Cassie Jewell has a Master's degree in counseling and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner (LSATP), and board-approved clinical supervisor in Virginia.
This is a list of 25 powerful quotes from the Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and head of the Tibet. These wise sayings can also be thought of as instructions for living. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a printable PDF of the quotes.
I’ve been on a self-love journey, which inspired me to start the bathroom affirmation project. Self-affirmations are a powerful tool for enhancing self-efficacy and self-compassion. They can also help improve resourcefulness, enhance the ability to solve problems, reduce stress, and even promote pro-social behaviors.
Public bathrooms are often decorated with graffiti proclaiming things like “Kelsey was here” or “TJ + MM = Love Forever.” I thought it might be refreshing to see positive affirmations instead of “Call for a good time.”
To avoid leaving permanent marks, I decided to print affirmations on cardstock paper to tape to the walls of bathroom stalls. My hope is that the bathroom affirmations will spread positivity and inspire women everywhere to love themselves.
Create Your Own Bathroom Affirmation Kit
You can easily create your own bathroom affirmation kit to help spread the love.
Make your own cards with handwritten affirmations, or download, print, and cut out the cards below:
Here are some additional quotes and ideas for affirmation cards:
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” -Ayn Rand
I am not my mistakes or my past.
“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” -Mae Jemison (American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut)
My life is full of potential.
“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Today, I will treat myself with kindness and compassion.
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” -Marilyn Monroe
I am writing my own story.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” -L. M. Montgomery (Author of Anne of Green Gables)
I believe in the person I am and the person I am becoming.
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Oprah Winfrey
I am the key to my own happiness.
“No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.” -Brene Brown
I am learning and growing every day.
“I am deeply grateful for all that I have, and all that I am.” -Louise Hay (American motivational author, professional speaker, and AIDS advocate)
You can also buy cards on Temu or Amazon. I like the Power Thought Cards: A 64 Card Deck by Louise Hay. (Disclaimer: The link below is an affiliate link and I receive a small commission from purchases.)
I keep my bathroom affirmation kit in my purse, so I always have it with me when I leave the house.
What are your thoughts on the bathroom affirmation project? I’d love to hear from you! And if you decide to create your own kit, I’d love to know more and/or see pics.
Albalooshi, S., Moeini-Jazani, M., Fennis, B. M., & Warlop, L. (2020). Reinstating the resourceful self: When and how self-affirmations improve executive performance of the powerless. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 46(2), 189–203. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167219853840
Dutcher, J. M., Eisenberger, N. I., Woo, H., Klein, W. M. P., Harris, P. R., Levine, J. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2020). Neural mechanisms of self-affirmation’s stress buffering effects. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15(10), 1086–1096. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa042
Lindsay, E. K., & Creswell, J. D. (2014). Helping the self help others: Self-affirmation increases self-compassion and pro-social behaviors. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 421. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00421
In this post, I’ll define and describe social anxiety, list its triggers and risk factors, and discuss treatment options as well as coping strategies for overcoming social anxiety disorder.
Anxiety’s Adventures in Social-land
With social anxiety, every social interaction is an adventure of sorts; you’re in “flight-or-fight” mode, prepped to face the danger that lies ahead… which is telling the waiter what you’ll have for dinner. Once again, your sneaky brain has tricked your body into preparing for a battle when you only need to answer the question, “Would you like fries with that?”
This article is written from both a professional and personal point of view, as I was extremely shy as a child and struggled with social anxiety in adolescence and as a young adult.
What Is Social Anxiety?
People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience a persistent fear of social situations in which they fear they’ll be scrutinized and humiliated. This fear leads to avoidance, impacting their ability to make friends, go to school, get a job, and be successful at work.
Examples of anxiety-provoking triggers include:
Walking into an unfamiliar place such as a gas station or store
Using a public bathroom when someone else is there
Being asked to self-introduce in front of a group
Entering a room full of people
Eating in public
Having to ask for directions or help
Speaking with an authority figure
Giving a presentation
Going on a date
Using public transportation
Being the center of attention
It convinces you that every situation will have a terrible outcome. It convinces you that everyone sees you in the worst light.
A distinguishing characteristic of social anxiety is that the anxiety response is disproportionate to the trigger or event. For example, while it’s normal to feel somewhat anxious before making a speech or meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time, it’s not normal to experience intense fear or distress.
The following are signs of social anxiety:
Avoiding eating and/or drinking in public
Avoiding using public restrooms
Limiting eye contact
Speaking in a soft or slow voice
Rigid body posture
Self-medicating with alcohol or other substances (e.g., drinking before a party to alleviate anxiety symptoms)
Diverting attention to others
Coming off as arrogant or aloof
Being highly controlling of the conversation
Hoarseness or vocal changes when speaking
Feeling restless or irritable
Presenting with extreme poise
Social anxiety is often misunderstood and underrecognized. SAD is different from simply preferring to avoid social events. People with social anxiety may enjoy social gatherings where they feel comfortable and safe, such as with close friends or family members. However, they may avoid other enjoyable social events due to their anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder can feel like being under a spotlight. The spotlight is uncomfortable and the person with SAD may go to great lengths to avoid it and not “get caught.” A person with social anxiety feels embarrassed about being embarrassed.
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Additionally, people with SAD may not seem anxious, even to those who know them well. This is because they have learned to hide their anxiety or disguise it as something else, such as disinterest or aloofness. They may become withdrawn or overcompensate for their anxiety by being overly talkative and dominating the conversation. They may seem the opposite of anxious, completely poised or arrogant even, having trained themselves to not appear anxious.
Who Is at Risk for Developing Social Anxiety?
In the United States, social anxiety disorder affects approximately 7% of the population, with higher rates in women and younger adults. Rates of SAD decrease with age.
The typical onset of social anxiety disorder is in childhood between the ages of 11 and 13. It often starts as shyness but can also develop in response to a significant humiliating event, such as being bullied or having an accident in public. Although less common, SAD can develop in adulthood, usually in response to stress or a major life change.
There are a number of risk factors that contribute to the development of SAD including:
Genetics: People with a family history of SAD or other anxiety disorders are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
Environmental factors: Parents who act anxious or nervous are modeling this for their children.
Personality: Children who tend to be nervous or shy in new situations as well as children who fear rejection or punishment are more likely to develop social anxiety. A tendency to experience negative emotions, poor self-concept, and introversion are also associated with SAD.
Perfectionism: There is an association between perfectionism and SAD. Some people with SAD attempt to hide their symptoms by presenting as perfectly as they can.
How Is Social Anxiety Treated?
Treatment interventions for social anxiety disorder include medication and psychotherapy.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are first-line pharmacological treatments for SAD. Another type of medication, beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol), can be prescribed to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety. They work by blocking adrenaline, which reduces a person’s heartrate and helps with tremors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are effective therapeutic approaches for managing SAD, especially when combined with medication.
Complementary treatment interventions include exercise and mindfulness-based interventions.
In-the-Moment Coping Strategies for Social Anxiety Disorder
If you have social anxiety, there are a number of in-the-moment coping strategies that can help you manage your anxiety. Here are a few examples:
Self-talk: Talk to yourself in a positive and reassuring way. Tell yourself that whatever you’re facing can’t hurt you. (And you won’t die from embarrassment.) You can also try repeating a mantra to yourself, such as “This is nothing I can’t handle” or “I’ve been through worse and survived” to get yourself through the situation.
Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes: When you feel embarrassed about something you said or did, remember that everyone makes mistakes or experiences social awkwardness from time to time. And don’t forget how quickly people forget. Hours or even minutes from now they’re not going to be thinking about you, so don’t dwell on it or let it ruin your day.
Learn to laugh at yourself: Laughing at yourself can help you to take yourself less seriously and to see the humor in the situation. This can help to reduce your anxiety by making you feel more relaxed.
Talk about it: Although it may seem counterproductive, some people find it helpful to purposely bring attention to their symptoms and/or condition. This takes the power away from your anxiety. For example, before a presentation lead with, “Bear with me, public speaking makes me anxious” or if you’re worried about blushing say, “I’m little anxious right now so I might blush.” You’ll find that most people are sympathetic.
Play the “so what” game: This is a helpful strategy for challenging your negative and/or distorted thoughts. When you’re feeling anxious, ask yourself, “So what?” What’s the worst that could happen? Once you’ve identified the worst-case scenario, you’ll realize that it’s not as bad as you thought it was.
“Dim” the spotlight: This is an avoidance strategy, not a long-term solution, but it can help you survive when you’re overwhelmed. Try to find ways to make yourself less noticeable. This could mean standing behind a podium, sitting instead of standing, or (literally) dimming the lights. You may actually build confidence this way to the point where you no longer need to make yourself less noticeable.
Bring a buddy: Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone with you for moral support. If you’re going to be in a social situation where you’re feeling anxious, have a friend or family member tag along. This can help you to feel more confident and less alone.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so experiment until you find what helps you the most.
To conclude, social anxiety disorder can be debilitating, but there are effective treatments for SAD as well as coping strategies for managing symptoms. You may have SAD, but that doesn’t mean you are SAD.
Be kind to yourself. Have self-compassion. Forgive yourself for mistakes and forgive your brain for betraying your body. You have social anxiety. So what? With time and effort, you can remake yourself and overcome.
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).
