Our Latest Blogs

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Think Mental Health has Nothing to do with your Bottom Line? Think again

man stressed at work

  Mental health is a topic no one in the workplace wants to talk about but no one can afford not to. Many companies lose revenue and productivity by not addressing mental health but the fear and shame surrounding the topic leads both employers and employees from speaking out about this very important issue. Mental […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Eunoia… Thoughts on Healthy Thinking

brain coral

Some of you may be wondering why I use that funny word for the title of my blog… Eunoia.  Here’s my very first blog post from May 2, 2014, with the answer. Eunoia: Thoughts on Healthy Thinking EUNOIA [yoo-noy-uh].  This little known word comes from the Greek εὔνοια, meaning “well mind” or “beautiful thinking.” It is also […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Long Distance Crisis Management

long distance call

There are few things worse than watching a loved one’s mental health steadily decline because he is too sick to recognize he has a problem.  The feeling is even worse when the loved one lives halfway across the country: you know he’s in trouble, but can’t be there to help and have no idea of […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: 2-1-1… An Underused Resource

211-Logo

Although RtoR’s Directory of Family-Endorsed Providers focuses on the northeastern states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, our Resource Specialists receive calls from  people across the nation looking for help for a loved one with a mental health concern. A website’s reach does not stop at the state line. At rtor.org we try […]

RtoR Family Resource Collection: Book Review of The Family Guide to Mental Health Care

family and friends sitting at a dining table

For Mental Health Awareness Month, Resources to Recover kicks off its new Family Resource Collection with the one book that is indispensable to any family facing serious mental health concerns.  Dr. Lloyd I. Sederer’s The Family Guide to Mental Health Care is a comprehensive guide to the identification, care and treatment of mental illness.  There may […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: The Gendered Trauma in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

black widow avengers

In the most recent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Franchise, Avengers: Age of Ultron, the superheroes encounter a superhuman who has the power of mind control. She uses her abilities to make the heroes hallucinate their worst fear which is either an incident from their past or the worst outcome in the future. When we see […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: The Mental Health Challenges for LGBTQ Youth

rainbow flag

  Adolescents who identify as LGBTQ are known to face discrimination. Not only do they experience stigmatization and alienation from their peers but also can face similar attitudes at home. It is believed that experiences of discrimination may contribute to mental health issues in LGBTQ people. Research has found that those who identify as homosexual […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Dr. A. Medalia Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Alice medalia

Last Month, the National Council for Behavioral Health presented the winners of its annual Awards of Excellence at the 2015 NATCON Conference in Orlando.  This year’s winner of the Inspiring Hope award for Reintegration Lifetime Achievement was Alice Medalia, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Columbia University Medical Center, and Director of […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Preventing Caregiver Burnout

mom with kid

Being the primary caregiver for a family member with a mental health disorder is hard. People in caregiver roles often experience burnout symptoms like extreme sadness, guilt, worry and disinterest in previously enjoyable activities. Taking care of your own mental health can keep the stress of care-giving manageable.     Remember this is not your […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Stopping the Stigma on Postpartum Depression

baby holding finger

  Those involved in Mental Health Awareness Month have done a lot to break the stigma that exists about people living with mental health disorders. Yet, one disorder is the target of extensive social shaming and victim blaming: Postpartum Depression. The cause of Postpartum Depression is not entirely clear; the research points to a combination of […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Splitting the Child – A Dilemma Worthy of Solomon

The_Judgment_of_Solomon

  The story of the Judgement of Solomon from the Biblical Book of Kings is one of the first recorded cases of legal jurisprudence.  You have probably heard of King Solomon’s famous ruling to literally split a child in half to share him between the two women claiming to be his mother.  The wisdom of […]

Moms: First Responders in Family Mental Health

mother-hugging-her-daughter

One of the benefits of running a Facebook page for your cause or business is that you get to see data on the age and gender of the people who like, share or comment on your page and posts.  Facebook calls the people who like your page “fans.”  According to the website zephoria.com, 53% of […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Four Tips to Balancing the Mind with Nutrition

light up brain

  When living with a mental health condition, it can feel like your body and mind are out of your control. It’s nice to know that there is an aspect of your mental wellness that you have the opportunity to control every day. Healthy eating is the simplest way you can bring balance and wellness […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Beyond Awareness to Pride in Self and Others

cinco de mayo salsa dancers

These days, you could be forgiven for thinking that Cinco de Mayo is a new holiday celebrating Americans’ freedom to drink Mexican beer and enjoy delicious Mexican-American cuisine.  If you think it is the celebration of Mexican Independence Day, you would also be wrong.  In fact, the 5th of May is not even a national holiday […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Our Newest Family-Endorsed Provider of Psychotherapy Service

d&cbt center westport building photo

Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” has a mixed record of effectiveness in the treatment of serious mental illness.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is one form of psychotherapy for which there is a substantial evidence base, especially when offered in conjunction with other treatments, such as psychopharma-cology. Another emerging best practice with a growing evidence base […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Connecting Families – Watch the New Video!

