Posts tagged with "mental illness"

Growing heart illustration

MENTAL HEALTH – DR. ALEX ALVARDO

Even though we have made great progress in bringing people into therapy during the pandemic, there is still a huge stigma about therapy – that it doesn’t work. In order to really change this perception, we must do more upfront work to make sure people are being matched correctly to qualified therapists and psychologists who can care for, and treat, that person’s individualized needs. To achieve this successfully requires more than a simple Internet search or app signup.

One of the biggest missteps someone can make when searching for a therapist is blindly accepting the most convenient option. This could come in the form of a quick Internet search (just because something pops up in the No. 1 position on Google does not mean it is the best option for you); or taking a referral from a friend or family member (just because a therapist is right for someone else, does not mean it is the best match for you). Additionally, skipping the therapist interview step, and rushing to the hiring step (or signing up on a mental health app), can make you feel committed or trapped with a therapist that was never the right match for you in the first place. It is true that the year 2020 will likely be known as one of the most stressful years in our time, and the first time that many Americans sought out a therapist. While this is a good thing and shows progress for improving mental health, we now face a lesser-talked about “second pandemic” of mental health issues – of which includes finding the right therapist – that could affect our future perception of mental health and our willingness to seek help.

Compounding this problem is the anxiety, financial stress, politics, substance abuse, isolation, job worries, relationship problems, health concerns and other issues that have intensified since the start of the pandemic, which has overwhelmed therapists with new patients, many of whom go on a waiting list or get referred out to less qualified resources. Mental health professionals are not immune from the stress of the pandemic either, often citing burnout and fatigue from heavy patient loads, while also struggling to handle their own stress at home.

All of these factors contribute to a more complicated and challenging mental health environment that requires increased navigation and guidance from the mental health industry to make sure that those seeking help are receiving evidence-based therapies from qualified professionals who have the bandwidth to invest in the client for the long run. To improve first-time encounters with therapy, I developed a free online matchmaking platform at Thriving Center of Psychology that vets and validates licensed professionals, then matches them to individuals seeking help, based on the person’s specific therapy needs and the professional’s area of expertise and therapy process.

To begin the process of finding the right therapist is simple. Start by filling out a 3-minute questionnaire that helps uncover the style of therapist that may be the best fit for your specific situation and preferred type. Questions cover everything from therapy approach to gender and ethnicity, including what specialty of a therapist are you seeking? Are you looking for a goal-oriented or reflective therapist? Do you want your therapist to have a holistic approach (including recommending yoga, meditation, and journaling)? and so on.

This filter then quickly matches individuals seeking help to a vetted database of qualified therapists who are licensed to work in the state in which the person lives. I developed this therapist matchmaking platform because so many friends and family members would ask me for therapist referrals. What I came to realize was that when people finally decide they should find a mental health therapist, they are often faced with a huge hurdle: finding a qualified therapist. Finding a therapist is not easy, especially if you are not a professional in the mental health industry and do not know all the right questions to ask. Mistakes can be easily made as many people either skip or rush through the research and interview step of finding a therapist.

If it is a person’s first time in therapy and it is a bad experience, it is most likely they will never return to it.
Once you find your therapist match, you should still interview 2-3 therapists before
committing to a paid session with anyone. Face-to-face office visits or video sessions
are ideal. During the interview, be sure to check the therapist’s credentials with state government sites, and have a clear understanding of his or her treatment style, therapy process and verify whether or not that therapy approach is evidence-based as defined by the American Psychological Association. Also, ask the therapist if he or she has ever treated anyone with similar concerns to yours. This will give you a clearer picture on the therapist’s treatment approach. It is important in this initial interview with the therapist, that you do not do all the talking.

You can share at a high level about what is going on (like, I’m grieving from the death of my mother), but do not get into the
details. Let the therapist do the majority of the talking so you can get a really good feel for his or her compatibility to you and your needs. Additionally, make sure that the therapist you select is licensed to work in your state. The increased popularity of virtual sessions since the start of the pandemic has opened many more options for people
seeking counseling, but if you go the virtual route, you still need to make sure the therapist is licensed to work in the state in which you reside. Ultimately, to live a truly fulfilled life, remember that it is just as important to place a high
priority on your mental health as it is for your physical health. You deserve the chance to unlock your true potential and live the life you have always dreamed of so do not let anything get in the way of your mental health, which is part of your overall health.