Evans, R., Chiu, K., Clark, D. M., Waite, P., & Leigh, E. (2021). Safety behaviours in social anxiety: An examination across adolescence. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 144, 103931. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2021.103931
Gilboa-Schechtman, E., & Shachar-Lavie, I. (2013). More than a face: a unified theoretical perspective on nonverbal social cue processing in social anxiety. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 904. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00904
Li, J., Cai, Z., Li, X., Du, R., Shi, Z., Hua, Q., Zhang, M., Zhu, C., Zhang, L., & Zhan, X. (2021). Mindfulness-based therapy versus cognitive behavioral therapy for people with anxiety symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis of random controlled trials. Annals of Palliative Medicine, 10(7), 7596–7612. https://doi.org/10.21037/apm-21-1212
National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK). Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment and Treatment. Leicester (UK): British Psychological Society (UK); 2013. (NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 159.) 6, INTERVENTIONS FOR ADULTS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK327654/
Pelissolo, A., Abou Kassm, S., & Delhay, L. (2019). Therapeutic strategies for social anxiety disorder: Where are we now? Expert Rev Neurother, 19(12), 1179-1189. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2019.1666713
Pittelkow, M. M., Aan Het Rot, M., Seidel, L. J., Feyel, N., & Roest, A. M. (2021). Social Anxiety and Empathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 78, 102357. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2021.102357
Stonerock, G. L., Hoffman, B. M., Smith, P. J., & Blumenthal, J. A. (2015). Exercise as treatment for anxiety: Systematic review and analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine : A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 49(4), 542–556. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-014-9685-9
Have you ever crossed a bridge and seen the sides covered in tiny padlocks? These little “lovelocks” are a global phenomenon, and they can be found on bridges in large cities all over the world. You can also find them on fences, sculptures, lampposts, etc. Nowadays, pretty much anything that will sustain a lock is fair game.
Some of the locks have initials, names, or hearts carved into them, and they are latched there by couples to symbolize their love and commitment to each other. Then, the key is thrown away to represent their unbreakable bond; a padlock that will remain locked forever.
The Lovelock Tradition
The tradition of lovelocks is thought to have originated in the early 1900s in Serbia, where an unfortunate young woman, Nada, lost her lover. He went to war in Greece and fell in love with another woman, leaving Nada to die of heartbreak. As a result, the women in the town started protecting their love by inscribing their names and the names of their loved ones on locks and fastening them to the bridge where Nada would meet with her lover. The tradition has since become a trend in countries all over the world.
One of the most famous lovelock destinations is located in Paris: the Pont des Arts bridge. The Parisian tradition started around 2008 shortly after it gained popularity in Italy, where it was made fashionable by the Italian film I Want You. Subsequently, 6 years later in 2014, part of the Pont des Arts collapsed under the weight of over 700,000 padlocks.
The damaged structure was rebuilt with glass panels, leaving no way to attach locks. City officials came up with other creative (non-damaging) ways for couples to express their devotion, such as taking selfies and posting them with the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks. Lovers still travel from all over to see the bridge and pledge their love to each other.
The idea of a lovelocked bridge in Paris is romantic. But when I was there going through a marital separation, I developed a distaste for the practice. The locks seemed like a superficial way to show love, and I couldn’t help but see them as a symbol of broken promises. I also thought about the weight of the locks, both figuratively and literally.
The “I Love You” Wall
I didn’t pay a visit to the Pont des Arts, but I visited the Wall of Love, also known as the “I Love You” Wall, which features the phrase in over 300 different languages. The wall is located in Paris’s Jehan-Rictus Square and was created by the artist Frédéric Baron. The “I Love You” Wall is where my cynical thinking started.
The area was crawling with street merchants selling lovelocks, their cries of “A lock for your love!” screeching in my ears.
Fed up with being hassled to buy a 20-euro lock (the sort a 10-year-old girl might use for protecting secrets in her diary), I imagined various scenarios in which I would respond to the next merchant with feigned earnestness: “Do I get a refund if he breaks up with me?” “Do you have divorce ones? And those would be half-priced, right?” “Will it work on a stranger, or do they have to already be in a relationship with me?” “Is there a limit on how many I can use at once?”
I would pick away at the symbolism and absurdity of the lovelock, all to entertain myself.
Love-mocks, Love-blocks, Love-shocks
Although truly, what happens when a “lovelocked” couple breaks up, a relationship ends, or a once-happy marriage falls apart? For example, does Mary “cheated-on-by-her-now-ex-husband” Smith think about their traitorous lovelock somewhere out there, once a metaphor for love, now symbolic of what could have been or perhaps just a symbol of grief? The lovelock tradition is seen as a romantic gesture, but for some, the lovelock becomes a reminder of a lost love, a source of pain or sadness.
And how many of the lovelocks out there are representative not of love but failed relationships, abusive partnerships, or broken hearts? The stats aren’t great. More than 85% of dating relationships lead to breakups and most daters feel like their dating lives aren’t going well or that it’s hard to find people to date. The average length of a relationship is less than 3 years. The average marriage lasts approximately 8 years, and nearly half of first marriages end in divorce with even higher divorce rates for second and third marriages.
So really, how many of those locks represent love? It’s not romantic; it’s tragic.
And then, think about all the lovelocks that were removed to prevent structural damage, as was the fate of hundreds of padlocks at Pont des Arts. Or, what if your lock was one of the padlocks that led to structural collapse. What does that symbolize? That love is a destructive force or one that isn’t meant to last?
Finally, I thought about the dark side of the “forever locked” concept. By throwing away the key, couples are essentially locking themselves into the relationship. This could be a dangerous thing, as people and relationships change over time. Should love be viewed in such finite terms?
Love is not a lock. In fact, there’s nothing less romantic than thinking about a relationship as a prison. True love is given freely, no strings (or locks) attached, and it’s not binding. Not only that, but the lock concept limits the potential of love by viewing it as an object. Love is not a thing, but an experience that is shared. It can’t be forced or coerced; it’s something we choose.
This is when the realization came that a lovelock may still have a beautiful purpose, for while some loves are temporary, there is a type of love that should be the “forever” sort. Self-love should be protected and nurtured at all costs. No matter what happens in life, as long as you’re living, it’s worth investing in yourself. Besides that, self-love is the foundation of all other relationships.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
After my epiphany, I was inspired to remake the lovelock concept in a way that would promote self-love. Here are five fun and creative ways you can embrace self-love with a lovelock:
1. Keep the key
Buy a lock and decorate it with your own personal touch or have it engraved to your liking. When you travel to a meaningful place, attach your lock to something that will last, perhaps a landmark or a bridge. But keep the key.
The key is a symbol of your power. It’s a reminder that you hold the key to your happiness and fate. You can choose to dwell on your mistakes or to forgive yourself, learn, and move forward. It’s up to you.
The key is a symbol of your worth. The key can also remind you that no one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. You hold the key to your sense of self and your self-worth. Keep the key close, wear it as a necklace, or put it somewhere safe as a daily reminder that you are in control of your life. Let it remind you that you are worthy of love and respect.
2. Keep the lock too
Another option is to keep both lock and key. This is a more sustainable way to participate in a self-lovelock tradition, and it has a deeper symbolic meaning.
The lock represents your self-love, while the key represents your commitment to it. By keeping both, you are reminding yourself that you are worthy of love and that you are committed to loving yourself unconditionally.
Once again, you can wear as jewelry or keep in a safe place that you can see as a daily reminder. Let it remind you of your commitment to self-love and of the importance of loving yourself first.
3. Create your own self-love tradition
Find a special place that you can visit regularly to reaffirm your commitment to self-care. Perhaps it’s somewhere in nature, a place that brings you peace, a spot that holds fond memories, or even a place you’ve created specifically for this purpose.
Once a year, attach a new lock to this place as a symbol of your ongoing journey of self-love. You can do this alone or with a loved one, as long as the experience is meaningful to you.
Be sure to choose a place that is likely to remain accessible to you for years to come. This way, you can return to whenever you need a reminder of your commitment to self-care.
4. Give lovelocks freely
When you practice self-compassion, you’re better prepared to meet the challenges of life, knowing that you can count on yourself. Your capacity to love others actually increases. By choosing to love yourself unconditionally, you’ll have more compassion for those around you.
Lovelocks are symbols of self-love. When you see someone who is struggling, offer them a lovelock as a gesture of kindness and support. Share about the concept of a self-lovelock and how it can serve as a daily reminder to slow down, attend to needs, and practice self-compassion. Let them know that they are not alone.
5. Share the self-love message with others
Leave a self-lovelock on a bridge or other structure where lovelocks are common. This is a great way to spread the message of self-love and to inspire others to embrace their own worth.
Personalize your lock with a message about self-love. You can write or engrave your lock with a quote, a mantra, or simply the words “self-love.”
Leave the key in the lock or even leave an extra lock so that others can take it if they need it. This is kind gesture showing that you are willing to share your love with others.
Your self-lovelock will be a reminder to others that they are worthy of love and happiness. It will serve as an inspiration to all who see it.
To close, I’m not actually against the idea of lovelocks. They can be a fun and cute gesture, but they are ultimately just that: a gesture. They can be easily broken or lost and they’re not a guarentee of love or committment.
I believe that the self-lovelock is different; it’s a powerful symbol of self-compassion and healing. It is a reminder that you are worthy of love, and it can be a source of motivation when we are struggling.
I think there should be a Wall of Self-Love. This would be a place of inspiration where people could share their self-affirmations, messages of support, and mantras that have helped them through tough times. It would serve as a powerful reminder that it is not selfish to care for yourself, and that you should be proud to share this message with others.
This is the first in a series called “Mental Illness in Music,” in which I will explore human emotion and mental disorders through song lyrics. In this piece, I reveal “the saddest song of all time,” a lyrical representation of sadness, heartbreak, and depression.
Throughout history, humans have used music to portray emotions. The tempo, rhythm, melody, and harmony of a musical piece can all be used to create a certain emotional mood. However, this post focuses on lyrics, which can evoke powerful emotional responses. Lyrics can stir up strong emotions, form a bond between strangers, transport us to a different place, or they can trigger personal memories or associations.
