Articles on Mental Health Facts

The Stigma and Misunderstandings Surrounding Mental Illness
I was alerted to the publication of the article below by a colleague who has worked in the field of mental illness for over two decades. It was written by Jaelea Skehan, who is the Director of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in Australia. Read her article below and you will see a clear example of why mental illness remains a problem for sufferers due to the inability of people in this woman’s position to have even a modicum of understanding of the pain that sufferers endure on a daily basis... (Read more)

Taking the Stigma out of Mental Illness
All of us are mentally ill. You might find the above statement difficult to believe, but it's true. We may not all fit into a textbook category for a particular illness, but whether we are aware of it or not, we all have our individual quirks- that's what makes us human... (Read more)

Helping someone you love with a mental illness (1)
Perhaps you have a friend or a close family member with some form of mental illness. How can you best help them? While there is much written about the various types of mental illness, very little attention is paid to helping friends and family deal with the ongoing nature of many emotional problems... (Read more)

Helping someone you love with a mental illness (2)
By the time Lilly was 15, she had developed an eating disorder and clinical depression. She came from a household where there was a lot of personal freedom but little love. Lilly was a seemingly vivacious young girl: happy, intelligent, and personable, but it was all just a mask... (Read more)

Gossip can be good for you!
Most people love a good chinwag and research has now shown what we already suspected: that a regular dose of gossip can be beneficial for your mental health. We humans will gossip about anything, from friends and neighbors to Hollywood stars and politicians... (Read more)

Addicted to Love?
We humans are capable of becoming addicted to just about anything, be it drugs, food, chocolate, or shopping. The list is endless. If it exists, it can become an addiction! So it's not surprising to learn that we can also become addicted to love. And like any addiction, the end result is pain... (Read more)

Choosing a Therapist
Decided to take the plunge and seek help from a counselor? Congratulations! This could well be the start of a new, more effective, and successful phase of your life. Seeking help for personal problems is never easy, but making significant life changes is permanently rewarding... (Read more)

Can viruses cause mental illness?
Spend time in a crowded shopping center or in an air conditioned office during peak winter virus time and you'd expect that your chances of picking up a cold or flu virus would be increased... (Read more)

Childcare, babies and mental health
Ever wondered whether childcare for babies and infants is beneficial for a child? Or is spending time with Mom more important for a baby's emotional development? A new study from Australia sheds some light on this intriguing issue... (Read more)

Don't give your children everything
Hands up all those parents who want their children to have a better life than they did? This seems to be one of the most universal desires of parents the world over. It's natural to want your child to have a better education, better nutrition, indeed better everything... (Read more)

Does your man have the "Stupid Gene?"
Ever secretly suspected that women are smarter than men? Ever wondered why there are whole pages in women's magazines devoted to the silly things that men do? One man has now lifted the lid on Secret Men's Business: the fact that some men actually possess The Stupid Gene... (Read more)

What does IQ really mean?
We've all heard of the term IQ (or Intelligence Quotient). But what does it really represent and how significant is your or your child's score is an IQ test? What does it really mean to have a low, moderate, or high IQ? (Read more)

Psychological tactics of the media
The death by suicide of American mother Melinda Duckett has highlighted the increasingly intrusive and abusive nature of some members of the media... (Read more)

Music to your ears (and brain)
Would you be interested in increasing your child's literacy skills, memory function, mathematical ability, and general intelligence level? Children who take music lessons and who practice regularly have been shown to demonstrate advanced brain development as compared to those who did not... (Read more)

The best gift a father can give his child
I was talking recently to a very dear friend who dropped this pearl of wisdom into the conversation: "The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother." The friend couldn't remember where she had heard this saying, but it didn't matter... (Read more)

Do dreams really mean anything?
We all have weird dreams from time to time. Some dreams make no sense at all, others seem to follow recurring themes and visit us at night on a regular basis. Often we are being threatened in a dream and we cannot scream. Another common theme is falling, or tripping over... (Read more)

Disorder of the Day
Illnesses such as depression, ADHD, and anxiety and behavioral disorders are being diagnosed in increasing numbers throughout First-World countries... (Read more)

Life isn't black and white. It's a million shades of grey.
Being human, we often look at others through the tunnel vision of our own life experience. But it doesn't take an Einstein to realize that using our own limited vision of life can lead to discrimination, misunderstandings, even hatred... (Read more)

Are You a Cyberchondriac?
There are hundreds of medical websites online, many offering self-diagnosis. Aligned with these sites are those selling medications online, often without a doctor's prescription. The combination of these two facilities can be harmful to your health... (Read more)

Mental Illness is REAL
My job as a psychologist is to assist people suffering from emotional problems to lead happier, more productive lives via a variety of treatments and techniques... (Read more)

