Our Latest Blogs

What Causes Teen Depression and How to Manage It

depressed teen on dock

As a teenager, have you been irritable and moody lately? Are you in a bad mood or is it something else? While most teens bounce back from a bad mood, others will feel hopeless and miserable for weeks or longer. Teens who suffer from depression are at higher risk for self-injury and suicide. What causes […]

7 Ways To Combat Depression and Anxiety When They Hit You

happy jumping woman

Feelings of depression and anxiety can come seemingly out of nowhere, and they can be debilitating when they do. Knowing how to fight them off is important. There are a number of ways to redirect your mind when these feelings come creeping in and help you to learn how to combat depression and anxiety. Keeping […]

Mental Health Disorders Increasing Among Youth: Key Insights & Tips to Help

Youth with Mental Health Disorders

Teens may sometimes seem moody or emotional, but there’s a good reason for this. Their bodies and brains are still developing. During development, teens experience significant hormonal changes. In addition, life – from a teen perspective – is truly stressful. Teens face numerous challenges, such as competitiveness, cyberbullying, shaming, violence and other issues. Sometimes the […]

Migraines and Mental Health: The Road Between Migraines and Anxiety & Depression Travels Both Ways

Migranes and Mental Health

There is a close relationship between migraines and the mental health issues of anxiety and depression. This relationship is expressed as comorbidity, and there is a definite increase in the development of anxiety and depression by migraineurs when compared to the general population. This article provides an overview of both mental health conditions and migraines, […]

Medicare and Mental Health for Seniors: What’s Covered and How to Get the Help You Need

Does Medicare Cover Mental Health?

When you reach a certain age, you expect that your health may not be what it once was. Your bones may become brittle, you are more susceptible to accidents and injury, and it can take longer to recover from everyday illnesses, such as the flu or a cold, that never kept you down before. However, […]

Top 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Living With Freeway Phobia

freeway phobia

I dislike freeways. Unless it’s an Interstate freeway with no other vehicles around, with the windows rolled down, the music blasting, and me singing along in a very off-key voice at the top of my lungs, I’d be perfectly happy to never see another freeway again as long as I live. Believe it or not, […]

Why the Gig Economy is the Perfect Employment Option for Those in the Early Stages of Addiction Recovery

Taking time off for recovery from addiction is a brave first step toward regaining control over your mental health. But as you begin this journey, you may also be wondering how you can make ends meet until you’re ready to work again. Luckily, there are tons of gigs that can help you earn a little […]

7 Ways Society Labels People with Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorder Stereotypes

Today’s guest blog post is by a young writer from Pakistan, Saim Cheeda, who lives with anxiety and depression. Saim may be writing from halfway around the world, but his guest post shows that these disorders and other peoples’ reactions to them are universal across cultures. He brings a positive message to people everywhere living […]

Panic Attacks and How to Cope with Them

A panic attack can be a terrifying experience, often causing the sufferer to believe he or she is  having a heart attack and about to die. The distressing nature of the attack can compound the person’s anxiety and make the attack even more intense and long lasting. Worrying about when the unpleasant symptoms of the […]

Marijuana’s Effects on Mental Health and How to Quit

Young woman vaping marijuana.

Doctors regularly prescribe marijuana. It is legal in many states, widely available at neighborhood dispensaries and has become part of mainstream culture. But does that mean it’s safe and beneficial? The answer depends on who you ask. Certainly, there is plenty of evidence about the reported harmful effects of cannabis, including lowering a user’s IQ […]

Co-Occurring Disorders: Alcohol Abuse & Depression

Co-Occurring Disorders: Alcohol Abuse & Depression

“A drinking man’s someone who wants to forget he isn’t still young and believing.” – Tennessee Williams, author of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”   It may come as a surprise to you that according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information 64% of people addicted to alcohol actually meet all the criteria for […]