The “saddest song of all time” is a compilation of lyrics from different songs, spanning the decades from 1950 to 2000. I removed slang and edited the lyrics to be in first-person tense, so that the song would be a personal reflection on pain, rather than a description of the pain of others. The result is a haunting and emotionally raw composition that captures the pain of heartbreak, loss, and loneliness, i.e., the saddest song of all time.
Trigger warning: This post contains references to suicide and may be triggering for some people. If you are feeling suicidal or thinking about harming yourself, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. You can find additional resources for suicide prevention and recovery here on this site. You are not alone.
Mental Illness in Music Series (Part 1): The Saddest Song of All Time
Hello, darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again
I have nothing here to sell you Just some things that I will tell you Some things I know will chill you to the bone
I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees And misty memories of days gone by But we could never see tomorrow… No one told us about the sorrow
The grass in the valley is starting to die And out in the darkness the whippoorwills cry
I can’t spell away this hurt That’s dripping down my cheek
My pouring tears Are running wild
All I hear is the sound of rain falling on the ground I sit and watch as tears go by
It’s plain to see The sun won’t shine today But [I’m not] in the mood For sunshine anyway
Now the clouds have covered o’er And the wind is blowing cold I don’t need anybody Because I learned to be alone.
I can’t remember anything Can’t tell if this is true or dream Deep down inside I feel the scream This terrible silence stops me
Words like violence Break the silence Come crashing in… Painful to me Pierce right through me
I’m not half the man I used to be There’s a shadow hanging over me Oh, yesterday came suddenly
You remember the faces, the places, the names You know it’s never over, it’s relentless as the rain
In the town of broken dreams The streets are filled with regret
I’ve only sad stories to tell this town My dreams have withered and died
Now those memories come back to haunt me They haunt me like a curse Is a dream a lie if it [doesn’t] come true Or is it something worse?
I fall to pieces Time only adds to the flame
And goodnight to the street sweepers The night watchmen flame keepers
That hollow place where martyrs weep And angels play with sin.
So, you think you can tell Heaven from Hell Blue skies from pain?
I don’t build up illusion till it makes me sick [I’m not] afraid of confusion, no matter how thick
Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore?
And the sunlight shining through the crack in the window pane Numbs my brain, oh Lord
Life is but a memory Happened long ago Theatre full of sadness For a long forgotten show
Time has a way of taking time Loneliness is not only felt by fools Alone, I call to ease the pain,
“Hello emptiness, I feel like I could die”
Emptiness Is a place you’re in With nothing to lose But no more to win
Emptiness is filling me to the point of agony Growing darkness taking dawn I was me, but now he’s gone
No, I can’t forget tomorrow When I think of all my sorrow
I look inside myself and see my heart is black I see my red door, I must have it painted black
Accidentally like a martyr The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder.
[I’ve] used up all [my] coupons except the one… Written on [my] wrist Along with several thousand dreams
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought And I [don’t have] the power anymore
I’m so hard to handle I’m selfish and I’m sad
I’m beat, I’m torn Shattered and tossed and worn
I could live a little better with the myths and the lies When the darkness broke in I just broke down and cried
I wear this crown of shit Upon my liar’s chair Full of broken thoughts I cannot repair
No one knows what it’s like To be hated To be fated to telling only lies
And there’s a taste in my mouth As desperation takes hold
Above me a bird slowly crawls across the sky Why is there nothing now to do but die?
I tried and failed and I’m tired and weary Everything I ever [did] was wrong And I feel like going home
I was shivering inside… I was swallowing my pain
I said, Mother I’m frightened The thunder and the lightning I’ll never come through this alone
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Ice frozen six feet deep How long does it take?
Now in darkness, world stops turning.
The Saddest Song of All Time Song List
The Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel (1964) | Songwriter(s): Paul Simon
Hello, darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
The Grand Tour - George Jones (1975) | Songwriter(s): Norro Wilson, Carmol Taylor, & George Richey
I have nothing here to sell you
Just some things that I will tell you
Some things I know will chill you to the bone
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart - Al Green (1972) | Songwriter(s): Barry & Robin Gibb
I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
But we could never see tomorrow…
No one told us about the sorrow
Alone and Forsaken - Hank Williams (1952) | Songwriter(s): Hank Williams
The grass in the valley is starting to die
And out in the darkness the whippoorwills cry
D.I.V.O.R.C.E. - Tammy Wynette (1968) | Songwriter(s): Bobby Braddock & Curly Putman
I can't spell away this hurt
That's dripping down my cheek
Drown in My Own Tears - Ray Charles (1957) | Songwriter(s): Henry Glover
My pouring tears
Are running wild
As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones (1965) | Songwriter(s): Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, & Andrew Loog Oldham
All I hear is the sound of rain falling on the ground
I sit and watch as tears go by
Kathleen - Townes Van Zandt (1969) | Songwriter(s): Townes Van Zandt
It's plain to see
The sun won't shine today
But [I’m not] in the mood
For sunshine anyway
Anywhere I Lay My Head - Tom Waits (1985) | Songwriter(s): Tom Waits
Now the clouds have covered o'er
And the wind is blowing cold
I don't need anybody
Because I learned to be alone.
One - Metallica (1988) | Songwriter(s): James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich
I can't remember anything
Can't tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel the scream
This terrible silence stops me
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode (1990) | Songwriter(s): Martin Gore
Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in...
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Yesterday - The Beatles (1965) | Songwriter(s): John Lennon & Paul McCartney
I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
Oh, yesterday came suddenly
Adam Raised a Cain - Bruce Springsteen (1986) | Songwriter(s): Bruce Springsteen
You remember the faces, the places, the names
You know it's never over, it's relentless as the rain
Lonesome Town - Ricky Nelson (1959) | Songwriter(s): Baker Knight
In the town of broken dreams
The streets are filled with regret
Withered and Died - Richard & Linda Thompson (1974) | Songwriter(s): Richard Thompson
I've only sad stories to tell this town
My dreams have withered and died
The River - Bruce Springsteen (1980) | Songwriter(s): Bruce Springsteen
Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it [doesn’t] come true
Or is it something worse?
I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline (1961) | Songwriter(s): Hank Cochran & Harlan Howard
I fall to pieces
Time only adds to the flame
Tom Traubert’s Blues - Tom Waits (1976) | Songwriter(s): Tom Waits
And goodnight to the street sweepers
The night watchmen flame keepers
Dirge - Bob Dylan (1974) | Songwriter(s): Bob Dylan
That hollow place where martyrs weep
And angels play with sin.
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd (1975) | Songwriter(s): David Gilmour & Roger Waters
So, you think you can tell Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain?
Most of the Time - Bob Dylan (1989) | Songwriter(s): Bob Dylan
I don’t build up illusion till it makes me sick
[I’m not] afraid of confusion no matter how thick
The End of the World - Skeeter Davis (1962) | Songwriter(s): Arthur Kent & Sylvia Dee
Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
T.B. Sheets - Van Morrison (1967) | Songwriter(s): Van Morrison
And the sunlight shining through the crack in the window pane
Numbs my brain, oh Lord
Fruit Tree - Nick Drake (1969) | Songwriter(s): Nick Drake
Life is but a memory Happened long ago
Theatre full of sadness
For a long forgotten show
In My Darkest Hour - Megadeath (1988) | Songwriter(s): Dave Mustaine & David Ellefson
Time has a way of taking time
Loneliness is not only felt by fools
Alone, I call to ease the pain,
Bye-Bye Love - The Everly Brothers (1958) | Songwriter(s): Felice & Boudleaux Bryant
“Hello emptiness, I feel like I could die”
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore - The Walker Brothers (1966) | Songwriter(s): Bob Crewe & Bob Gaudio
Is a place you're in
With nothing to lose
But no more to win
Fade to Black - Metallica (1984) | Songwriter(s): Cliff Burton, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, & Kirk Hammett
Emptiness is filling me to the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone
Without You - Harry Nilsson (1971) | Songwriter(s): Pete Ham & Tom Evans
No, I can't forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrow
Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones (1966) | Songwriter(s): Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door, I must have it painted black
Accidentally Like a Martyr - Warren Zevon (1978) | Songwriter(s): Warren Zevon
Accidentally like a martyr
The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder.
Dress Rehearsal Rag - Leonard Cohen (1971) | Songwriter(s): Leonard Cohen
[I’ve] used up all [my] coupons except the one…
Written on [my] wrist
Along with several thousand dreams
Quicksand - David Bowie (1971) | Songwriter(s): David Bowie
I'm sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I [don’t have] the power anymore
River - Joni Mitchell (1971) | Songwriter(s): Joni Mitchell
I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Trouble - Cat Stevens (1970) | Songwriter(s): Cat Stevens
I'm beat, I'm torn
Shattered and tossed and worn
She’s Lost Control - Joy Division (1979) | Songwriter(s): Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, & Ian Curtis
I could live a little better with the myths and the lies
When the darkness broke in
I just broke down and cried
Hurt - Nine Inch Nails (1994) | Songwriter(s): Trent Reznor
I wear this crown of shit
Upon my liar's chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Behind Blue Eyes - The Who (1971) | Songwriter(s): Pete Townshend
No one knows what it's like
To be hated
To be fated to telling only lies
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division (1980) | Songwriter(s): Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, & Bernard Sumner
And there's a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
The Shortest Story - Harry Chapin (1976) | Songwriter(s): Harry Chapin
Above me a bird slowly crawls across the sky
Why is there nothing now to do but die?
