Posted on 4 December 2019 | 79 minutes read | 311311 views
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Anxiety disorders plague about 40 million people over 18 years old living in the U.S. on an annual basis. Unfortunately, only about 40 percent of those who have these disorders get any treatment to help manage their symptoms. Anxiety is one of the most manageable diseases to treat. But, the medications that are used, classified as anxiolytic, have side effects that can alter someone’s life. For anyone trying to figure out how to manage anxiety through a more natural approach, some options do not involve medication. One of the most promising choices that are currently on the market is CBD oil. It is showing promise in treating issues people struggle with and preventing future problems from forming.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is pressed out of a hemp plant. Hemp is just one of the most well-known species of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is the other famous species. The difference between hemp and marijuana is that the marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects or “high” that cannabis users typically report. The other substance is the cannabidiol, which is responsible for the relaxing effects that come with CBD. This has no effect that gives a feeling of dissociation because there is no psychoactive component.
When hemp is pressed, the oil that comes out is then purified and bottled, creating CBD oil. This can be used to help manage pain and anxiety, among other medical conditions. People using these products do not have to worry about the same effects that come from marijuana since there is no THC in them. The “high” will not happen, and the relief they can experience is natural. Plus, the side effects of many of the anti-anxiety medications on the market are nothing to worry about, either.
Is CBD Different Than Medical Marijuana?
There are many uses for medical marijuana, and it is a substance that is becoming legal in a growing number of states. However, the substances are different. Medical cannabis needs a prescription to get, and still contains some of the THC that causes the “high.” The amounts are just much lower than traditional cannabis has. CBD from hemp has less than 0.3 percent of THC in it, making it incapable of providing any psychoactive effect. While CBD can help with many medical issues, it is not used for the same things that cannabis is used since the cannabis offers the “high” and CBD does not.
What Effects Do People Taking CBD Feel Most?
When people start to take CBD, overall, they feel better. It is not one specific area of the body that begins to feel better, but the body as a whole. That is due to the effects of CBD on how the body functions. Medications are usually used for a specific ailment, and only work to fix that ailment. CBD, on the other hand, is put into the body to help improve how the body functions. It helps the body recognize areas that were not working as well as they should have been and gets those body parts to become more responsive and alert.
For people with anxiety, the CBD helps the body realize that it was not functioning as it should. As CBD goes into the body, it moves along the endocannabinoid system. This system is set up to hold the different CB receptors in the body and to receive messages that the body sends. Unfortunately, in many instances, when someone faces anxiety issues, those receptors are not working correctly. The receptors forget to open or do not open in time to receive a message. CBD helps to naturally remind those receptors to open and take in the messages being sent around. From there, the receptor can decipher what was the message and reply in a way that makes sense. Medication forces the body to act in some specific way, but CBD allows the body to respond naturally. This helps the body relearn how to move in ways it once forgot, or learn how to act in ways it never knew.
When someone has anxiety, those messages only sometimes get opened. Many times, when the signals of worry or concern are opened, sometimes the receptors send back inadequate responses, such as not being able to breathe correctly or tensing up the muscles. CBD allows the body and the central nervous system a chance to synchronize backup and work together as they should. This is not an instant fix, nor does it work for everyone, but in many cases, CBD may help alleviate anxiety symptoms and put the person back in control.
There are other effects that those taking CBD also feel, including:
Relief from chronic pain
Relaxation and a sense of calm
Tired when appropriate, allowing the person to sleep at bedtime
Relief from nausea
An increased feeling of control in overwhelming situations
Reduction in the effects and inflammation of diabetes
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Many different things can lead to an anxiety issue. Some things are controllable, such as situations in life, while others are not. The most common causes of anxiety include:
A person’s genetics plays a role in how anxious someone is. For example, if a person’s mother had anxiety, it makes him or her more likely to develop it as well.
Brain chemistry also plays a role in how much anxiety someone experiences. Those who struggle with mental health issues that alter brain chemistry are more likely to develop anxiety.
