Why Aren’t College Students Getting The Mental Health Support They Need?

college student with backpack walking out the door of a building

It was around 10pm when I got a knock on my freshman college dorm room. I probably had been up since 8am studying, squirreled away for most of the day in my favorite cubicle on the no-talking floor in the library. 12-hour study days were the norm for me. Monday through Sunday. No days off.

I heard the knock again and got up from my scratchy desk chair to open the door. My best friend from school was there, holding an Oreo cake in his hands.

“Come on,” he said, peeling me away from my textbooks. “It’s time to eat cake!”

It was my 18th birthday. Continue reading Why Aren’t College Students Getting The Mental Health Support They Need?

4 Reasons Young People Are Struggling With Mental Health Issues

Sign that reads: "We don't have time"

Today’s generation of young people are experiencing more mental health issues than ever.

According to the World Health Organization, 10-20% of children and adolescents worldwide experience mental health disorders. The American Journal of Managed Care cites that “between 2008 and 2017, the amount of adults that experienced serious psychological distress in the last month increased among most age groups, with the largest increases seen among younger adults aged 18-25 (71%).” Continue reading 4 Reasons Young People Are Struggling With Mental Health Issues

Can Living Alone Harm Your Mental Health?

woman staring out of closed window

“You can pull over by that white awning,” I told my Lyft driver.

I hauled my two large army-green duffles, red Osprey suitcase, black backpack and canvas bag — filled with essentials like my electric kettle and drum from Sedona—out of the trunk and onto the curb. I noticed a group of graduate students greeting new residents at the door wearing Columbia University t-shirts that said Office of Residential Services on the front. It still felt weird to be back at school.

After I checked myself in, one of the students wearing the Office of Residential Services t-shirts came over with a giant yellow bin and asked me if I would like help bringing my stuff up to my apartment. I happily accepted, tossed all of my stuff into the yellow bin, and we rolled it to the elevator together.

“What floor?” the student asked.

“Sixteen,” I replied. Continue reading Can Living Alone Harm Your Mental Health?

How to Ask for Space From a Partner

two people standing apart facing each other

Let’s face it, sometimes your partner will annoy you.

I used to think conflict with my partner meant our relationship was doomed. I was so terrified of it that I would do everything in my power to either avoid it or make it go away. As a recovering people-pleaser, I used to immediately abandon myself at the mere whisper of conflict. I would agree with, and internalize, whatever criticism my partner made about me without blinking an eye. Continue reading How to Ask for Space From a Partner

6 Misconceptions About Starting Therapy

young boy staring up a large staircase

“I’m sorry for what you have been through.”

This is the very first thing my therapist said to me. Before we talked about working together. Before she explained how therapy could help. Before she offered any advice.

I will never forget that moment because it was the first time I truly felt “seen.” Up until that point, everyone with whom I shared my story responded with either a) shock or b) solutions. Neither of which felt great. Finding someone who understood how to hold space for my pain, guide me through my healing, and empower me to reclaim my joy would prove more life-changing than I ever imagined. Continue reading 6 Misconceptions About Starting Therapy

How the Pressures to Get Into College are Harming People’s Mental Health

Person with face in book

Being back in school as a grad student, I’m reminded of the ways the academic system brings out the worst in me.

My obsession with grades. My workaholism. My comparison-itis. My drive to be perfect.

It brings me back to when I was a teenager and it felt like my goodness as a person was tied to my GPA, the number of leadership roles I took on, and how many extracurriculars I participated in. On the surface, I was excelling. But on the inside, I was suffering. Continue reading How the Pressures to Get Into College are Harming People’s Mental Health

Why Self-Medicating is a Bad Idea

Person drinking liquor

I thought I was just like everyone else.

Joining my friends for happy hour, sipping on nice wine at client dinners, and spending Sunday afternoons at the local beer garden. It seemed perfectly normal that my social life revolved around alcohol. Since my drinking patterns did not seem any different from my peers, it never occurred to me to question them or view them as a form of self-medicating.

According to Kimberly Leitch, LCSW-R, and Talkspace therapist, there are many different forms of self-medicating. “Some of the more common forms of self-medicating that my clients engage in are the use of marijuana, alcohol, and sleeping pills,” Leitch said. From her perspective, self-medicating behaviors are often tied to poor coping skills. Continue reading Why Self-Medicating is a Bad Idea

Why It’s so Hard to Put Down Your Phone as a Teen

Teen looking at their phone at night

Being a teen is hard enough. Being a teen in 2019 is even harder.

Not only do you face normal teen pressures like studying for the SATs and asking your crush to prom but you have the added pressure of staying connected with family and friends 24/7 through social media.

A recent Pew Research Center study found that 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one and 45% of teens say they are online on a near-constant basis. In addition to Facebook (which 51% of teens report using), the study found that YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens. Continue reading Why It’s so Hard to Put Down Your Phone as a Teen

I Love Yoga, but Still Think Therapy is the Answer

Sign that says reserved for yoga

I would not be the person I am today without yoga.

When I first started practicing yoga, it was one of the only things I did just for me. I cherished every minute of it. Not being responsible for anyone or anything but my own well-being felt like a luxury. “Yoga is a great form of self-care,” Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D. LPCC-S, and Ohio-based Talkspace therapist said. Having been an overachiever my entire life, the idea of self-care was brand new to me. Yoga felt like the perfect combination of doing something that felt productive while also giving my brain a much-needed break.

“One thing that I really love about yoga is the emphasis on mindfulness (i.e. being fully present and focused on the moment),” O’Neill added. “In my work with clients, I often incorporate those same mindfulness principles into the counseling sessions.” Continue reading I Love Yoga, but Still Think Therapy is the Answer

Low-cost Solutions That Can Improve Your Mental Health

Piggy bank

The wellness industry, which grew 12.8% from 2015-2017 to a $4.2 trillion global market, has done an amazing job at convincing us that self-care is a luxury.

I fell straight into the trap of thinking exotic yoga retreats, expensive green juices, and fancy trips to the spa were the only ways to practice self-care. Over the years I’ve learned (as has my wallet) that self-care doesn’t need to be so elaborate. Rather, the best forms of self-care are those everyday practices that help you feel more balanced, more present, and more intentional on a regular basis. Continue reading Low-cost Solutions That Can Improve Your Mental Health