I Feel Like Going Home - Charlie Rich (1960) | Songwriter(s): Charlie Rich
I tried and failed and I'm tired and weary
Everything I ever [did] was wrong
And I feel like going home
Jealous Guy - John Lennon (1971) | Songwriter(s): John Lennon
I was shivering inside…
I was swallowing my pain
Night Comes On - Leonard Cohen (1984) | Songwriter(s): Leonard Cohen
I said, Mother I'm frightened
The thunder and the lightning
I'll never come through this alone I Know It’s Over - The Smiths (1986) | Songwriter(s): Morrissey & Johnny Marr
Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head
Borrowed Tune - Neil Young (1975) | Songwriter(s): Neil Young
Ice frozen six feet deep
How long does it take?
War Pigs - Black Sabbath (1970) | Songwriter(s): Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, & Bill Ward
Now in darkness, world stops turning.
Do you have a lyric that you think would be perfect for the series Mental Illness in Music? If so, please submit your lyric using the Contact form by October 1, 2023.
Gabrielsson, A., & Juslin, P. N. (2003). Emotions in music. In P. N. Juslin & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications (pp. 59-92). Oxford University Press.
Juslin, P. N., & Laukka, L. (2003). Expression and communication of emotions in music. In P. N. Juslin & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications (pp. 73-104). Oxford University Press.
Krumhansl, C. L. (2002). Music and emotion: Theory and research. Annual Review of Psychology, 53(1), 625-660.
This is a list of quotes about addiction, suffering, and hope that spoke to me – as an addictions professional – as well as on a human level.
These quotes about addiction are raw and relatable, with perhaps my favorites being from the memoir Drinking: A Love Story, in which the author, Caroline Knapp, bares her soul so compellingly that she becomes a kindred spirit in her vulnerability. Carrie Fisher also has a way with words, frank and darkly witty on the topic of addiction.
Read on for quotes about addiction from famous actors, singers, writers, sex workers, and more.
Quotes about addiction: on why people become addicted…
“And then I realized I was high. I loved the sensation. It felt like medicine to soothe the soul and awaken the senses. There was nothing awkward or scary – I didn’t feel like I had lost control – in fact, I felt like I was in control.”
Anthony Kiedis (Founder & Lead Vocalist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
“Drugs don’t really fix anything, except for everything.”
— Ashly Lorenzana (American Sex Worker, Freelance Writer, & Writer of the Memoir Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort)
“The priority of any addict is to anaesthetize the pain of living to ease the passage of day with some purchased relief.”
Russell Brand (English Comedian, Actor, & Author of My Booky Wook)
“To a drinker the sensation is real and pure and akin to something spiritual: you seek; in the bottle, you find.”
Caroline Knapp (American Writer & Author of Drinking: A Love Story)
On what it’s like having an addiction…
“It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
Edgar Allan Poe (American Writer, Poet, & Literary Critic)
“The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.”
Gabor Maté (Canadian Physician & Author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
“Imagine trying to live without air. Now imagine something worse.”
Amy Reed (American Author)
“Drugs are a sort of dusk that grant us the illusion that we’re the ones who decide when the light goes out, but that power never belongs to us. The darkness takes us whenever it likes.”
Fredrik Backman (Swedish Author, Blogger, & Columnist)
“If you have a need to be comfortable all the time—well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic.”
— Carrie Fisher (American Actress & Writer)
“If you’re one of us, the bottle takes your shit, that’s all. First a little, then a lot, then everything.”
Stephen King (Best-selling American Author, the “King of Horror”)
“I drank when I was happy and I drank when I was anxious and I drank when I was bored and I drank when I was depressed, which was often.”
“I’ve been asleep and I don’t know if it’s the same day or week or year, but who the hell cares anyway?”
I’m a little late in publishing Mental Health in 2022; I’d planned on posting at the start of 2023, but then… life happened. Anyway, I think it’s worth the wait, and I hope you enjoy this article as part of an ongoing post series that highlights the major findings and stories in mental health each year.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 40% of adults reported symptoms of depression and/or anxiety in 2022. Younger adults, as well as racial minorities, LGBTQ individuals, and persons with disabilities were disproportionally impacted, consistently reporting higher rates. In comparison, only 11% of adults reported experiencing anxiety or depression in 2019.
What are Americans the most stressed about? 64% are worried about personal finances, 55% are concerned about uncertainty in 2023, 49% are worried about their physical health, and 41% are worried about their mental health. Other major stressors include relationships, job security, and traveling.
What word would you use to describe the state of America in 2022? What about your own state of mind this past year?
Mental Health in 2022: A Few Stats
The latest stats from Mental Health America indicate that the most “unwell” states, ranking high in rates of mental illness/substance use and low in access to treatment services, are (with Kansas being the most “unwell” state in the U.S.):
The most “well” states, ranking low in rates of mental/substance use disorders and high in access to care, are (with Wisconsin being the “wellest” state in the U.S.):
A WalletHub study examined additional wellness factors, such as physical health, work, community, and environment to rank states on overall happiness.
The bottom 5 ranking states for happiness (with West Virginia being the unhappiest state in America):
⬇️ West Virginia 😞
The top 5 ranking states for happiness (with Hawaii being the happiest state in America):
5️⃣ New Jersey
1️⃣ Hawaii 😀
What state do you live in? Do you consider your state a happy place to live?
An article published in The Hill informs that New York will establish public health vending machines (PHVMs) throughout the city that will dispense sterile syringes, naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal drug), and other medical supplies as a harm reduction method to combat the opioid epidemic.
Researchers find racially discriminating language in electronic health charts by analyzing medical documentation from January 2019 to October 2020. “Compared with White patients, Black patients had 2.54 times the odds of having at least one negative descriptor in the history and physical notes.” Stigmatizing language persists, even in medical and professional communities; these biases contribute to systemic racism in America.
A study suggests that medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder reduces recidivism in individuals who are incarcerated. These findings highlight the need for treatment (versus punishment) as a more effective method for reducing crime.
February 1, 2022
Researchers discover a novel treatment that may play a major role in the treatment of alcoholism. The study, published in Cell Metabolism, illustrates how a liver-to-brain circuit is interrupted to significantly reduce alcohol consumption.
February 2, 2022
A third of Americans say social media does more harm than good to their mental health, and nearly half say that social media has hurt society at large, according to a national poll.
Psilocybin, the psychoactive property in magic mushrooms, continues to show promise as a treatment for depression. A study looked at efficacy and safety over a 12-month period and found that not only were the antidepressant benefits long-lasting, there were no adverse reactions or consequences to psilocybin-assisted therapy.
February 24, 2022
The president of the American Psychological Association releases a statement condemning Texas governor for calling on members of the public as well as licensed professionals to report parents of transgender minors. He calls the directive “ill-conceived” and asserts that it will put high-risk children at an even higher risk.
“We are gravely concerned about the immediate and long-term trauma and psychological impacts on people of all ages, families, communities, and the environment. We deplore the human cost of such aggression, including violations of human rights, adverse humanitarian consequences, deep psychological distress, and the loss of dignity and freedom. We stand in solidarity with all who are raising their voices and working tirelessly to protect and safeguard human life.”
“The American Psychiatric Association sends our support to all who are experiencing pain and suffering from these deeply troubling events, including those directly exposed to armed conflict, those displaced from their homes and country, those providing care and protection to civilians, friends and family of Ukrainian citizens, and the Ukrainian diaspora around the globe.”
In a news release, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) asserts that non-suicidal self-injury shares commonalities with addiction, including craving, tolerance, escalating severity, getting “clean,” “relapsing,” and being in “recovery.” Researchers came to this conclusion based on an extensive analysis of posts and comments on a Reddit self-harm forum. More research in this area is needed to explore self-injury as a behavioral addiction.
The CDC publishes a press release illustrating the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents’ mental wellbeing. Over a third (37%) of highschoolers reported poor mental health during the pandemic, and nearly one third reported current substance use. Over half (55%) experienced emotional abuse. Over a third (36%) of teens of all races reported experiencing racism, with the highest rates among Asian (64%), Black (55%), and multiracial (55%) students. What’s more, prior data suggests that the worsening mental health of teens is a trend.
April 1, 2022
The House passes a bill (first introduced May of 2021) decriminalizing marijuana. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and “eliminate criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.”
Asian (21%), Hispanic (14%), and Black (32%) Americans are more likely to worry about being threatened or attacked than White Americans (4%), according to the Pew Research Center.
May 9, 2022
Research published by the American Psychological Association reveals, “People around the world experienced an increase in loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, which, although small, could have implications for people’s long-term mental and physical health, longevity and well-being.”
May 15, 2022
After SNL spoofs the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial, sex and culture critic Ella Dawsontweets, “Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke. Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.” The trial was widely followed, and the social media response was generally sympathetic towards Depp while critical of Heard, who had multiple emotional outbursts in the courtroom.
“Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke. Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.”
May 16, 2022
The president of the American Psychological Association releases a statement in response to a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, calling it a horrific hate crime, and asserting that the APA stands against racism and hate in all forms.
“We implore our elected officials to act on meaningful, common-sense measures and begin to heal the divisions that have prevented progress in this area of public health for far too long. This senseless loss of life must end, and as a nation, we should expect action from federal and state legislative and executive leaders. Our children and communities deserve better.”
June 1, 2022
In Depp vs. Heard, Amber Heard was found liable for defamation, the jury ruling her accusations of “sexual violence” and “domestic abuse” false. In a statement, Amber told the New York Post, “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband.”
“I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
June 6, 2022
Apple announces a new Safety Check feature for iOS 16, aimed at individuals in abusive relationships. The feature provides users with an enhanced ability to control their communications and privacy.
Research indicates that fewer youth attempt suicide in states with hate crime laws protecting LGBTQ individuals. This is true for both highschoolers who identify as LGBTQ as well as those who identify as straight.