The situation of someone’s life also plays a role in anxiety. People who have been the victim of crimes or suffered abuse are more likely to feel anxious than those who have not.
Whether someone has an outgoing or introverted personality also plays a role in how much anxiety someone feels.
Which Forms of Anxiety Are Most Present in the Population?
People all around the United States struggle with anxiety, but the specific type of stress varies. Here are some of the most common forms of anxiety that people are trying to manage.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 7 million adults in the U.S.
Panic Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 6 million adults in the U.S.
Social Anxiety Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 15 million adults in the U.S.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 8 million adults in the U.S.
Several Phobias, Such as Social Phobia: Phobias affect approximately 19 million adults in the U.S.
OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This form of anxiety affects more than 2 million adults in the U.S.
Major Depressive Disorder: This form of anxiety affects over 16 million adults in the U.S.
Most Common Treatments for Anxiety
By far, the most common way of treating anxiety is medication, at least out of the people who seek treatment. However, most people do not try to receive treatment. The classifications of medication often used to treat anxiety include:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, often help with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Tricyclic antidepressants are used to help with the treatment of anxiety or depression, but they tend to be difficult for most people to take due to the effects they cause.
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, or SNRIs, are often used to treat anxiety or depression.
Benzodiazepines are used to treat any physical manifestation of anxiety, such as the inability to sleep or muscles that stay tense, since they are sedatives.
Beta-blockers are most commonly used for those with heart issues or high blood pressure, but they can also help those struggling with anxiety.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, or MAOIs, are used for those struggling with panic disorders and social forms of phobia.
Another treatment option that is coming to light is CBD oil. The properties of CBD allow it to be an excellent way for many people to relax. Plus, cannabinoids are natural, therefore causing fewer adverse effects to the people taking them. Instead of racing heart rates, the inability to focus, or being so sedated that it can be challenging to function, many people want to get similar results without those negative feelings that come with it.
People have been noticing the benefits of CBD a lot, and people are not the only ones taking notice. The FDA has been running clinical trials and approved at least one medication that contains CBD for use in the U.S. so far, and more are on the horizon. Plus, several animal studies are going on testing several cannabis products, since the bodies of animals are so similar to human bodies in how they react to many substances.
Can CBD Products Be Used as Any Other Potential Treatment Option?
Using CBD for medical ailments aside from anxiety is also possible. It is already used medicinally to treat seizures and some forms of epilepsy, but there are other ailments that it could help with, too. Some of those ailments include:
MS or Multiple Sclerosis: Studies have found it effective at reducing pain, improving the relaxation of muscles, and allowing patients to have to urinate less frequently.
Schizophrenia: Studies have shown that the psychotic symptoms of those with schizophrenia have declined when CBD is taken for four weeks.
Dystonia: Studies are showing an improvement in dystonia symptoms by as much as 50 percent in people taking CBD for six weeks.
Parkinson’s Disease: Studies are showing significant improvement in the psychotic symptoms of those struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD): Studies have shown that taking CBD before a bone marrow transplant and continuing to take it for at least one month after can slow the development of GVHD.
Social Anxiety: Studies have shown that people with different types of social anxiety can have markedly better relationships and much less anxiety when taking CBD. Those who have a fear of public speaking often need higher doses of CBD to feel the effects. Those who struggle with other social fears can often have doses as low as 300 mg per day to feel more in control.
Insomnia: Studies had shown that people taking at least 160 mg of CBD each night before bed slept better and struggled less with insomnia than those who took smaller doses.
