The Global Refugee Mental Health Crisis

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Even when refugees remove themselves from the imminent physical dangers of war zones, their problems are far from over. If refugees relocate to camps within their own country, they often face issues like poverty, and physical and sexual abuse. If they flee abroad, racial and religious discrimination, along with cultural isolation, are often added to their list of woes.

Less talked about than physical and social issues, mental health problems are extremely prevalent in refugee populations, whether they are located in their home country or abroad. Civilian experiences in a war zone can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and physical manifestations of stress like the loss of the ability to move parts of the body. According to a report by the German Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, more than half the number of refugees from war zones suffer from some kind of mental illness.

The Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011 and has so far displaced over 12 million people, with 4 million seeking refuge abroad in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, has brought about a greater awareness of the mental issues experienced by refugees, especially children. Around half of Syrian refugees are under 18 years old, and around 40 percent are under 12. Three major reports — Save The Children’s March 2017 report, “Invisible Wounds,” the Migration Policy Institute’s (MPI) 2015 report,  and a 2015 UNHCR report focus on the mental health issues of Syrian refugees. Continue reading The Global Refugee Mental Health Crisis

The Mental Health Impact of the AHCA (Trumpcare)

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With the passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives, we may be approaching a mental health care crisis unlike anything seen before. Included in the bill is a provision to allow states to strike key provisions protecting Essential Health Benefits.

Whereas the percentage of uninsured once hovered around 16% of the nonelderly population, the ACA brought that figure down to 10.9% in 2015 — a record low. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million Americans will lose coverage by 2026 under the first replacement plan, 14 million in just the next year. Without giving the Budget Office time to score the new bill, the House passed the measure by a slim majority.

The bill will dramatically affect mental health parity — the historical divide between coverage requirements for mental and physical health — by allowing states to define Essential Health Benefits. Prior to the ACA, the lack of parity meant insurers could limit or deny coverage for mental health services, letting insurers limit the number of therapy sessions per year as well as treatment for substance abuse. The Essential Health Benefits of the ACA helped correct this discrepancy. Continue reading The Mental Health Impact of the AHCA (Trumpcare)

‘Snowflake’ – A New Insult for People Who Go to Therapy

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Since the end of the 2016 election and the beginning of Trump’s presidency, there is one insult that has become increasingly frequent: “snowflake,” a slang term for an overly sensitive, politically correct, stereotypically liberal person (more often millennials than people of all ages). These days there are many conservative Internet-goers and Trump supporters who use it to put down or provoke anyone they disagree with.

We’re not involved in politics, yet people often throw this word our way. If you’re familiar with Talkspace, it might be because you saw one of our ads on Facebook. These ads are great for reminding people they have the opportunity to work with a therapist in a way that might be more affordable and convenient for them.

The only problem with the ads is they reach some mean-spirited people across the Internet. Some of these people leave rude comments. They insult those who are considering trying Talkspace. We frequently see the declaration that anyone who uses Talkspace or goes to therapy is a snowflake. Continue reading ‘Snowflake’ – A New Insult for People Who Go to Therapy

What Are People In Therapy Saying About Life Post-Trump Victory?

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As a therapist, I experienced a variety of client reactions following the election results on November 8. Some clients were happy with the results. Others were fraught with intense anxiety and fear over what the next four years would be like for the United States.

Some of the country experienced shock at the election results. A theme I keep hearing from clients is the realization of such stark differences in viewpoints across the country.

For many those viewpoints are different than those in their immediate surroundings. These viewpoints are different than those people have seen in their social media feeds.

Everyone is in shock. The impact, however, is revealing itself in different ways. Continue reading What Are People In Therapy Saying About Life Post-Trump Victory?

How Can Families Reunite After Trump’s Victory Split Them Apart?

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Before the 2016 election, writer Michael Noker was “incredibly close” with his mother. He saw her as a role model because of her strength, feminism and history of overcoming abuse. Before he came out as gay, his mother was already teaching him the importance of respecting members of the LGBT community.