Retail Therapy: Good or Bad?
Well, neither. Or both! Like any activity, a little can be uplifting for the spirits, like a good wine after a wonderful meal with friends. But we all know where too much alcohol can lead us... (Read more)

The Stigma of being a Mental Health Patient
As if it isn't bad enough to be besieged by depression, bipolar disorder or any number of conditions that may land you in a medical facility for a period of time, there is the added stigma you as a patient may receive from family members, neighbors, acquaintances, even your work colleagues... (Read more)

"I'm a Bad Mother!"
This is a cry that I hear from literally hundreds of mothers, both in the course of my counseling experience and simply from comments dropped by friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers... (Read more)

Hand Holding and Mental Health
The scientists have finally given us conclusive proof of what we all pretty much knew. Holding hands reduces stress. Researchers at the University of Virginia studied couples who described themselves as "happily married" and found, not surprisingly, that the simply act of touching is a very potent stress-relieving activity... (Read more)

Does Your Doctor Not Understand Mental Illness?
I am often frustrated when one of my clients goes to see their doctor for a physical ailment and is basically dismissed, or at best, condescended to, simply because they have a record of mental illness, either past or present. It seems that once you have suffered from depression or anxiety, or worse still, one of the major mental illnesses, every little twinge, whether it be in your stomach or your big toe, is often put down to a symptom of mental illness. Yes, they will tell you that "It's all in your mind, dear." ... (Read more)

Does Your Doctor Think You Are A Hypochondriac?
There certainly exists a disorder involving the belief that you are suffering from illnesses that you aren't. It's called hypochondriasis and there is also an associated illness called somatization disorder. Fortunately, both conditions are quite rare. Therefore most people who go to the doctor with a physical ailment that concerns them need either a positive diagnosis that they can work with or reassurance that there is nothing to be concerned about... (Read more)

Men's versus Women's Brains: We Are Different!
Sick of trying to figure out why the man in your life is so different to you and your girlfriends? Well, wonder no more. Research into brain function between males and females provides more and more evidence for why males think and act so differently to females… (Read more)

Men in Aprons Get More Sex
Now there's a headline that should be on the front page of every newspaper from the larger city to the smallest town.
Sociologist Scott Colrane of the University of California reports what most women have known for decades: The more housework that men chip in with around the house, the higher the level of marital satisfaction felt by women… (Read more)

Weight Loss Surgery and Mind Games
Changing your beliefs systems about yourself is just as big a part of losing weight as exercise and diet. The most dramatic example of the enmeshed mind/body relationship as regards weight loss is the unfortunate stories that emerge from people who have undergone radical procedures such as gastric bypass surgery… (Read more)

Homosexuality: Inborn or Learned Behavior? (1)
Scientists have long debated whether homosexuals are born or bred. Ongoing research by neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institutet, one of Europe's largest medical universities in Stockholm, Sweden, presents more evidence for the former being the case... (Read more)

Homosexuality: Inborn or Learned Behavior? (2)
In our previous article on this topic we saw how researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that testosterone compounds found in male sweat were attractive to both heterosexual females and homosexual males... (Read more)

Everyone's a Winner at the Olympics
For sports fans the Olympics is the epitome of human achievement. How exciting is it to watch the gold medal winner for any event step up onto the podium to receive their 15 minutes of fame. But what about the athletes who have trained for four years and go home empty-handed? ... (Read more)

Depression and Chemical Imbalance: Truth or Propaganda?
As a psychologist I am always interested in anything the drug companies have to offer to assist in the treatment of mental health problems, ranging from schizophrenia to anxiety. As I have previously written, my views on the efficacy of antidepressants differ significantly from the information supplied by the drug companies. The topic came to my attention again recently while reading a brochure put out by the drug company Pfizer... (Read more)

Online Counseling Gaining Ground Over Face-to Face Counseling
Counseling has been conducted for over a century via the traditional means of face-to-face interaction, complete with either the traditional couch or simply a comfy chair and a glass of water and the ubiquitous box of tissues. While face-to-face counseling will never disappear, the benefits of online counseling via email is on the upswing. And with outstanding results...(Read more)

Does Your Partner Look Like Your Opposite Sex Parent?
Scientists have now demonstrated a statistically significant link between the facial appearance of a person's partner and that of their opposite sex parent. So when Cole Porter penned the song "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" he was merely presenting in verse what folklore has known for centuries. And now the scientists have come up to speed by presenting quantifying evidence for this phenomenon... (Read More)

Girls to Women: All Too Soon?
A major British retailer is now selling Pole Dancing kits complete with an instructional DVD and garter. The catch: the market is aimed at 4 and 5-year olds... (Read More)

