Counseling Center (new) | Albright College

Protected: Counseling Center (new)

Crisis
ON CAMPUS STUDENTS:  Contact your RA and call Public Safety at 610-921-7670.
OFF CAMPUS STUDENTS: Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital for assistance.

Student Health Portal


Hotlines and Emergency Numbers

  • SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Berks Talkline: 610-921-9820 (7 days a week from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)
  • SAFE Berks: 610-373-1206

  • Love is Respect Hotline: 1-866-331-99474 (24/7) or Text “loveis” 22522
  • The Anti-Violence Project– serves people who are LGBTQ: Hotline 212-714-1124 Bilingual 24/7
  • National Hotline (1-888-843-4564) or National Youth Talkline (1-800-246-7743)
  • Online Peer Support Chat or Weekly Youth Chatrooms
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • The Network La Red– serves LGBTQ, poly, and kink/BDSM survivors of abuse; bilingual: Hotline – 617-742-4911
  • Northwest Network– serves LGBT survivors of abuse; can provide local referrals: Hotline – 206-568-7777
  • Helpline: 1-800-398-GAYS
  • Gay and Lesbian National Hotline 1-888-843-4564
  • Trevor Hotline (Suicide) 1-866-4-U-TREVOR

  • Marijuana Anonymous 1-800-766-6779
  • Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-252-6465
  • Families Anonymous 1-800-736-9805
  • Cocaine Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-262-2463
  • Drug Abuse National Helpline 1-800-662-4357
  • National Association for Children of Alcoholics 1-888-554-2627
  • Ecstasy Addiction 1-800-468-6933
  • Alcoholics for Christ 1-800-441-7877
  • Alcohol Hotline: 800-252-6465
  • Gambling Hotline: 800-848-1880
  • Narcotics Anonymous: 610-374-5944
  • Poison Center: 800-222-1222
  • Poison Control 1-800-942-5969

  • American Cancer Society 1-800-227-2345
  • National Cancer institute 1-800-422-6237
  • Elder Care Locator 1-800-677-1116
  • Well Spouse Foundation 1-800-838-0879

  • New Life Clinics 1-800-NEW-LIFE
  • National Prayer Line 1-800-4-PRAYER
  • Bethany Lifeline Pregnancy Hotline 1-800-BETHANY
  • Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336
  • Grace Help Line 24 Hour Christian service 1-800-982-8032
  • The 700 Club Hotline 1-800-759-0700
  • Want to know Jesus? 1-800-NEED-HIM
  • Biblical help for youth in crisis 1-800-HIT-HOME
  • Rapha National Network 1-800-383-HOPE
  • Emerge Ministries 330-867-5603
  • Meier Clinics 1-888-7-CLINIC or 1-888-725-4642
  • Association of Christian Counselors 1-800-526-8673
  • Minirth Clinic 1-888-MINIRTH (646-4784)
  • Pine Rest 1-800-678-5500
  • Timberline Knolls 1-877-257-9611
  • Focus on the Family: 1-855-771-HELP (4357)

  • Rest Ministries 1-888-751-REST (7378)
  • Watchman Fellowship 1-817-277-0023

  • Crisis Pregnancy Hotline Number 1-800-67-BABY-6
  • Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline Spanish 1-800-942-6908
  • Battered Women and their Children 1-800-603-HELP
  • Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-8966
  • RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Rape/Partner Violence: 610-372-9540
  • National Sexual Assault hotline: 800-656-4673
  • Stop it Now: 1-888-PREVENT
  • United States Elder Abuse Hotline 1-866-363-4276
  • National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)
  • Child Abuse Hotline / Dept of Social Services 1-800-342-3720
  • Child Abuse National Hotline 1-800-25ABUSE
  • Children in immediate danger 1-800-THE-LOST
  • Exploitation of Children 1-800-843-5678
  • Missing Children Help Center 1-800-872-5437

  • Rape/Partner Violence: 610-372-9540
  • National Sexual Assault hotline: 800-656-4673

  • Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention 1-800-931-2237
  • Eating Disorders Center 1-888-236-1188
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 1-847-831-3438
  • Remuda Ranch 1-800-445-1900

  • Family Violence Prevention Center 1-800-313-1310
  • Rape/Partner Violence: 610-372-9540
  • National Sexual Assault hotline: 800-656-4673
  • Stop it Now: 1-888-PREVENT
  • United States Elder Abuse Hotline 1-866-363-4276
  • National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)
  • Child Abuse Hotline / Dept of Social Services 1-800-342-3720
  • Child Abuse National Hotline 1-800-25ABUSE
  • Children in immediate danger 1-800-THE-LOST
  • Exploitation of Children 1-800-843-5678
  • Missing Children Help Center 1-800-872-5437