Start with the research step and find the therapist that is the best match for your specific needs – then the rest of the journey will be less stressful from there.

Dr. Alex Alvarado 

Mental health graphic via 360 MAGAZINE

USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

As Mental Health Awareness Month kicks off, news and stories about mental health may seem to saturate media outlets. Yet a new report reveals that in top movies, mental health is rarely in the spotlight.

The study, entitled “Mental Health Conditions Across 200 Popular Films” is the second report on mental health in popular media from Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The report is supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and NYT best-selling author, purpose coach, host of the top health and wellness podcast “On Purpose,” and former monk, Jay Shetty. The study provides an update on the prevalence and portrayal of mental health conditions in popular films by examining the 100 top-grossing films of 2019 and comparing the findings to those from the initiative’s report on popular movies from 2016.

Of the 4,502 speaking or named characters across the top films of 2019, 1.5% were depicted with a mental health condition. There has been little change over time, as 1.7% of characters in the most popular films of 2016 had a mental health condition. As a point of contrast, 21% of U.S. adults experience mental illness, according to national population research studies, such as the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey.

“Stories can provide a window into different worlds and experiences, but the results of this study demonstrate that mental health is rarely a focal point in popular film,” said Smith. “With the growing need for mental health care in the U.S., and the ongoing concern about well-being, storytellers and creatives are missing critical opportunities to educate audiences.”

More than half of the films included in the study from 2019 didn’t feature even one character with a mental health condition, and thirty percent had only one character with a mental health condition. A total of seven different mental health conditions appeared across the sample. Those included: addiction, anxiety/PTSD, depression/mood disorders, suicide, significant disturbances in thinking, cognitive impairment, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There were more depictions of anxiety/PTSD in 2019 than in 2016, while portrayals of cognitive impairment and spectrum disorders declined. The remaining mental health conditions remained consistent with 2016.

More than half (59.2%) of characters with a mental health condition in the most popular films of 2019 were male while 40.8% were female. Three-quarters of the characters with a mental health condition across the films of 2019 were White, while only 16 characters were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Only two characters with a mental health condition were LGBTQ, and 42.3% had a disability. The picture of mental health conditions in popular film remains one of predominantly white, male, straight, and able-bodied characters.

“The portrayal of mental health in film has a powerful role to play especially during this period of global mental health crisis,” said Christine Yu Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Entertainment educates the public, whether it’s with intention or not. And because humans are deeply wired for social connection and imitation, contagion can occur with detrimental effects or with positive impact. Portrayals can not only destigmatize and stop perpetuating dangerous tropes about people who live with mental health conditions, but they can also have the potential to deepen mental health literacy and inspire hope. All people have mental health, and now more than ever, Americans are hungry for information and resources to allow us to not only cope, but to flourish, and to support others’ mental health.”

The study also explored the portrayal and context in which mental health conditions are depicted. Nearly three-quarters of characters with mental health conditions experienced some form of disparagement in the film — either verbally or nonverbally expressed by the character themselves or another character. While disparagement could be general and not connected to a diagnosis, 45.1% of characters with mental health conditions faced derisions specifically about their mental health. More than 40% of characters with a mental health condition were the object of jokes or humor related to their mental health, an increase from 2016 (22%).

“The confluence of these contextual factors means that when mental health is presented in film, it is often stigmatized or demeaned,” said Smith. “For audiences, the nature of mental health portrayals may heighten the possibility of negative effects when it comes to real-world outcomes.”

Characters with mental health conditions were also linked with violence in several ways. More than half of characters with a mental health condition were perpetrators of violence (63.4%), a significant increase from 2016 (46%). Additionally, nearly two-thirds (66.2%) of characters with mental health conditions were victims of violence. Finally, more than one-third (38%) of the characters with mental health conditions died at some point in the film, including by homicide or suicide. Over half (59.3%) of the characters with a mental health condition who perished did so by violent means. Nearly one-quarter (22.2%) of the characters with mental health conditions who died did so by suicide.

Less than one-third (29.6%) of characters with a mental health condition were shown in therapy, including individual appointments, group therapy, addiction, support, and inpatient care. Only 12.7% of characters with mental health conditions utilized medication or other treatments. Films in 2019 showed more characters receiving both therapy and medication or other treatment compared to 2016.

