February is often thought of as the month of love. For those that do not have a significant other, it can bring about feelings of loneliness or isolation, but it does not have to be that way. A person can love in many ways.

Loving others and being loved by someone does not have to mean loving a significant other. Being loved feels good no matter who is showering you with that affection. Likewise, sharing love also feels good no matter towards whom your kindness is intended. This Valentine’s Day, try sharing your love with others in new ways. You will not only make someone else smile, but you just may improve your own mood and boost your mental health! 

renee-fisher-494610-unsplash.jpgLove a friend: Send a box of sunshine.

Friendships provide companionship and support, and help us develop positive social skills. Nourish your friendships this Valentine’s Day by celebrating those that are always there for you when you need them, those that make you smile, who understand you, and who ‘get’ you the most. You can always send a thank you note, a special card, or even a box of chocolates, but how about sending them a “box of sunshine?” A unique gift box or basket full of all things yellow – yellow nail...

Many of us take pride in being from Maryland; we like to think of our great state as the best place to get blue crabs and crab cakes, and as being the home of the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens. However, Maryland is also gaining a reputation for leading the nation in substance abuse, particularly opioid addiction, with Maryland having the 5th highest opioid overdose death rate in the country in 2017 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

First of all: what are opioids?

Opioids are substances that include prescription drugs such as oxycodone and morphine. The opioid category also includes heroin and fentanyl. All opioids can be deadly in overdose. The number of opioid related deaths in Maryland is rising dramatically. In 2017, deaths related to opioid related overdoses rose 70% compared to the previous year, totaling almost 1,800 lives claimed. The numbers continue to rise every year. 

Why do people use opioids?

Many people begin using opioids as prescription painkillers, but because these drugs are highly addictive, some continue using the medication improperly long after they are prescribed, and in larger doses. When prescriptions run out, some people switch to illegal opioids...

Self-harm. Cutting. Self-injury. These are words that you may not be familiar with or have even heard of. Hopefully you do not have any experience with them.  


Self-injury is any behavior that is done to intentionally hurt oneself. Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) specifically describes the act of causing physical pain to yourself or damage to your body without intending to die from the behavior. NSSI is frequently used as a coping mechanism during times of intolerable distress when an individual does not have other, healthier ways of coping. NSSI can take a number of different forms, such as cutting or burning one’s skin, scratching, picking at scabs, head-banging, swallowing objects, cutting off circulation to a digit. More information can be found here. 

When people do find out what these words are and what they mean, it is difficult for many people to understand why a person would engage in this behavior to intentionally hurt themselves, or how that can be a way to feel better. Yet, self-harm is actually a common behavior amongst teens and young adults. Studies show that 15-21% of teens and 17-38% of college students have engaged in NSSI. So for parents, these words can be...

The holiday season is well under way. As days quickly become packed with holiday gatherings, we talked with The Center for Eating Disorders expert Dr. Jennifer Moran about how you can be supportive of someone recovering from an eating disorder during the stressful holiday season.

What is the most important thing for a host, family member, or support person to know about eating disorder recovery during the holidays? 

One of the most challenging aspects of recovery from an eating disorder is that every major holiday and social function can feel like it is centered around food.

Typically, people in recovery are following a meal plan, which outlines when meals are supposed to be eaten and with a particular balance of foods. Sometimes at the holidays, meals take place at strange time or are served as a buffet instead of a sit-down meal. The types of foods that are served may not feel safe or may be something that the person is not sure how to incorporate into their recovery meal plan. This can all feel incredibly overwhelming and sometimes makes it difficult to stick with recovery goals.

The most important thing for people in a support role to understand is that this has great potential...

Mental Illness is complicated and there is still a lot we do not know about it. We do not know the exact cause, it is difficult to diagnose, and there is no cure. The same things can be said for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). My son Bryce is diagnosed with both mental illness and ASD. It is common for someone with autism to have co-occurring disorders. It is also common for someone with mental illness or ASD to be diagnosed with one condition and have their diagnoses change throughout their life. 

Bryce has received treatment since he was a young child. He has attended The Frost School, a nonpublic special education day school and part of the Sheppard Pratt Health System, since he was in the 4th grade. Although he will always live with mental illness and ASD, he learns to cope and manage his conditions, and with medication and treatment has made great progress.

Although Bryce is doing well, living with mental illness and ASD has its challenges. One of his symptoms includes perseverating and having difficulty with logic and reasoning. Right now, Bryce is obsessed with buying vintage video games, and gets upset and angry when he cannot get what he “needs.” A positive about this...

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