Mental Health in 2022: The Year in Review

A review of mental health in 2022 in America, a year that left many Americans in distress and uncertain about the future.

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.


MENTAL HEALTH IN 2022: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

In a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, 1,000 American voters were asked to describe the state of the U.S. in 2022.

“Some Americans feel bad about the state of the country today. Most of the rest feel even worse.”

The most common response, provided by 31% of those polled was:

“TERRIBLE”

Here’s the total breakdown:

Terrible (31%)

Chaotic (20%)

Divided (16%)

Depressed/angry (6%)

Encouraging (5%)

Decline (4%)

Improving (3%)

Disgusting (2%)

(Compare the 2022 stats on the state of America with the results of USA TODAY‘s 2021 poll.)


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’s more, nearly 2 in 5 Americans rated their mental health as “poor” or “fair” in 2022, and were anticipating more stress at the start of 2023 according to a news release from the American Psychiatric Association.

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.):

5️⃣ Idaho

4️⃣ Alabama

3️⃣ Arizona

2️⃣ Oregon

1️⃣ Kansas

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.):

5️⃣ Connecticut

4️⃣ Delaware

3️⃣ Massachusetts

2️⃣ Pennsylvania

1️⃣ Wisconsin

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):

⬇️ Alabama

⬇️ Kentucky

⬇️ Arkansas

⬇️ Louisiana

⬇️ West Virginia 😞

The top 5 ranking states for happiness (with Hawaii being the happiest state in America):

5️⃣ New Jersey

4️⃣ Utah

3️⃣ Minnesota

2️⃣ Maryland

1️⃣ Hawaii 😀

What state do you live in? Do you consider your state a happy place to live?


Mental Health in 2022: Research & News

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

  • February 1, 2022

    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.

  • February 11, 2022

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes research indicating that a lower legal blood alcohol content level for drivers reduces fatalities and fatal crashes. Since Utah enforced a .05% BAC limit (the strictest limit in the U.S.), the fatality rate fell by 18.3%. (In comparison, the rest of the U.S. saw only a 5.9% decrease during the same time period.)

  • February 15, 2022

    A woman who received an umbilical cord blood transplant becomes the third person in the world to be cured of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The implications for both physical and mental health are far-reaching.

  • February 15, 2022

    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.

  • February 25, 2022

    The American Psychological Association expresses solidarity with Ukraine.

    “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.”

    American Psychological Association

MARCH

  • March 2, 2022

    The American Psychiatric Association releases a statement on the impact of the war in Ukraine, asserting that “the war in Ukraine will have adverse mental health effects on individuals and communities around the world.”

    “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.”

    American Psychiatric Association
  • March 7, 2022

    The American Psychiatric Association finds that nearly half of Americans reported that the pandemic didn’t have a major impact on their daily habits, with 26% reporting their habits had changed for the better. However, approximately 1 in 5 Americans reported smoking or drinking more since the pandemic.

  • March 14, 2022

    President Biden signs the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization of 2022 to establish and support comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

  • March 18, 2022

    The American Psychiatric Association releases the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) to include a new diagnosis (prolonged grief disorder), codes for suicidal behavior as well as non-suicidal self-injury, and a redesigned diagnosis classification system. (More info here.)

  • March 21, 2022

    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.

  • March 27, 2022

    During the Oscars, Will Smith slaps Chris Rock, who was presenting an award on stage, after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith, who struggles with hair loss due to an autoimmune disorder, has been outspoken about her condition since 2018. Since the famous slap, she’s had guests on her talk show share about the devastating effects of alopecia, bringing attention and awareness to the issue.

  • March 31, 2022

    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

MAY

  • May 6, 2022

    Researchers find that taking a break from social media for only one week significantly reduced participants’ symptoms of depression and anxiety while improving their overall wellbeing.

  • May 9, 2022

    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 Dawson tweets, “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.”

    Ella Dawson
  • 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.

  • May 23, 2022

    According to the American Psychological Association, “People who deny the existence of structural racism are more likely to exhibit anti-Black prejudice and less likely to show racial empathy or openness to diversity.” It was also found that those who denied structural racism were “more likely to endorse stronger beliefs that societal inequality is acceptable” and were less concerned with social justice.

  • May 27, 2022

    Firearms are the leading cause of death in children and adolescents ages 0-19, according to a commentary published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. Nearly two thirds of youth firearm deaths are homicides.

JUNE

  • June 1, 2022

    The American Psychiatric Association “condemns the senseless loss of lives from firearm violence… most recently in mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, Houston and more than 200 other locations across the country in 2022 so far.” The APA’s position is that gun violence is a public health crisis, and one that is preventable.

    “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.”

    APA Statement
  • 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.”

    Amber Heard
  • 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.

  • June 22, 2022

    The American Psychiatric Association applauds the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act (H.R. 7666). The legislation will address the nation’s mental health crisis, including high rates of overdose and suicide deaths and the impact of COVID-19.

  • June 23, 2022

    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.

  • June 24, 2022

    The American Psychiatric Association commends Congress for passing “the first meaningful gun safety legislation in 30 years.”

  • June 27, 2022

    The findings of a JAMA Open Network study 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • August 22, 2022

    Researchers find that the brains of children with autism, which is typically not diagnosable until age 2 or 3, appear to diverge from other infants’ brains as early as between 6 and 12 months of age. These findings point to a need for early testing and may one day lead to improved prognoses or even prevention.