With solution in mind, the initiative brought Purpose Coach, NYT best-selling author, and “On Purpose” podcast host Jay Shetty into the fold as Chief Well-Being Advisor. In this role, he will serve as a resource to the program and entertainment industry at large on issues of mental health and wellbeing, strategizing new ways to approach the subject matter on-screen and on sets, to work towards positive change.

“I am thrilled to be joining Dr. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative as the Chief Well-Being Advisor,” said Jay Shetty. “It has always been my passion to bridge the gap between mental health and entertainment. The access that the initiative has to further explore these important matters on-screen and on sets and make real systemic change within the industry is what excites me the most.”

The study also provides a core solution for depicting mental health in popular entertainment. Building on the Mental Health Media Guide, the study offers a blueprint for a mental health policy that can be adopted by production companies, studios, and other groups. This policy outlines ways that creative talent, executives, and those overseeing production can tell authentic stories, provide opportunities to nurture mental health for those working in production, and provide audiences with more information on mental health.

The report is the latest from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and can be found online here.

October - Selena Gomez - ELLE Canada illustration by Anh Hoang use by 360 Magazine

October – Selena Gomez – ELLE Canada

KO MÉDIA REVEALS A FORWARD-LOOKING  SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF ELLE CANADA

KO Média is excited to unveil the October issue of ELLE Canada featuring Selena Gomez. The multi-hyphenate star opens up about her mental illness, shooting her new Hulu show with Steve Martin and releasing her first record in Spanish. “I focused so hard on making sure the language I was speaking — and the way I was speaking it — was authentic,” she says in the candid interview. “I wanted it to exude love. I wanted it to talk about pain but in a way that was confident. There is a song about girls saying goodbye to things that aren’t good for us.” One thing Gomez has said goodbye to is her access to Instagram. “I suffer from mental illness, and [social media] just wasn’t adding anything to my life,” she says, adding that once she gave it up, “I felt like I was suddenly able to be so present.”

Other stories of self-care and self-discovery in this issue include Canadian Grammy-winning artist Alessia Cara finding stability as her star continues to rise; Nesta Cooper on coming into her own opposite Jason Momoa in the second season of See; and Mohawk actor Devery Jacobs’ experience working on an Indigenous set and being an activist in her community. Rounding out the bunch is Jonathan Van Ness who, with six seasons of Queer Eye behind them, is now focused on feeding their own well-being, inside and out.

For readers who need some me time, we offer up Canada’s best spas to visit this fall, whether you want a full-body scrub en plein air in B.C. or a lakefront Nordic spa experience in Nova Scotia. Plus, the magazine looks at why dawn is the new time to get things done and how to properly care for sensitive or irritated skin (just in time for winter!).

In fashion, this edition is all about looking back — on the overt tackiness of the early-aughts (which is making a comeback for a surprising reason); the 40-year legacy of Max Mara’s 101801 coat; and the coming-together of two friends to design Markoo’s cool, effortless aesthetic.

And we get serious, diving into the history (and current reality) of medical misogyny, dissecting the downfall of the girl boss and what it says about women in power, and exploring the healing effect of restorative tattooing.

Ending on a lighter note, this issue has everything from forest-inspired fragrances and the next generation of Canadian winemakers to dinner party glow-ups and a mother-daughter road trip.

The October issue of ELLE Canada will hit stands and Apple News+ on October 20, 2021.

Eating disorder illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Eating Disorders × Covid-19

Eating Disorders and Covid-19

More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders

COVID-19 can be a nightmare for thembecause of the following triggers:

  • Empty grocery shelves
  • Feelings of uncertainty and loss of control
  • Social media messages about avoiding the “Quarantine 15” pound weight gain are especially harmful to those with existing eating disorders.

A recent study conducted by the International Journal for Eating Disorders found that symptoms worsened across the board for people with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorders nationwide since the lockdowns in March. Among respondents, 62% of people with anorexia have experienced more severe restriction and food fear during the pandemic, while 30% of those with bulimia and binge-eating disorder reported experiencing more binge-eating episodes, and a greater urge to binge.

Some of the facts about eating disorders are sobering:

  • 9% of the US population will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime
  • Almost 1% of us suffer from anorexia nervosa
  • Between 2-3% of us have bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder (BED) is experienced by between 2-3% of us
  • 10% of those with eating disorders lose their lives as a result
  • Eating disorders are second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illnesses
  • About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide

Eating Recovery Center is the nation’s largest eating disorder treatment center (with offices around the country, & virtual treatment options).  Eating Recovery Center provides comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and other unspecified eating disorders.