Stress and the Quest for Success: When Executives Need Help with Substance Abuse

Corporate Work Stress and Substance Abuse

Business executives don’t necessarily fit the prototypical model of someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but many of the triggers that impact someone who doesn’t work in the corporate sector are clearly present among business professionals. Stress, family pressures, and the overarching worry about falling short of expectations can all combine to push […]

Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders – Often the Rule, Not the Exception

This September, www.rtor.org is observing National Recovery Month with a guest blog series on co-occurring disorders – the presence of mental health and substance use disorders in the same person. To kick-off the special series on co-occurring disorders we open with a guest blog post from Lloyd I. Sederer, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the […]

Gender Dysphoria in Teens – What Parents Need to Know (Frequently Asked Questions)

Gender Dysphoria in Teens - What Parents Need to Know

Despite the fact there is evidence that gender dysphoria has existed since early human civilizations, many people have not heard of this concept until recently. Gender dysphoria is defined by the National Health Service (UK) as “a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender […]

Grounding Techniques for Trauma Symptoms

Grounding Techniques for Trauma Symptoms (PTSD)

Many people have experienced traumatic events during childhood or later. Some may not even have considered them to be traumatic. These traumas might include being the victim of or exposure to violence; physical, sexual or emotional abuse; severe neglect; bullying; a serious accident or illness; domestic violence; death of a parent or other close relative; […]

Your Guide to Dealing with Anxiety at Work

Dealing with Anxiety at Work

When dealing with an anxiety disorder, one of the biggest obstacles you will face is trying to prevent your condition from disrupting your life. This is especially true in the workplace, where it is quite likely that symptoms of your anxiety disorder will crop up rather often. If this describes your work situation, you should […]

How Bipolar Disorder Affects Your Sleep

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep

Alongside the extreme highs and lows that are part of having bipolar disorder, sleep issues also pop up. Unfortunately, these problems don’t make the disorder any easier to manage. In fact, they can complicate the illness and even trigger episodes in people who are, otherwise, following their doctor’s orders. Sleep and Mania One of the […]

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Health

social security disability benefits for mental health

If you or someone you love has a mental health impairment, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to people of all ages who are unable to work due to a serious illness. While it can be challenging to qualify with a mental health disorder, […]

How Depression May Be Harming Your Health

how depression can hurt your health

Depression is a silent killer when ignored. Many people suffering from depression never seek medical attention during their entire lives. They choose to absorb the burden of depression into their different body systems. This can lead to physical symptoms and various diseases at a later stage. This is a more serious issue than you might […]

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for the Treatment of PTSD

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

When I began doing eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), I had already been going to traditional therapy for several years off and on with no result. I found the conversation wandered when there wasn’t something of substance to focus on, and eventually I felt like I was wasting my money. EMDR was different, though. […]

Social Anxiety: How To Be Around Other People when You’re Terrified of Talking to Them

You try to approach someone in a social setting. Your hands shake, and you feel sweaty. Your brain feels like it won’t work. It’s the same kind of adrenalized fear you get when a strange noise wakes you up in the middle of the night and you think there might be a stranger in the […]

How 13 Reasons Why Affects Teens Who Struggle with Mental Health

13 Reasons Why swept through culture like a flash when it first aired last year. Now that Season Two is on everyone’s “Netflix recommends” prompts—once again it is important to tackle heavy issues. Many who are affected by the show’s topic may be asking, “Where do I get real help?” For those of us who […]

The Truth About Bulimia: 8 Common Myths About This Eating Disorder Exposed

the truth about bulimia

Bulimia is not a fad, nor a phase. It is a serious mental health disorder, which affects both men and women of all ages. On the surface, it can appear to be associated solely with food or body image. But bulimia is beyond that. It is a double-edged sword. The disorder is characterized by a […]

Dealing With Post-Accident Depression

It is very common to feel helpless and anxious after an accident. These symptoms can speak to the development of post-traumatic depression. Depression occurs when one feels powerless over upsetting surges of negative emotions. While this involves different emotions for different people, most of those entering rehabilitation services while suffering from post-accident depression report a […]

