The Happiness Industry Makes Me Sad

I am all for being happy. Who isn’t? But the happiness industry? That’s another thing altogether. The happiness industrial complex promises that bliss will be found when we get our eating, exercise, sleep, journaling, weight, complexion, clothing, and all our Christmas shopping exactly right, including remembering our own reusable grocery sacks.

A Walk in the Park

Having flown halfway around the world to get to Sydney last week, I decided that a visit to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park was worth another 3-hour flight to the Australian Outback. A UNESCO world heritage site, Uluru is a sacred place for the local indigenous people. It is also perhaps one

A Life’s Work

Two kids grow up in the same home or same neighborhood. How is it that only one develops major depression? One kid grows up exposed to violence the other not. Who is more prone to anxiety? Poverty? Loss? Education? What do such circumstances and experiences mean for risk of mental illness? These

Just for Fun

My first research assistant position was with Professor Catherine Garvey in the Psychology Department at Johns Hopkins University. It was all fun and games. Literally. Professor Garvey was a world expert on play. Traditionally, we have described play as an activity that we pursue for its intrinsic enjoyment and recreation rather than for any serious

Men, Mental Illness, & Suicide – Your Questions Answered

“Huh…what?” I have heard from many of you over the past few weeks with questions regarding my posts on men, male athletes, mental illness, and suicide.  Your questions bear repeating and warrant replies. Sometimes the data are difficult to believe, and sometimes they are difficult to describe. So, here’s some

Seeing the “Men” in Mental Illness

Despite all the advances in gender equity over the past decades, recent events have filled the media with plenty of reminders that women still suffer from glass ceilings, lack of family-friendly work policies, and the threat of sexual harassment. Less obvious is a particular form of gender inequity that comes

How is laughter the proverbial “best medicine?”

Last night our Young Professionals Board hosted the second annual #StandUpForMentalHealth comedy fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club.  I am so not funny that I am always in awe of someone who can stand up on stage and make a crowd of strangers laugh. The comedians last night did not disappoint. From little titters

Touch

Earlier this week, feeling sad and preoccupied by some recent events, I was making my way in a crowd of people to take my turn on an escalator that was inadequate for the demand. My head was elsewhere. My feet shuffled along. And then, out of nowhere, I felt a

Gut Feelings

Over 2500 years ago, Hippocrates declared, “All diseases begin in the gut.” All? Doubtful. Some? For sure.  Mental illness? Maybe. Modern science suggests that the gut and the brain are more intimately connected than we ever imagined. And rapidly advancing research on the gut microbiome suggests that the little creatures in our

Let Me Hear Your Voice

This past Tuesday, while millions of citizens in Mexico were going about their daily routine, another earthquake struck. This one registered 7.1 on the Richter Scale, and as compared to the earthquake that struck the country just two weeks ago, Mexico City was hit hard this time. I was en

Five Cool Mental Health Terms

Talking about our innermost thoughts and feelings can be challenging – at least in part because sometimes we can’t find the words. Well, it is the start of a new school year in the northern hemisphere, so in that spirit, here are five specialized terms to expand our mental health

Nike.

Part Belgian Malinois, part Rhodesian Ridgeback, all Rescue. Nike came to us cowering, quivering, and showing behaviors of an abused and abandoned pup. Now more than two years later, she is a loyal spirit who in a nanosecond can go from twitching her hind leg as she chases squirrels in