Health Benefits and Risks That Come From Cannabinoids
Aside from a reduction of anxiety, there are other benefits that products containing CBD can provide. Here are some of the most common:
Reducing or stopping inflammation all over the body
Cutting down on the frequency of kidney stones
Relieving pain all over the body
Reducing or stopping nausea, especially when it comes from chemo
Slowing the growth of cancerous tumors
Killing off cancerous cells floating around the body
Helping prevent obesity
Calming tight muscles
Stimulating the appetite in higher doses
Improving the ability to gain weight in patients that have cancer or AIDS
Stops many of the symptoms of depression
Reducing appearance and inflammation of acne in some concentrations
Improving overall heart health
Strengthening the circulatory system as a whole
Reducing dependence on drugs and alcohol for those going through withdrawals
Preventing the spread of tumors to other parts of the body, especially cancerous tumors
There is constant testing happening on all types of products that contain CBD because of the promising effects of cannabidiol. There are very few risks that come with using CBD in any form. They include:
Feeling tired some of the time after taking the CBD. This usually passes after a short time and stops once the body adjusts to the new chemical.
Diarrhea sometimes happens when the doses of CBD are too high. To remove this effect, all people have to do is decrease the dose they are taking.
The use of CBD is often associated with dry mouth. This can be easily combated by adding more water into the diet daily.
Occasionally people taking CBD feel dizzy. This is due to lower blood pressure and will pass as the body gets used to the change in nearly all instances.
How Can CBD Products Be Taken?
There are many ways to use CBD. It all depends on what the results are that the person wants and how quickly he or she wants those results. Various methods provide different results in how immediately the effects are felt and in terms of how long the effects last. Here are the most common methods of ingestion for products containing CBD:
Edibles: This is one method of getting the CBD into the body. Edibles come in the form of gummies, lollipops, candy, desserts, popcorn, and honey.
Tincture: This is another method of getting CBD into the body, but this uses CBD oil that is placed under the tongue. This product can come in many flavors like vanilla, mint, coffee, watermelon, and strawberry banana.
Inhalation: Pure CBD can be inhaled through a vape pen or a smoking rig, allowing the CBD to enter the lungs and hit the bloodstream almost instantly.
Skin: CBD can also be absorbed through the skin. This can be done by using CBD lotion, massage oils, ointments for pain relief, rollers with oil on them, and balms. There are even products for the skin to improve how the skin looks or feels, such as facial creams and lip balm.
Items taken under the tongue or through inhalation hit the system much more quickly than those that have to be absorbed or ingested. However, they also tend to wear off more quickly. Those that are eaten or absorbed take a little longer to start working, but they also last longer. Some products need to be taken every few hours, others need to be taken when symptoms arise, and others need to be taken on a schedule, such as twice per day. It all depends on what method of ingestion is used and what the goal results are.
Anxiety is more common than most people realize. Unfortunately, it is treated far less often than it should be. There are ways of being able to combat anxiety naturally, and CBD is one of the most promising methods around. Testing is being done on many products that contain CBD to see not only how effectively it can treat issues like depression and anxiety, but also what other benefits come with it. People can face situations they never could before while on CBD, including simulated public speaking and talking with people who once made the users afraid. If CBD can provide these effects currently, imagine what it could do in the near future for extensive medical and mental health issues.
Having anxiety during pregnancy is a real mental health condition. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign that a woman’s body needs help. A pregnant woman who suspects she has anxiety or experiences panic attacks should get help right away for the health of her baby.
What Is Normal?
Pregnancy can be a stressful time. If a woman is experiencing normal anxiety, she will find that it comes and goes. Often it is triggered by a stressful experience, such as a fight with a loved one or problems with other children. While some stress during pregnancy is normal, if it is beginning to bother the mother or impact her daily life, she should consult her doctor.
A pregnant woman experiencing antenatal anxiety, or anxiety during pregnancy, may feel intense and excessive anxiety. Often, she cannot be able to pinpoint the reason for her anxiety. Even small tasks like paying the bills may make her feel anxious.
An expectant mother also experiences other symptoms in antenatal anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting one in four people, and the risk of anxiety is thought to increase during pregnancy.
Each case of antenatal anxiety is different for each patient. However, there are some common symptoms pregnant women can look out for. While having one or two of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate anxiety, having several of these symptoms may mean an expectant mother should see her doctor.
