantage!

woman in suit playing guitar

Benefits of Anxiety If you ask a roomful of anxious people whether they believe their anxiety could be working toward their advantage, I will bet that 95% of them would say ABSOLUTELY NOT! That feeling of being uncomfortable in your skin, that last breath you can’t take, or that racing heart that’s about to pop […]

Depersonalization / Derealization Disorder: DO’s and DON’Ts

looking backward through glasses

Here’s a clear guide letting you know what you should do, and more importantly, shouldn’t do when going through DP/DR. There’s no doubt that depersonalization/derealization disorder (DP/DR) is one of the scariest, most daunting, and frustrating mental health issues a person can experience. DP/DR is a strange mental health issue. People with this disorder feel […]

What They Don’t Tell You About OCD

woman at seashore

There’s a lot that’s unknown about mental health disorders. They are widely misunderstood. They carry stigmas, are joked about, and lack proper research. You may ask yourself: Why is that? Many people struggle with their mental health. Research shows that  20.6% of U.S. adults deal with mental illness. This translates to one in five adults […]

Do a Self-Check for Mental Health Conditions

woman in blue dress

Today, more and more people are developing an awareness of how important mental health is, especially with the uncertainty of the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are becoming concerned about their susceptibility to various mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia, among a list of several other disorders. Olympian Simone […]

5 Things to Keep in Mind if You Have Social Anxiety

teen sitting apart from others

Going for a walk in the park isn’t necessarily enjoyable when the whole time you’re on high alert, overthinking how you’re being perceived. This is the everyday experience of having social anxiety, the fear that you’re constantly being judged, laughed at, and disliked for doing simple everyday things. Those of us battling social anxiety disorder […]

How to Bounce Back From a Mood Disorder

man jumping in street

Invincible one day, in pieces the next; head in the clouds, feet in hell. That is the fate for those of us facing mood swings. The biggest suck of mood disorders is feeling like we’re always taking one step forward and one step back. It feels like we’re living inside a movie where a ruthless […]

5 Mental Health Microaggressions You Might Be Committing

annoyed facial expression

Microaggressions are subtle but distinctly intolerant comments, actions, behaviors, or environments directed against marginalized people or groups of people. They are a vague and ambiguous form of discrimination. Those who commit microaggressions are often influenced by internalized biases they themselves may not even recognize. This makes it very difficult for a person on the receiving […]

Rejecting Society’s Expectations for a “Summer Body”

3 body-positive women at the beach

The warmer spring and summer months usually usher in a time of great activity and fun for most Americans. They’re a chance to get out into nature, have barbeques, and hit the beach. But there are also constant reminders everywhere that women should have the “perfect bikini body.” The pressure on people – men also […]

The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: How to Better Support the Brain-Gut Connection

healthy salad plate

An estimated one in five American adults experiences bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses each year. And scientists warn that several years of pandemic-related stress and social upheaval have not done our mental health any favors, although the exact implications are still being explored. Most Americans say that they significantly increased their use […]

Is Psychiatric Treatment for Eating Disorders Appropriate?

sad woman in chair

Hearing the words “eating disorder” conjures up the image of a person who has a troubled relationship with food and eating, often accompanied by body image distortion and low self-esteem. It might seem that these conditions are stand-alone issues. The reality, though, is that the visible signs of an eating disorder are an outward display […]

Medicare Mental Health Coverage: An Ultimate Guide

open laptop

According to a report shared by the National Institute of Mental Health, around one in five U.S. adults live with mental illness. Seniors are at a higher risk for mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, particularly when their health deteriorates and they face difficulty managing numerous diseases. So if you’re having persistent feelings […]

Ways to Help Seniors with Anxiety and Depression

So many seniors feel as though their lives will end soon. They have either achieved everything they wanted to or received word that their health is in poor shape. It’s not easy for seniors who have lived long and happy lives to suddenly, out of nowhere, feel trapped in their bodies as they grow older. […]

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease – Can PTSD Cause Heart Problems?