June 24, 2022
The Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade. The ramifications of this are varied and far-reaching; one prediction is that there will be a significant increase in maternal mortality. Additionally, according to The Turnaway Study (University of California San Francisco), researchers found that being denied an abortion was linked to serious health and wellbeing consequences, including an increased risk of poverty, a greater likelihood of staying in an abusive partnership, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, decreased motivation for life goals, poorer physical health, and serious implications for both the unwanted child as well as existing children in the family.
June 24, 2022
Biden signs into law federal gun safety legislation. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938) includes several gun violence prevention provisions in addition to improving access to mental health care. Notably, it closes the “boyfriend loop,” banning anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence crime against someone they have a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” from having a gun.
The findings of a JAMA Open Networkstudy indicate that young adolescents who experience cyberbullying are more likely to report suicidal thoughts and/or attempt suicide, even more so than students who are victims of “traditional” (offline) bullying.
June 28, 2022
Americans have complex views surrounding gender identity and transgender issues, according to a Pew Research Report. While a majority of Americans (64%) believe transgender individuals should be protected from discrimination, only 38% believe gender identity can be different from sex assigned at birth. What’s more, approximately 40% of Americans expressed that society has gone “too far” in accepting transgender individuals. Many Americans feel uncomfortable with nonbinary concepts of gender as well as the fast pace of change surrounding gender issues in society.
“The issue is so new to me I can’t keep up. I don’t know what to think about all of this new information. I’m baffled by so many changes.”
Pew Research Survey Responder on Gender Identity and Transgender Issues
July 1, 2022
A largescale retrospective study indicates that medical cannabis use is associated with significant and lasting improvements in individuals with depression and anxiety. Previous research in this area has yielded mixed results; the implications of such a largescale study provide evidence to support cannabis as an effective treatment for depression/anxiety in some individuals.
July 6, 2022
According to a Pew Research Report, 62% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. 57% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade while only 41% approve.
July 16, 2022
The 988-suicide lifeline is launched. This new, nationwide easy-to-remember phone number helps Americans in crisis connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors as an alternative to dialing 911.
July 20, 2022
Researchers discover a neurotransmitter responsible for assigning either positive or negative emotions to events. By targeting this molecule, PTSD and related disorders may be treated more effectively.
August 4, 2022
The American Psychological Association adopts the Racial Equity Action Plan “to utilize racial equity as a critical lens to drive APA’s strategic priorities and measure the magnitude of APA’s impact.” This follows their formal apology issued October of 2021 for their role in and contributions to systemic racism.
August 11, 2022
The American Psychiatric Association reports that most Americans believe mental health programming is needed in schools, including education, staff training, and connecting students to providers. Parents’ top three concerns for K-12 students are gun violence, mental health, and cyberbullying/social media.
The American Psychological Association calls upon U.S. courts to ban the death penalty for anyone younger than 21, citing scientific research that shows adolescents’ brains continue to develop in their early 20’s.
August 24, 2022
According to a study published in Health Communication, individuals who obsessively check the news are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, as well as poor physical health.
September 1, 2022
According to a Pew Research Report, “Americans’ ratings of the Supreme Court are now as negative as – and more politically polarized than – at any point in more than three decades of polling on the nation’s highest court.” Positive ratings fell sharply after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in June.
“Americans’ ratings of the Supreme Court are now as negative as – and more politically polarized than – at any point in more than three decades of polling on the nation’s highest court.”
Pew Research Center
September 20, 2022
A National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) news release outlines a promising treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Researchers found that spironolactone, a medication prescribed for heart and blood pressure problems, significantly reduced alcohol consumption. Currently, there are only three approved medications for AUD; new pharmacological treatments are needed to improve outcomes.
September 21, 2022
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) releases the NIDA 2022-2026 Strategic Plan for advancing scientific research and educating federal agencies; state and local health, education, and human services; and the legal system, as well as policymakers on addiction.
September 23, 2022
The FDA clears a new protocol, named the Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT), for fast and effective treatment of depression. In clinical trials, participants experienced relief after only 5 treatments.
September 28, 2022
A large-scale observational study published in JAMA Psychiatry confirms a link between folic acid and reduced rates of suicide attempts and self-harm, implicating the B vitamin as a potential tool for suicide prevention.
October 6, 2022
An American Psychiatric Association poll finds that 79% of Americans believe mental health is a public health emergency and warrants more attention from lawmakers.
October 10, 2022
A study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that 4 in 10 Americans surveyed were dishonest about having COVID-19 and/or didn’t comply with preventive measures during the height of the pandemic. Most commonly, survey participants reported misrepresenting their COVID-19 status, breaking quarantine rules, telling others they were taking more precautions than they actually were, and saying they were vaccinated when they weren’t.
October 17, 2022
In an American Psychiatric Association national poll, only 1 in 5 Americans believe individuals who are incarcerated receive the mental health care they need. What’s more, 75% of Americans believe mental health treatment should be available in prisons and jails. (Note: It’s estimated that nearly half of persons who are incarcerated have a mental disorder.)
October 19, 2022
Homicide is found to be a leading cause of death in pregnant women and in women who had recently given birth. Most of these deaths were associated with the lethal combination of domestic abuse and firearm violence.
October 19, 2022
An American Psychological Association nationwide poll reveals that 27% of Americans are stressed to the point where they can barely function. The top stressors were inflation, violence/crime, the current political climate, and the racial climate. What’s more, 76% of Americans reported having a stress-related health issue.
Antisemitic Campaign Slogan Inspired by Kanye “Ye” West’s Comments
October 26, 2022
A promising study published in Pharmaceutics validates a highly effective vaccine for fentanyl use disorder. This groundbreaking vaccine essentially blocks fentanyl from entering the brain, eliminating the drug’s euphoric (and lethal) effects. Once approved by the FDA, the vaccine will be tested in human subjects in clinical trials.
October 27, 2022
In the largest ever analysis conducted on mass school shootings, researchers find that of the nearly 100 mass killings examined, the shooter/killer did not have a severe mental illness. In academic settings, most mass killings were U.S.-based and involved firearms. Perpetrators were primarily white males. In the mass killings where psychosis was a factor, the killer most often used a weapon other than a firearm. Nearly half of the killers died by suicide. This analysis lends to a body of research that will help policymakers and law enforcement officials better identify risk factors and prevent mass shootings from occurring. This research also supports the American Psychiatric Association’s stance on violence and mental health.
“It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators thereof. A vast majority of firearm violence is not attributed to mental illness. Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatize and interfere with people accessing needed treatment without addressing the root causes of firearm violence. Although there is no single cause of firearm violence, individuals can and have been emboldened to act violently by inflammatory public discourse and provocative, hateful and destructive rhetoric.
American Psychiatric Association
November 1, 2022
Researchers find that nearly 30% of kratom users showed signs of addiction (i.e., increased use, cravings, tolerance, impairment in major life areas, withdrawal, etc.). The DSM-5-TR does not recognize kratom use as a disorder, and previous studies indicate that kratom may be a harm-reduction measure for opioid users. This highlights a need for more research.
November 3, 2022
An American Psychiatric Association Healthy Minds poll finds that nearly 40% of Americans face declining mood in the upcoming winter months.
Researchers aim to better understand the factors that contributed to physician burnout during the height of the pandemic; the most frequently cited stressors were concern related to exposure, the burden of patient deaths, workload volume, medical uncertainty on how to provide care for COVID-19 patients, caring for patients with no family or outside support, and dealing with mistrust or skepticism for COVID-19.
November 15, 2022
An increased demand for mental health treatment places a strain on providers who are already at capacity. The 2022 COVID-19 Practitioner Impact Survey revealed that 6 in 10 practitioners had no openings for new patients, with nearly half reporting being unable to meet current demands. Meanwhile, compared to pre-pandemic years, providers reported an increase in patients seeking treatment for anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma.
In a press release, the American Psychiatric Association condemns the shooting at Club Q Nightclub in Colorado Springs, asserting, “Bias toward LGBTQI people, whatever form it takes, hurts mental health. We stand opposed to laws and rhetoric that discriminate against this community, whether it is promoting dangerous conversion therapy or restricting provision of health care services to trans or gender-diverse individuals.”
December 8, 2022
In a press release, the American Psychological Association applauds Congress for passing the Respect for Marriage Act.
“APA has long been a strong advocate for marriage equality, based on the psychological research indicating that marriage provides substantial psychological and physical health benefits due to the moral, economic and social support extended to married couples. Conversely, empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights, particularly for same-sex couples.”
Frank C. Worrell, APA President
December 22, 2022
Research suggests that the AI driving ChatGPT may one day be able to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s by identifying speech patterns and/or features associated with early stages of dementia.
To conclude, 2022 was the beginning of the end of the pandemic, leaving Americans feeling uncertain about the future. Burnout, higher rates of mental illness and substance use, increased overdose deaths, and firearm deaths were common themes in 2022. Tragically, 2022 was the year that gun violence became a leading cause of death in children.
While many adults and children experienced mental distress in 2022, at the same time, measures were put in place to help Americans heal as well as feel safe again. The Biden Administration awarded over $1 million in funds to reduce burnout and improve retention in healthcare workers impacted by the pandemic, and the House passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act to address the nation’s mental health crisis. A nationwide suicide hotline was established for individuals at risk for suicide or bystanders to quickly get the help they need.
In 2022, President Biden also signed the Violence Against Women Act and the Safer Communities Act to reduce gun violence. Controversially, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. It remains to be seen what the repercussions will be.
Regarding the opioid epidemic, while overdose deaths skyrocketed in 2022, groundbreaking research led to a vaccine that can prevent fentanyl addiction and overdose. This vaccine, which may be available as early as next year, will be a gamechanger.