  • Compulsive Gambling Hotline 1-410-332-0402

  • GriefShare 1-800-395-5755
  • Grief Hotline: 800-260-0094 (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)

  • Homeless 1-800-231-6946
  • American Family Housing 1-888-600-4357

  • Boystown National Hotline 1-800-448-3000
  • National Runaway Safeline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929)
  • Laurel House 1-714-832-0207
  • National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-621-4000
  • Teenline 1-888-747-TEEN
  • Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663

  • Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571
  • Deaf Hotline 1-800-799-4TTY
  • Holy Spirit Teenline (717) 763-2345 or 1-800-722-5385
  • Crisis Intervention (Harrisburg) (717) 232-7511 or 1- 888- 596-4447
  • Carlisle Helpline (717) 249-6226
  • Crisis Intervention (York) (717) 851-5320 or 1-800-673-2496
  • Suicide: 911 or 610-236-0530
  • Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255

Apps and Videos

PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING CONTENT IS NOT MEANT TO PROVIDE DIAGNOSES OR BE A REPLACEMENT TO THERAPY OR COUNSELING.

  • Safe2Say
  • Calm
  • MY3
  • notOK
  • What’s Up
  • Mood Kit
  • Twenty-Four Hours a Day
  • Quit That- Habit Tracker
  • MindShift
  • Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
  • CBT Thought Record Diary
  • IMoodJournal
  • eMoods
  • Talkspace Online Therapy
  • Happify
  • MoodTools
  • Recovery Therapy
  • Rose Up and Recover
  • Lifesum
  • nOCD
  • Worry Watch
  • GG OCD
  • PTSD Coach
  • Breathe2Relax
  • UCSF PRIME
  • Schizophrenia HealthStorylines
  • Headspace
  • Ten Percent Happier


 

Mental Health and COVID-19

  • COVID-19 has resulted in a mental health deterioration throughout the world’s populations and continues to negatively affect everyone’s mental health.
  • According to KFF, “about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019” (KFF).

  • If you are struggling with mental health related issues due to the pandemic, know that you are not alone and there are methods to help cope with negative effects brought by COVID-19, such as loss, death, anxiety, stress, depression, suicide ideation, economic-related stress.

  • COVID-19 has lead to a dramatic increase in stress for everyone, including stress from fear of death or illness, coping with the losses of friends and family, lack of interaction with friends and family, the change in college or work schedules, job-loss and economic-related stress.
  • Some stress during COVID-19 can be related to learning how to work technology. Due to social distancing, technology has become people’s main way of communicating and interacting. For those who do not understand technological devices, apps or items, learning about technology can be very confusing and furthermore, extremely stressful.
  • Stress can lead to a change in appetite, energy, interests and hobbies, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, physical reactions such as headaches, stomach problems, skin reactions (such as acne or rashes) and joint pains.

  • Due to the huge amounts of information and updates about the dangers of COVID-19 and ongoing threats of the pandemic, the social isolation associated with social distancing and quarantining and the fear of death or illness, anxiety is very likely to spike during these difficult times.
  • Additionally, for some people, as vaccines are being distributed and restrictions are having mixed feelings of fear and anxiety about going back out.
  • Anxiety can result in people refusing to leave the house as a result of COVID-19 related fears and avoiding social situations.

  • According to the Harvard Gazette, “psychologists worry that the coronavirus pandemic is triggering a loneliness epidemic.”
  • Research also suggests that the ones hit the hardest with this intense loneliness are young adults and older teenagers. “In recent research of the study conducted last October by researchers at Making Caring Common, 36 percent of respondents to a national survey of approximately 950 Americans reported feeling lonely “frequently” or “All the time”…”Perhaps the most striking is that 61 percent of those aged 18 to 25 reported high levels.”
  • This may be due to the change in colleges schedules, family-related issues, and a lack of interaction with loved ones. First year students going into college or high school may feel a large sense of loneliness and a struggle to fit in in a new environment. Some colleges have implemented more remote-learning strategies and that has additionally lead to a lack of social interaction with other students and teachers, which may leaves students feeling socially isolated.

  • Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
  • Suicide Hotline Website
  • Lifeline Chat
  • A UK study found recently that suicidal thoughts have increased in young adults during lockdown due to the mental health crisis that has spiked since Covid-19 has started.
  • “Research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that women, young adults, socially disadvantaged people, and people with pre-existing mental health problems reported the worst mental health outcomes” (Thebmj).

  • Coping mechanisms are more important than ever during this pandemic and trying to keep calm during these stressful times are very essential.
  • Additionally, there are many programs available that can help people facing stress, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression and other such stressors during the Pandemic.