Medical illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mental Illness × Addiction Crisis

With Pandemic Worsening the Mental Illness and Addiction Crisis, Biden Administration to Provide Nearly $2.5 Billion to States, Territories for Treatment, Prevention Aid

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Funding to Support Comprehensive Community Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Health Services

The Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will direct $1.65 billion in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding and $825 million in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding to states and territories. The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program allows states and territories to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with severe mental health conditions. The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program allows states and territories to plan, implement and evaluate activities to prevent and treat substance use disorder. This funding will also allow recipients to maximize efficiency in existing treatment and recovery infrastructure, promote support for providers and address unique local needs to deliver substance use disorder prevention.

“We know multiple stressors during the pandemic – isolation, sickness, grief, job loss, food instability, and loss of routines – have devastated many Americans and presented unprecedented challenges for behavioral health providers across the nation,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Tom Coderre. “During this time of increased urgency, we want to assure them that funding is in place to help states and territories provide pathways to prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services, especially for underserved populations.”

Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data confirming a rise in fatal overdoses during the pandemic. This year’s increases in calls to helplines across the country indicate growing anxiety, depression, and trauma in Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis have been especially devastating for Black and Latino communities, which are experiencing a disproportionate number of COVID-19 infections and deaths as well as higher-than-average unemployment rates.

“SAMHSA resources connect Americans to evidence-based treatment and services every day,” said Coderre. “Focusing on both mental and substance use disorders – challenges that pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic but that have worsened over the past year – will be a crucial part of SAMHSA’s approach to helping the nation move forward.”

In addition to the $2.5 billion awarded today, SAMHSA has awarded $686 million in Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) Expansion Grants; Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Emergency Response COVID-19), and supplements to the fiscal year 2020 Emergency Response COVID-19 grant recipients.

Funding allocation tables can be viewed here:

FY 2021 Community Mental Health Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

FY 2021 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

People searching for treatment for mental or substance use disorders can find treatment by visiting SAMHSA’s website or by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline,
1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Food illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Eating Disorders in COVID-19

More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, and these tendencies can be exacerbated due to the coronavirus. The difficulty of accessing specific foods and the discourse surrounding weight gain in quarantine can make those who struggle with eating disorders feel out of control and helpless. COVID-19 can be a nightmare for them because of the following triggers:

 

·      Empty grocery shelves

·      Feelings of uncertainty and loss of control

·      Social media messages about avoiding the “Quarantine 15” pound weight gain are especially harmful to those with existing eating disorders.

 

A recent study conducted by the International Journal for Eating Disorders found that symptoms worsened across the board for people with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorders nationwide since the lockdowns in March. Among respondents, 62% of people with anorexia have experienced more severe restriction and food fear during the pandemic, while 30% of those with bulimia and binge-eating disorder reported experiencing more binge-eating episodes, and a greater urge to binge.

 

Some of the facts about eating disorders are sobering:

 

·       9% of the US population will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime

·       Almost 1% of us suffer from anorexia nervosa

·       Between 2-3% of us have bulimia nervosa

·       Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder. Unlike more widely known eating disorders which disproportionately effect women, 40% of those with BED are men.

·       10% of those with eating disorders lose their lives as a result

·       Eating disorders are second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illnesses

·       About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide

 

However, if you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, talking to a licensed professional and receiving treatment can help.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Veterans Day for 360 Magazine

“Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” By Eric Power

Veterans face incredible challenges after leaving the military. From coping with mental health issues like depression and PTSD to finding employment, re-establishing relationships, and more – readjusting to civilian life is not easy. After putting their lives on the line in service of our country, veterans deserve more support than what they are getting.

The pandemic has only made this issue worse over the last year with the surge of loneliness, unemployment, and an increase in mental health cases among all Americans. A survey done by the Wounded Warriors Project found that more than half of veterans said their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.

Fortunately, a new book from recent military veteran, Eric Power can help. “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is a powerful story of self-discovery that shares the keys to overcoming some of life’s greatest challenges and the wisdom and insights in this book are more timely and relevant than ever before.

