What questions are people asking about mental health? Quora posts indicate that misconceptions and myths related to mental illness and addiction prevail. Read the top 40 most unsettling questions on Quora.com.
I turned to Quora (an online platform for asking questions) to see what people today are asking about mental illness. What I found ranged from thought-provoking to comical to disturbing.
Continue reading for 40 of the most unsettling questions I came across. The following Quora question posts illustrate some of the misconceptions surrounding mental disorders.
40 of the Most Disturbing Posts About Mental Illness (on Quora)
1. “Is mental illness really an illness?”
2. “Is mental illness catchable?”
3. “Do people with mental disorders have friends?”
4. “Are people who self-harm just looking for attention?”
5. “Is drug addiction really just a lack of willpower?”
6. “Can a person be intelligent and a drug addict?”
9. “Why should one feel sorry or sympathetic for drug addicts, given most of them chose this life?”
10. “Instead of ‘rescuing’ drug addicts who have overdosed, wouldn’t society as a whole benefit from just letting nature take its course?” (If that was the case, shouldn’t we then withhold all types of medical treatment and preventative or life-saving measures… to allow nature to take its course?)
11. “Is there any country in the world that won in the war against drugs by killing the users or the drug addicts?”
12. “Why should we lament drug addicted celebrities dying of drug-related causes? It’s their fault for starting a drug habit.”
This is a list of free online assessment screenings for clinical use and for self-help purposes. While an assessment cannot take the place of a diagnosis, it can give you a better idea if what you’re experiencing is “normal.”
Substance Abuse History Interview | The SAHI is an interview to assess periods of drug use (by drug), alcohol use, and abstinence in a client’s life over a desired period of time. The SAHI combines the drug and alcohol use items from the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Time Line Follow-back Assessment Method to collect information about the quantity, frequency, and quantity X frequency of alcohol and drug consumption. Citation: McLellan, A. T., Luborsky, L., Woody, G. E., & O’Brien, C. P. (1980). An improved diagnostic evaluation instrument for substance abuse patients: The Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 168, 26-33. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Yale Food Addiction Scale | PDF scale and scoring instructions (Source: Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Sciences [MIDSS])
Anxiety & Mood Disorders
PDF and interactive online assessment tools for anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders
ADAA Screening Tools | The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides links to both printable and interactive tests for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. This site does not provide test results. (It’s recommended that you print your results to discuss with a mental health practitioner.) This is an excellent resource for clinicians to print and administer to clients.
Classroom Anxiety Measure | Printable scale with scoring instructions (Citation: Richmond, V. P., Wrench, J. S., & Gorham, J. (2001). Communication, affect, and learning in the classroom. Acton, MA: Tapestry Press).
DBSA Mental Health Screening Center | The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers screening tools for both children and adults (including versions for parents to answers questions about their child’s symptoms). Take an online assessment for depression, mania, and/or anxiety.
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) | 2-page PDF with scoring instructions (Citations: Cox, J. L., Holden, J. M., & Sagovsky, R. (1987). Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786 and K. L. Wisner, B. L. Parry, & C. M. Piontek. (2002). Postpartum depression, N Engl J Med, 347(3), 18, 194-199.)
Fear of Physician (FOP) | Printable scale with scoring instructions (Citation: Richmond, V. P., Smith, R. S., Heisel, A. M., & McCroskey, J. C. (1998). The impact of communication apprehension and fear of talking with a physician and perceived medical outcomes. Communication Research Reports, 15, 344-353).
The Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) | 2-page PDF, includes scoring information (Citation: Meyer, T. J., Miller, M. L., Metzger, R. L., & Borkovec, T. D. (1990). Development and validation of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28, 487-495.)
Shyness Scale | Printable scale with scoring instructions (Citation: McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1982). Communication apprehension and shyness: Conceptual and operational distinctions. Central States Speech Journal, 33, 458-468.)
Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN) | 2-page PDF, includes scoring information (Source: Bianca Lauria-Horner, (2016). From The Primary Care Toolkit for Anxiety and Related Disorders: Quick, Practical Solutions for Assessment and Management. Brush Education Inc.)
Test Anxiety | Printable scale with scoring instructions (Citation: Richmond, V. P., Wrench, J. S., & Gorham, J. (2001). Communication, affect, and learning in the classroom. Acton, MA: Tapestry Press.)
Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) | 3-page PDF (Citation: Young, R. C., Biggs, J. T., Ziegler, V. E., & Meyer, D. A. (2000). Young Mania Rating Scale. In: Handbook of Psychiatric Measures. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 540-542.)
Trauma, Stress, & Related Disorders Online Assessment Tools
ACE Questionnaire | Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with a variety of health (both physical and mental) conditions in adults. To find your ACE score, take an interactive quiz. Learn more about ACEs on the CDC’s violence prevention webpage. You can also download the international version (PDF) from the World Health Organization’s Violence and Injury Prevention webpage.
Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) | Citation: Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R., Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi E., et al. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 60(2), 184-9.
Posttraumatic Maladaptive Beliefs Scale (PMBS) | 4-page PDF, includes scoring information (Citation: King, L. A., King, D. W., Vickers, K., Davison, E. H., & Spiro, A. I. (2007). Assessing late-onset stress symptomatology among aging male combat veterans. Aging & Mental Health, 11, 175-191. doi:10.1080/13607860600844424)
Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale | 14-page PDF assessment (Citation: Scahill, L., Riddle, M. A., McSwiggin-Hardin, M., Ort, S. I., King, R. A., Goodman, W. K., Cicchetti, D. & Leckman, J. F. (1997). Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale: reliability and validity. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 36(6), 844-852.)
Borderline Symptom List and Scoring Instructions | Citation: Bohus M., Limberger, M. F., Frank, U., Chapman, A. L., Kuhler, T., Stieglitz, R. D. (2007). Psychometric properties of the Borderline Symptom List (BSL). Psychopathology, 40, 126-132. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) | 1-page PDF, includes scoring information (Citation: Gratz, K. L. & Roemer, L. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26, 41-54.)
Original Attachment Three-Category Measure | PDF assessment (Citation: Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.)
Learn Your Love Language | Choose your version: Couples, Children’s Quiz, Teens, or Singles. An online assessment to determine your primary love language. (You are required to enter your information to get quiz results.)
Danger Assessment Screening Tool | Clinicians can download this PDF version of the assessment, which helps predict the level of danger in an abusive relationship; this screening tool was developed to predict violence and homicide.
Lifetime – Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Count (L-SASI)InstructionsScoring | The L-SASI is an interview to obtain a detailed lifetime history of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior. Citation: Linehan, M. M. &, Comtois, K. (1996). Lifetime Parasuicide History. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Lineham Risk Assessment and Management Protocol | Citation: Linehan, M. M. (2009). University of Washington Risk Assessment Action Protocol: UWRAMP, University of WA, Unpublished work. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Assessment Tool Brief Version | Full Version | Assessment tool (Source: Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery)
NSSI Measures Archives | A collection of instruments for self-harm (Source: International Society for the Study of Self-Injury)
NSSI Severity Assessment | A PDF assessment tool to assess the severity of non-suicidal self-injury (Source: Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery)
Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire | SBQ with Variable Labels | SBQ Scoring Syntax | The SBQ is a self-report questionnaire designed to assess suicidal ideation, suicide expectancies, suicide threats and communications, and suicidal behavior. Citation: Addis, M. & Linehan, M. M. (1989). Predicting suicidal behavior: Psychometric properties of the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement Behavior Therapy, Washington, DC. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII) SASII Instructions For Published SASII | SASII Standard Short Form with Supplemental Questions | SASII Short Form with Variable Labels | SASII Scoring Syntax | Detailed Explanation of SPSS Scoring Syntax | The SASII (formerly the PHI) is an interview to collect details of the topography, intent, medical severity, social context, precipitating and concurrent events, and outcomes of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior during a target time period. Major SASII outcome variables are the frequency of self-injurious and suicidal behaviors, the medical risk of such behaviors, suicide intent, a risk/rescue score, instrumental intent, and impulsiveness. Citation: Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., Brown, M. Z., Heard, H. L., Wagner, A. (2006). Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII): Development, reliability, and validity of a scale to assess suicide attempts and intentional self-injury. Psychological Assessment, 18(3), 303-312. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