Online Mental Health Support Groups: Are They Useful?
There are many online support groups for a range of mental disorders including depression, the anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and panic disorder to name a few. While the concept of joining a group such as these is an excellent one, again, as with selecting a therapist, one needs to be a bit choosy... (Read More)

I Need Things to Change So I Can Get Better!
Clients often want a variety of things to change: their husbands to give them more attention, wives to be more understanding, children to be more appreciative, people to get well, finances to improve, even people to die! But the truth is we can’t change other people, we can really only change ourselves and our attitude to others or the situation we are in... (Read More)

Psychological Implications of Obama Presidency
As a psychologist, I can’t help but look at the impact of having Barack Obama in the White House from a psychological point of view. And in particular, on the effect it will have on the black population of the US... (Read More)

The Power of the Mind
The following study undertaken by the Californian Institute of Technology gives us an insight into just how powerful our beliefs really are. So powerful that they will contravene common sense, and cause us to act and feel in ways that do not reflect reality... (Read More)

Consumerism and Mental Health
Just about every female I know is exhausted at the moment. The reason? Christmas and its after affects. While nervous exhaustion can be brought on by having to deal with families over the holiday period, this physical exhaustion is associated with shopping for gifts, cooking extra meals and the sheer work involved in organizing that once-a-year present and food extravaganza that Christmas has become... (Read More)

Link Between Premature Babies and Mental Illness
Children born pre-term have been found to experience over twice the rate of mental illness as compared to full-term, normal weight-for-age babies... (Read More)

Psychological Effects of Trying to Stay Young
As our society often looks to the stars, literally, as role models, many of us try to emulate their looks, including the stars increasing pursuit of youth. But how emotionally healthy is it for us to relentlessly chase the fountain of youth? (Read More)

“Specialness” of Easter Ruined by Retailers and Indulgent Parents
Retailers persist in placing Easter eggs out on display almost as soon as Christmas has departed. Certainly after Valentine’s Day has come and gone the blitz really begins. Even hot cross buns – the special staple of Easter – are available weeks before that actual Easter holiday period... (Read More)

The Increase in “Brat-Camp” Style Documentaries
Even a decade ago, there were few signs of reality TV shows dealing with out-of-control teenagers giving the finger plus a mouthful of verbal abuse to anyone who came near them, but in particular, their parents. Now they are popping up on our screens regularly, under a variety of names but all with the same goal – to tame these overgrown two-year olds. So, what is happening to our children to turn them into such unpleasant creatures? (Read More)

Effects of House Break-ins on Young Children
Have you had your house broken into? If the statistics are to be believed then there is a pretty good chance that you either have been or you will be. Although a robbery is a traumatic event for anyone to go through, the effect on young children is often longer term than that for adults... (Read More)

Architectural Housing Design Reflects Increasing Social Isolation
Most people over the age of 35 have some awareness of the changing atmosphere of suburban life over the last couple of decades. Leaving aside high rise inner city apartment blocks, most people a mere 20 years ago knew the names of most of their neighbors. Some even had barbeques and football nights together. Everyone kept a subtle eye on each others kids and, more importantly, kids knew their neighbors well enough to be able to call on them in an emergency... (Read More)

Selective Mutism
Selective mutism is primarily an anxiety disorder and involves a conscious decision by the child to not speak. It is classified by a persistent failure to speak in very specific situations despite the ability to do so. There is always an underlying psychological reason for the development of the disorder. Mandy is such an example of this puzzling condition. Six years old, she was a happy, well-adjusted child until her parents started having marital difficulties over a protracted time frame... (Read More)

Does Psychotherapy Work?
This is a question that has plagued psychiatrists and psychologists for many years but it has been finally addressed by Nobel Laureate Dr.Eric Kandel. A neurobiologist whose training in psychiatry lead him to an interest in the efficacy of psychotherapy, Kandel decided to trade his couch for a lab coat to see if psychotherapy actually works... (Read More)

Are You Too PC to Hug?
Remember those corny old cards, bookmarks and bumper stickers that proclaimed “Hugs Are Healing”? Well, no surprises for guessing that the authors were correct. Researchers at the UK’s Manchester Metropolitan University in England have concluded what we all suspected: hugs are healing... (Read More)

Bags of Rags and Mental Health
I’m not big on perusing catalogs, especially those involving work, but this particular object for sale really popped out of the page for me. Apparently, for $7.50, I can buy a bag of rags. Marketed as Rags in Bags I looked at it, astounded that anyone would sell such an item, much less buy it... (Read More)

Why Do People Care So Little about People with Mental Illness?
I hear some pretty sad stories in my work as a counselor, but the saddest ones are when the family and friends of an emotionally unwell person refuse to help or even try to understand. I know that the sufferer is not deserving of this treatment yet it is relatively common. Why? Because people are afraid of the unknown... (Read More)


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