“This pandemic has set a shocking and much greater feat for veterans (and all Americans for that matter) to rise above thier mental health challenges. Yet, I am very optimistic about the future and hope to provide support, advice, and my personal experience to help save someone’s life…” said Power, whose mission is to provide a valuable resource and life-changing advice to veterans, their families, and all struggling Americans.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is a powerful story that shines light on the unique challenges veterans face after leaving the military. As an active combat veteran, Eric Power knows the sacrifices and struggles of civilian veterans. As a mentor and a self-development student, he also knows the keys to overcoming some of the greatest challenges in business and in life.

Power shares his success principles as he takes you through the challenges of David Little, a veteran facing personal and career challenges. Follow along as David meets his mentor, Ralph Power, who helps him discover his self-worth and shows him how to build life-changing relationships.

The statistics on veteran mental health are horrific. According to a 2020 report, roughly 17 veterans die by suicide each day in the US. This means meaning more veterans die by suicide every two days than were killed in action last year! This staggering statistic is why “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” rings true to 24 million veterans around the world who have some type of personal struggle after returning home. As the Coronavirus surges forward, we have seen an increase in mental health conditions among all Americans. The wisdom and insights in this book are more timely and relevant than ever before.

Of course, this personal development is a must-read for military veterans, but it also appeals to non-veterans because it offers timeless and universal business and success principles applicable to all people. This book is a valuable resource for military families or anyone with loved ones in the service. It offers a glimpse into the reality of the veteran experience and readers can learn more about what their loved one is going through and how they can help.

Whether you are a veteran or not, “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is an unforgettable story about life, relationships, and the power we all have to create a lasting imprint on the people we meet and know.

The book was released December 28th, 2020 by Waterside productions and starts at $16.95 for the paperback edition. “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is available for purchase on Amazon HERE. 

ABOUT ERIC POWER:

Eric Louis Power is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and social activist dedicated to helping military veterans and their families achieve a better quality of life. Power served honorably in the US Navy reaching the rank of Petty Officer First Class and serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Southern Watch. Power has a total of seven deployments, with 3.5 years in Active Combat zones. He is the founder of For Veterans By Veterans, a nonprofit that provides assistance to homeless vets, and he is the founder and CEO of Veterans Disability Help, LLC, a firm that manages VA disability claims and helps disabled veterans get the benefits they deserve. Since 2012, Power has been responsible for redirecting over 2.1 Million dollars a month recurring from the VA, back to the veterans in regard to their VA disability claims.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT https://veterandisabilityhelp.com

Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

How To Combat Loneliness, Especially Now

During the COVID-19 crisis, all of our lives have been disrupted. We’re not connecting with family, friends and colleagues like we used to, and it’s easy to feel lonely. To help some of the people I was coaching, I wrote down eight ways to combat this feeling and tested them on our business clients, executives, and even some friends. What they found was they could, indeed, address their own sense of being alone and fill their days with well-being and even happiness.

 I thought I would share those eight ways. 

  1. You can manage your mind. If you visualize each day as one filled with purpose and meaning, you will find that the act of being alone or distant from those you care about becomes less important. With a little practice, you really can train your mind to believe that it is happy without others. Seriously, collaborate with your mind. It will do exactly what it thinks you want it to do.
  2. Exercise is especially important. It’s an essential part of a healthy mind, body, spirit. Find a ritual every day that gets you up, walking, working out, biking…anything that is not sitting in a chair.
  3. Plan weekends where you are at public spaces. Visit a park, a hiking trail or a playground, and talk to other people. Wear your mask and introduce yourself. You will find that you and they will feel less lonely. I did a podcast once with a woman who was always on the airplane working in all kinds of places—much as I had been. She used to walk in the parks just to create the feeling that she was not alone. Neither of us were ever really alone, but we were often lonely. The walks always quieted our minds and engaged our spirits in healthy feelings.
  4. If you like to Zoom, set up a time with friends on a regular basis for tea or a cocktail hour. You will find that the week flies by as you look forward to the gathering, and the time spent together is priceless. Even with family, family Zoom time becomes remarkably sacred. It has in our home. But, our friends are also happily zooming in and we are all talking longer and deeper than we might ever in a restaurant.
  5. If you are a Facebook person, join some new groups. In these groups you  can share insights, things you have learned or want to know about, or possibly new career paths you want to explore. Our Rethink with Andi Simon group has been growing beautifully with professional women from across the globe who want to help other women become the “best they can be.” Sharing has become a gift for each of them.
  6. Book groups are terrific on Zoom.  Book clubs, where you can join others and discuss hot books together, are booming for good reason. If you have not joined one, find a theme that might reflect your own interests and see what you can do to get involved. Here is alink to some that are open for you to join.
  7. Tutor someone. Find ways to identify young people who would like a tutor for math or science or geology or anything that is your area of expertise. Sharing is an immensely powerful antidote for loneliness. The gift of giving will make your loneliness go away as acts of gratitude will make you feel purposeful and positive.
  8. Cook! Make something (for others or maybe just yourself) and sit and eat it slowly. Savor each bite and enjoy all the different flavors and tastes.

