Crisis Hotline

If you, your child, or someone you care about is in crisis, time is of the essence.

Photo Credit: Telephone Clock by Jonas’ Design CC BY-NC-NC 2.0

Take some time now to check out a national resource we are lucky to have in the U.S.:

the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

It will give you:

  • a number to call if you or someone you know is suicidal
  • how to tell if someone is suicidal
  • resources on finding a therapist or support group
  • how to create a safety plan to help get you past suicidal thoughts
  • stories and videos about hope and recovery

Let us know what you thought was useful about this website – share below!

How to Help Your Children When They are Being Cyberbullied

Bullying and harassment are unacceptable whether it takes place in person or online.  First and foremost when it comes to cyber bullying, your adolescent should understand that it is not their fault.  Bullying is not just an argument your adolescent was pulled into but it is repetitive and continuing cruel treatment. Some steps that your adolescent can take when experiencing this is to not respond in-the-moment.  Your adolescent doesn’t want to empower a bully by engaging in this negative and aggressive dialogue.  More often than not, it does not help the situation.  It will often pull them out of character and potentially entice the bully to continue because they know the effect they are having over your adolescent. Encourage your adolescent to save and remember the evidence so it can be shown to someone to get help in the future, rather than just going with the initial reaction of responding.

Continue reading How to Help Your Children When They are Being Cyberbullied

Alternatives to the Language We Use

In American society, a lot of words are casually kicked around that have the power to be stigmatizing, insulting, and harmful.  Almost everyone is guilty of it; you find out that it’s supposed to be 70 degrees in February, “that’s crazy!” or you find out that your flights been delayed for five hours, “Oh my gosh, that’s insane…” These words, and many others like them, are thoughtlessly thrown around. But by using this type of language, society makes light the experiences of those with mental illness and other types of disabilities.

Photo Credit: only alice via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: only alice via Compfight cc

Because these terms are used so widely across our culture, replacing these words can seem like kind of a hard task. But it is an essential step to destigmatizing mental illness. Many of those with mental illness don’t have the same privilege as those who aren’t triggered when saying or hearing words like crazy, insane, and psycho. Words are powerful. They have the ability to hurt, demean, and stigmatize groups of people. To get started on finding alternatives, we found a great list of suggested words to use.

Lydia X.Z. Brown is an activist, writer and advocate for disability justice. Her website has a page on ableism and language. On it, Brown stated “I have included lists of alternatives to ableist slurs, descriptions, and metaphors, if you’re interested in unlearning the patterns of linguistic ableism in your own language.” Brown also provides a list of ableist words that can be stigmatizing (e.g. crazy, lunatic, nuts, stupid). Here is the list of alternatives from Brown’s website, with added definitions to some terms from Continue reading Alternatives to the Language We Use

Professional Spotlight: Dr. Chugani and Dialectal Behavior Therapy

Dr. Chugani

The SOVA team recently had the exciting opportunity to sit down with Dr. Carla Chugani, Ph.D., LPC, a licensed professional counselor that specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of therapy that was developed to treat individuals with suicidal thoughts and certain mental illnesses (such as borderline personality disorder). We had the opportunity to ask Dr. Chugani some questions about DBT. Here’s what she had to say!

What makes DBT effective?

Dr. Chugani explained that there are four parts of Dialectical Behavior Therapy:

  • Weekly group therapy sessions
  • Weekly one-on-one sessions with a therapist
  • Phone coaching – this allows patients to reach their therapist between sessions for support
  • Therapist consultation team – provides DBT therapists with support and motivation

These four different parts of DBT work together to help individuals achieve their goals and make positive changes. Dr. Chugani pointed us to a great website that further explains these components.

The group therapy sessions of DBT is like a class where the teacher is a group leader who plans out certain assignments and homework.  The “class” tries to teach and encourage certain behavioral skills.  Homework is assigned so the individual can practice what they learned in “class” in their everyday life.  The one-on-one individual therapy sessions of DBT aims to increase an individual’s motivation.  It also tries to apply the skills that were taught and learned during group therapy to specific challenges in the individual’s life.  Individual and group therapy are carried out at the same time. The third part of DBT is phone coaching.  This means the patient can reach their therapist between sessions for support.  The last part of DBT is the therapist consultation team.  This is a team that provides support and motivation to other therapists practicing DBT. The consultation team exists to make sure therapists are providing the best treatment possible to benefit the patient. Continue reading Professional Spotlight: Dr. Chugani and Dialectal Behavior Therapy

It’s the Little Things and the Joy They Bring

“Searched high and low for a place
Where I can lay my burdens down
Ain’t nothin’ in the whole wide world
Like the peace that I have found

(It’s the little things) It’s the little things
And the joy they bring
(The little things) It’s the little things
And joy they bring”

What are some of the little joys that you come across in your daily life? Let us know in the comments below!


Wear Your Label

Wear Your Label is an online store that creates clothing to get the conversation started about mental illness. Their profound motto is: “It’s okay not to be okay.” Wear Your Label makes clothing that reduces stigma (they have a shirt that says “stigma free” on it), promotes positive body image and embraces mental health. Each of the team members behind Wear Your Label has experienced mental illness. All of the clothing items have phrases that support mental health. They also have a bracelet line with various colors signifying different types of mental illnesses. Watch their video to learn more!

Wear Your Label partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in 2016. In this collaboration, they created clothing that aligns with NAMI’s #stigmafree campaign. Additionally, the online clothing store donates 10% of their proceeds to mental health initiatives. These initiatives include, the Jed Foundation, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Project UROK, and Project 375, and the Semicolon Project. Wear Your Label also promotes fair, humane, and ethical work standards where their clothing is made.

Check out the website and let us know what you think!

Social Media Can Induce Feelings of Anxiety

Social media can produce high levels of stress and anxiety.  Sharing and posting  aspects of your life with others is the purpose of social media but it can lead to negative outcomes. These negative outcomes can cause a mental health concern or it can exacerbate an existing disorder. Studies show that those with higher levels of self-esteem use social media to creatively express themselves by posting and sharing information.  On the other hand, those with lower levels of self-esteem use the sites differently.  Individuals with lower self-esteem spend a significant amount of time counting likes, making sure there is never an unflattering picture, or negative comment made that would change the image of themselves they are creating.

Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

Continue reading Social Media Can Induce Feelings of Anxiety

Mental Health & Changes in Functioning

In order for mental health concerns to be considered a disorder, the individual usually must present “significant distress or disability in social, occupational, or other important activities” (DSM 5). These vast changes in functioning can look different depending on the person, the environment, and the disorder. For this post, we are going to focus on what the impairment in functioning can look like. Usually, it means there is a significant and negative change from how one functioned previously, to now. There are different areas of life that these impairments can show up in like school, social settings, and other important activities.

Big differences in how someone interacts with others can indicate a problem. For example, if someone is really outgoing and generally a happy, positive person and they become withdrawn and start avoiding social situations for an extended period of time -that might indicate a problem. These changes in social functioning can also take place around family members. Big changes in the way someone communicates might mean the individual is experiencing a problem.

Photo Credit: matthewstanley via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: matthewstanley via Compfight cc

Continue reading Mental Health & Changes in Functioning