  • August 24, 2022

    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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • October 25, 2022

    Adidas finally drops Kanye West in response to increasingly troubling behavior and antisemitic comments, taking a major financial hit. West’s comments have been linked to at least 30 antisemitic incidents and to the slogan “Ye is Right.” West has spoken openly about his bipolar diagnosis, including what it feels like to have a manic episode. While some of his erratic behavior can be attributed to mania, his antisemitic beliefs cannot, and are indicative of something deeply rooted and far more troubling.

    “Ye is Right.”

    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

DECEMBER

  • 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.


Mental Health in 2022: A Few (22) Numbers

  • 48,252 suicide deaths 1
  • 19,472 homicide deaths 2
  • 40,358 firearm deaths 3
  • 1,060 people shot and killed by the police 4
  • 647 mass shootings 5
  • 32% parents of K-12 students who are either very or extremely worried about a shooting happening at their child’s school 6
  • 23% workers worldwide who say they’ve experienced violence or harassment (including psychological harassment, i.e., bullying, intimidation, etc.) in the workplace 7
  • 80% Americans who say they enjoy the work they do 8
  • 5% young Americans who say their gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth 9
  • 61% Americans who say they believe the legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society 10
  • 88% Americans who say that marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use 11
  • 63% Americans who say they drink alcohol 12
  • 36% Americans who say they are “total abstainers” 13
  • 12% Americans ages 18-29 who smoke cigarettes (down from 26% in 2012) 14
  • 26% Americans ages 18-29 who smoke marijuana 15
  • 107,000 drug overdose deaths in a 12-month period ending August 2022 16
  • 2.46 billion substance abuse funding by the National Institutes of Health 17
  • $169,242 total debt owed by the average American family 18
  • 25% U.S. parents who say they’ve struggled to afford food or housing in 2022 19
  • 58% young adults who experienced high levels of psychological stress during the pandemic (2020-2022) 20
  • 51% Americans who say they are thriving in life 21
  • 83% Americans who say they are somewhat/very satisfied with their personal lives 22

  1. Dead or Kicking. (n.d.). United States Deaths in 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://deadorkicking.com/death-statistics/us/2022/
  2. Dead or Kicking. (n.d.). United States Deaths in 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://deadorkicking.com/death-statistics/us/2022/
  3. Dead or Kicking. (n.d.). United States Deaths in 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://deadorkicking.com/death-statistics/us/2022/
  4. Dead or Kicking. (n.d.). United States Deaths in 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://deadorkicking.com/death-statistics/us/2022/
  5. Brownlee, C. (2022, December 30). Gun violence in 2022, by the numbers. The Trace. https://www.thetrace.org/2022/12/gun-violence-deaths-statistics-america/
  6. Boschma, J., Merrill, C., & Murphy-Teixidor, J. (2023, January 24). Mass shootings in the U.S. fast facts. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/24/us/mass-shootings-fast-facts/index.html
  7. Hurst, K. (2022, October 18). About a third of K-12 parents are very or extremely worried a shooting could happen at their children’s school. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/10/18/about-a-third-of-k-12-parents-are-very-or-extremely-worried-a-shooting-could-happen-at-their-childrens-school/
  8. Crabtree, S. (2022, December 14). Global study: 23% of workers experience violence, harassment. Gallup Blog. https://news.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/406793/global-study-workers-experience-violence-harassment.aspx
  9. Clouet, B., & Lai, A. (2022, November 3). Global study reveals most workers enjoy what they do. Gallup Blog. https://news.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/404495/global-study-reveals-workers-enjoy.aspx
  10. Brown, A. (2022, June 7). About 5% of young adults in the U.S. say their gender is different from their sex assigned at birth. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/06/07/about-5-of-young-adults-in-the-u-s-say-their-gender-is-different-from-their-sex-assigned-at-birth/
  11. Borelli, G. (2022, November 15). About six-in-ten Americans say legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/11/15/about-six-in-ten-americans-say-legalization-of-same-sex-marriage-is-good-for-society/
  12. Van Green, T. (2022, November 22). Americans overwhelmingly say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/11/22/americans-overwhelmingly-say-marijuana-should-be-legal-for-medical-or-recreational-use/
  13. Saad, L. (2022, December 29). What percentage of Americans drink alcohol? Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/467507/percentage-americans-drink-alcohol.aspx
  14. Saad, L. (2022, December 29). What percentage of Americans drink alcohol? Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/467507/percentage-americans-drink-alcohol.aspx
  15. Jones, J. M. (2022, November 28). Cigarette smoking rates down sharply among U.S. young adults. Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/405884/cigarette-smoking-rates-down-sharply-among-young-adults.aspx
  16. Jones, J. M. (2022, November 28). Cigarette smoking rates down sharply among U.S. young adults. Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/405884/cigarette-smoking-rates-down-sharply-among-young-adults.aspx
  17. ABC7 Chicago. (2023, January 11). Drug overdose deaths continue to trend down but remain high, CDC says. ABC7 Eyewitness News. https://abc7chicago.com/drug-overdose-deaths-2022-per-year/12690986/
  18. Mikulic, M. (2022, November 2). Total substance abuse funding by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) from FY 2013 to 2023 (in million U.S. dollars). Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/713359/substance-abuse-funding-by-the-national-institutes-for-health/
  19. Issa, E. E. (2023, January 10). 2022 American household credit card debt study. NerdWallet. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/credit-cards/average-credit-card-debt-household
  20. Braga, D. (2022, December 7). One-in-four U.S. parents say they’ve struggled to afford food or housing in the past year. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/12/07/one-in-four-u-s-parents-say-theyve-struggled-to-afford-food-or-housing-in-the-past-year/
  21. Pasquini, G., & Keeter, S. (2022, December 12). At least four-in-ten U.S. adults have faced high levels of psychological distress during COVID-19 pandemic. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/12/12/at-least-four-in-ten-u-s-adults-have-faced-high-levels-of-psychological-distress-during-covid-19-pandemic/
  22. Gallup. (n.d.). Gallup Global Life Evaluation Index. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from https://www.gallup.com/394505/indicator-life-evaluation-index.aspx

Mental Health in 2022: Conclusion

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.