COVID-19 may be keeping people apart, but with a little ingenuity and effort, we can find ways to connect – with ourselves and with others.

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D. (www.andisimon.com), author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net). A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

10 Times Teen Movies and TV Shows Portrayed Mental Illness in a Helpful Light

By Shay Siegel

The importance of learning about mental health and debunking the stigmas that come along with it has been expressed more and more in recent years. Mental illness is a valid struggle in the everyday lives of people from all different backgrounds and circumstances—it does not discriminate. Representation of mental health is especially important for teenagers who already deal with issues of identity and belonging simply as part of growing up and all the external pressures they are exposed to. Art and entertainment forms that explore mental health and real societal issues are contributing to these discussions. 

These ten shows and movies (some of which are based on wonderful books) have explored mental illness in one way or another and shed some much-needed light, helping teens realize they are not alone.

1. Degrassi 

This was my favorite show when I was in high school, and it has done a great job not only shifting to keep up with current times, but it has always confronted a variety of important issues that teens face. I usually think of Degrassi: The Next Generation, because that’s the segment of the show I grew up with, but the new version Degrassi: The Next Class with a different cast for a new generation is exactly what the show has always been about, while keeping up with the current atmosphere. Degrassi consists of a big cast, which is one of the things to love about it and shows a multitude of characters that struggle with different issues, both external and internal. Mental health has always been portrayed in Degrassi and manifested in many ways, from eating disorders, to self-harm and suicide, to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, to identity issues, peer pressure, sexual assault, substance abuse, and so much more. The show is confronting, and it raises awareness and leads to deeper thinking and conversation-starting in a helpful and positive way. Degrassi is my number one pick for a series that shows all the raw and relatable issues teens face, especially mental illness.

2. 13 Reasons Why

I loved the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, so naturally I was excited when it was made into a series. I know it has received a ton of backlash and been accused of glorifying suicide, and yes, the show may definitely be triggering and problematic in areas. There are many positives to be gleaned as well, though. The story confronts the very ugly side of suicide and the lasting effects of trauma like sexual assault and bullying on the psyche. It’s not meant to be comfortable because these issues are uncomfortable, and the show can help in processing tough topics. The story provides encouragement to think about how our actions affect others and how we can’t know what others are going through. And regardless of whether the show is hated or loved, it has absolutely started important conversations and raised suicide awareness.

3. All the Bright Places

I actually have not yet read the book by Jennifer Niven, but I watched the movie recently and thought it was a really realistic, while also heart-wrenching, take on depression. It’s helpful for teens to see two characters with different past traumas coping in different ways, and the idea expressed that some are able to heal while others still struggle. There is no one set of symptoms when an individual has depression and that was clearly portrayed in this film. The message of hope to find the bright places everywhere even when we might not feel like one of those places within ourselves is beautiful.

4. Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska is an adapted series based on John Green’s popular novel from 2005, which I also loved, but the series expands upon the book and incorporates updated ideas and messages that fit our current times and conversations, especially those that address mental health. The story unfolds as a mystery, and at times it’s lighter and a fun coming-of-age tale, but it’s so much deeper as it progresses, especially as the later episodes take on a more ominous tone and Alaska’s inner struggles become clearer. This is another instance of not truly knowing what another person is going through, especially when they don’t reach out for help in a direct way. This is unfortunately a reality of mental illness and one of the reasons is that those struggling don’t fully understand it themselves. The open-endedness of the story is realistic because that’s exactly how life is—nothing gets wrapped up neatly, but we learn about others and ourselves along the way.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is also one of my favorite books by Stephen Chbosky, and the movie is every bit as emotional. Charlie is an incredibly realistic character. His feelings of loneliness while continuing on day to day with hope are so accurate and relatable for any teen who has ever felt like an outcast. The deeper past issues that we find out he has repressed are heartbreaking, but I think the story does a great job in portraying that past trauma, while contributing to his current situation, might also not have necessarily created it because there are many layers to mental illness and there is no off button once a “reason” is realized.