Persistent worry – While some worry is normal during pregnancy, worry that do not go away is not normal. Often, this worry is focused on the health or well-being of the baby.
Panic attacks – These are characterized by heart palpitations and an intense feeling of terror.
Finding it difficult to focus – Sometimes, this feeling is described as “brain fog.”
Becoming easily annoyed – Pregnant women with antenatal anxiety often find themselves getting irritated at family and friends easily.
Odd behavior changes – Pregnant women with antenatal anxiety often develop obsessive or compulsive behaviors.
Unexplainable sadness – Mothers with depression-like symptoms, such as crying for no reason and feeling consistently low, may be suffering from antenatal anxiety, especially if these symptoms persist for two weeks or more.
Because anxiety and depression go together during pregnancy, having anxiety may be a symptom of depression.
Women are more at risk for anxiety and depression during pregnancy because hormone changes can affect hormones in the brain that are related to depression and anxiety. Difficult life situations can also lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety during pregnancy often go hand in hand. Moreover, in some cases, it can be a vicious cycle. Feeling depressed can lead to anxiety about why one is feeling depressed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that between 14 percent and 23 percent of women experience depression during pregnancy.
Like clinical depression, depression during pregnancy is a mental disorder.
Anxiety can lead to panic attacks. These attacks can come quickly, seemingly without a cause. There are many symptoms of a panic attack, some of which a woman might experience all at once. Women experiencing panic attacks can have a racing heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, shaky limbs, tingling, shortness of breath, and a severe feeling of dread.
These attacks can last anywhere from five minutes to 20 minutes. While they can be terrifying, they are generally not dangerous for the mother or baby.
Effect on the Baby
Left untreated, anxiety during pregnancy can harm the baby. One study found that when a woman experiences anxiety during her pregnancy, the child’s neurodevelopment is at risk, and the baby is more likely to be born preterm.
After birth, any anxiety or depression a mother still has makes it harder for her to bond with her baby. Bonding with the baby right away is important for the baby’s development.
If a woman has lingering depression after her baby’s birth, she may not have the desire or strength to care for her baby. These babies may be less active and show higher levels of agitation.
Anyone can experience anxiety during pregnancy. However, there are a few risk factors which can make a woman more likely to develop anxiety in pregnancy.
Family history – Genetics play a role. If a woman’s family members have had anxiety or panic attacks in the past, she is more likely to experience them as well.
Personal history – If a woman has had panic disorders or anxiety in the past, pregnancy generally makes them worse.
Too much stress – In women who experience excessive stress in their everyday life, panic attacks, and anxiety can be triggered.
Previous difficult birth – If a woman had a difficult birth or pregnancy in the past, she is more likely to experience anxiety in her next pregnancy.
While researchers do not know every risk factor that can result in anxiety, they believe that factors such as environment, physical well-being, and emotional well-being all play into a woman’s risk of having anxiety during pregnancy.
The good news is, there are many treatments for anxiety that can help an expectant mother feel better and calmer about her pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s doctor may suggest she use coping mechanisms. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, self-help resources, activity for emotional release, or medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches skills to cope with different problems such as anxiety. The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that people’s feelings and behavior tend to reflect how they think about different situations. If they think about situations negatively, their feelings imitate that. In cognitive behavioral therapy, an individual suffering from anxiety works with a therapist to identify negative thinking patterns that may be causing anxiety.
Self-help resources can also help anxiety. A woman with anxiety may work through these resources by herself or with another individual who has suffered from similar problems.
It can help pregnant women with anxiety to find a release for their emotions. It can help them take their minds off their problems. Engaging in physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can help the brain release endorphins. Endorphins kill pain, boost happiness, and relieve stress. Physical activity for as little as five minutes can help release endorphins from the brain.
For pregnant women where physical activity is not an option, mind-body wellness strategies can work. An expectant mother might try meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, or even acupuncture.