14 Reasons Being Sober Makes Your Life Better

Being sober can be a scary prospect. Much of our social behaviors involve the use of substances in one form or another. Even if you’re not an addict, living a sober lifestyle can seem like a difficult feat. However, once you give up drinking or drugs, your life will change for the better in a […]

What To Do When Anxiety Makes You Overeat

Anxiety and Overeating

Anxiety disorders are some of the most prevalent psychological conditions to affect the worldwide population. There are numerous conditions classified within this category, and the symptoms experienced by individuals affected by one of these disorders can range from mild to more severe, life-altering complications. At least 19.1% of all adults in the United States are […]

NBA Star Kevin Love’s Heartfelt Letter to the World: Why More Superstars Need to Speak Up About Mental Health

Mental health is bigger than just a diagnosis and the labels associated with it. Recently, a number of prominent athletes and celebrities bravely admitted their struggles with mental health. NBA Star Kevin Love in his recent article about his mental illness states that, “Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a […]

Top 5 Mental Health Benefits of Quitting Drugs and Alcohol

I remember my struggles with quitting drugs and alcohol quite vividly. I was at a point in my life when chasing intoxicated states was all that I could think about. It was a way for me to escape the negative feelings and the harsh realities of where I was in my life. My thought process […]

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): A Major Depression Treatment That Doesn’t Rely on Medication

Just about everyone has experienced a chapter in his or her life when things just looked bleak.  An occasional bout with the blues is a normal aspect of the human condition and our physiological and psychological response to hitting a patch of difficult challenges.  For most people, the depression symptoms will resolve in a timely […]

7 Anti-Sadness Secrets for Coping with Depression

Charlie Brown’s comic creator, Charles Schulz, maintained that “happiness is a warm blanket.” Sadness, though, is a wet blanket. It envelops you—making it difficult to breathe, to see the sunlight, to function on an everyday basis. It need not be debilitating, though. There are ways to come out from under.  Here are seven realities for you to think […]

The Light of Bipolar Disorder: Creativity

BipolarDisorderandCreativity - Sunset with girl in field

So often, we are consumed by the negative factors that revolve around bipolar disorder. We are overwhelmed with the depression, the mania, and the anxiety. We are absorbed with our struggles and ability to maintain balance. We forget there is a bright side to our mental disorder. The creativity gene is festering inside of all […]

How to Stop Compulsive Hair Pulling: 10 Things You Can Do to Beat Trichotillomania

How to Stop Compulsive Hair Pulling: 10 Things You Can Do to Beat Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a recurrent, chronic compulsion to pull hair. It usually starts in early adolescence and can last a lifetime. The behavior causes significant distress physically and emotionally often causing people to withdraw socially for fear of judgment. There is no cure for this disorder, but it can be successfully managed. Therapy by a qualified […]

What Comes First: Addiction or a Mental Health Problem?

Mental health and addiction. What comes first?

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association: 53% of people with a mental health disorder also experience problems with alcohol or drugs. 29% of people with a mental health disorder have a co-occurring addiction disorder at some point in their lives. These statistics may lead you to believe that mental health problems cause […]

Co-Occurring Disorders: How Mental Health and Substance Use Are Linked

Co-occurring disorders are two or more behavioral health disorders which occur together in the same person.  The term is often used to describe any mental health disorder that is accompanied by substance abuse, a problem that affects millions of Americans. The reasons may vary widely from one individual to the next, but the symptoms are […]

6 Essential Skills Therapists Recommend to Help You Thrive in an Emotional Crisis

Thrive in Emotional Crisis. Girl in front of lake and mountains.

We all experience crises in our day-to-day life. Sometimes these crises are big, like a death, and sometimes they are small, like traffic. DBT distress tolerance skills help you get to a more manageable emotional place for crisis survival. Skill 1: TIPP When to use it: When you’re at your emotional breaking point. How to […]

‘Toughen Up, It’s Part of the Job’ – Coping with the Emotional Trauma of Emergency Service and Healthcare Work

Stressed medical professional struggling with mental health

This week we present a guest blog post from a British physician, Dr. Benjamin Janaway, who writes about medicine and politics for the international press.  Normally, our focus at www.rtor.org is on those who look to under-resourced and overstretched healthcare systems for help with mental health and emotional struggles, including trauma.  Dr. Janaway’s guest post […]

School Truancy: Could Depression or Anxiety be the Cause?