“Fear never builds the future, but hope does.”

Joe Biden

40 Science-Backed Apps for Mental Health

A list of 40 of the best apps for mental health and wellness, backed by science and clinical research.

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.

Another resource for finding science-backed apps is the Mobile Health Index & Navigation Database (Mind Apps) from the Division of Digital Psychiatry.


BEST APPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH: FREE APPS

Addiction & Recovery

I Am Sober*

Apple Rating: 4.9

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.”

*Premium subscriptions available for a fee.


Sober Grid*

Apple Rating: 4.9

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.


Stay Quit Coach

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.”


VetChange

Apple Rating: 4.8

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.

Stress, Depression, & Anxiety

Daylio*

Apple Rating: 4.8

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.”

*Premium version available for a fee.


#SelfLove

Apple Rating: 4.7

An app from GGTude for building confidence and developing self-esteem. The daily science-backed exercises also help with depression, anxiety, trauma, and more.


Happify: for Stress & Worry*

Apple Rating: 4.5

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.

*Premium version available for $14.99/mo.


MindShift CBT

Apple Rating: 4.3

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.”


Self-Help App for the Mind (SAM)

Apple Rating: 4.6

An app to help monitor and manage mental health with self-help techniques to help with anxiety, depression, loneliness and coping. SAM is informed by clinical best practice and academic research.


SuperBetter

Apple Rating: 4.7

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.”


Virtual Hope Box (VHB)

Apple Rating: 4.0

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.


Woebot: Your Self-Care Expert

Apple Rating: 4.7

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.”


Wysa: Mental Health Support*

Apple Rating: 4.9

Wysa is an emotionally intelligent chatbot that uses AI to react to the emotions you express. Unlock techniques that help you cope with challenges.

From the App Store: “Talking to Wysa is empathetic, helpful, and will never judge. Your identity will remain anonymous and your conversations are privacy protected.”

*Coaching subscriptions available for $99.99/mo.

PTSD

CPT Coach

Apple Rating: 4.0

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

Apple Rating: 2.6

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.


PTSD Coach

Apple Rating: 4.7

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.


STAIR Coach

Apple Rating: 5.0

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.

Insomnia

CBT-i Coach

Apple Rating: 3.4

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.


Insomnia Coach

Apple Rating: 3.9

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.”

Meditation & Mindfulness

iBreathe

Apple Rating: 4.9

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.”


Mindfulness Coach

Apple Rating: 4.8

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.

Additional Free Apps for Mental Health

ACT Coach

Apple Rating: 4.2

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.


AIMS for Anger Management

Apple Rating: 3.5

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. 


Gottman Card Decks

Apple Rating: 4.8

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.”


RR: Eating Disorder Management

Apple Rating: 4.9

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

Addiction & Recovery

Sober Buddy: Addiction Recovery ($11.99/mo)

Apple Rating: 4.9

This app connects individuals in recovery with a sober community, offers daily meetings, tracks progress, and more.

Stress, Depression, & Anxiety

Beating the Blues (£69.95)

Evidence-based online CBT program for depression and anxiety. The course includes 8 modules and is self-guided.


BetterHelp ($60-$90/wk)

Apple Rating: 4.8

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.”


Headspace ($69.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.8

Science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools to reduce stress and anxiety. Access guided meditation, articles, and videos to help with mood, energy, and sleep.


Moodfit ($39.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.7

From the App Store: “Moodfit provides the most comprehensive set of tools for good mental health, and helps you understand what brings your mood up and down.”

  • WAYS TO USE MOOD FIT
    • As a mood journal to bring awareness to and better understand your mood.
    • To work on a set of personalized daily goals that are your daily mental health workout that include good practices like gratitude, breathwork and mindfulness.
    • To reinforce positive messages and create new habits that boost your mood.
    • To process distorted thinking that is causing emotional discomfort using CBT techniques.
    • To keep a gratitude journal that can change your brain to see more of the positive in life.
    • To do breathing exercises to quickly increase a sense of calm.
    • To learn and practice mindfulness meditation that can reduce stress.
    • To understand the relationship between your mood and lifestyle factors like sleep, exercise, nutrition and work.
    • To track any custom variables you want to understand how they affect your mood, e.g. your hydration, caffeine intake or interactions with particular people.
    • To track your mood-related medications and better understand what is working.
    • To take mental health assessments like PHQ-9 (depression) and GAD-7 (anxiety) and see how they change over time.
    • To receive educational content and inspiration about topics like rumination, procrastination, and motivation.

MoodKit ($4.99)

Apple Rating: 4.3

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 ($7.99)

Apple Rating: 4.5

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.”


Personal Zen (Free with in-app purchases)

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.

Apple Rating: 4.3


Replika (Free with in-app purchases)

Apple Rating: 4.5

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: Anxiety & Depression ($8.99/mo or $53.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.8

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.”


Sinasprite ($14.99/mo or $119.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.0

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.”


Talkspace

Apple Rating: 4.7

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 ($69.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.5

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.”

Meditation & Mindfulness

Calm ($14.99/mo or $69.99/year)

Apple Rating: 4.8

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

Bearable Symptom & Mood Tracker (Free with in-app purchases)

Apple Rating: 4.7

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.”


DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach ($4.00)

Apple Rating: 4.4

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!


For a list of highly-rated meditation apps, see 12 Top Free Apps for Meditation.


What are your go-to apps for mental wellbeing? Post in a comment!


Guest Post: A Veteran’s Thoughts on “Thank You for Your Service”

Why is it difficult for me to say “you’re welcome” when thanked for my service on Veterans Day? Seferino Martinez, veteran and mental health counselor, explores why in this guest article.

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.

PTSD

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 Aftermath

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.

Conclusion

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.”


According to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report: In 2020, there were 6,146 Veteran suicide deaths.

To get help from a Veterans Crisis Line:

  • Call 988 (press 1)
  • Text 838255
  • 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.


A Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Perfectionism

Over 50 free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, PDF workbooks, printable worksheets, videos, articles, and more.

This guide has 50+ free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, worksheets/handouts, workbooks, guides, videos, articles, and more.


Do you hold yourself or others to unrealistic standards and find yourself defeated or frustrated when those standards aren’t met? Are you sensitive to criticism and have a fear of making mistakes? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are you driven by fear or have an intense fear of failure? If so, you may be a perfectionist. And it may be hindering you instead of helping.

The Dictionary.com definition of perfectionism is “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” The American Psychological Association further defines perfectionism as it relates to mental health as “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”

Perfectionism can be unhealthy – harmful even – and is associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.


This beginner’s guide to overcoming perfectionism provides free resources for assessment, exploration, education, and motivation.


Assessment & Screening

How much of a perfectionist are you? Take a test!

Worksheets & Handouts for Overcoming Perfectionism

Use the worksheets below to learn more about perfectionism and to do some self-exploration.


For additional worksheets and handouts see 200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts.

Workbooks & Guides for Overcoming Perfectionism


For additional PDF workbooks, manuals, and guides see 500 Free Printable Workbooks & Manuals for Therapists.

Videos for Overcoming Perfectionism

Podcasts About Perfectionism

Articles & Research About Perfectionism

Increase your knowledge and find out what research tells us about perfectionism.

Quotes for Overcoming Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is the art of never being satisfied.”

Unknown

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to do our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.”

-Brené Brown

“Have the courage to be imperfect.”

Alfred Adler

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

Winston Churchill

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

— Leo Tolstoy


Additional Resources for Overcoming Perfectionism

Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Mental Health in 2021: The Year in Review

The year in review – a rundown of notable findings and news in mental health in 2021, including statistics, research, reform, and legislation passed.

According to USA Today, a poll that asked Americans to describe 2021 in one word indicated that the year was overwhelmingly bleak for many. The top five most common responses were:

  1. Awful/terrible/bad/sucked (23%)
  2. Chaos/confusing/turmoil (12%)
  3. Challenging/hard/rough (11%)
  4. Disaster/train wreck/catastrophe (6%)
  5. Okay/good (6%)

How were such dismal views reflected in mental health in 2021? Who was impacted the most and why? What helped Americans cope?


This article reviews American mental health in 2021 – a rundown of last year’s notable research findings, statistics, and events.

Mental Health in 2021: Statistics & News

According to a 2021 Mental Health America report, the top-ranking states for overall mental wellbeing (based on rates of mental illness and access to care) are:

  1. 5) Connecticut
  2. 4) Pennsylvania
  3. 3) New Jersey
  4. 2) Vermont
  5. 1) Massachusetts

The lowest ranking states are: Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada (with Nevada at the bottom).


January 5 Ketamine shows promise as a treatment for chronic PTSD by reducing symptom severity. Click here to read the study abstract. (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry)

April 1 – The Standard reports that 49% of American workers struggled with alcohol and substance use in 2020. Read the full article.

April 6 – Research indicates mental health complications in survivors of COVID-19 persist up to 6 months and beyond post-infection. (Source: Lancet Psychiatry)

April 15 – Psilocybin, the hallucinogenic chemical in ‘magic mushrooms,’ is found to be as effective for treating depression as a common antidepressant. (Source: The New England Journal of Medicine)

April 22 – 3 in 10 healthcare workers consider leaving the profession due to pandemic-related burnout. (Source: The Washington Post)

July 13 – Over half (53%) of United States public health workers report symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or suicidal thoughts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC.

July 23 – Mental health workers are deployed to provide mental health support to first responders, the search and rescue teams, who worked for weeks to find victims after the condo collapse in Surfside, FL that killed nearly 100 people.

November 1 – Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy, dies at 100. (Source: USA Today)

December 13 – Digital (computer and smartphone-based) treatments for mental illness may effectively reduce symptoms of depression. (Source: American Psychological Association)

December 17 – Rates of depression and anxiety increased globally during the pandemic. (Source: Psychiatry Advisor)

December 21 – The American Psychiatric Association endorses the Well Beings Mental Health Language Guide intended to address stigma around mental illness and provide readers with person-centered language. Read the news release.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 in the United States. (CDC)

A 2021 report published by Mental Health America indicates that most American employees are experiencing burnout. Furthermore, employees are not receiving the support they need to manage stress; workplace stress has a significant impact on mental health. Download the full report here.

At the end of 2020, 1 in 5 adolescents as well as 1 in 5 adults reported that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. (Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Addiction & Recovery

The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that nearly 60% of Americans use drugs and/or alcohol with over 20% of the population reporting illicit drug use.


January 1 – A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence estimates that the opioid crisis cost the economy over $1 trillion in the United States in 2017.