Family recommended mental health providers

Last night, about 175 Laurel House supporters gathered at  the Woodway Country Club in Darien, CT to watch the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby, bid on items to benefit the Stamford-based non-profit, and honor this year’s “Champion for Recovery” Dr. Alan Barry, Commissioner of Social Services for the Town of Greenwich.  They also watched […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: The Slow Race to Recovery

Racing_at_Arlington_Park

How is recovery like a horse race? It’s not…  This evening, about 175 people will gather at the Woodway Country Club in Darien, CT to watch a horse race on TV, support a great organization, and celebrate mental health recovery.  The horse race is, of course, the Kentucky Derby, and the organization is Laurel House, […]

RtoR Mental Health Awareness Month: Nothing to Declare?

toll booth

  Twenty-seven years ago in May, I began a career in mental health.  This did not happen by design or training.  I had just left the Peace Corps after more than five years of volunteer service working with the street children of Tela, Honduras in Central America.  I returned to the US with my idealism […]

Teen Suicide: What One Mother Is Doing to Stop It from Happening to Someone Else’s Kid

woman in orange on floor

  For the last twenty minutes I have been struggling with the question of how to open this post on teenage suicide.  It seems that there is just no easy way start. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (7th for males).  Chances […]

ClearView Communities in Frederick, MD: Latest Addition to RtoR’s Directory of “Family Endorsed” Mental Health Providers

clearview residential building

One of the most frequent questions from families of a loved one with serious mental illness is ‘Where will my son/daughter/sibling live, and how will he or she obtain the support and develop the skills to have a decent quality of life in the least restrictive setting possible. Fortunately, the days of long-term institutionalization are […]

The Problem With Anonymity: Nobody Knows You’re There

Anonymous-People-Movie

A few weeks ago, I asked someone I know if she was getting the help she needed filling out forms that would allow her to continue receiving her state disability benefits.  This was an older person who is legally blind and has lived with a disabling mental illness her entire adult life.  She told me […]

Three Little Known Facts About Persistence

typewriter close up

       .       Rtor.org is pleased to have disability advocate Michael De Rosa guest blogging on the site today. Michael is editor of the website dismantlingdisABILITIES.com and author of the soon to be published self-help workbook “Unlimited Potential: empowerment tools at your finger tips.” His lived experience with anxiety and other disabilities, […]

Time To Start Walking the Walk: Towards a Science-Based Definition of Mental Health Recovery

walking away

Twenty years ago, when I spoke of recovery in mental health,  many people thought me misinformed.  “There’s no cure for mental illness,” one educated colleague told me.  Now it seems that every community-based mental health provider in the nation offers “Recovery-Oriented” services. The federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has this to […]

Does Princess Elsa Have Borderline Personality Disorder? Disney’s “Frozen” as a Story of Emotional Dysregulation

sad woman in snow blonde

          Has anyone else been wondering what’s up with the extreme winter weather we’ve been experiencing in the northeast lately?  I’m seriously wondering if Disney ice princess Elsa isn’t up to her tricks again… The following article is the first in a three-part series on the movie Frozen as an illustration […]

The Way Back from Mental Illness: 6 Reasons Why You Should Tell Your Story of Hope and Recovery

what's your story

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Isak Dinesen Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms practiced by humans. Stories entertain and teach. They reflect on experience and create community. Stories about recovery also have the power to heal. What is a Story of Hope and Recovery? Recovery in […]

Help, Not Handcuffs: 8 Tips for Using Mental Health Crisis Services

handcuffs

  A few weeks ago I received a call from a distraught mother, concerned about her 43-year-old son with bipolar disorder. He was in the manic phase of his bipolar disorder and displaying worrisome behavior. The last time she called emergency services, the police tasered him in her home, arrested him and dragged him away in handcuffs. […]

