valentines_day_blog.jpgValentine's Day is a particularly tricky and potentially painful holiday for singles because it has become so focused on romantic love, celebrating the glory of being coupled with another. February comes bursting with red hearts, candies, cards, flowers, teddy bears, name it, it's out there for purchase in celebration of February 14. This can leave those without partners feeling left out in the February cold, emphasizing their single status.

Below, you’ll find a few tips to enjoy Valentine’s Day, no matter your relationship status:

  1. If you are single or alone and dreading Valentine's Day, remind yourself that a joyful and satisfying life requires much more than a romantic partner by your side. Accepting this does not mean you don't want to find true love or that you like being single, but while you are unattached, focusing on the good people and relationships in your life NOW is key. Try to focus on who you have as opposed to who is lacking in your life. Feeling connected through authentic relationships of all types is the key to combating loneliness. This is true on Valentine's Day and every other day of the year. 
  2. Remember, Valentine's Day can be a celebration...

Split, the recently released horror movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan, adds to a long list of media depictions—Three Faces of Eve, Psycho, Dressed to Kill, United States of Tara, Shutter Island, and many others—where plots hinge on dramatic portrayals of “multiple personalities” that bear little resemblance to reality. Though meant to entertain, these portrayals increase stigma for individuals living with a serious mental health condition, dissociative identity disorder (DID). And with Split being the top movie at the box offices for three weeks running, this inaccurate portrayal and accompanying stigma is becoming increasingly widespread.

Whether or not you plan to see the movie, you should know that lurid fictional stories about DID harm those who actually suffer from the disorder. Split adds to the burden of stigma for people with DID, many of whom face fear, disbelief, and derision when others, influenced by media inaccuracies, learn of their condition.  

Unfortunately, like much of the public, many mental health professionals also learn what they know about DID from popular media. As movies like Split depict a cartoonish portrayal of DID,  misunderstandings about the...

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Tumblr. Pinterest. Swarm. YouTube. Yik Yak. Periscope. Reddit. And that’s just the beginning of the list. 

social_media_blog_option_2.jpgEvery day, it feels like a new social media site springs up and demands our attention. There’s pressure to be on all of these social networks. There’s pressure to showcase your “best you” (YOLO!) across all of these sites. And there’s pressure to get the most likes on that carefully-crafted selfie, to use the wittiest song lyrics for your caption, to add behind-the-scenes shots from the coolest party to your Snapchat story, and don’t get me started on the pressure to create the most clever hashtag. Seem like a lot? It is. 

Social media is #exhausting. And it can start to take a serious toll on your mental health:

  • We compare ourselves to others. When we post on social media, we’re presenting our “best selves” to the world, though that best self may not reflect reality. We all know that selfie with a full face of makeup captioned “Just woke up!” isn’t exactly how you looked when your alarm went off this morning, but how could you put a picture of yourself with bedhead and zit cream all over, when everyone else...

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, current smoking rates declined from 45% in 1954 to 15.1% in 2015. This is amazing progress after decades of tireless efforts, and is one of the few quality measures in which the U.S. now leads the world. It’s also a very important health outcome to track, because cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year.

While this is a wonderful accomplishment, unfortunately, it has not benefited people with mental illness equally, leading to one of the most significant health disparities of our time. In the US, people with mental illness consume more than 40% of all cigarettes smoked by adults: that’s almost 20 billion cigarettes annually. And, according to a 2013 CDC study, 36% of people with mental illness smoke cigarettes.

Smoking is one of the primary causes of premature death and is a significant determinant of morbidity and mortality among this population. And, it has been found that those with serious mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than those without serious mental illness, and this is often caused by...

resolutions_option_1.jpegI’ve made a New Year’s resolution every year. From “hit the gym more” to “stop slouching at my desk” to “avoid that bowl of peanut M&Ms in the office,” my resolutions have run the gamut. This year, I’ve resolved to be more mindful: be more mindful of what my body and mind need to function and feel good, and to be more mindful of how I use my time every day. This definitely isn’t a small resolution, and it’s going take a lot of dedication on my part to ensure that I’m actively making choices that are good for me.

I’ve always had a hard time sticking to my resolutions for more than a few weeks before I slide back into old habits, and I know I’m not the only one with that problem. So, I compiled a few tips that I’ve been putting into practice so far this year: 

  1. Make sure your resolution is specific. “Be more mindful” sounds like a great resolution, but it’s still pretty nebulous, right? Because of that, I’ve broken it down into smaller, more manageable action items. To be more mindful of my body and mind in order to feel good, I’m concentrating on eating whole foods and moving more. And, to be more mindful of how I use my time, I’m making daily...

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