School children working in a classroom at desks. School Truancy, School Avoidance, School Anxiety, School Refusal

What is the significance of truancy? When students are repeatedly absent from school, the potential consequences are endless. Lower achievement, higher risk of dropout, legal troubles, and suffering relationships are a few on the individual level. On the national level, truancy means a less-educated and less-prepared workforce. Less education has implications for our communities when […]

Is Mental Illness a Disease: A Trauma-based Look at Mental Health Disorders Through the Lens of West Side Story

There are many great songs from the musical West Side Story, but my favorite has always been the brilliantly satirical “Gee, Officer Krupke.”  In this number, the Jets’ leader Riff plays a troubled youth who is passed between experts eager to judge what is wrong with him.  In the hand-off between psychiatrist and social worker […]

Ring Out the Magic, Ring In the Real for Better Mental Health and Wellness: Unusual New Year’s Traditions from the Past Revisited

New Year’s is the one holiday that is universally celebrated around the world.  Although the methods of celebration and sometimes even the dates vary from place to place, every culture has a New Year tradition.  Many of these traditions are quite unique and interesting. My first New Year’s as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, […]

Important Tips on Staying Sober Through the Holidays

Staying sober can be a struggle on any day, but the holidays tend to be some of the most challenging times to maintain one’s sobriety.  There is no shortage of parties, old memories, and the general pressures and stress of the season to weigh in on one’s mind. It is all too easy to end […]

Four Things to Remember When a Loved One Has Depression

When my psychiatrist first diagnosed me with depression, I put some real thought and preparation into how to tell my closest friends and family.  It’s not something one can easily bring up in casual conversation, (i.e.: “Hey, did you catch the ball game last night?  By the way, I’m depressed.”) It was not an easy […]

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – More Than Just the “Winter Blues”

Most people look forward to the wonderful colors of fall and exciting holiday season after that. It is the time to enjoy being indoors with family and friends. However, for patients suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the shortening of days and lack of sunshine is not something to look forward to. For these patients, […]

Understanding the Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Nearly 45 million American adults struggle with mental illness each day. To complicate matters, individuals who have mental health disorders are much more likely to struggle with substance abuse than the general population. Approximately 20 million American adults have a diagnosed substance use disorder, and over eight million Americans struggle with both a diagnosed substance […]

Abnormally Normal: How to Help a Friend or Family Member with OCD

All people have some form of obsession in their lives, it is what drives the human condition. For most people, they can simply rate these things on the standard scale of wants to needs. And with those wants and needs come compulsions to quell these wants and needs in their heads by doing something. Every […]

6 Ways That Depression May Lead to Substance Abuse

Depression is a mood disorder that can wreak havoc on your life. It comes with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, numbness, and isolation. It is this numbness, the inability to feel anything at all, that drives many people to substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol provide a shock to the brain so that suddenly, after months of […]

Watching My Way to Mental Health – One Bird at a Time


In addition to his duties as Editor in Chief of www.rtor.org, Jay Boll has been an avid birder ever since he lived in the southern African nation of Zimbabwe, with its beautiful birds and wildlife. In a recent guest blog for Esperanza – Hope to Cope with Anxiety and Depression, Jay wrote about his pastime […]

6 Tips for Managing Depression

depression tips

We are fortunate to all be living in an age when mental illness has significantly less stigma attached to it than it once did. Anyone who is suffering from depression can be forthcoming about their condition as well as be openly proactive in finding ways to mediate their symptoms and strive towards living with their […]