man sitting outside

Post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, has been associated with one of the most dangerous killers in America, cardiovascular disease. Under stress, the human heart rate can rise to 38 beats more per minute. When the heart rate increases, the chest tightens, the breath shortens, and in some cases, people can find themselves on […]

Ways to Manage Depression and Anxiety and Other Mental Health Problems

Rubik’s Cube close-up

30-Second Summary There are 6 healthy choices you can make to change your life. They are the following: Working out:Releases hormones for cell growth and supplies more oxygen to the brain. Watch your food:Replace unhealthy snacks with a balanced diet of vitamins, proteins, minerals, and plenty of water. Stressbuster: Talk about your thoughts and emotions […]

Diabetes and Depression after the COVID-19 Pandemic

young woman with dog at window.

When a doctor tells you that you have a disease with no cure, it changes your world. Even if the disease is one that you have heard of and that is controllable, the fact that this will be part of your life forever is shocking. Diabetes Diabetes is a chronic illness. The human body uses […]

Eating Disorders and Athletics – Risk Factors for Adolescents

gymnast legs on balance beam

Sports and athletic activities such as dance provide many routes for adolescents to develop physically and increase their skills in teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. Sports can be a distraction, but they are just as likely to provide discipline that can help in schoolwork and later in life. On the other hand, body image and weight […]

Facts about ADHD: Symptoms and Treatment

boy running

The number of children struggling with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States is astounding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a  2016 survey of parents found that 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in children. […]

How to Support Veterans with PTSD on Memorial Day

man with beard and baseball cap

For many civilians, Memorial Day weekend means relaxation and barbecues, family and friends, and maybe a bit of travel. However, because it is a day dedicated to our fallen men and women in uniform, Memorial Day can be challenging for some veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The condition can conjure painful memories, images, […]

The Difference Between ADD and ADHD

close up skateboard and feet

ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects about 10% of school-age children. Boys are more prone to this disorder than girls. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is the general designation for all mental as well as neurobehavioral disorders which show symptoms of impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention. ADHD often co-occurs with other emotional, behavioral, language, […]

Why We Should Be Educating Ourselves about PTSD in 2021

male firefighter gearing up.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is by no means a new mental health condition. However, the heightened public awareness of anxiety and depression in recent years has many people re-evaluating their relationship with mental health and looking to improve their interactions and make life more manageable for others. Educating ourselves about PTSD is important not just […]

Preparing for a Job Interview When You Have Anxiety

two women at a table

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially when you struggle with anxiety. The experience of having to prove your worth and being evaluated by people can be really difficult and are major triggers of anxious feelings. This is completely normal and very common, although that doesn’t mean you should have to put up with it. You […]

Do You Have Anxiety? Here’s What You Can Do About It.

anxious woman with head in hands

Every person will feel anxious at some point in their lives. It is because anxiety is a physiological stress response. Your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) activates in stressful situations, which kicks off a hormone rush. When you feel anxious, what you’re experiencing is your body going into “fight or flight” mode. Now imagine an amplified […]

What Is Gaslighting? How to Recognize It and Protect Yourself

old-fashioned gaslights

The term gaslighting has nothing to do with gas or lighting. It refers to an intense form of psychological manipulation that can erode the victim’s self-esteem and sense of reality. The gaslighter makes a victim feel anxious and doubtful about his or her own feelings, memories, and thoughts. Victims feel like they are always on […]

Early Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Women

woman lying on her side

According to studies, women are more vulnerable to depression than men, especially young women ages 14-25. However, this number decreases as women grow older. Moreso than men, women experience different types of depression, which we will discuss later. Knowing the early signs and symptoms of depression will give you a chance to help women in […]

How Assistive Technology Can Help Empower Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

biracial kid with tablet

We’re becoming increasingly aware of the prevalence of autism in young children. Today, one in 54 kids has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which leads to differences in responsiveness to social, communicative, and behavioral cues. Students with ASD can also experience symptoms that make learning difficult, especially in a traditional classroom setting. They must interact with […]

The Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on Mental Health

Mental health disorders and brain injury are often seen and treated as two completely separate diagnoses and are sometimes even confused as being the same. While brain injury and mental illness can be entirely different issues, traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to the development of mental health concerns. It is also possible for the […]