February 28 – According to a growing body of research, Topamax continues to show promise as a pharmacological treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Source: Neuropsychopharmacology)

June 12 – The anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast shows promise as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. A small study found that it decreased heavy drinking. (Source: Translational Psychiatry)

June 25 – Research suggests that life achievements are linked to sustained recovery. (Source: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors)

July 5 – A pilot study indicates that high-dose gabapentin therapy may reduce harmful alcohol consumption. (Source: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research)

July 21 – Wearable devices measure and track stress reactions to help to prevent relapse. Read the article from Washington State University Insider here.

August 3 – Alcohol consumption is linked to nearly 750,000 cancer cases in 2020. (Source: CBS News)

September 27 – Yale researchers predict that graphic photos showing the severe consequences of smoking, which will be printed on all cigarette packages in the U.S. beginning October 2022, will save an estimated 539,000 lives. (Source: Yale News)

November 30 – Researchers explore nutritional ketosis as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry)

December 5 – TMS therapy reduces cravings and heavy drinking days. (Source: Biological Psychiatry)

December 17 – Researchers predict that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic will cause 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040. (Source: Massachusetts General Hospital)

Overdose Statistics & News

In 2019 there were 70,630 primarily opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States. 72.9% of opioid-involved overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids. (Source: CDC)

The states with the highest overdose death rates are:

  • 5) Pennsylvania
  • 4) Maryland
  • 3) Ohio
  • 2) Delaware
  • 1) West Virginia

February 3 – Researchers develop experimental vaccines to block opioid-induced respiratory depression, the primary cause of overdose death. (Source: Scripps Research Institute)

February 17 – Demi Lovato reveals that she suffered from three strokes and a heart attack in 2018 as a result of a drug overdose, leaving her with permanent brain damage. (Source: ABC News)

March 4 – A 75-year old New York doctor who saw patients in a hotel parking lot is charged with murder for 5 opioid deaths after writing massive quantities of prescriptions for opioid drugs. (Source: CSB News)

April 2 – The CDC reports that overdose deaths were at their highest in 2020, a 38.4% increase compared to the previous 12-year period.

September 1 – Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, is dissolved in a bankruptcy settlement that requires the company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, to pay billions of dollars to address the impact of the opioid epidemic. (Source: New York Times)

September 9 – Disparities in opioid overdose deaths for Black people continue to worsen. Read the press release. (Source: National Institutes of Health-NIH)

September 22 – An NIH report indicates that methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015-2019. Read the press release.

October 28 – The American Medical Association commends the Biden-Harris Administration “for responding to the spike in drug overdoses with an evidence-based, humane approach to increasing access to care for patients with a substance use disorder and harm reduction services.”

November 22 – Researchers develop a wearable naloxone injector device to detect and reverse opioid overdose. Read the news release from UW Medicine.

December 1 – Fentanyl strips prevent overdose and save lives. (Source: MSN News)

December 7 – The first safe injection sites in America open in New York in Washington Heights and East Harlem. (Source: Psychiatry Advisor)

December 9 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announces it is dropping the name of the philanthropic Sackler family, whose name is linked to America’s opioid epidemic. (Source: NBC News)

Discrimination & Reform

January 18 – The American Psychiatric Association issues a public apology for their past discriminatory practices. Read the news release here.

February 25 – The House passes the Equality Act, which “prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.”

March 3 – The House passes the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

March 10 – The Emmett Till and Will Brown Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2021, a bill that establishes lynching as a federal hate crime, is introduced in the House.

April 8 – The CDC director declares racism a serious public health threat. (Read the media statement here.) The American Medical Association releases a response statement applauding the CDC.

May 1 – A study indicates there are significant increases in anxiety among Black emerging adults from exposure to police violence. (Source: American Psychiatric Association)

June 1 – Research establishes a link between substance misuse and transgender-related discrimination.

July 30 – Research suggests that a 2017 executive order banning foreign nationals from select Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States harmed the health of Muslim Americans. (Source: Yale News)

August 17 – Researchers find persistent racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. (Source: JAMA)

October 29 – The American Psychological Association issues an apology for its longstanding contributions to systemic racism.

December 1 – A study indicates that youth who face discrimination are at a greater risk for developing a mental disorder and are twice as likely to experience severe psychological distress compared to youth who don’t experience discrimination. (Source: Pediatrics)

Mental Health in 2021 Legislation

In February, the Mental Health Justice Act of 2021 to create a grant program for training and dispatching mental health professionals (instead of law enforcement officers) to respond to psychiatric emergencies is introduced.

The House passes the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 in March.

In May, the House passes:

Also in May, the Senate passes the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act to increase suicide prevention resources for students.

On October 26th, the House passes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 to expand services for victims of domestic violence.

The infrastructure act signed to law by the president in November mandates automakers to install anti-drunk driving technology systems in all new cars.

In 2021, recreational marijuana use is legalized in New York, Virginia, New Mexico, and Connecticut. While marijuana is still federally controlled, it is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia and medically allowed in 36 states. Read more about marijuana legalization in the United States here. (Source: U.S. News)

The States Reform Act to end federal prohibition of cannabis is introduced in November, and a Florida representative submits a legislative proposal to decriminalize all illegal drugs.


Mental Health in 2021: Conclusion

2021 – the second year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic – brought with it more distress, loss, and hardship, with no end in sight as COVID deaths in 2021 surpassed those in 2020. While the year delivered a few legislative victories and promising research findings in mental health in 2021, overall, it wasn’t a great one.