 

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Drugs are any substance that is meant to alter the body’s function either physically or psychologically. They can include pills, herbs, medicines, medications, over-the-counter medications, prescribed or recreational.
  • Recreational drugs are drugs that are used without medical supervision, which may lead to some dangers associated with recreational drugs due to the lack of supervision. Recreational drugs include four types such as depressants, analgesics, stimulants and hallucinogens.
  • Depressants include alcohol, barbituates, tranquilizers, and nicotine. Analgesics include narcotics, heroin, morphine, fentanyl and codeine. Stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine and ectasy. Hallucinogens includes LSD, peyote, psilocybin, marijuana, ketamine, phencyclidine and salvia divinorum (Thebmj).
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used type of depressant and it is found in a variety of adult beverages, such as beer, wine and spirits. Alcohol acts as a depressant at high doses, but in low doses, alcohol acts as a stimulant.
  • The effects of alcohol depends upon the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is the percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood. Each level of BAC has a unique effect on you and every state has different laws about BAC and when it’s acceptable to drive or do anything after drinking alcohol.

  • Binge Drinking
    • Binge drinking is one of the most “common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States (CDC)
    • Binge Drinking is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent (CDC).
    • For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male) or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours (CDC).
    • Binge drinking can lead to extremely dangerous situations that lead to possible death, such as car crashes, falls, burns, poisoning, cancer of the breast, throat, liver and colon, memory and learning problems and alcohol use disorders.
  • Overdosing
    • All drugs have the potential to be misused, whether medical, prescribed, recreational or purchased over the counter.
    • “Accidental drug overdose may be the result of misuse of prescription medicines or commonly used medications like pain relievers and cold remedies. Symptoms differ depending on the drug taken” (NCAPDA).
    • Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms that develop, but the drug may be doing extensive damage to the body before symptoms are even developed. The patient’s medical and social history may also help in receiving a diagnosis. Blood tests are also used to detect traces of drugs in the bloodstream, as can urine tests. They also show if there is damage of organs such as liver or kidney.
    • When you think you or someone else is suspecting or discovered drug overdose, call the poison control center right away.
  • “Buzzed” Driving
    • Buzzed driving is another way to say drunk driving and this occurs when a person who has drank alcohol right before or while driving. Drinking, no matter what level one’s BAC is, should not be done right before driving.
    • This is extremely dangerous because alcohol can impair a person’s judgement, sight and senses. This has resulted in 10,142 people dying in alcohol impaired driving crashes in one year.
    • Drunk drivers face DUI charges, which can result in $10,000 in attorney’s fees, court costs, lost tiem at work, higher insurance rates, car towing, death/loss and other consequences.

  • Know and understand the Pennsylvania or the other states’ laws in terms of alcohol usage and BAC.
  • A few basic ideas to understand include
    • You should not be drinking if you are under the age of 21.
    • You should not be driving or biking after drinking alcohol. It is also strongly recommended that you do not walk home by yourself.
    • Always have a trusted friend with you when going a social event that is serving alcohol, such as a college party or a bar.
    • Understand your limitations when drinking. Know when enough is enough.
    • If someone is coercing you to drink alcohol when you do not want to, the best course of action would be to let a friend or a trusted adult know that you feel uncomfortable or ask a group of people if you could stay with them for a little while.

  • Drinking by college students ages 18 to 24 contributes to an estimated 1519 deaths each year (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA))
  • In 2018, the annual prevalence of drug abuse among full-time college students was 44.9% (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA))
  • The top drugs of choice in order to prevalence are marijuana, Adderall, MDMA, cocaine, LSD and tranquilizers (Monitoring the Future)
  • 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (R.W. Hingson et al.)
  • Roughly 9% of college students meet the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder (SAMHSA)

 

Anxiety

  • Anxiety is a natural response to fear or stress and as a contrast to popular belief, it can lead to many benefits, as it alerts people to possible dangers, provides self-protection and helps us stay alert.
  • Anxiety can put us in a flight or fight response, which is a response in a dangerous or anxiety-provoking situation that forces humans to either fight the situation or flight (as in escape or run away). Freezing is also a natural reaction to anxiety, as the body goes into a state of paralysis due to intense terror at a situation.

  • Due to the huge amounts of information and updates about the dangers of COVID-19 and ongoing threats of the pandemic, the social isolation associated with social distancing and quarantining and the fear of death or illness, anxiety is very likely to spike during these difficult times.
  • Additionally, for some people, as vaccines are being distributed and restrictions are having mixed feelings of fear and anxiety about going back out.
  • Anxiety can result in people refusing to leave the house as a result of COVID-19 related fears and avoiding social situations.