Five Mental Health Resolutions for Families Affected by Mental Illness

fire works

  Most New Year’s Resolutions focus on self-improvement: lose weight, quit smoking, be more organized and exercise – all great goals for the coming year. But when it comes to mental health, your own gains can also be of benefit to others. In the spirit of improved living for everybody in the New Year, here are […]

Tis The Season: The Mental Health Benefits of Holiday Giving

holiday presents

Hanukkah started more than a week ago.  Kwanzaa is another two days away, the Prophet’s Birthday is even further off, today is Christmas Eve and I still have five more gifts to buy and three more charitable donations to make before I complete my holiday giving list (not to mention a blog post to write […]

When Parents Reach Their Limits: Recruiting Parent Supporters to Help Manage Children’s Mental Health Issues in the Home

mom and teen fight

As the holidays approach and cold weather sets in, my mind drifts back to an amazing gift my wife and I received from a friend in the middle of last summer.  I’ll call it the gift of parenting support. That may not sound like much, but to my wife and me, struggling to raise a […]

Trading Places: An Audio Simulation Sensitizes a Professional to Potential Challenges Faced by People Who Hear Voices

Laurel House Employment Specialist Elizabeth Fouracre, LMSW, writes this week about her experience with a training program that simulates the subjective experience of a person with schizophrenia hearing voices. CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper undergoes a comparable sensitivity exercise and afterwards describe in terms similar to Elizabeth’s how profoundly difficult and isolating this experience was for him. Watch […]

Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Family Coping Strategies at the Laurel House Family Seminar Series

oxygen mask

Last Thursday, families, friends and agency staff met at Laurel House to hear Licensed Clinical Social Worker Stephanie Raia speak on Family Coping Strategies in the fourth and final installment of the Family Seminar Series. Stephanie opened her talk with two great quotes: the Serenity Prayer, which many of us associate with Alcoholics Anonymous, and […]

Managing the Negative Emotions of a Mental Health Crisis in the Family: A View from Both Sides of the Firing Line

sad man hands over eyes

Last week I was speaking with a colleague in mental health about a recent psychiatric crisis with a member of my family.  We both agreed that in such situations, it’s important for families to have a trusted professional (or team of professionals) to turn to for help. My colleague stated that the crisis clinician’s job […]

Supportive Parenting for Childhood Anxiety: Working Together Helps Relieve the Stress of a Difficult Situation

Two weeks ago my wife and I attended a talk by Dr. Eli Lebowitz of the Yale Child Study Center, as part of Laurel House’s Family Seminar Series.  Dr. Lebowitz is an expert on childhood and adolescent anxiety, and co-founder of the Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) program. One of the most powerful […]

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner to Speak on Mental Health Symptoms and Medication: Next Up in the Laurel House Family Seminar Series

On October 16, 2014 in Stamford, Laurel House will present the third installment in its Family Seminar Series on the topic of Medication and Symptomology.  Carol Monroe, a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, will talk about the symptoms of some common mental health disorders and the medications that are typically prescribed for them, including […]

New Government Report on Patient Dumping: Why Hospital Emergency Rooms are Not the Best Places to Treat Mental Health Emergencies

ED ambulance no entry

The United States Commission on Civil Rights has just released its 2014 Statutory Enforcement Report on Patient Dumping, which focuses on the admission and discharge practices of hospitals treating people with psychiatric disabilities.  Buried in this report is the finding that “mental health emergencies present unique challenges that may not be suitable for traditional emergency […]

Yale Expert on Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety to Speak at Laurel House on Thursday: Eli Lebowitz, PhD, Next Up in Laurel House’s Family Seminar Series

This Thursday night in Stamford, CT, our affiliate organization Laurel House is hosting a talk on childhood and adolescent anxiety by Eli Lebowitz, PhD, of the Yale Child Study Center.  Dr. Lebowitz is co-author of the book “Treating Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety: A Guide for Caregivers” and originator of the Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions […]

Rehabilitation: The Awkward Third Wheel in Mental Health Care

bike wheel no bike

Building on last week’s post for National Recovery Month, I would like to draw your attention to an important yet frequently overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of mental health care: rehabilitation services.  Of the three basic components of public mental health systems – prevention, treatment and rehabilitation – rehabilitation is the one most closely linked to […]