Data suggests that mental health in 2021 suffered, with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use. Healthcare workers experienced severe burnout. Overdose deaths skyrocketed while thousands of lawsuits were filed against opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma who started and sustained the opioid crisis in America, profiting off the suffering and tragedy of addiction. (See the Opioid Settlement Tracker to learn more about opioid settlements and how the money is spent.)

Meanwhile, a wave of civil unrest in America, triggered by the murder of George Floyd in 2020, continued into 2021 with protests, rioting, and violence. While the movement gained strength in 2020, in 2021, many Americans looked away. At the same time, there was a political push for a more “patriotic” retelling of history – to limit what schools could teach about slavery. However, steps in the right direction were taken by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association when they issued public apologies for the harm they caused.

Although drug overdose deaths increased, there were significant strides taken in 2021 to win the “war on drugs” – by ending it with an awareness that this is not a war; it’s a treatable illness. 2021 saw the establishment of evidence-based, harm-reduction measures as well as legislation to decriminalize and legalize drugs. Meanwhile, medical research in 2021 revealed promising treatments to heal both addiction and mental illness.

To conclude, last year – in general – sucked. Despite this, it wasn’t entirely bad in mental health in 2021. And, 2022 could be the light at the end of the tunnel! In fact, the same poll that suggested 2021 was a “trainwreck” of a year found a majority of Americans are still hopeful for 2022.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

mental health in 2021

20 Powerful TED Talks on Relationships & Communication

20 powerful TED Talks on relationships and communication for therapists and counseling students for client education (or for self-help).

20 powerful TED Talks on relationships, communication, and related topics for mental health professionals and counseling students to use as psychoeducational tools (or for self-help).

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist from the TED website), 3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief, 10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions, 10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.


20 Powerful TED Talks on Relationships & Communication

1. Four Habits of ALL Successful Relationships | Dr. Andrea & Jonathan Taylor-Cummings (2019)

All relationships take work. Dr. Andrea & Jon Taylor-Cummings share their observations of the four fundamental habits of healthy relationships: BE CURIOUS, not critical; BE CAREFUL, not crushing; ASK, don’t assume; and CONNECT, before you correct.


2. Ten Ways to Have a Better Conversation | Celeste Headlee (2016)

Journalist, author, and public speaker Celeste Headlee reveals the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity, and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 rules for having better conversations.


3. The Brain in Love | Helen Fisher (2008)

Helen Fisher – anthropologist, human behavior researcher, and self-help author – talks about romantic love in this video clip. She shares what neuroscience tells us about the brain in love.


Bonus video: The Science of Love with Dr. Helen Fisher


4. Do You Have Post Betrayal Syndrome? | Debi Silber (2020)

Dr. Debi Silber – psychologist and founder of the PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute – talks about being blindsided by betrayal. She explains how we heal (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from betrayal by turning trauma into transformation.

Take a free quiz to find out if you have post betrayal syndrome.


5. The Dreaded Drama Triangle | Lucy Barnes (2018)

There are three roles we take on in unhealthy relationships. Are you the victim, the rescuer, or the persecutor? Lucy Barnes talks about the dreaded drama triangle in this TED Talk.


6. How to Fix a Broken Heart | Guy Winch (2018)

Psychologist Guy Winch talks about heartbreak and the intense emotional pain it brings. To recover from a broken heart, we must be willing to let the relationship go; hope can be incredibly destructive when we’re heartbroken. In one of the most viewed TED Talks on relationships and breakups, Winch shares practical suggestions for moving on after a relationship ends.


7. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen | Julian Treasure (2014)

According to Julian Treasure, the seven deadly sins of speaking are gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, blaming, lying, and conflating fact with opinion. He talks about the four cornerstones of effective speech as well as tools for speaking so that people want to listen.


Bonus TED-Ed Video: How Miscommunication Happens and How to Avoid It


8. How to Spot a Liar | Pamela Meyer (2011)

We’re all liars, according to Pamela Meyer – and we’re lied to between 10 and 200 times on any given day. In one of the most highly viewed TED Talks on relationships and deception, Meyer talks about how to spot lies by recognizing the telltale signs of a liar.


9. How Your Brain Falls In Love | Dawn Maslar (2016)

Biologist Dawn Maslar explains the neuroscience of falling in love. Romantic love is associated with chemical and hormonal changes that differ for men and women.


10. Infidelity: To Stay or Go…? | Lucy Beresford (2018)

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Lucy Beresford argues against the assumption that ending a relationship after infidelity is the best course of action. She suggests that it’s more courageous to stay and rebuild. In this TED Talk, Beresford explains how a couple can repair their relationship and rebuild trust after a betrayal.


Bonus TED-Ed Video: A Brief History of Divorce

11. Is Casual Sex Bad for You? | Dr. Zhana Vrangalova (2015)

Renowned sex researcher and psychologist Zhana Vrangalova discusses casual sex, long portrayed as a societal sin. She explains how “hookup” sex satisfies some of our most basic human needs.


12. Is It Lust or Is It Love? | Terri Orbuch (2014)

Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka, The Love Doctor®) is a professor of sociology at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan) and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at University of Michigan. In this TED Talk she explains how to differentiate between lust and love by recognizing distinctive features.


13. Overcoming the Fear of Love | Trillion Small (2018)

Dr. Trillion Small, licensed marriage and family therapist, examines why we fear love and how to overcome this in order to have healthy relationships.


14. The Power of Vulnerability | Brené Brown (2011)

Brené Brown shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.


15. Relationships Are Hard, but Why? | Stan Tatkin (2016)

Stan Tatkin – relationship expert, clinician, teacher, and researcher – explores why we fight in relationships from a neuroscience perspective.