Shame: The Other Emotion in Depression and Anxiety


Psychologists have identified anywhere between 6 and 10 basic emotions experienced by humans. The American psychologist Paul Ekman who developed an “atlas of emotions” mapping more than 10,000 facial expressions, identified six universal or “primary” emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. It will come as a surprise to no one that the primary emotion in […]

Depression & Addiction: From Escaping Myself to Fighting the Problem

escaping myself

Almost half of those who live with a mental health disorder also experience a substance use problem (SAMHSA). Today’s guest author, Parker, lived with depression and addiction issues until he was able to find recovery. Parker’s inspiring story shows that there is hope and that recovery is possible. Thank you, Parker, for sharing with us at www.rtor.org. […]

How to Get an Anxiety Disorder: 7 Tips for Ruining Your Mental Health


Anxiety may be one of the most unpleasant emotions we experience, but that does not always make it bad for us. I once attended a lecture by Yale childhood anxiety expert Dr. Eli Lebowitz, who pointed out that there would be a lot less crime and impulsive acts committed if some people experienced a little more […]

6 Things that Everyone Thinks are Signs of Mental Illness but Aren’t

imsobipolar tweet

Can you easily tell the difference between average behavior and mental illness? Probably not. There is a lot of misinformation floating around in our society about mental illness, making it hard to tell whether certain behaviors might be quirks or might be a sign of something more. To show you the typical human behaviors most […]

Depression in Teenagers and What to Do About It

teen depression

Today’s post comes to us from blogger, Erica Silva. Her article breaks down teenage depression and its treatment options into simple terms that any teenager could find helpful. If you are a parent of a teenager who might be experiencing depression, this post could help him or her better understand what is going on with […]

Mental Health Recovery: 6 Themes of Hope for Mental Health Awareness Month

What is Mental Health Recovery to You-

Recovery is a term much used in mental health, but not always understood. Some people think of recovery in relation to a cure or getting better.  Others associate it with 12-step recovery from addiction. Mental health recovery can be all those things, but for those living with mental illness the term most often describes an […]

The Power of Mindful Writing

mindful writing

Just in time for National Poetry Month, today’s post comes to us from Family-Endorsed Provider, Marianela Medrano, PhD, LPC. Dr. Medrano is a psychologist, poetry therapist, and an accomplished writer. She shares her insights on the influence Mindful Writing can have on our mental health. Thank you, Dr. Medrano, for sharing your insights with us at […]

The Disclosure Dilemma: Tips from an Employment Specialist

disclose mental health at work

As the Supported Employment Manager of Laurel House, Inc., my colleague Michael Marsico, LMSW, works with people who struggle with the dilemma of mental health disclosure and whether to share such personal information with an employer. Michael coaches people through every stage of the employment seeking, retention and advancement process, and has some great tips […]

Cool Millennials and Stressed-Out Moms: Normalizing Excessive Drinking in Young Women

women and drinking

Both men and women enjoy drinking for a variety of reasons—to celebrate an event, to socialize with others, or calm down after a long day. Regardless of its benefits, alcohol can still cause dependence in both men and women. Yet, the stereotype of the alcoholic is usually pictured as a middle-aged man who would prefer […]

“I Have An Alternative Life in My Head… Am I Mentally Ill?”


Last year I joined Quora, a question-and-answer website where questions on every subject imaginable are posed and answered by its community of users. The community includes such notables as Barack Obama, Steve Case, and Justin Trudeau, who have answered questions on occasion. If you are curious about how celebrities choose the charitable causes they endorse […]

SuperBetter: The App that Turns Mental Health into a Winning Game


Do you wish that taking care of your mental health and wellness was fun? Does it feel nearly impossible to break free from your negative thoughts and habits while taking steps to improve your overall happiness? Even with the guidance of a therapist, it still might feel daunting to work on your mental health every day. That’s […]

Supporting vs. Enabling: Do’s and Don’ts for Families and Supporters of People in Eating Disorder Recovery

mom and daughter

To get a head start on National Eating Disorder Awareness week, today’s post comes to us from Gillian Tanz, Assistant Clinical Director at Monte Nido River Towns. Gillian discusses the do’s and don’ts of supporting a family member or friend who is in eating disorder recovery. Thank you, Gillian, for sharing your knowledge with us at […]

