The Need to Belong


Photo Credit: Mary_on_Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Mary_on_Flickr via Compfight cc

Human beings all crave to belong. We want to have friendships that support us and make us feel good. However, when we start to feel no longer wanted by others, we experience the weight of loneliness and isolation. This is especially true with adolescents. A recent article about bullying behaviors connected these negative behaviors to feelings of not belonging.

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Finding the Right Healthcare Professional

In the past, we posted an article that looked into more detailed differences between various healthcare professionals. This article is a spin off from that one by providing some tips on how to decide who the best healthcare professional for your child might be and how to find one nearby.

health professionals

How do I find the right healthcare professional for my child?

This is a tricky question that can have a lot of correct answers. Remember that you and your child are the expert in your family’s needs so listening to your intuition and asking yourself real questions is a great place to start. The steps below are guidelines for navigating the system and may not be the best fit for everyone.

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SOVA Project’s Pet Photo Contest!

Thanks to all of the users who participated in the SOVA Project’s Pet Photo Contest! Take a peek through the gallery for a complete look at the pictures. The winner’s username will be posted in the comments section, so remember to login to see if it is you. You can also check out the winning photo on our Instagram Page: sovaproject

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What Do All Of These Letters Mean: A more detailed look

photo cred: Tagxedo
photo cred: Tagxedo

Recently one of our team members wrote an article entitled, “What do all of these letters mean?” This article provided a brief overview of the post-nominal letters (those initials after someone’s name) we so often see while navigating the health world. Some of you asked for more information (thank you for your input!), so now we are delivering. This post reviews the details about certain health professionals. Review the image below which highlights some of the main points regrading education, medication, and therapy.

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Co-rumination with My Child

Photo Credit: Sangudo via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Sangudo via Compfight cc

So first of all, what is co-rumination? Co-rumination is discussing problems with others (in this case, your child) frequently, repeatedly, and excessively while never achieving a solution to fixing the problem.

Although co-rumination can be helpful at times by providing emotional support, it is not a productive form of communication because it does not allow for coping skills to develop which can hinder recovery.

You can think about it almost like a bug bite. The more you scratch, the itchier and redder it becomes. However, if you apply ointment and refrain from touching it, the bug bite begins to disappear.

A recent study found that adolescents with depression get into the habit of co-ruminating with their friends and their parents more than people who do not have depression. But with parents – as opposed to friends – they were more likely to have conversations about solving the problem.

So what does this mean for me? When talking with your child about problems occurring in their life, it is important not only to show your emotional support for them but also to help them to think of ways they might solve the issue. Sometimes when you hear your child talk about something that is upsetting them, it might cause you to feel anxious or worried for them. Before thinking about what you are saying you might blurt out something like, “You’re right! That teacher is no good!” or “You keep getting these headaches all the time – what the heck is going on with you?” This might in turn make your child feel more anxious – which makes you feel more anxious – and you get the picture. Try to instead name their emotion and your emotion. And then move on to asking them if they can think of any possible solutions. Try something like, “Wow that is really frustrating about your teacher. Can we sit down and map out exactly what happened and think about what you might have done differently?” or “Ok these headaches are happening a lot. Let’s make an appointment with your doctor, and before you go try to write down everything you can about your headaches so we are prepared to talk about it.”

By talking with your child about ways to overcome the barriers in their life, your child will begin to develop the necessary problem-solving skills they will need long term so they can pull them out as a skill they have even when you are not around. If this is working, you might start to get less “freak out” texts! Instead of agitating the “bug bite”, help your child find a solution to the problem they are experiencing so they can build the skills they need for future problems.

Have you felt like you have co-ruminated with your child before? What happened and what do you think you could do differently?


The JED Foundation

Photo Credit: NSUN Network for Mental Health via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: NSUN Network for Mental Health via Compfight cc

Did you know about Love is Louder?

Love is Louder (LIL) is a movement of hundreds of thousands people to send the message of love and address issues like bullying, discrimination or depression.

LIL participants include schools, communities, individuals and families. They use arts to raise the perception that love and support are much louder than the internal voice and external biases that affect oneself in a negative way.

LIL is one of the many projects of the JED Foundation, founded by a couple of loving parents, Donna and Phil Sawtow, who lost their son, Jed, to suicide. The program’s mission is to promote mental health protection and prevent suicide among college and university students.

As a college student who suffered from mental illness, The Jed Foundation provided me immediate and extensive support on their website. For example, ULife is a connected program which provides confidential screenings and discreet counseling. To see that I am not alone in the mental health battle and that many people care about me has helped me through such a tough period.

For parents, I think JED is a valuable source of news that equips you with the mentality and resources that will help your children with their mental crisis.

Have you checked out the JED Foundation? Are the knowledge and resources provided in the website helpful to you? Keep in mind that you are not alone and there is support everywhere if you need it.

How to Block on Social Media

While social media is often a place to connect with your friends and relatives, it can easily become a place for unwelcome users as well. One of the greatest aspects of today’s social media outlets is that each of them have developed a way for you to block or delete anyone that you do not want to see your posts or to contact you.

Photo Credit: racheocity via Compfight cc

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How’s it going? Fine…

Photo Credit: Maciej Lemanik via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Maciej Lemanik via Compfight cc

A few of the comments from young people on our adolescent site mention that looking back, some of them wish they would have opened up more with a therapist. Has your child expressed their worries about opening up? This is very common.

Some people may worry about:

  • Feeling judged
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Being told that something is wrong with them
  • Privacy
  • Being let down
  • Getting hurt
  • Not being able to deal with raw emotions
  • Having a panic attack

Of course these are all valid  concerns. Some things that may help is remembering that a therapist’s job is to listen to people’s thoughts and about intimate details of their lives. This means that probably what you are telling them is a version of something they have heard before or at least something they have training in.

A therapist’s role includes:

  • Making you feel safe and comfortable
  • Listening without judgment
  • Helping you reach the goals of your therapy
  • Keeping what you tell them private
  • Helping you gauge if you need to take a break if your emotions are too strong

If your child is getting therapy and feels they cannot open up enough with their therapist, it is important for them to be honest. Your or your child can let the therapist know they are having a hard time opening up and sharing. This is something the therapist can work on with your child! Also if it’s not a right fit, its ok to tell them that too.

Has your child had trouble opening up to a therapist? Are there ways they overcame this?