Mental Health Recovery and the Unplanned Experiment of Untreated Mental Illness: Is Medication Necessary?

medication in bottle

Following up on Tuesday’s post on the meaning of recovery, here is an article by the noted psychiatrist and advocate E. Fuller Torrey that appeared in Psychiatric Times which questions whether people living with a severe mental illness are Better Off Without Antipsychotic Drugs?   Dr. Torrey acknowledges the many studies showing that 21-29% of patients […]

Two Paths in Mental Health Recovery: Reclaiming a Life of Meaning

Road To Recovery Sign

What does the term “recovery” mean for a young person diagnosed with a serious mental illness?  This website is intended as a resource to help families support the recovery of their loved ones with mental health conditions.  But is recovery a meaningful concept for someone diagnosed with schizophrenia? For many people, schizophrenia and other serious […]

Overload, Not Apathy: Breaking Goals into Smaller Steps to Overcome the Motivation Gap in Schizophrenia

building blocks

For the most part, the medications people take for schizophrenia treat only one symptom of the illness: the psychosis associated with delusions and hallucinations. Some of the most harmful effects of schizophrenia are the “negative symptoms” of flat affect, inability to take interest or pleasure in everyday life, lack of ability to begin and sustain […]

Avoiding the ‘Protection Trap’ in Children with Anxiety: Guidance and Support for Parents Raising Kids with Anxiety Disorders

Night Time Anxiety

A new study at Arizona State University shows that parents of children with anxiety disorders often fall into a “protection trap” that can perpetuate the problem: Parents of Anxious Children Can Avoid the ‘Protection Trap’ Parents may fall into the protection trap in three ways: responding to a scared child’s fears and worries with positive attention […]

Off to College: A Mental Health Checklist for Parents of First-Year Students

It’s mid-August and that time of year again.  Having just dropped off my first-born at college a mere ten days ago, the off-to-school drill for first-year students is fresh in mind: Tuition paid, insurance waiver and other paperwork filed New clothes, laptop, mini fridge, school supplies, etc Figure out transportation options while away at school […]

A Father’s Grief at the Loss of an Iconic Actor: In Memory of Robin Williams’ Gift to All of Us

robin williams - good will hunting

  Update: Much has changed since Robin Williams’ death in 2014. New information has been released regarding the circumstances of his reported suicide. There have also been changes in the family situation Jay describes in the post from August 13, 2014. For a happier, more positive continuation of this story, read Jay’s most recent post […]

Cognitive Remediation: A Mental Health Treatment that Really Works

puzzle pieces

It’s encouraging to see that someone has written about an important mental health treatment called “cognitive remediation” from the perspective of a family member: The Consequences of Mental Illness That Nobody Talks About   As this opinion piece makes clear, there is a growing body of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of cognitive remediation, a […]

Environmental Triggers and Early Intervention for Schizophrenia: A Real Life Story of Recovery

brain

Yesterday, a reader of my blog, asked a question in the comments section about environmental triggers in schizophrenia. The short answer I wrote in reply was “Trauma, stress, use of marijuana and other psychoactive substances are thought to be common triggers of psychotic symptoms.” I did a little poking around today and found this story […]

A Fine Line – The Link Between Creative Genius and Mental Illness

brain question mark

The American musician and comedian Oscar Levant may have been onto something when he said “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.  I have erased this line.”  Levant, who wrote the humorously titled Memoirs of an Amnesiac, may have been playing on an old cliché about madness and creativity, but he was not entirely joking […]

E-cigarettes Still A Risk for People Living With Mental Illness

sleeping boy

We have known for some time that people living with mental illness are much more likely to use tobacco products than those without mental illness.  It’s estimated that more than half the cigarettes purchased in the United Sates are consumed by people with mental illness.  Now, a recent article in Time magazine, The Weird Link Between […]

First Appointments: Choosing the Right Psychiatrist, Therapist, or Other Mental Health Professional

doctor and patient

Someone you love needs help.  Following the recommendation of a trusted friend, or website such as rtor.org, you have identified a qualified mental health professional and made a first appointment.  By all accounts, this person has the experience and skills to do the job.  But how do you know he will be a good fit […]

Where to turn in a mental health crisis?

older couple holding hands

You might think that twenty-five years of experience in the mental health profession would have prepared me for what to do when a mental health crisis strikes at home.  It didn’t. When a member of my own family needed urgent mental health care, I had little idea of where to turn for help.   The process […]