University of WA Suicide Risk/Distress Assessment Protocol | Citations: Reynolds, S. K., Lindenboim, N., Comtois, K. A., Murray, A., & Linehan, M. M. (2006). Risky assessments: Participant suicidality and distress associated with research assessments in a treatment study of suicidal behavior. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, (36)1, 19-33. Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., &, Ward-Ciesielski, E. F. (2012). Assessing and managing risk with suicidal individuals. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 19(2), 218-232. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Coping Self-Efficacy Scale | 3-page PDF (Citation: Chesney, M. A., Neilands, T. B., Chambers, D. B., Taylor, J. M., & Folkman, S. (2006). A validity and reliability study of the coping self-efficacy scale. Br J Health Psychol, 11(3), 421-37.)
Fisher Temperament Inventory (FTI) | Interactive test (Source: Brown, L. L., Acevedo, B., & Fisher, H. E. (2013). Neural correlates of four broad temperament dimensions: Testing predictions for a novel construct of personality. PLoS ONE 8(11), e78734. / Open-Source Psychometrics Project)
Jung Typology Test | Interactive assessment based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality type theory
Keirsey | Take this interactive assessment to learn your temperament. There are four temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational. (Note: You must create an account and enter a password to view your results.)
SAPA Project | SAPA stands for “Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment.” This online personality assessment scores you on 27 “narrow traits,” such as order, impulsivity, and creativity in addition to the “Big Five” (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness). You’re also scored on cognitive ability. This test takes 20-30 minutes to complete and you will receive a full report when finished.
Flourishing Scale (FS) | Includes scoring information (Citation: Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D., Oishi, S., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2009). New measures of well-being: Flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 39, 247-266.)
Inventories of Thriving (CIT & BIT) | Comprehensive and brief versions, includes scoring information (Citation: Su, R., Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2014). The development and validation of Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving (CIT) and Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT). Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Published online before print. doi: 10.1111/aphw.12027)
Oxford Happiness Questionnaire | 3-page PDF (Citation: Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2002). The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: a compact scale for the measurement of psychological well‐being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1073–1082.)
Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) | Includes scoring information (Citation: Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.)
Affect Intensity Measure (AIM) | 40-question and 20-question PDF versions of the assessment (Citation: Larsen, R. J. (1984). Theory and measurement of affect intensity as an individual difference characteristic. Dissertation Abstracts International, 85, 2297B.)
Clance Impostor Syndrome Scale | 3-page PDF, includes scoring information (Source: The Impostor Phenomenon: When Success Makes You Feel Like A Fake (pp. 20-22), by P.R. Clance, 1985, Toronto: Bantam Books.)
DBT-WCCL Scale and Scoring | Citation: Neacsiu, A. D., Rizvi, S. L., Vitaliano, P. P., Lynch, T. R., & Linehan, M. M. (2010). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Ways of Coping Checklist (DBT-WCCL).: Development and psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 66(61), 1-20. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Demographic Data Scale | A self-report questionnaire used to gather extensive demographic information from the client. Citation: Linehan, M. M. (1982). Demographic Data Schedule (DDS). University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Focus on Emotions | PDF assessment instruments for children and adolescents from 9 to 15 years. Includes Empathy Questionnaire (EmQue), Mood List, Alexithymia Questionnaire for Children, Emotion Awareness Questionnaire (EAQ), BARQ, Behavioral Anger Response Questionnaire, Worry / Rumination, Somatic Complaint List, Instrument for Reactive and Proactive Aggression (IRPA) Self-Report, Brief Shame and Guilt Questionnaire for Children, Coping Scale, and Social-Emotional Development Tasks
Library of Scales | 25 psychiatric scales (PDF documents) to be used by mental health practitioners in clinical practice. Includes Frequency, Intensity, and Burden of Side Effects Ratings; Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence; Fear Questionnaire; Massachusetts General Hospital Hair Pulling Scale; and more. (Note: Some of the assessments have copyright restrictions for use.) (Source: Outcome Tracker)
Mental Health Screening Tools | Online screenings for depression, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction. You can also take a parent test (for a parent to assess their child’s symptoms), a youth test (for a youth to report his/her symptoms), or a workplace health test. The site includes resources and self-help tools.