16. Rethinking Infidelity… A Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved | Esther Perel (2015)

Relationship therapist Esther Perel discusses adultery and infidelity in this TED Talk. She explains that monogamy has nothing to do with love and talks about the three ways infidelity hurts us differently today.


17. The Science of Love | John Gottman (2018)

Can science help find the magic of love? Relationship expert discusses the science of love and how to make love work.


18. Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships | Joanne Davila (2015)

Psychologist and researcher Joanne Davila describes how you can create the things that lead to healthy relationships and reduce the things that lead to unhealthy ones using three evidence-based skills – insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.


19. What a Sex Worker Can Teach Us About Human Connection | Nicole Emma (2018)

Nicole Emma explains that sex is how men feel loved and worthy. She shares what she learned about human connection through sex work. She also touches on the impact of harmful male messages in society.


20. Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave | Leslie Morgan Steiner (2013)

Leslie Morgan Steiner shares what it’s like to be in “crazy love” with an abusive partner. For years she stayed with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. In this TED Talk, Steiner explains why domestic violence victims don’t leave abusive relationships; she also corrects common misconceptions about intimate partner violence.


TED Talks on relationships

10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions

10 powerful TED Talks on emotions and how to manage them (for clinical use for therapists or for self-help).

A list of 10 powerful TED Talks on emotions, including anger, sadness, fear, etc. (and how to effectively manage them!)

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist on the TED website), 10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.


10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions

1. Anger Is Your Ally: A Mindful Approach to Anger | Juna Mustad (2019)

You wouldn’t let a young child drive a car, nor would you lock them in the trunk. Treat your anger in the same manner; don’t let it drive you, but don’t be a “stuffer.” Juna Mustad explains how neuroscience and mindfulness can help us to better understand and manage anger.


2. Don’t Neglect Your Emotions. Express Them – Constructively! | Artūrs Miksons (2019)

Medical doctor and psychotherapist Artūrs Miksons talks about how we learn to suppress or reject emotional responses that are deemed unacceptable by society. In reality, emotions should not be labeled as “good” or “bad”; they just are. A better way to manage difficult emotions is to not only recognize and accept them, but to speak them aloud and share with another.


3. Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings | Dr. Joan Rosenberg (2016)

Psychologist Joan Rosenberg explains how poor management of unpleasant feelings blocks us from feeling capable in life and achieving success. She reveals a simple formula (1 choice, 8 feelings, 90 seconds) for navigating these challenging feelings in one of the most popular TED Talks on emotions.


4. Emotions Monsters and the Way We Treat Them | Melissa Gallagher (2020)

Melissa Gallagher – trauma survivor, parent, and mental health advocate – explains that we need to recognize and connect with our “emotions monsters” in order to heal from suffering. Hiding from our pain only makes it worse.


5. Feelings: Handle Them Before They Handle You | Mandy Saligari (2017)

Recovering addict and addictions therapist Mandy Saligari explains that we must handle our emotions or they will handle us. She discusses emotional coping mechanisms for managing feelings and the role of healthy boundaries.


6. The Mood-Boosting Power of Crying | Kathy Mendias (2020)

In this video clip, Kathy Mendias explores the science behind the mood-boosting power of tears (which the average human produces 15-30 gallons of per year!) She explains how crying can improve both physical and mental wellbeing.

Did you know that the chemical composition of emotional tears differs from that of the tears that form in response to an irritant? Click here for a 4-minute bonus video that explains the chemistry of tears and why we cry.


7. The Power of Women’s Anger | Soraya Chemaly (2019)

Author Soraya Chemaly talks about how girls and women across the world are taught that anger, “the moral property of boys and men,” is better left unvoiced. In reality, anger is a powerful signal that warns us of threat, insult, indignity, and harm; feminine rage is justified, healthy, and a potential catalyst for change.


8. Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful | David Steindl-Rast (2013)

Monk and interfaith scholar David Steindl-Rast talks about how gratefulness is the secret to true happiness. He encourages everyone to “live gratefully” by not taking life for granted. Every moment is a gift and we have a new opportunity in every moment.


9. Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals | Tim Ferriss (2017)

In this TED Talks, Tim Ferriss – entrepreneur, investor, author, podcaster, and lifestyle guru – talks about overcoming self-paralysis through “fear-setting.” By envisioning our fears and then focusing on what we have control over (define, prevent, impair), we are better equipped to face them.


10. You Aren’t at the Mercy of Your Emotions – Your Brain Creates Them | Lisa Feldman Barrett (2018)

Neuroscientist and psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains, and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies for the past 25 years to better understand human emotions. Through exhaustive research she discovered how emotions are created in the brain. As one of the top-viewed TED Talks on emotions, this video shows that we have more control over our emotions than we think we do.


TED Talks on emotions

10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion

10 powerful TED Talks on resiliency, empathy, and self-compassion for clinical use for therapists and counseling students or for self-help.

Powerful TED Talks on resilience, empathy, compassion, and related topics for clinical/educational use or for self-help.

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist on the TED website), 3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.


Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion

1. Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy | Joan Halifax (2011)

In this inspiring TED Talk, Joan Halifax shares about what she’s learned about compassion and true empathy. She has a deep insight into the nature of compassion, gained through her work with people in the end stages of their lives.


2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth (2013)

In this popular TED Talk, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth explains how grit and determination, not IQ, are the biggest predictors of success.