Then he learned she was voting for Donald Trump. Because of Hillary Clinton’s persecution of her husband’s accusers during his sex scandal, his mother didn’t perceive Clinton as a more feminist choice than Trump. She was also disappointed with Obamacare and seemed to want a new leader who would change it.

When Noker told her about Trump’s comments on the infamous tape with Billy Bush, she dismissed them as “probably taken out of context.” He also informed her of the many sexual assault allegations Trump faced. She dismissed them as well, saying it was suspicious that women were coming forward so many years after the purported incidents. Continue reading How Can Families Reunite After Trump’s Victory Split Them Apart?

When Your Family Brings Up Post-Election Politics During Thanksgiving

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It’s going to happen. You’re praying it doesn’t, but it’s inevitable.

During Thanksgiving, one of your relatives is going to bring up post-election politics. If your family members have opposing political views, this could be the beginning of a terrible evening. Your annoying uncle might say Trump isn’t so bad, which spurs your equally annoying aunt into going on a rant about how your uncle hates women.

A few minutes later everyone is shouting and arguing about issues and people you are sick of hearing about: Trump, his cabinet, Hillary, her emails, the electoral college, Bernie Sanders, Obamacare, 2020 and much more. There’s a chance someone will rope you in and pressure you to take a stance in front of the whole family.

What do you do? How do you handle the situation and the stress? Continue reading When Your Family Brings Up Post-Election Politics During Thanksgiving

How We Can Heal After This Horrible Election Cycle

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Whether it’s watching wide-eyed as Trump swept the electoral college, experiencing Trump-related anxiety, feeling like Hillary called you a deplorable, watching your favorite politician get trounced in the primaries or discovering someone you like voted for the candidate you abhor, this election has taken a toll on all of us.

More than 60% of Americans were stressed about this election, according to a survey we conducted. All of the people we surveyed experienced anxiety about at least one candidate being elected. They also reported election-related strain on their relationships and work.

Now it’s time to heal. Keep reading to learn how to restore your mental health and relationships in the wake of this grueling election cycle. Continue reading How We Can Heal After This Horrible Election Cycle

This Election Cycle is a Nightmare, and It’s Officially Stressing You Out [Infographic]

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We all know this election cycle is stressing us out, but we don’t know exactly what the impact on our mental health is. To fully understand how the primaries and Hillary vs. Trump showdown have affected us, we surveyed more than 1,000 people.

As you might expect, the stress is degrading every part of their lives. It’s become harder for people to focus at work, there is strain on their relationships and their outlook on life isn’t as positive as before. The election is bumming everyone out, although there are differences based on age, gender and political affiliation.

This infographic shows the data we found and offers solutions for your stress. Use it to end the nightmare! Continue reading This Election Cycle is a Nightmare, and It’s Officially Stressing You Out [Infographic]

Coping with Grief and Anxiety in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting

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When Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20, walked into the Pulse Night Club on the night of June 11, he most likely thought it would be a normal evening. He would dance, socialize, maybe enjoy some of the live entertainment or Latin theme night. Then he would go home, sleep in and see his loved ones in the coming days.

Capo — and at least 49 other people — did not return. They lost their lives in the Orlando shooting, a senseless act of violence and the deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history. Continue reading Coping with Grief and Anxiety in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting

A 2016 Report on Progress and Failures in Mental Health

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As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, we took a critical look at the mental health progress and failures we’ve seen since last May. This report will also give you a sense of which issues mental health professionals are focused on and what might be in store for next year.

We highlighted four areas of progress:

  1. Increase in Access to Mental Health Care and Resources
  2. Raising Awareness About Mental Health Issues
  3. Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness and Treatment
  4. Research Relevant to Mental Health

Read through to see if any of these stories surprise you! Continue reading A 2016 Report on Progress and Failures in Mental Health