Outlining the Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

young woman in baggy sweater

Bulimia nervosa is a prevalent eating disorder that can’t be identified just by looking at someone. For family members and others who are worried that their loved one has bulimia nervosa, it may seem like a challenge to determine if they need to seek out eating disorder treatment centers. Here, we’ll outline some common symptoms […]

The Impact of PTSD on Family Members

crying woman beside bed

What is PTSD? Ever been frightened and unable to sleep after watching a horror movie due to nightmares or feeling on edge? Ever been scared the first time you rode a roller coaster and thought to yourself that you would never ride it again? Well, these feelings and emotions are completely normal for such situations. […]

The Benefits of Online Schooling for Students with Autism

child with laptop in online school

Virtual learning has become a reality for most students due to the pandemic. It’s been an adjustment for everyone involved, including students, teachers, and parents. Educators have had to find new ways to adapt their teaching methods, and students often find it more challenging to stay focused. Many kids also experience technical difficulties, which does […]

How to Thrive in Survivor Failure after a Sexual Assault

woman standing in field

I remember walking down the dorm hallway after he left. It was usually full of people, but this day was different. There was no one around. It was the day that most everyone was leaving to go home for winter break. I stumbled down the hallway, terrified, as I clung to the wall for support, […]

5 Steps for Dealing with Anxiety in Difficult Times

adele in concert

There are different forms of anxiety, with some being more complex and others lighter. For example, some may worry that they will not be successful, and others that they are too successful, such as the singer Adele. Once during a Rolling Stones interview, Adele admitted that she has stage fright and tries to avoid large […]

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack Before It Starts (5 Ways that Helped Me Cope With It)

and breathe neon sign

There I was, breathing rapidly and heavily. I didn’t know what was happening. Then it hit me; I was having my first anxiety and panic attack. And it was terrible. I can tell you that. You might be in the same boat, especially today when we’re living in times of high stress and insecurity – […]

Book Review: Judgment Detox

frustrated man with hand on face

Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs that Hold You Back from Living a Better Life Book by Gabrielle Bernstein “You’ve judged yourself five times, and you’ve only been here about 8 minutes.” My counselor told this to me in a not unkind way as I sat in a session. As someone diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and […]

The History of Women’s Mental Health Awareness

salem with trial

After centuries of stigmatization, misdiagnosis, and mistreatment, mental health awareness has finally become a huge talking point in recent years. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people suffered from depression, anxiety, and similar conditions. Now, nearly one in five adults lives with a mental health disorder — and that doesn’t even include those living […]

Negative Stereotypes and Stigma in Mental Health

close-up of angry eye

If you spend your life surrounded by people you can rely on, sharing thoughts and feelings probably comes naturally. In an atmosphere of mutual trust and care, staying mentally healthy often seems like a goal that’s not too difficult to accomplish. Unfortunately, not every environment is equally affirming. In some cases, people who feel anxious, […]

Top 5 Easy Ways to Support Someone with an Anxiety Disorder

positive affirmation note

People with anxiety disorders experience panic and a profound sense of fear over things that to you may seem irrational. Pointing that out is the one thing you should never do. Anxiety disorders are real, and managing them can be quite overwhelming. As a friend,  family member, spouse, or colleague, the best thing you can […]

Bringing Support Persons into the Eating Disorder Healing Process

mother and daughter suppor

Far too often, traditional family therapy is not prioritized after the age of 18, including when it comes to eating disorder recovery. I get it – involving support persons, like family, friends, roommates, or romantic partners, has the potential to bring uncomfortable roadblocks into the recovery process. However, at Renfrew, we know no matter what […]

How to Help Your Partner During a Panic Attack

couple making heart sign

Seeing your partner go through a panic attack can feel overwhelming. You want to help, but you aren’t sure how. Maybe you’ve tried so many different ways – but it usually doesn’t feel that helpful. You’ve tried reminding him to breathe, maybe even breathing with him. You’ve tried telling him that “everything is okay” and […]