If these anxiety treatments are not working, or a pregnant woman’s anxiety is severe, her doctor may prescribe medication to ease her anxiety. A woman’s doctor may recommend antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are fairly safe to take during pregnancy.
Anxiety in pregnancy is a very common thing. Having it does not mean a woman will be a bad mother. There are several ways to treat it, and expectant mothers should remember there is no “one size fits all” approach. What works for one woman may not work for another. Trying different techniques, such as stress management, self-help, and cognitive behavioral therapy, helps a woman get the peace of mind which is essential for her health and her baby.
Halloween is a big holiday. It seems that as soon as it hits October, the entire internet is decked out and ready for Halloween to happen.
Everyone wants to go to haunted houses, watch scary movies, and do other fear-inducing activities leading up to the actual night of fright. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys feeling scared, so this holiday can be unsettling.
For some, it can even trigger panic attacks, induce high anxiety, and cause trauma flashbacks. But Halloween doesn’t have to harm your mental health — here are some tips on how to take care of yourself during this time!
1. Pick a fun costume (or just stay in your PJ’s)
Halloween does not have to be scary! There are plenty of costumes that are not bloody, gory, or frightening- there are also plenty that are not “sexy.” Pick something that feels comfortable to you. Some ideas are: a role model of yours, a cute animal, a character from a book/movie/show, or a funny pun! If you don’t feel like dressing up at all, that’s okay too.
You can be as cute as this dog.
2. Stay in if you don’t want to go out
If you don’t feel up to a party, don’t go! Drinking tends to be a big part of the Halloween experience, especially in college, but don’t feel pressured to partake if you don’t want to. It’s totally okay to stay in with some not-so-scary movies and candy for yourself.
All the candy!!!
3. Do fun, non-scary Halloween/Fall activities
There are so many things you can do besides scaring yourself: apple picking, carving pumpkins, baking pumpkin desserts, and making caramel apples are all great alternatives. Grab some friends and have fun doing some non-threatening activities.
Pick up a nice pumpkin, a carving kit, and a friend for some Halloween fun.
4. Be prepared to see stigmatizing costumes
We live in a world where, unfortunately, mental health stigma still exists. It sucks, but it’s true. You may see people dressed as (what they perceive to be) mental patients, “crazy” people, an escapee from the psych ward, and other offensive costumes. These can be really upsetting to those who live with mental illness. Know that you’re not alone in finding them upsetting and that people are taking action to try to make them go away.
Yeah, I am smh at these costumes too, Oprah.
5. Know your triggers and have a safety plan
Things like loud noises, scary costumes, and other creepy Halloween things can cause a panic attack or flashback. If you know that certain things on Halloween may trigger you, have a plan on how you will deal with it. If you’ll be with friends, talk with them about your triggers and what they can do to support you. It’s important to know what can calm you down so that you can stay safe this Halloween!
Now get out there (or stay in) and have a great and safe Halloween!
Prevention & Awareness
Struggling with Anxiety? Try Taking a Tap Class
August 11, 2016 August 10, 2016 Lauren Abdill
I’ve been living with terrible anxiety since I was a little girl. As I’ve grown older, I’ve tried a ton of remedies — yoga, coloring books, talk therapy, medication, meditation, mindfulness, massage therapy, aromatherapy and all the self-care and self-help books I could find. And I’ve got to be honest with you all, my dear blog readers — none of them hold a candle to tap dance.
I danced when I was young and tap was always my favorite class. Since I’m about to start grad school (as well as an intense internship), I decided to re-visit the great art of tap dance so I had some kind of physical outlet during this stressful period.
I’ve only been taking classes for a few weeks and it’s already done wonders for my anxiety. Here are 4 ways tap dance has helped me — and 4 reasons you should try it, too.
1. You get to let out all of your frustrations.
The whole crux of tap dancing is stomping your feet on the ground — which is incredibly cathartic for someone who’s dealing with intense anxiety or stress. You can physically release all the pent-up feelings that us anxious folks typically hold onto.
