Archive for Depression

Simple Electrocardiogram Can Determine Whether a Patient Has Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder, Study Finds

Bipolar is often misdiagnosed as major depression. Antidepressants without a mood stabilizer can inadvertently trigger a manic episode. Studies are being conducted at Loyola University to help find a noninvasive procedure to help doctors diagnose bipolar versus major depression. Read more about this study from

Wellness Strategy Exercise

The Wellness Journey

If we think of wellness as a journey, we’ll need three things to get started.

A Destination

Where do you want to go?

What is my wellness goal?

A Map

What’s the best route to take?

What steps do I need to take to reach my goal?

A Means of Travel

Do I drive or fly?

What is my strategy for reaching my goal?


Wellness Goal

Have a better relationship with my partner.

Steps Needed

I need to improve communication and spend more quality time with my partner.


Write down thoughts before discussing an important topic.

Practice active listening.

Schedule time to have fun together.

Wellness Strategy Exercise

This exercise is going to focus on the strategies people use to meet their wellness goals and what those strategies help them accomplish.  We’ll explore two questions:

Question 1:  What is something you do to stay well?

Question 2:  How does that help you reach your wellness goal?

Even though we come from different backgrounds, have different experiences, and face different challenges, we also have many things in common. The definition of wellness is different for everyone, but as we think about what wellness is, we can fit our definitions into a few broad categories, e.g., physical health, relationships, self-esteem, self-improvement, financial security, career, etc.

Likewise, many people use similar strategies to accomplish their goals. These may include journaling, exercising, getting rest, mediation, and many other strategies.


What it does

Take a walk every night after dinner

Reduces stress

Allows for quality time with spouse


Enhances self-understanding 

Provides an outlet for frustrations rather losing my temper

Aids memory

Get sleep, exercise,  eat right

Makes me physically well

Read a lot about my illness

Helps me be active in my treatment

Helps me discuss my illness with others

Create your own list of strategies or view a sample of strategies created by our past conference attendees.

Personalized Approach to Medication for Depression

A new study is linking personalized bio markers to antidepressant effectiveness. This is another step towards ending the trial and error approach to prescribing antidepressants.

“The future of psychiatry is in a precision, personalized medicine approach to refining diagnosis and tailoring treatments accordingly. This study demonstrates that currently available markers are poised to improve patient outcomes without introducing new costs. Markers such as BMI are likely to complement others being developed out of neuroimaging and genomics,” added Dr. Williams.

Read the full story here

*Elsevier Health Sciences. (2017, May 1). Personalized psychiatry matches therapy to specific patients with depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 3, 2017 from

Royal Advocates for Mental Health

Even being part of England’s Royal family doesn’t make a person immune to emotional distress. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales are really opening up about all sorts of emotional topics, including new motherhood and the son’s loss of their mother, Princess Diana. The televised discussion is part of the Heads Together campaign to raise awareness and fight the stigma of mental health issues. Their latest video express that it’s #oktosay what’s going on emotionally. 

To watch the video and learn more about the Heads Together campaign, click here



Adolescent Anxiety: Tips Parents Can Use To Help Their Teen During Stressful Times

Adolescence can be a challenging time for every family, but sometimes the pressures from school, peers, and family dynamics begin to take a significant toll. Anxiety does not always progress to the level of being an anxiety disorder or a situation that needs professional help, but parents certainly want to recognize the signs of distress in their teens and help them to work through their issues. It can be challenging to find the right balance here, but experts have plenty of tips to help make it easier.

Recognize the signs of anxiety in adolescents

Anxiety can take a serious toll on adolescents, as they are often facing stress at school, in peer relationships, and oftentimes at home or at a workplace as well. Some of the signs of issues, notes the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, include trouble related to concentrating, feeling hopeful, or sleeping, and sometimes physical signs appear as well. When teens are having stomach issues and headaches, or generally feeling sick when stress is present, it may be time to take a step back and work on some coping strategies.

Teens will frequently turn to negative self-talk as anxiety escalates, so parents should focus on helping them turn this around to focus on positive self-talk. Relaxation techniques, such as visualization, focused breathing, or deep breathing, can be quite helpful and Adolescent Wellness suggests trying some guided imagery exercises. For example, an anxious teen can work to imaging a relaxing scene and then try to add details covering all of the senses. The teen would then pick a phrase or word that will help them recall that scene, and after some practice, using that word or phrase can help calm them down during times of stress.

Work on connecting with your child and listen to their concerns

Kids Health notes that when an adolescent is struggling with anxiety it is important to focus on getting exercise, quality sleep, and proper nutrition. Teens may lose sight of these basics, so this is where parents can have a significant impact. Of course, it can be challenging to do this in a way that seems supportive rather than overbearing. Making an effort to connect with your anxious adolescent is important during these difficult times, even though they may be inclined to withdraw and isolate themselves when their stress levels are high.

As Help Guide points out, when it comes to stress, anxiety, or depression in teens, it’s important not to ignore the issues. Begin a dialogue with your adolescent and be open to listening to what they have to say without judgment or being dismissive. Be careful not to come off as patronizing and acknowledge their feelings as you work on truly listening. Teens may resist opening up about these issues, but parents need to trust their instincts and be gently persistent in trying to connect during difficult times.

Professional help may become the best approach

Parents should not be afraid to connect with a therapist if their child is continuing to struggle. Anxiety can have a serious impact on an adolescent’s daily life and the family’s dynamics, and when this is the case, a professional can help shift things back on track again. If you aren’t sure if it’s time for a professional’s insight, connect with a therapist and get the ball rolling, as they will get the basics on the situation and share their insight regarding what should happen next.

Teen anxiety can become quite overwhelming and many adolescents have a difficult time working through their stress on their own. Whether the issues are related to family, friends, or academics, parents can try to connect with their child to open up a dialogue and help them learn some relaxation techniques that can alleviate some of the anxiety. Sometimes consulting a professional is useful as well and while it can take some serious work to help a teen work through their anxiety issues, some simple coping strategies can have a significant impact and ease the stress on everybody involved.

Special Thanks to Guest Contributor: Noah Smith

[Image by Pixabay]

Carrie Fisher – Mental Health Advocate

The passing of Carrie Fisher has brought to the forefront her living with bipolar and her mental health advocacy. One of her quotes that I can relate to was a statement regarding depression. She said:

When you get [in that mental state], it’s hard to talk. You are reaching out from such a far away place. What do you say? You don’t want to be a burden and you don’t want to seem like you feel sorry for yourself – it’s humiliating among so many other things.

This encouraging quote and others can be found in the article 13 Things Carrie Fisher Said About Living With Mental Illness.

To many people, Carrie Fisher was known only as Princess Leia. To Hannah Jane Parkinson, she was a role model and personal hero. Parkinson first saw Fisher in the documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive which you can watch on YouTube. To Jennifer Marshall, Fisher’s openness inspired her to “come out” with her mental illness.

For me personally, learning about Carrie Fisher’s life with mental illness is a comfort and reminder that, though we’ll have good and bad days, we can live well with mental illness.