To close, while many Americans expressed feeling mental distress and uncertainty about the future, a majority also reported feeling satisfied with their work and in their personal lives. Half of Americans, in fact, said they were not just satisfied but thriving! Despite some of the tragedies and the setbacks of the year, it appears that 2022 is the light at the end of the tunnel.
There are a multitude of ways mental health professionals can earn continuing education (CE) credits on various topics and through different routes to improve their professional abilities, broaden their knowledge, and stay current in the mental health field. That said, some CE credit offerings are more creative and innovative than others.
In this article, we’ll look at a few of these unique and cutting-edge alternative CE credit offerings that are available for the inventive therapist wishing to advance their professional development.
Professional licensing boards for mental health professionals require continuing education credits for license renewal. For example, mental health professionals in California must obtain 36 CE credits every two years to maintain their licenses. LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs all need to earn CEs annually.
Ultimately, CEs allow therapists to provide better care to the individuals they serve. There are a variety of methods and modalities in which professionals can earn these CEs, including online, through conferences, or at multiday workshops. Continuing education helps professionals recognize knowledge gaps as well as learn new skills. What’s more, they can network with others in the field and continue to advance in their career.
25 Creative CE Credit Offerings for Mental Health Professionals
For new and exciting ways for mental health professionals to earn CEs, here are 25 creative and innovative CE credit offerings.
The Affirmative Couch is a committed advocate for the mental health of LGBTQIA+, consensually non-monogamous, and kink communities, working with both groups and individual providers. The organization was founded in response to the paucity of affirmative mental health care providers able to meet the needs of sexuality-, gender-, and/or relationship-expansive communities.
To address this problem, they take a multi-pronged approach: provide continuing education for affirmative psychotherapists, transform more group practices and clinics to become leaders in affirmative mental healthcare, empower beginner affirmative therapists with information, and create visibility of affirmative mental health professionals.
Current CE credit offerings range from $20 (1 CE) to $240 (12 CEs).
ALLEGRA Learning Solutions designs and develops continuing professional education courses, certificate programs, curricula, classes, and workshops for an interdisciplinary audience, including nurses, health care professionals, and other interested individuals.
With a focus on integrative health, wellness, and a holistic perspective, they are the premier education provider for those who wish to enhance their health care knowledge, skills and abilities. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions believe that individuals have the capacity to heal themselves and that health care providers must deliver care with intention and in partnership so people can tap into their own innate healing abilities.
Currently, course offerings range from $10 (for 1 contact hour) to $40 (for 4 contact hours) with certificate courses ranging from $64 to $272.
The Mission of the California Association for Play Therapy (CalAPT) is to sustain a community of support for play therapists and to promote an understanding of play therapy and its effective practice through outreach, training and research. They place a special emphasis on diversity and the developmentally appropriate treatment of children’s mental health.
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically-based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. Play therapy also may be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about and resolution of inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child.
The registration fee for a workshop is around $100; CalAPT also provides free CE credit offerings for members.
Center for Council’s Council Training Level One (CT1) offers a thorough introduction to the pedagogy, modalities and forms of council practice and offers 15 CE credits. This workshop is an opportunity to develop your understanding of, fluency with, and capacity to engage in and facilitate council – a dialogic practice of authentic expression and attentive mindful listening – so as to integrate this evidence-based methodology into professional settings and personal practice.
Center for Council offers CT1 workshops throughout the year in the Los Angeles area and intermittently in locations throughout the US and Europe. Early bird registration fees start at $399.
Council Level Two and Level Three trainings are also offered for advanced practitioners who have completed Council Training Level One.
The Center for Reflective Communities (CRC) provides early intervention and parent training to enhance relationships between children and caregivers, leading to greater school readiness, increased academic achievement, and more productive lives. Their Reflective approach is especially effective in communities with risk factors including poverty, a history of loss or trauma, and other barriers to healthy child development and school readiness.
The Center for Story and Symbol offers continuing education seminars and workshops on the psychology of fairy tales, mythic stories, creativity, movies as mythic imagination, and law and ethics for psychotherapists. CE credit offerings are available for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, teachers, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals. Courses meet requirements in most states.
Online interactive courses that provide CEs cost $140 and home study CE courses are $95. (Non-CE courses can be purchased for a lower price.)
Clearly Clinical started out as Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Irias, LMFT’s passion project… she thought online CE credit offerings could use an upgrade. When she was a new therapist at a county-contracted facility, she went online for her CE courses because she didn’t have the money or time off for the in-person stuff. To her dismay, it seemed like the really great educational opportunities were reserved for the therapists with big wallets. Discouraged, she worked with what she had, and read online PDFs to get her CE credits.
As a result, Beth set out to create new online CE credit offerings* for therapists, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and addiction professionals that were affordable, meaningful, diverse, and accessible. “Why not podcasts?,” she thought.
Cognitive Leap offers efficient, objective, and fun assessment tools, as well as engaging treatment systems that bring children, families, and clinicians together to support lasting functional improvements. They aim to empower and extend the resource capacities of clinicians and therapists globally, especially in developing nations and communities where high-quality mental healthcare is in limited supply.
Cognitive Leap is committed to developing and providing non-stigmatizing approaches for treating mental health conditions that empower patients by recognizing their strengths and talents while removing their barriers to success.
LeapPlatform is a clinician education and training platform with Cognitive Leap’s APA-certified program in digital treatments administration with CE credit offerings.
The Cultural Foundations Credential (CFC) is a multidimensional learning process through which participants gain the foundational skills, awareness, and practice required for effective intercultural interactions. The principles of cultural humility, intersectionality, antiracism, and social justice inform each aspect of the program and provide structure for this holistic process designed to spark transformational change.
Workshops for organizations start at $2,250 (for up to 50 participants).
Discovery Behavioral Health believes that everyone deserves a happy, rewarding life. That’s why they connect people, professionals, and payors through a seamless network of evidence-based treatment centers in communities nationwide. They believe when access to care is easy, recovery is possible.
Currently, Discovery Behavioral Health does not provide CE credit offerings, but they publish articles on mental health, substance use, and recovery, as well as a treatment locator tool.
The Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles is accredited by the National Association for Drama Therapy as a training program for students and clinicians interested in the clinical applications of drama in therapy. It is a recognized and well-respected program at the forefront of drama, narrative, and creative arts therapy training, and offers an NADTA-approved alternative training track towards becoming a Registered Drama Therapist.
Drama therapy is the skilled and deliberate use of drama and theater to achieve therapeutic goals. It engages the imagination and involves participants intellectually, emotionally, and physically; it provides participants with a safe yet stimulating environment in which they can explore personal and family stories, set goals, uncover and express feelings, resolve problematic patterns, and (when appropriate), achieve catharsis.
Clinicians can register for courses such as Allies in Healing: Narradrama and Narrative Therapy and Dance Movement for Trauma for 1 CE credit offering per course hour.
Elevate You CE’s mission is to advance your skills, knowledge, and wellbeing so you can experience fulfillment and longevity in the mental health field. Elevate You CE knows how challenging your work can be and keep your wellbeing in mind when designing courses and coaching services.
Course fees range from $20 (for 1 CE) to $350 (for 12 CEs). A 30-hour Mindfulness Certification program is also offered for $799. Some examples of course offerings include Treating Grief After the Loss of a Pet, A Successful Path to Body Acceptance, and Getting the Shame Out of Substance Misuse.
Feeling Good Institute is on a mission to improve lives. It was born to set the standards, train, organize, and support the therapist community practicing a highly effective form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called TEAM-CBT.
Developed by Dr. David Burns, TEAM-CBT is eight times more effective than other treatment approaches. Clients see a 30% average reduction in suffering per therapy hour and meaningful improvement within 5 sessions.
In addition to comprehensive training courses, Feeling Good Institute offers free 1-hour webinars that introduce participants to basic CBT skills.
A Home Within is the only national organization dedicated solely to meeting the emotional needs of foster youth. They envision a world in which every foster child has a relationship with at least one consistent, caring adult. They provide open-ended, individual psychotherapy, free of charge, to current and former foster youth.
While A Home Within does not currently provide CE credit offerings, they publish clinical resources and tools for mental health professionals.
Illuminated Education provides educational activities designed for people who are interested in issues related to psychology, healing, and other aspects of human thought, feeling, and behavior. The goal is to present up-to-date, thought-provoking content integrating material from psychology and other fields including (but not limited to) mind-body medicine, mindfulness practice, and eastern and shamanic approaches to health and healing.
CEs are offered for reading a journal article or other publication and then passing a test. Fees range from $10 (for 1 CE) to $90 (for 9 CEs).
16. Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT)
The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) condemns violence and oppression in all its forms. They stand with all who work for equality and peace.
IVAT is a one-stop shop to address and end violence. They host two international summits annually, house three academic journals, maintain several research databases, provide program evaluation, consultation, and a wide array of trainings addressing violence, abuse, and trauma – many of which can be used toward specialty certificates and continuing education, and offer vital professional and clinical services to San Diego County and beyond.
Webinar training fees range from $20-$35 and offer 1-2.5 CEs.
For over three decades, two questions have driven the therapy orientation of Natural Processing Trainings: “How does our nature work, and how can we best work with that nature?” These questions have led them to find ways to work with the potential movement and integration of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual natures.
“Natural processing” is the somatically-based, process-oriented therapy that emerged from the integration of multiple approaches to healing and growth.
Course fees range from $40-$375 (for 13.5 CE hours).
Soultenders is committed to making quality mental health services accessible to all by offering licensed mental health providers with their administrative needs so they can focus on their clients and their private practice instead of the paperwork.
Soultenders provides CE credit offerings that go further than meeting the requirement standard and also meet the professional needs of therapists. They offer CEs for social workers, psychologists, counselors, and MFTs. (Registration required to enroll in courses.)