2. You really work up a sweat.
I really wasn’t anticipating this, but you get sweaty during a tap class. Why? Because it’s exercise. And as we all know, exercise is great for anxiety (and depression!). It releases endorphins and increases body temperature, which can have a calming effect. I’ve never been an exerciser; I hate running and don’t at all enjoy going to the gym. So it’s awesome to finally have some kind of work-out routine and get those health benefits from doing physical exercise.
3. It requires you to concentrate on something other than your anxiety.
Tap dance requires a lot of mental concentration; you have to think carefully about which part of your foot is hitting the floor on which count, how fast you’re transitioning from foot-to-foot, etc. It’s amazing to walk into a tap class and have all your worries melt away — mostly because there’s no room in your head, since you’re trying to get that combination down.
4. It’s a great way to meet people.
I moved to a new state almost a year ago and still haven’t met a ton of people (mostly because I work from home, running this blog you’re reading!). I can be shy around new people and don’t like putting myself out there, but tap class has been a great way to make friends in a low-stress environment. Everyone is there to have fun; we’re all beginners, so it’s not a competition; we laugh at ourselves when we mess up and cheer each other when we nail a step. It’s nice to have a little community.
coping self-care tap dance
Reflection and Resilience
December 20, 2017 December 20, 2017 Brooke Hubbard
Can you believe it’s already December? Before we know it, 2017 will have passed and 2018 will be on its way. As is such, many of my friends, family members, and classmates have begun reminiscing and reflecting on the ups and downs that came with 2017. And I’ve been reflecting as well, though more about…
Campus Mental Health “Crisis” or “Opportunity”?
December 18, 2017 Laura Horne
We see it every day in the headlines: “The Hidden Mental Health Crisis in America’s Schools.” “Everyone One Must Confront Our Mental Health Crisis.” “Are We Facing a Campus Mental Health Epidemic?” Many of these publications are referring to a challenge many U.S. colleges and universities are facing today due to a mix of factors.…
What the Holidays Can Be Like With a Mental Illness
December 12, 2017 December 20, 2017 Active Minds Staff
For many, the holidays season is the best, most joyous time of the year. For others, it’s the opposite. Living with a mental illness is tough. And it’s even harder when you’re expected to be all happy and jolly, loving life with your friends and family. It’s hard to explain how an atmosphere of happiness…
EXPECTO PATRONUM! A Spell or a mantra?
July 18, 2017 Pablo Campos
Ever since being introduced to the Harry Potter books in elementary school I’ve felt a strong connection to the magical world that has taken me beyond that which I sometimes feel with my real life acquaintances. Attending book and movie releases helped me have something to look forward to, the characters’ growth something to guide…
Racism is Making Us Sick
May 5, 2017 Laura Horne
Help and hope are available. Over the last 14 years, Active Minds has empowered students facing mental health struggles to share their stories to let others know they’re not alone and to spread that message: help and hope are available. During my time as a member of the Active Minds team, I’ve come to recognize…
Life is not a Trajectory
October 25, 2016 October 25, 2016 Ava Mirzadegan
This morning, as I sat down at my brand new cubicle here at the Active Minds National Headquarters, I realized that I forgot my mug in the lobby of my apartment building. I quickly texted my mom to see if she could grab it for me. She replied that she could, and I started to go…
The Only Way Out is In
September 22, 2016 September 7, 2016 Colleen Coffey
This post was written by Dr. Colleen Coffey, a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. I think that mental health issues exist on a spectrum. I mean this, of course, in the context of the range of issues we all face and the spectrum of severity of diagnoses I also mean this as it…
Mental Health News Round-Up: July 15
July 15, 2016 July 14, 2016 Lynn Brantley
Pokemon Go Having Unintended and Amazing Effects on Players’ Mental Health Who would’ve thought we’d hear “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” again? Who would’ve thought a video game would be beneficial to your mental health? Pokemon Go is an interactive app where users can walk around outside and catch different Pokemon. It has encouraged people to…
How Active Minds Changed My College Career
June 27, 2016 June 22, 2016 Hannah Metzger
Hannah Metzger is a former member of Active Minds at West Chester University and is currently serving as a summer intern for the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. The transition into college is rarely a quick and easy one to make. You go from the comfort of your hometown and people you’ve known for years to a…
Stress Less Week: Am I An Imposter?
