NAMI – A National Resource

Have you heard of the National Alliance on Mental Health, also known as NAMI?

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (PRNewsFoto/National Alliance on Mental Illness)
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (PRNewsFoto/National Alliance on Mental Illness)

NAMI is a great resource for anyone looking for more information about mental health awareness and reducing stigma. It’s a great place gain more information about resources in your area for yourself or your adolescent.

NAMI has local chapters if you want to get involved in helping reduce stigma and help other recover from mental illness! Check out their Facebook page for more information or to find a chapter near you.

Do you think NAMI’s efforts are worthy? Would you be interested in doing volunteer work with an organization like NAMI? Do you think your family could benefit? Tell us about it! 

What you say is important

It can be tough to talk to your teen about sensitive subjects, especially sex. Sometimes teens who have problems with mental health can be more likely to be involved in a risky sexual situation.

What you say is important. Its important for parents to know that teens really do care about what their parents think about sex and place their opinion higher than that of media. Take a look at these short videos from planned parenthood which show some examples and tips about what to say.

Self Care: Why exercise?

Self-care is all about improving ourselves, having more energy, and being more satisfied with the events happening in and around us.

Self-care involves a daily routine to achieve these goals by implementing the three core methods of self-care. When used together, these methods can lead to a better well-being and happiness within oneself.

One of these core components to taking care of ourselves is exercise.

The Toronto Challenge 5K 1K 2014 on Sunday June 8 2014 throough the streets of downtown Toronto Ontario. The race is a charity event in support of community programs for seniors. Brian Carson The Learning Curve Photography
Photo Credit: thelearningcurvedotca via Compfight cc

Continue reading Self Care: Why exercise?

Make Everything OK

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You know that time that you wished you could simply press a button and make everything OK?…

Making everything OK might be as easy as changing your mindset. The one thing you do have control over is yourself!

Did you feel your spirits lift with the press of a button? Did it help you get a different perspective?

Tell us what you think below!

Holiday Stress

Holiday stress. What does it come down to really? When you have anxiety, you worry about everything. For many people, those worries increase when they feel like something is expected of them in social situations. A lot of us might have ideas about what is expected out of us during the holidays…

Photo Credit: Prestonbot Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Prestonbot Flickr via Compfight cc
  • I’m supposed to be happy
  • I’m supposed to be doing things with friends
  • I’m supposed to be having fun
  • I’m supposed to be giving gifts to people
  • People expect me to be social
  • People expect me to get them a gift they like

Wow and then when you have anxiety it doesn’t stop there. There are worries about the worries even. Let’s take one above.

  • People expect me to show up to social things.
    • What will I wear?
    • Should I be a little late or show up on time?
    • Am I supposed to bring a gift?
    • Was I supposed to help out and I forgot?
    • Who will be there?
    • Will I run into someone who makes me nervous?
    • How will I act?
    • Will people think I look/act ridiculous?

If parents express their anxiety about the holidays – their kids can pick up on it too. If your child has anxiety, you might not think things like social events matter to them, but they will feel the stress too.

It helps to remember that there are plenty of holiday activities which you can do with your child that also relieve stress! Like enjoying a hot cup of cocoa, sitting by a fire, playing with pets, building a snow man, throwing snowballs, acting like a kid, holiday music, holiday movies, vacation, decorations.

Being mindful and enjoying the moment without jumping ahead to expectations and “supposed to” can help.

Another thing that can help is giving to those who really have no expectations that they will receive anything!

Volunteering and giving to others can help with stress and anxiety. These opportunities abound over the holidays. If your child seems sad or lonely during the holidays, try visiting a nursing home or senior center together. Or if older family members are visiting over the holidays, your child can reach out to them and capture their stories. Here is a neat project from about swapping stories with a senior.

And if all else fails, I am always cheered up by the Chipmunks on Christmas!

Do you have any other ideas about how to beat holiday stress?

Say it out loud

Our articles on wiseSOVA  try to give you information on mental illness in adolescents and young adults in small pieces that is easy to understand. Sometimes, though, its best to learn about it through their own voices.

This video below from NAMI,, and SAMSHA – shares the story of a few young adults about what its like to live with mental illness, and how its not something that defines them, but something which makes them stronger.  NAMI, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also has an easy to understand guide for families on what they need to know about adolescent depression.

Say It Out Loud from Emily Cepla on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: altemark via Compfight cc

How did this video make you feel? Did it make you want to make some changes in your life? Or remind you of something you or someone else went through? Share below.

What to Expect on Your First Day of Therapy

Many people are reluctant about starting therapy or counseling. There are a number of unknowns and reasons that can create this hesitation. Therefore, we thought it would be good to address some common parts of a first therapy session such as the assessment.

Usually, therapists will do an assessment during the first session in an effort to help them get to know the client and to better understand the client’s goals for therapy. This assessment can be different among therapists because every therapist has their preferred way of handling the first session.

Photo Credit: felicianorton Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: felicianorton Flickr via Compfight cc

In a Huffington Post article titled “Going To Therapy For The First Time? Here’s What To Expect,” Jeannie Bertoli, Ph.D., a counselor, was asked about what to expect in the first session. She said, “Some therapists do a first session by getting an assessment of the current problem. Some will do background, so they’ll understand your childhood and any medical issues. Some will just listen and say ‘Uh huh’ a lot, and will be a more passive therapist, and some will really engage with you about what’s going on right now, and get to the depth of it.”

Continue reading What to Expect on Your First Day of Therapy