5 Pointers on Talking to Loved Ones About Eating Disorders

holding hands

Bringing up a subject concerning mental health or disordered eating behaviors is never an easy one for concerned family and friends. Few subjects are more personal and difficult to broach than a disorder like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or others. And although it’s difficult to have these conversations, it usually falls on […]

How to Manage Your Mental Health Recovery and Your Confidence at the Same Time

smiling black woman

It can be challenging to get your life back on track when you are dealing with problems in your mental health. It can take some time to get your anxieties and fears under control. As you become better able to manage your mental health, you also need to find a way to enjoy life in […]

Clinical Depression: Symptoms and Latest Treatments Available

young man in hoodie

What is Clinical Depression? When you hear people use the term clinical depression, they are referring to what is formally known as major depressive disorder (MDD). Depression is a mood disorder that can hamper your daily life. At its worst, it can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in teens […]

Surviving Trauma: Dissociation is a Miracle

out of body experience

“Dissociation?” a colleague and fellow trauma survivor remarked, during a pre-Covid conversation over breakfast tacos. “It isn’t good.” “Why?” I replied. “Because dissociation is shameful. It means you’re weak.” I ended the conversation by respectfully disagreeing. Because I believe dissociation is a miracle. What is dissociation? As a response to trauma and chronic stress, dissociation […]

The Most Common Causes of Depression in Older Adults

older Latino man

It is alarming to see when older loved ones lose interest in activities that they usually enjoy. They may dread waking up in the morning because they find it challenging to get through an entire day. Time seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, making them feel anxious and sad. Unfortunately, depression is prevalent in […]

Therapy Is Not Enough: Recovering from PTSD

black woman doing yoga

I knew I had a problem in 2015, after returning to the US from a year-long teaching stint abroad. It began with flashbacks, intrusive memories of the poverty and food insecurity I experienced in my host village. And it ended with shame, an internalized belief that I was a broken woman, forever irreparable and therefore […]

Restless Intelligence: Why Smart People Are So Anxious

woman with head in book

Smart people are often anxious. Is this news to you? I’m guessing not, since you’re smart. Research has shown that there is a high correlation between being intelligent and socially anxious. The higher your IQ, the higher the chance your social apprehension is higher than usual. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your social anxiety […]

How Long Does it Take to Overcome Depression?

man thinking

Depression is a serious mental health condition that is characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. If you’re going through depression, you might wonder how long it will last. While there is no average for how long it can take to overcome depression, it’s not uncommon for feelings of hopelessness to last several months. In […]

Social Anxiety in the Rear-View Mirror: 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger

man sitting in café

“It’s all in your head!” I heard these words countless times growing up, typically after sharing some unshakeable feeling that was swirling around in my head. You see, my family never got in the weeds when it came to talking about topics like mental health. It was taboo. Instead, they would resort to shouting platitudes […]

PTSD Flashbacks Explained

dark figures in alley

“In World War One, they called it shell shock. Second time around, they called it battle fatigue. After ‘Nam, it was post-traumatic stress disorder.” ― Jan Karon, Home to Holly Springs Shell shock, battle fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Same symptoms, different names. Throughout time, people have suffered things that affected their bodies and minds in […]

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

young woman on couch

Everyone has experienced ups and downs at some points in their lives. The occasional blues and lethargy that you experience may be an aftermath of too much stress after a tiring day. However, if these emotional encounters are happening more regularly and in a recurring pattern, it should be a cause of concern. In particular, […]

The Complex Relationship between Sleep and Anxiety

young woman with insomnia

One-third of our lives are spent sleeping, but over time, sleep has become unappreciated. In the world’s current pace, everybody is consumed in using their 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sleep has become such an interference in our daily activities that we often forget its benefits and the implications of its loss. […]

How to Help a Loved One with Mental Health Issues

colorful hands mural

There are millions of individuals living with various forms of mental health disorders. The figure stands at about 1 in 5 people, so chances are you have a relative experiencing an issue. There are multiple elements crucial to managing and recovering from mental health conditions, and one is you lending a helping hand to your […]