When thinking about being nicer to and less critical of ourselves, people often hear about and gravitate toward self-compassion. There are many books and online resources for building in more compassion for yourself (check out resources here, here, and here). Self-compassion, different than having higher self-esteem, is about being kind to ourselves, recognizing that our struggles are part of a part of a shared experience of being human, and being mindful. Self-validation is another way to be kind and move away from the strong self-criticism and hatred people can experience. It includes being compassionate to ourselves, and focuses on some other points as well; it helps us find more balance in life. In a nutshell, self-validation is about acknowledging and accepting ourselves, especially our feelings and thoughts, for what we are. An expert in self-validation, Alan Fruzetti, PhD, focuses his definition of self-validation on thinking what we think, feeling what we feel, and so on, with acceptance and without judgment or second guessing ourselves.

When we invalidate (or are invalidated by others), often our emotions end up getting stronger and more intense. Our thoughts tend to turn to a...

Depression doesn’t discriminate: it impacts about 14.8 million American adults each year. Five million of those are men.

Signs and Symptoms

The hallmark signs of depression are sadness and loss of interest in activities. But, did you know that depression can look very different in men and women?

Here are some of the signs to be on the lookout for in men:

  • Anger and aggression. Negative thoughts and feelings of worthlessness are a common aspect of depression. For many men, this can result in feeling irritable and angry, leading to lashing out.
  • Feeling reckless or ‘on edge.’ Depression can manifest as reckless behavior in men. This can include engaging in risky activity, or suddenly making questionable choices.
  • Unexplained physical aches and pains. Physical pain and digestive issues often go hand-in-hand with mental illness. If there isn’t a physical reason for symptoms, it’s time to take a look at what’s going on in terms of mental health.
  • Sleep problems. Both sleeping too much and sleeping too little are indicators that there may be a bigger issue like depression at stake.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family. It’s one thing to be staying at the office late for a...

alzheimers_blog_post.jpgJune is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and it seems fitting that it occur in the month that marks the longest day of the year. For the 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as their caregivers, each day is the longest day as they deal with the impact of this disease. And so often, they face that struggle alone.

We need to shed light on the awareness and impact of Alzheimer’s. While many tend to think of Alzheimer’s as an “old person’s disease,” there are approximately 200,000 people UNDER age 65 living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

So what can you do about it?  Educate yourself. Learn the facts about Alzheimer’s disease and what we know about preventing it. Ongoing research shows that lifestyle factors can have an impact on cognitive health. We all know that a healthy diet and regular physical exercise are good for our bodies, and it turns out our brain benefits too. Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help reduce your risk as well. Still smoking? Kicking the habit can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. If your exercise regimen includes biking (or rock climbing or skydiving), don’t forget the helmet...

All_2018_graduates.jpgDear graduates: 

This June, we have more than 65 graduates from nine schools; I am so very proud of each and every one of you. Congratulations to our incredible graduates from The Forbush School at Glyndon, The Forbush School at Glyndon - Hannah More, The Forbush School at Hunt Valley, The Forbush School at Oakmont Upper, The Forbush School at Prince George’s County, The Frost School, The Jefferson School and Residential Treatment Center, The Jefferson School at Finan, and The Berkeley and Eleanor Mann School and Residential Treatment Center.

Graduating high school means that you have all made it to the end of an incredible journey. A journey that was probably challenging in many different ways, but hopefully rewarding too.

Having the perseverance to make it to this phase in your life speaks volumes about the type of person you are, and the type of person you will become.

It means you sat and learned for countless hours in classrooms, maybe sometimes wondering why you had to learn algebra, or about the Constitution, or the periodic table of elements.

It means you had the courage to face issues that might have been holding you back at home, at school, or in the community.


suicide_help_hope.jpgAs I’ve written about before, just like a cold, suicide can be contagious. Youth suicide increases after a death in school settings and suicide rates often increase after looked-up-to public figures take their lives. As many people know, this week, both the very accomplished clothing and accessory designer, Kate Spade, and renowned chef and television star, Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide. Knowing that thoughts and emotions might get stirred up by this news,  I would like to remind everyone that people do overcome pain and suffering, and you can get help! If you need help right now, call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone anonymously.

If you’re concerned about someone you love or care about, here are a few of the warning signs and risk factors to help you know what to look out for:

  • Verbal or digital threats of suicide
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities, isolating oneself
  • Reckless behavior
  • Stressful life events like divorce or financial crisis

Here are more resources to learn about warning signs and risk factors:

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