The Multidimensional Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire (MEAQ) | 3-page PDF with scoring information, 2011 (Citation: Gamez, W., Chmielewski, M., Kotov, R., Ruggero, C., & Watson, D. (in press). Development of a measure of experiential avoidance: The Multidimensional Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire (MEAQ), Psychological Assessment.)
Open Source Psychometrics Project | This site provides a collection of interactive personality and other tests, including the Open Extended Jungian Type Scales, the Evaluations of Attractiveness Scales, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.
Parental Affect Test | The Linehan Parental Affect Test is a self-report questionnaire that assesses parent responses to typical child behaviors. Citation: Linehan, M. M., Paul, E., & Egan, K. J. (1983). The Parental Affect Test – Development, validity and reliability. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 12, 161-166. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Patient Health Questionnaire Screeners | This is a great diagnostic tool for clinicians. Use the drop down arrow to choose a PHQ or GAD screener (which assesses mood, anxiety, eating, sleep, and somatic concerns). The site generates a PDF printable; you can also access the instruction manual. No permission is required to reproduce, translate, display or distribute the screeners.
Project Implicit | A variety of interactive assessments that measures your hidden biases
The Shame Inventory | 3-page PDF (Citation: Rizvi, S. L. (2010). Development and preliminary validation of a new measure to assess shame: The Shame Inventory. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 32(3), 438-447.)
Social History Interview (SHI) | The SHI is an interview to gather information about a client’s significant life events over a desired period of time. The SHI was developed by adapting and modifying the psychosocial functioning portion of both the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report (SAS-SR) and the Longitudinal Interview Follow-up Evaluation Base Schedule (LIFE) to assess a variety of events (e.g., jobs, moves, relationship endings, jail) during the target timeframe. Using the LIFE, functioning is rated in each of 10 areas (e.g., work, household, social interpersonal relations, global social adjustment) for the worst week in each of the preceding four months and for the best week overall. Self-report ratings using the SAS-SR are used to corroborate interview ratings. Citations: Weissman, M. M., & Bothwell, S. (1976). Assessment of social adjustment by patient self-report. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 1111-1115. Keller, M. B., Lavori, P. W., Friedman, B., Nielsen, E. C., Endicott, J., McDonald-Scott, P., & Andreasen, N. C. (1987). The longitudinal interval follow-up evaluation: A comprehensive method for assessing outcome in prospective longitudinal studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 540-548. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Therapist Interview | The TI is an interview to gather information from a therapist about their treatment for a specific client. Citation: Linehan, M. M. (1987). Therapist Interview. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
Treatment History Interview | Appendices | The THI is an interview to gather detailed information about a client’s psychiatric and medical treatment over a desired period of time. Citation: Linehan, M. M. &, Heard, H. L. (1987). Treatment history interview (THI). University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work. Therapy and Risk Notes – do not use without citation. For clarity of how to implement these items, please see Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Book, Chapter 15. (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)
TTM Measures | To assess for self-efficacy, decision-making, process of change, etc. (Source: HABITS Lab)
Where can you find the help you need? While there are plenty of resources out there for mental health and recovery, they’re not always easy to find… or affordable. (Plus, the Internet is full of scams!) This article is a starting point for getting help when you aren’t sure where to turn. This post offers practical guidelines; all of the resources in this article are trustworthy and reliable… and will point you in the right direction.