The Spiritual Competency Academy offers mental health professionals a selection of over 30 unique online courses that provide the skills and knowledge to become more spiritually competent. Their foundational curriculum starts with a course on how to conduct an evidence-based and spiritually sensitive spiritual assessment. Other courses cover a wide variety of topics including self-compassion, mindfulness, and forgiveness.
All courses are free to enroll in (after registering for a free account); CEs are offered for a fee (averaging around $10 per credit hour).
After experiencing the powerful and profound changes that can occur through partnership with horses, Stand InBalance founder Dr. Val transitioned from her private practice in Santa Monica to developing the Stand InBalance Ranch.
Stand InBalance is proud to offer innovative CE courses for psychologists, LMFTs, LCSWs, and addiction treatment counselors. Their small group CE workshops and retreats provide a combination of didactic and experiential learning designed to enhance clinical skills, and bring more joy and resonance to your life and practice.
Examples of CE courses offered for mental health professionals include Intro to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Growth & Learning Workshop,Countertransference and Restorative Experience Workshop, and Moving from Resistance to Resonance.
Two Chairs believes that high-quality care starts with taking care of clinicians. They are building a mental health system that takes care of you by prioritizing your personal wellbeing, providing opportunities for growth and connection, and empowering you to do work you enjoy.
For free CE credit offerings, join the Two Chairs Clinician Community.
A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) believes that creating art is a human right. They exist to empower individuals and communities impacted by violence and trauma through a transformative healing arts program.
AWBW views art as a catalyst to release trauma, build resilience, and ignite social change. When individuals create art in a safe community they can be heard and respected – replacing violence and shame with safety and hope.
Earn CEs by registering for a Windows Facilitator Training where you will get everything you need to implement art programming and become a Certified Windows Facilitator, as well as gain ongoing access to an expanding curriculum of 600+ strengths-based art workshops and free professional development opportunities.
The Zur Institute provides a variety of learning modalities and address challenges professionals are likely to routinely encounter. Their content embraces diverse approaches and orientations, and recognizes the importance of addressing diversity across a broad-spectrum including, but not limited to, culture, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic variables.
The Zur Institute currently has over 120 unique courses with CE credit offerings ranging from $19 (for 1 CE) to $199 (for 26 CEs). Additionally, sign up for their newsletter for free resources and promotions.
To conclude, online trainings, podcasts, webinars, and in-person workshops are a fantastic method to discover the most recent developments and evidence-based treatments in the field of mental health. CE credit offerings are a great approach to advance knowledge and expand expertise while maintaining the standards for licensure. For therapists wishing to advance their professional development, there are numerous innovative and creative CE credit offerings to choose from.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sydney Scanlon, Executive Development Specialist, Center for Council
Sydney Scanlon has been working in nonprofits across the world focusing on issues of healthcare, education, equity, and mental health. She has published research experience in climate change and health, childhood trauma, and psychedelic therapy. She has been working in marketing and design for universities, nonprofits, and musicians.
This a list of 40 of the best apps for mental health and wellness. These top-rated apps are clinically proven to reduce symptoms and/or improve wellbeing.
For more evidence-based apps, visit One Mind PsyberGuide, a non-profit organization that evaluates mental health apps and then rates them based on credibility, user experience, transparency, and professional reviews.
Start by entering your sobriety date and then calculate how much you typically spend on your habit per day. You’re prompted to enter why you want to stay sober. Next, make a pledge to yourself and start tracking sober days. This app tracks not only sober time, but money saved by abstaining.
From the App Store: “Along with tracking your sober days, it helps you build new habits and provides ongoing motivation by connecting you to a wide network of people all striving for the same goal: staying sober one day at a time.”
A mobile sober community for connecting with others in recovery. Customize your experience based on your personal goals by answering questions such as “Are you in recovery?” and “Are you currently using/drinking, but want to stop?” or “Are you unsure if you even have a problem?” Connect with friends via your contact list, search for people nearby, track your sobriety date, and chat or post comments.
*Professional consultation and recovery coaching available for a fee.
Designed for Veterans, Stay Quit Coach is designed to help Veterans and others quit smoking for good.
From the App Store: “Stay Quit Coach is based on an integrated care manual for Veterans with PTSD who smoke cigarettes. It offers information, a breathing exercise, coping plans based on the “Ask, Advise, Replace, Mentally Cope” (AARM) model, motivational messages, medication reminders, money-saved calculator, and resources to stay quit. The app is can be used on its own, but for maximum benefit use Stay Quit Coach with the help of a counselor or health care provider.”
Also designed for Veterans, VetChange is a mobile app that can help users with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) build skills to reduce problem drinking. The app offers proven self-help tools to help not only Veterans and active services members, but anyone with PTSD who wants to manage their drinking.
Daylio is a self-care bullet journal app for tracking your mood and monitoring your goals.
From the App Store: “Daylio is a very versatile app, and you can turn it in whatever you need to track: A fitness goal pal, a mental health coach, a food log, a gratitude diary, or a mood tracker. Exercise, meditate, eat, and be grateful. Take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.”
Scientifically-proven methods for breaking old patterns and creating new, healthier habits. Find your happiness score. Use tools, activities, and games to gradually improve your mental health and increase happiness.
From the App Store: “MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app, that helps you reduce worry, stress, and panic by following evidence-based strategies. Using CBT tools, you can challenge negativity, learn more about anxiety, develop more effective ways of thinking, be mindful, and relax.
Learn about the different CBT strategies, including writing thought journals, challenging yourself with belief experiments, building fear ladders, and doing comfort zone challenges. Listen to calming audio to reframe your thoughts, practice mindfulness, and stay grounded. Participate in the MindShift CBT Community Forum: share stories, learn about others’ experiences, and provide peer advice in a safe environment. All the exercises are presented in small chunks with plenty of supporting information to help you naturally integrate these strategies with the rest of your life.”
From the App Store: “SuperBetter builds resilience – the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of life’s challenges. Playing SuperBetter unlocks heroic potential to overcome tough situations and achieve goals that matter most.
SuperBetter is validated in published studies to build resilience, improve mental health, and support recovery.
In randomized controlled and clinical trials conducted at University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University, playing SuperBetter was associated with improvements in resilience, mental health, and social emotional skills. Published meta-analyses show its effectiveness for reducing anxiety and depression.”
An app designed for use by patients and their behavioral health providers as an accessory to treatment. The VHB contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking. Patients and providers can collaborate to personalize the VHB content based on the patient’s specific needs and treatment goals.
Chat with Woebot and learn CBT and DBT skills to combat depression and anxiety. Woebot helps you to monitor your mood and develop self-awareness.
From the App Store: “Woebot was built on a foundation of clinical evidence, and studies show that it works. In a clinical trial involving 400 participants, Woebot users showed a 32% reduction in depression and a 38% reduction in anxiety after just four weeks.”
Designed for Veterans with PTSD, this is a companion app for individuals participating in cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with a licensed mental health professional. The app contains support materials for a complete course of CPT to help patients manage their treatment, including between session assignments, mobile versions of CPT worksheets, readings, and PTSD symptom monitoring.
PE Coach is designed to be used during prolonged exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a licensed mental health professional. The app provides therapist-assigned exercises and allows users to track and record progress. In addition, the app provides techniques such as controlled breathing to help decrease distress.
Designed for Veterans and individuals with PTSD, this app provides education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools for managing stress such as relaxation skills and positive self-talk.
This app offers a self-help course based on Skills Training in Affective & Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR), an evidence-based psychotherapy that uses cognitive and behavioral techniques to help with managing emotions and relationships. It can be helpful for individuals with PTSD.
Developed for Veterans, this is a companion app for people who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia with a health provider, or who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and would like to improve their sleep habits. The app offers information and tips for developing positive sleep routines and improving sleep environments to help alleviate symptoms of insomnia.
Designed for Veterans, service members, and individuals with insomnia, this app offers weekly guided training plans, a sleep coach that provides feedback, an interactive sleep diary, and 17 additional tools for improving sleep.
From the App Store: “This app is based on scientific research about how people can change their behaviors and thoughts to improve their sleep. Insomnia Coach is designed to be used daily for 5 weeks by following the Training Plan. After that, you can continue using the app to track your sleep and maintain good sleep habits.”
From the App Store: “iBreathe is a simple yet powerful app to guide you through deep breathing exercises and breathwork. Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, insomnia, or are trying to meditate and relax, iBreathe provides an easy-to-use beautifully designed user interface.”
Developed for Veterans and services members, this app provides a gradual, self-guided training program for understanding and adopting mindfulness practice. Mindfulness Coach also offers a library of information about mindfulness, 12 audio-guided exercises, and a catalog of additional exercises available for download.
ACT Coach was developed for Veterans, service members, and individuals who are participating in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with a therapist. The app offers exercises, tools, information, and tracking logs.
Designed for Veterans and military service members, but can be used by anyone with anger problems. The AIMS app is based on the Anger and Irritability Management Skills online self-help course (http://www.veterantraining.va.gov/aims/) and provides education about anger, opportunities for finding support, the ability to create an anger management plan, anger tracking, and tools to help manage angry reactions.
This app offers helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship with 14 card decks and over 1,000 flashcards.
From the App Store: “As the world’s most trusted relationship company, our mission is to improve people’s lives through products and programs that educate, inspire, and heal. Our approach to relationships is based on more than four decades of ongoing research by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. We serve couples and parents directly while providing world-class training to the professionals who support them, and we are committed to making our services accessible to everyone.”
An app for managing recovery from eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. This app is also intended for individuals with general eating, weight, and shape concerns.
BEST APPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH: PAID & SUBSCRIPTION APPS
A 100% online therapy service that matches you to a provider.