April 21, 2016 April 18, 2016 Maggie Bertram
Have you ever felt like an imposter? Like any minute you’ll be found out for the fraud you really are? That the extraordinary talent everyone says you have is really just average, and you can’t really achieve what they expect? Me, too. And it’s caused me anxiety my entire life.
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The White Balloon Could be Coming to Your Campus
By Libbi Ethier
white balloonLooking for a creative way to start a conversation about mental health and engage a large population in your community or on your campus? Active Minds at Rochester Institute of Technology may have found one of the most creative ways yet to engage their campus, get the word out about their chapter, and educate their peers at the same time: they brought The White Balloon to their campus.
The goal of this program was to inform peers about the proportion of college students who live with mental illness in the United States. They accomplished this goal in three ways: balloons, mystery, and social media.
This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here.
IMG_1297I am alive.
Some days, this surprises me. I think of all that has happened in the 20.5 years of my life and am shocked to find myself still standing, still breathing, heart still beating. If you asked me a couple years ago if I would live to see 21, I would have laughed in your face. I would have said that my illnesses would probably take me before I even reached 18.
My illnesses are not physical; they are mental. That does not mean that they are any less serious, life-threatening, or difficult. It means that everyday I was fighting a battle against myself. I was at war with my own being and that was difficult on its own.
At age 17, after spending three years trying to balance my eating disorder, depression, borderline personality, anxiety, and self injury alongside of high school and being a “normal” teenager, I decided it was time to give up. I was tired of trying medication after medication. I was tired of going through so many different therapists. I was tired of fighting. I thought that it was never going to get better and that treatment was failing me. I felt hopeless. Continue Reading
Emerging Scholars Fellowship: 1 Video and 5 Main Findings
By Vanessa Volpe
The mental health of the Black undergraduate community is vitally important. After talking with several student-led campus organizations, myself and a team of passionate undergraduate students created this video to encourage dialogue about mental health challenges, stigma, and resources both on campus and nationally.
In addition to sharing this video, I’m excited to share with you some of the main findings of my Emerging Scholars Fellowship research!
#1. Racial discrimination is still an important risk factor related to mental health symptoms of anxiety and depression for Black college students. Interestingly, different aspects of the experience of racial discrimination were related to different mental health symptoms.
Date June 16, 2015
Author Vanessa Volpe
Tags African American Community, anxiety, coping, depression, Emerging Scholars
Fellowship, gender identity, John Henry, race, stigma
Mental Health News Round Up: June 5
By Kathryn DeWitt
Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers
A new report from Penn State reveals that anxiety is biggest concern for students seeking help at campus counseling centers. Counseling centers work to alleviate the pressures of the influx of students and provide innovative ways to encourage de-stressing.
Did John Nash’s schizophrenia boost his ‘beautiful mind’?
John Nash, the mathematician who rose to fame with the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” recently passed away with his wife in a car accident. As people begin to investigate his legacy, a debate about mental health disorders and creativity emerges.
Date June 5, 2015
Author Kathryn DeWitt
Tags anxiety, bipolar disorder, mental health news, Schizophrenia, substance abuse
Chapter of the Month: Occidental College
By Jaclyn Webber
1425555_253282681496020_167931192_nOccidental College has been named Chapter of the Month for May! Their stigma-fighting techniques have caught our eye and we want every chapter to know about them, too.
Active Minds at Occidental College did not rest for a minute this spring semester, working continuously to break the barriers to mental health services on campus.