3. How Do You Define Yourself? | Lizzie Velasquez (2014)

Lizzie Velasquez, once labeled the world’s ugliest woman, explores the ways in which we define ourselves. As one of the most powerful TED Talks on true beauty, this video empowers viewers to challenge society’s definitions of beauty, happiness, and success – and to decide for themselves how they’ll allow themselves to be defined.


4. How to Succeed in Every Moment Even When You’re Failing | Dr. Jill Stoddard (2020)

Dr. Jill Stoddard – clinical psychologist and author – challenges the notion that goal achievement is a measure of success. She explores alternative ways of thinking about failures in life.


5. Listening to Shame | Brené Brown (2012)

Brené Brown – researcher, professor, and author – explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. In this TED Talk she explains how shame is an epidemic and how it plays a major role in “broken” behaviors in our lives.


6. The Magic of Not Giving a F*** | Sarah Knight (2017)

Bestselling author Sarah Knight outlines her method for “not giving a fuck,” thereby putting a stop to spending time she doesn’t have, doing things she doesn’t want to do. One of the most powerful TED Talks on self-determination, Sarah Knight’s speech will leave you rethinking your own priorities (and fucks to give – or not to give) in life.


7. The Price of Shame | Monica Lewinsky (2015)

Monica Lewinsky delivers a compelling talk on public shaming and the “culture of humiliation” that exists today. From a woman who lost her personal reputation on a global scale back in 1998 – and who was able to survive by taking back her narrative – this video clip is one of the most powerful TED Talks out there on countering public humiliation with empathy and compassion.


8. The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin (2015)

What bad mental habits are holding you up? In this TED Talk, Amy Morin – psychotherapist and author – explains how to become “mentally strong” by challenging our negative beliefs and giving up unhealthy habits. This strategy builds resiliency and allows us to become unstuck in life, thus reaching our full potential.


9. The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion | Kristin Neff (2013)

Kristin Neff – university professor and published author – explores the relationship between self-esteem and self-compassion in this video clip. She asks viewers to be kind to themselves as she discusses what research tells us about self-compassion.


10. The Three Secrets of Resilient People | Lucy Hone (2019)

In this TED Talk, Dr. Lucy Hone – resilience expert, acclaimed researcher, and published author – discusses three strategies for rising up from adversity in the face of suffering. She shares about her personal experience with painful loss – and how she was able to get through an unimaginable tragedy. As one of the most inspiring and powerful TED Talks on resiliency, this video clip provides viewers with not only insight, but hope.


powerful TED Talks

3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief

A list of 3 powerful TED Talks on grief for mental health clinicians or counseling students to use with clients or for self-help.

Three powerful, therapist-recommended TED Talks on grief for clinical use (as psychoeducation for grieving clients or in a treatment setting) or for self-help.

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist on the TED website) and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery. For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.

For additional grief resources, see Grief & Loss: A Comprehensive Resource Guide and Free Grief Workbook (a 100-page PDF download).


TED Talks on Grief

1. Beyond Closure | Nancy Berns (2012)

Nancy Berns, a sociologist at Drake University, discusses grief and closure in this 18-minute TED Talk. She explains that closure is a fabricated concept, and that it is doing us more harm than good. This is one of the best TED Talks on grief and loss for counseling students, use with grieving clients, or for self-help.


2. Getting Cozy with Grief | Stacy Smith (2020)

Stacy Smith is a therapist, college professor, and the founder of Club Forget Me Not, a nonprofit that helps grieving children. In this 10-minute clip, she talks about death, grieving, and “being present in grief.”


3. We Don’t “Move On” from Grief. We Move Forward with It | Nora McInerny (2019)

Nora McInerny, writer and podcaster, talks about life and death in this 15-minute talk. She shares her personal experience with loss, and encourages viewers to rethink our approach to grief. This is one of the most powerful TED Talks on grief.


TED Talks on grief

25 Helpful Examples of Dialectics

Examples of dialectics, two things that seem contradictory, but are both still true. A therapy tool for clinicians, includes free PDF download.

This is a list of examples of dialectics: two things that seem opposite – and are at the same time true. A therapy resource for clinicians or counseling students.

For other therapy resources, see 60 Awesome Resources for Therapists and 37 Powerful Therapy Metaphors. Read an article from Psychology Today on the use of dialectics in psychotherapy here.


Examples of Dialectics in Therapy

1. I am strong…yet vulnerable.
2. You can have both fear…and courage at the same time.
3. You feel like you can’t go on…and you still go on.
4. You can be intelligent…and lack self-awareness.
5. I want to change…and I’m afraid to change.
6. You are happy with yourself…and want to improve.
7. I’m doing the best I can…and I need to try harder.
8. I am capable…and I need support.
9. You enjoy the finer things in life…and don’t take the small things for granted.
10. I can love someone…and still hurt them.
11. I love my partner…and I was unfaithful to them.
12. I hate what someone did to me…and I still love them.
13. I am angry with you…and I will treat you with respect.
14. You can care about someone deeply…and still not want them in your life.
15. You feel happy for someone…and are envious of them.
16. I am happy for you…yet sad for myself.
17. You can feel sorry about something…and not regret it.
18. I acknowledge and accept others’ views…and have my own beliefs.
19. You can accept someone…and disagree with them at the same time.
20. I disagree with you…and I understand your perspective.
21. You want to be sober…and you want to get drunk/high.
22. You experience strong cravings…and you don’t want to get drunk/high.
23. I had a bad childhood…and I can live a good life.
24. What happened wasn’t okay…and you can learn from it and move forward.
25. I didn’t cause all my problems…and I need to solve them.

Free Printable PDF for Download:


examples of dialectics