6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story

This movie is based on the YA novel by Ned Vizzini. We get a look into many of the patients’ lives over the course of a few days in a psychiatric hospital, while Craig, the male lead, learns about himself and his circumstances, ultimately taking steps to heal. One of the most positive messages of the story is that Craig takes it upon himself to seek help, which many (or most) don’t feel acceptable doing. This is so important for teens to see. The idea that others can’t save us, and we have to build our own lives and not look to others to make it all better for us is also done well. The author of the book, Ned Vizzini, committed suicide, but he left a message of hope in allowing Craig to work through his struggles and show readers and viewers what goes on in the mind of someone struggling so deeply in hopes that those who need it may seek help.

7. Eighth Grade

This movie was cringe-worthy at times, which was effective because that’s exactly what this time of life is like. If you feel awkward watching someone, just imagine how elevated those feelings are for them on the inside. Kayla, the thirteen-year-old protagonist, is riddled with worry and anxiety about her every decision and encounter, and many of the times her fears are realized, which I think we all can agree escalates anxiety. It was an accurate and upsetting portrayal of what goes on both inside and outside during this impactful transition in life, maybe not for every single teen but certainly for the ones who feel that specific emotional turmoil.

8. To the Bone

This was an interesting take on how mental illness manifests in eating disorders. The idea of knowing how damaging your behavior is but also not knowing how to stop it or do anything different, or even just not wanting to, is relatable to anyone who struggles with mental illness whether it be an eating disorder or otherwise. This film has also been criticized for misrepresenting sensitive subject matter, but again, it has helped start conversations and it has definitely expressed an important message that recovery is not a straight line.

9. The Edge of Seventeen 

I loved this movie, and one of the best things about it is how “normal” Nadine’s mental health issues are treated. Her mental illness is not necessarily what the movie is about, but a driving force behind her as a character, and an accurate portrayal of depression for one unique person, since everyone experiences it differently. Although her struggles may be heightened by exterior circumstances and “being a teen” the way she views herself and the world are real and heartbreaking, and although she might not be in imminent danger she is suffering, nonetheless. The movie is also quite funny in parts! The balance of humor and despair work to provide light to all the darkness that exists.

10. Euphoria

This new series is extremely uncensored, raw, and even shocking, but it definitely captures the issues and pressures of being a teen in this current climate. A realistic and well-done takeaway from the series is how mental illness can completely take over and suffocate a person, even bringing on a terrible feeling of boredom and monotony. Rue, the main character, struggles with addiction, which first became an issue when she was looking for a way to combat her host of mental illnesses, and of course gives her yet another issue to struggle with when she is already in severe pain, if from nothing else then from being born into this world. The uncomfortable honesty in Euphoria is executed with precision and is a look at mental illness, while it has always existed, now in the new generation. 


Shay Siegel is a freelance writer, poet, and editor. Her debut YA novel, Fractured, is available now. For more information, visit shaysiegel.com, or connect with Siegel on Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads.

Justin Bieber illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Justin Bieber Tour Rescheduled

Justin Bieber reschedules his world tour dates and adds new shows

Grammy Award-winning Justin Bieber, announced his rescheduled world tour dates today.  The tour was to kick off in May but was postponed this Spring for the safety and health concerns of the fans and crew. The tour kicks off in San Diego at Pechanga Arena on June 2, 2021 and includes new arena stops in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago and more. Unfortunately, Kehlani and Jaden Smith will not be appearing on the new dates, but new acts will be released soon.

“I can’t wait to get out there and connect with my fans on this tour,” said Justin. “We’ve been through so much this year. More than ever, we’ve come to understand how much we need each other, and how meaningful these moments can really be.”

Tickets for new shows go on sale to the general public starting Thursday, August 6th and $1.00 from each ticket will be donated to the Bieber Foundation, which is committed to mental health wellness. Of course, all tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates so Bieber fans resume their excitement in 2021. For more information, visit Ticketmaster.com or justinbiebermusic.com.