The ECHO Effect: 12 Ways Telemedicine Can Improve Mental Health Care

woman with phone and laptop

Last month at a family support group, I met the father of a young woman with bipolar disorder who was about to move back home. He and his wife were concerned about the move, understandably torn between the impulse to take care of a daughter with a serious health condition and the desire to see […]

Building Resilience From The Ground Up


Today’s post comes to you from Family-Endorsed Provider, Alex Diaz, Ph.D. He discusses how to build resilience so we can better handle the challenges of day-to-day life. Thank you, Alex, for sharing with us at www.rtor.org. –Veronique Hoebeke, Associate Editor  In terms of human development, resilience is known as the ability to successfully overcome challenges and […]

Reasons to Be Cheerful, 2016: Don’t Let Cognitive Bias Overshadow the Good Things that Happened in “the Worst Year Ever”

The Cubs 2016

  Could there have been a worse year than 2016?  It began with the World Health Organization’s announcement of a widespread outbreak of the Zika virus and seems to be ending on a note of political rancor in the United States, while terrorist attacks threaten Europe and the suffering in Syria reaches new levels of […]

This New Year’s Choose Values Over Resolutions

new years

Today’s post comes to us from Family-Endorsed Provider and Eating Disorder Specialist, Susan Schrott, DCSW, CEDS. In her post, she discusses the importance of reconnecting with one’s values before committing to any kind of change. Some of this advice is tailored to those who live with eating disorders but anyone can learn from her message. […]

7 Signs Your Friend or Family Member is at Risk for an Eating Disorder


  The Holiday season is heading our way and that means two things: family gatherings and food. You might not have seen some of your friends or family members in a long time. Maybe you live far away or they recently went away to college. Regardless, you might have noticed some changes about them that raise […]

Alcohol and Self-Starvation: The Dangerous New Trend

beer on table

  We all know that college can be a breeding ground for partying. Many parents may worry that their kids in college might drink too much and develop an addiction, yet many don’t know that young adults are also at risk for developing an eating disorder. Unfortunately the two can come together to form a variety […]

The Wendy Way: In Memory of Wendy Champeix (1962–2016), A True Champion for Mental Health Recovery


Laurel House, Inc., the non-profit sponsor of www.rtor.org recently lost a beloved, long-time employee, Wendy Champeix, who is honored in this post about her life as a Champion for Recovery.   The last time I saw Wendy she was conducting a walk-through of the Laurel House kitchen and café areas to make sure everything was in […]

We Say We Want A Revolution

woman by lake

  In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are inviting different guest bloggers each week in the month of May to write about their perspectives on mental health. Today’s guest blog post comes from Lisa Scott whose post highlights the importance of gratitude and the power of speaking out about mental health issues. Be sure to check out Lisa’s […]

Managing Depression with Gratitude and Art

debi strong gratitude heart

  In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are inviting one guest writer a week in the month of May to write about their perspectives on mental health. Today’s guest blog post comes from Debi Strong who currently has an art exhibit, 365 Days of Gratitude, that is touring several venues around the country. Her post covers her struggles with life-long depression […]

How You Can Help Someone Struggling with Mental Illness: Support Before Advice


  In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are inviting one guest writer a week in the month of May to write about their perspectives on mental health. Today’s guest blog post comes from Farsh Askari whose post covers the need for more supportive dialogue when discussing mental illness. Be sure to check out his blog, The OCD Memorist. Thank […]

Favorite Posts from rtor.org (2015-2016)


rtor.org Celebrates ‘May is Mental Health Awareness Month’ Last year for Mental Health Awareness Month our Associate Editor Veronique and I posted an article on a different mental health topic each day in the month of May.  This year we add some new voices and perspectives to the conversation, with 5 guest bloggers joining us on […]