In addition to leading a diverse panel of 10 students who spoke openly about their mental health issues to a large classroom of peers, the chapter was also recently recognized for their on-campus advocacy for the addition of a peer mentoring program in the counseling center.
In a Huffington Post Live interview, Active Minds at MIT, Active Minds national office, and the Jed Foundation discussed the multi-faceted pressures college students face, administrative policies about leaves, and help seeking behaviors. The video is well worth a watch for all StigmaFighters working to change the conversation about mental health.
A Commencement Speech For The Already Graduated: Be Courageous
In honor of commencement speeches, one Forbes author has advice for graduates and non-graduates alike: be courageous because anxiety is inevitable. Finding healthy ways to cope with anxiety should be our goal.
Date May 22, 2015
Author Kathryn DeWitt
Tags anxiety, depression, media, mental health news, PTSD, stigma, suicide prevention, treatment, veteran mental health
Mental Health News Round Up: April 24
By Kathryn DeWitt
The New Yorker Festival 2012 - In Conversation - Lena Dunham Talks With Emily NussbaumLena Dunham Tackles The Stigma Of Mental Health With A ‘Workout Selfie’
In an Instagram photo of herself, Lena Dunham talks about her own history with obsessive compulsive disorder to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. She also advocates for those experiencing mental health disorders to try exercise.
Mental Health, Drug Treatment Will Be “A Big Part” Of Clinton’s Campaign
After hearing about mental health from varying constituent groups, Hillary Clinton has promised to make mental health and substance abuse issue a large part of her campaign. In her own words, “I think a lot of people are thinking, Well, that’s somebody else’s problem. That’s not my problem. And indeed, it is all of our problem.”
Date April 24, 2015
Author Kathryn DeWitt
Tags anxiety, mental health, mental health news, recovery, stigma, stress
Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Stigmas, Barriers and The Importance of Having the Conversation
By Vanessa Volpe
The most enlightening and enriching experiences of my project so far have arisen from opportunities to have conversations with campus student groups about mental health in the Black undergraduate student community.
In these sessions I first asked students to help me brainstorm what barriers they saw to talking about mental health and seeking mental health support in the Black undergraduate community. Some of the most common barriers students mentioned were:
Financing campus mental health services – uncertainty about payments, only a certain number of sessions for free, what happens after graduation
Feeling like one needs to be perfect
Not feeling like there’s enough time in the day
Not seeing people of color seeking mental health support or working at places that provide mental health support
pres 3 and 4
Here are photos of UNC’s Active Minds Chapter in front of their brainstorming boards.
downloadWorking Through Depression: Many Stay On The Job, Despite Mental Illness
Two people talk about depression and the considerations to take with disclosure at the work place. Another gem from this interview “But it’s important to remember that [external events affecting mood is] not how depression happens for everyone.”
How a Transgender Teen’s Cries for Help on Reddit and Tumblr Powered a Movement Against ‘Conversion Therapy’
Having experienced and decried conversion therapy, Leelah Alcorn begged for the world to “fix society” in her last post on tumblr. With traction from mounting from an online petition bearing Alcorn’s name, the White House supports the efforts to ban conversion therapy at the state level.
Stress Less Week: Download These Mental Health Apps Today
By Chapters Team
mental-health-apps-SFWADDealing with a specific mental health issue? Anxious at work? Just feeling more down than usual? There’s an app for that!
Thanks to Active Minds at the University of Rochester for putting together this extensive list of mental health-related mobile apps. Refer back to this list whenever life gets tough!
Reminder: These apps are not substitutes for clinical assistance. If you’re feeling suicidal or are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK.
Did You Hear about the Rose that Grew from Concrete?
May 3, 2017May 3, 2017Janae David
“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Provin Nature’s laws wrong it learned how to walk without Havin feet Funny it seems but, by keepin its dreams It, learned to breathe FRESH air Long live the rose that grew from concrete When no one else even cared No…