This post is not comprehensive; rather, it is a starting point for getting the help you need. There are plenty of resources out there for mental health and recovery, but it is not always easy (or affordable) to find help. The resources in this post are trustworthy and reliable… and will point you in the right direction so you can find help.
If you need treatment for mental distress or substance use, but are not sure how to find it…
If you have insurance, check your insurer’s website.
For substance use and mental health disorders, you can access the SAMHSA treatment locator. You can find buprenorphine treatment (medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction) through SAMHSA as well.
Consider using Mental Health America’s interactive tool, Where to Get Help. NeedyMeds.org also has a locator to help you find low-cost mental health and substance abuse clinics.
At campus counseling centers, grad students sometimes offer free or low-cost services.
You could look into community mental health centers or local churches (pastoral counseling).
In some areas, you may be able to find pro bono counseling services. (Google “pro bono counseling” or “free therapy.”) You may also be able to connect with a peer specialist or counselor (for free) instead of seeing a licensed therapist.
As an alternative to individual counseling, you could attend a support group (self-help) or therapy group; check hospitals, churches, and community centers. The DBSA peer-lead support group locator tool will help you find local support groups. Meetup.com may also have support group options.
Additional alternatives: Consider online forums or communities. Watch or read self-help materials. Buy a workbook (such as The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-By-Step Program) from amazon.com. Download a therapy app.
Lastly, you could attend a free workshop or class at a local church, the library, a college or university, a community agency, or a hospital.
If you’re under 18 and need help, but your parents will not let you see a counselor (or “do not believe in therapy”)…
Some, but not all, states require parental consent for adolescents to participate in therapy. Start by looking up the laws in your state. You may be able to see a treatment provider without consent from a legal guardian. If your state is one that mandates consent, consider scheduling an appointment with your school counselor. In many schools, school counseling is considered a regular educational service and does not require parental consent.
Alternatively, you could join an online forum or group. (Mental Health America offers an online community with over 1 million users and NAMI offers OK2Talk, an online community for adolescents and young adults.)
Lastly, consider talking with your pastor or a trusted teacher, reading self-help materials, downloading a therapy app, journaling, meditation or relaxation techniques, exercising, or therapy podcasts/videos.
If a loved one or friend says they are going to kill themselves, but refuses help…
Call 911. If you are with that person, stay with them until help arrives.
Explore Learn to Cope, a peer-led support network for families coping with the addiction of a loved one. Alternatively, you could attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
Keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to help someone who doesn’t want it. You can’t control your loved one or force them into treatment. Instead, find a way to accept that there’s no logic to addiction; it’s a complex brain disorder and no amount of pleading, arguing, or “guilting” will change that.
If a friend or family member overdoses on heroin or other opioid…
You can receive free training to administer naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose. Take an online training course at Get Naloxone Now. You can purchase naloxone OTC in most states at CVS or Walgreens.
In addition to talking to your doctor about medication, the patch, and/or nicotine gum, visit Smoke Free, Be Tobacco Free, or Quit.com for resources, tools, and tips.
Call a smoking cessation hotline (like 1-800-QUIT-NOW) or live chat with a specialist, such as LiveHelp (National Cancer Institute).
Download a free app (like QuitNow! or Smoke Free) or sign up for a free texting program, like SmokefreeTXT, for extra support.
Attend an online workshop or participate in a smoking cessation course; your insurance provider may offer one or you may find classes at a local hospital or community center. You could also contact your EAP for additional resources.
If your therapist is making unwanted sexual remarks/advances…
Contact the licensing board to file a complaint. Each state has a different licensing board. Additionally, contact the therapist’s professional association (i.e. American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association, etc.) Provide your name, address, and telephone number (unless filing anonymously). Identify the practitioner you are reporting by his or her full name and license type. Provide a detailed summary of your concerns. Attach copies (not originals) of documents relating to your concerns, if applicable.