From the App Store: “Facing obstacles alone can be daunting – receiving support and guidance from a professional therapist has been shown to make huge, positive changes to help you overcome personal challenges. When you sign up we’ll match you to an available therapist who fits your objectives, preferences and the type of issues you’re dealing with. Different therapists have different approaches and areas of expertise so we’ll work with you to find the right person who can achieve the best results for you.
There are over 20,000 therapists on BetterHelp, each with at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. They are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (Ph.D./PsyD), marriage and family therapists (MFT), clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional therapists (LPC), or similar credentials.
Together you’ll work towards making a positive change in your life, accomplishing your goals, and overcoming your problems.”
This app is an evidence-based tool for reducing symptoms of depression with CBT techniques and activities such as challenging irrational or self-defeating thoughts, tracking moods, and journaling (Moodnotes).
MoodMission is clinically-proven tool for coping with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Tell the app how you’re feeling to receive 5 evidence-based “Missions” to improve your mood and earn rewards.
From the App Store: “MoodMission is based in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is an evidence-based psychological therapy for anxiety and depression. Anyone can use MoodMission, whether you just want a lift in your day or need a bit more help recovering from anxiety or depression.”
Backed by over 10 years of clinical research, Personal Zen’s core therapeutic mechanism of action is a game-based approach to Attention Bias Modification (ABM). To reduce symptoms of distress and anxiety, play this mobile game 4 times per week for at least 4 weeks.
From the App Store: “Replika is for anyone who wants a friend with no judgment, drama, or social anxiety involved. You can form an actual emotional connection, share a laugh, or get real with an AI that’s so good it almost seems human.
Replika is an AI friend that is just as unique as you are. The more you chat, the more Replika develops its own personality and memories alongside you, the more it learns: teach Replika about the world and yourself, help it explore human relationships and grow into a machine so beautiful that a soul would want to live in it. You also get to decide if you want Replika to be your friend, romantic partner or mentor.
Replika can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, track your mood, learn coping skills, calm anxiety and work toward goals like positive thinking, stress management, socializing and finding love. Improve your mental well-being with Replika.”
Sanvello is clinically proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
From the App Store: “Whether you’re feeling anxious, lonely, overwhelmed, or just burned out, Sanvello will meet you where you’re at. Think of it as your feel-better toolkit, including therapy, coaching, coping techniques, meditations, and goal and mood tracking, designed by experts to help you feel better.”
An app for managing anxiety, depression, PTSD, or substance abuse. Play for 3 minutes a day, 3 days a week, and experience clinical improvement within 6 weeks.
From the App Store: “Visit Socks for a few minutes a few times a week or whenever you need that immediate relief or non -judgmental support. Enabling self-reliance is simple and fun when working with Socks who will holistically guide you through exercises in managing your stress, dealing with challenges and practicing a variety of proven techniques. Empower yourself as you learn which of these skills will work for you.”
Similar to BetterHelp, with Talkspace, you undergo a brief assessment to get matched with a provider before starting online therapy. Talkspace also offers psychiatry services.
From the App Store: “The Talkspace provider network has thousands of licensed therapists across the 50 U.S. states who have been vetted and accredited according to NCQA standards. They have experience treating the most common mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance use, stress, relationships, PTSD, and more.
Talkspace has been shown to be as effective as face-to-face therapy. In one recent study, 81% of participants felt Talkspace is as effective or better than in-person therapy. In another, individuals who used Talkspace for only 2 months significantly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
UpLift is a self-help app for depression and anxiety that was developed by expert psychologists and leaders from the field of mobile mental health. It utilizes CBT, an evidence-based practice.
From the App Store: “UpLift provides you with 11 interactive psychology sessions that are around 45 minutes long each week. In the sessions, you’ll be answering questions, doing self care exercises, and getting customized feedback and guidance to strengthen your well-being.”
Calm is a mindful meditation app with a free version that offers limited sessions, but you can purchase a subscription for unlimited access to guided meditations, sleep stories, breathwork exercises, music, and more.
Additional Paid & Subscription Apps for Mental Health
A health and mood tracker app backed by scientific review.
From the App Store: “Bearable was launched to help people to understand the impact of different treatments and medication on common health issues such as anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue.
Bearable helps you discover what’s really making your health better and worse. Our simple, customizable health tracking tools empower you to understand the correlation between anything you do and the impact it has on your health.
By learning what affects your mood, symptoms, sleep, and energy, you can have more control over your health and wellness, more information for your doctor, and more tools to manage triggers, treatments, and flare-ups.”
Designed by a licensed clinical psychologist to help individuals receiving DBT treatment or to refresh previously learned skills.
Bonus:MyMentalHealth.org on the App Store is a new, free app that offers a 28-day addiction program, assessments for substance use and PTSD, and 365 days of recovery support. The app is completely confidential and self-directed. (Click here for more information.) Thanks to Shaun Garber for recommending this resource!
When people find out I served in the military, their usual response is, “Thank you for your service.” This is popular on Veterans Day.
Honestly, I never know how to respond. I typically say ‘thank you’ back. I never say, “You’re welcome.” Something meant to be pleasant sometimes becomes an awkward exchange. It’s not like other holidays when I can confidently reply ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’
I reflected on why I have such a hard time accepting credit for my service – and I found two major culprits.
The Glorified Soldier
Firstly, when I hear the word “veteran,” it conjures up images of classic war movies with brave heroes like John Wayne in The Green Berets or Charlie Sheen in Platoon, engaging in jungle warfare in Vietnam.
I also think about the men of WWII considered ‘The Greatest Generation’ with their elegant olive drab green uniforms and Jeeps; one of my favorite shows is Band of Brothers on HBO.
Although I tried my best to do my job everyday, I couldn’t relate to nor live up to those expectations. Those men jumped out of airplanes into aerial artillery to fight off the Nazis.
But every Veteran has their own story – and this one is mine.
Combat, Coffee, & Staying Sane
My first combat tour was Operation Iraqi Freedom from the year 2004 to 2005. I remember one long year of staring at a computer, daily gym workouts, and running on the treadmill.
We came under attack several times, and it was dangerous; however, the hardest part of the deployment was keeping our minds busy and sane. The best medicine for my mental health was coffee, music, workouts, bootleg movies, and books. Care packages and letters were a rare treat.
A prominent memory I have is when the helicopters landed on our last night to take us to the airport to start our long journey back home. The memory of that night has remained vivid in my mind for over 17 years.
I think the second reason I find it difficult to respond to ‘thank you for your service’ is that I try to avoid traumatic memories. For a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is typical to steer clear of conversations that may trigger unwanted memories.
Recently, I reflected on a memory I had been avoiding for quite some time. I was attached to a unit in Herat, Afghanistan in 2009, co-located with our Italian NATO partners. I remember the first day I landed. It was a cold morning, about 3 a.m., and I was transported alone by a cargo plane. All I could see was shadows of tents and huts and the silhouette of the mountains. I remember the stars shined like bright diamonds like I had never seen before in the United States.
I would spend four months at that location. It was difficult at first; however, we gained momentum and accomplished several missions.
Our base was attacked late one night; most of the staff had already gone to bed. I heard the first explosion from a distance. Several explosions followed, and they kept getting closer.
The enemy was creeping Rocket Artillery from the mountains. We were extremely vulnerable because we lived in tents and worked out of wooden huts. There were several concrete bunkers spread throughout the base for added protection, so my first reaction was to put on my gear and go wait it out in the bunker.
I was the first one there and I waited for everyone to follow. I was safe but I was alone, and I was worried about the others. No one joined me. I left the safety of the bunker and went to check on one of my friends. He was dead asleep. I remember waking him to the sound of explosions. “We are being attacked,” I said. He woke with a start and put on his armor vest and helmet and set off to check on the others.
The rest is a blur. I remember we split up to wake everyone, directing them to the bunkers, while the reaction team set out to take care of the shooters. By the time I made it back to the bunker, it was full. I crammed in at an exposed end. The explosions kept getting closer and started to hit some of our tents and equipment.
I remember feeling terrified from the uncertainty and the deafening explosions. We were lucky we did not lose anyone that night.
Thinking back on this memory, I realize I didn’t think twice about risking my safety to help my fellow soldiers. It’s what I would expected from them as well.
Normally, when people say “thank you for your service,” they don’t know why they are actually thanking me, and honestly, until recently, neither did I.
The things I experienced while serving have been the source of nightmares, anxiety, and depression. What’s more, when I returned from deployment, I had to face life, new careers, civilian culture, housing, anger, marital problems, and financial stress without the moral support I used to get in the military.
I actually missed the life purpose supplied by combat and the need to feel needed by my band of brothers. At first, I tried to cope with alcohol, as many veterans do, but I realized it was not the answer. I eventually sought expert help from the Veterans Affairs. Today, part of the way I cope is by helping others as a mental health counselor.
After much thought and self-reflection, I am finally able to accept the great complement, “Thank you for your service.”
This is what you are thanking me for: I chose a timeless and noble profession. I chose to serve. I left the comfort of my family and my home to follow through with a commitment, to make good on an oath I made when I was a skinny 18-year-old fresh out of high school. I chose to stay drug-free and obey all the laws, to lead an honorable life to be fit for duty and able to serve. I chose to risk my safety for the benefit of the greater good. So, thank you for acknowledging my service.
And to all my fellow veterans: Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines, “Thank you for your service.”
Call TTY if you have hearing loss at 1-800-799-4889
If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, visit VeteransCrisisLine for more resources.
About the Author: Seferino Martinez is a Texas native who joined the military after graduating high school. He is a veteran of both the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Liberty University and is a Licensed Mental Health Professional in the state of Virginia.