  • Anxiety as a normal reaction is very different from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders are “the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available…Anxiety disorders can cause people to try to avoid situations. Job performance, school, work and personal relationships can be affected” (Psychiatry).
  • “For a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety, the fear or anxiety must:
    • Be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate
    • Hinder ability to function normally” (Psychiatry)

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by a persistent worry or tension about everyday activities and events, such as jobs, household chores, family matters and others. This can result in a difficulty concentrating, constant tension, which may result in physical pains such as a headache, easily tired or fatigued, and insomnia.
  • Panic Disorder
    • Panic disorder is characterized by persistent panic attacks, which can feel like heart attacks and be a very terrifying experience. Symptoms of panic attacks include blurred vision (almost like an orange tint), shortness of breath, dizziness, faintness, shaking, numbness, headaches, or fear of dying. Panic disorders may also be connected with other mental disorders, such as PTSD, depression or phobias.
  • Phobias
    • Phobias are characterized by an extreme irrational fear of something that may or may not be necessarily harmful. Examples include agoraphobia (fear of the dark), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), or germaphobia (fear of germs).
  • Social Anxiety
    • Irrational fear associated with social interaction and is usually associated with a significant amount of anxiety of being embarrassed, humiliated, or generally looked down upon. This creates problems with daily functioning.
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
    • This is a disorder characterized by a deep fear of being separated from comfort zones or attachments figures. Although separation anxiety is common in young children, separation anxiety disorder can continue into adulthood and this can result in a refusal to sleep away from that attachment figure, experience nightmares associated with separation, or be reluctant to go outside away from that attachment figure.

  • According to psychiatry, “the first step is to see your doctor to make sure there is no physical problem casing the symptoms. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, a mental health professional can work with you on the best treatment.”
  • There are two common types of treatment
    • Psychotherapy
      • Also called CBT
      • This is a talking therapy that is meant to help people with anxiety disorders talk about their feelings, learn a different way of thinking, processing and reacting to behavior.
    • Medications
      • Some examples of medications that might be used include anti-anxiety and anti-depressants and other SSRIs. Beta-Blockers are usually used for physical symptoms. It’s good to talk to your therapist or counselor about which medication is best for you.


 

Depression

  • Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a common mental disability that negatively affects mood, thinking, feelings, and physicality. Depression additionally causes sadness, a loss of interest in once enjoyable activities and it can decrease functioning at work and home.
  • Symptoms include:
  • Sad mood
  • Loss of interest
  • Appetite changes
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • These symptoms must last for two or more weeks and present a noticeable change in behavior, emotions, thoughts and daily functioning for a diagnosis in depression.
  • “Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can occur at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. There is a high degree of heritability (approximately 40%) when first-degree relatives (parents/children/siblings) have depression” (Psychiatry).
  • Depression is not the same thing as being sad or experiencing grief. The differences usually include major depressed mood and interests that are decreased for more than two weeks, self esteem is very low, as self-loathing and worthlessness are common in depression. In the process of grieving, self-esteem is maintained, thoughts of suicide may surface from thinking of “joining the dead.”

  • Biochemistry
    • Differences in chemicals in the brain could lead to symptoms of depression
  • Genetics
    • “Depression can run in families…if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life) (Psychiatry).
  • Personality
    • “People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression” (Psychiatry).
  • Environmental Factors
    • “Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression” (Psychiatry).

  • Major Depressive Disorder: “A combination of symptoms that affects a person’s ability to sleep, work, study, eat and enjoy hobbies and everyday activities (Women’s Health).
  • Dysthymic Disorder: While the symptoms are less severe, they can still prevent one from functioning or doing everyday activities. This kind of depression lasts for 2 years or more.
  • Psychotic Depression: Occurs when a severe depressive disorder occurs along with a form of psychosis.
  • Postpartum Depression: When a mother has a major depressive episode after delivery.
  • Prenatal Depression: Occurs when a mother experiences depression during pregnancy
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Depression that occurs during the winter months.
  • Bipolar Depression: A depression aspect of bipolar disorder, which is a serious mental health condition in which a person has “extreme episodes of mania, or being very “up” or energetic and active and episodes of depression, or being very “down” and sad.

  • Medication
    • This treatment can be helpful if brain chemistry is contributing to an individual’s depression. Antidepressants may be prescribed, and full benefits are usually apparent after two or three months. It is recommended that if a patient “feels little or no improvement after several weeks, his or her psychiatrist can alter the dose of the medication or add or substitute another antidepressant” (Psychiatry).
  • Psychotherapy
    • Also called “Talk therapy”
    • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is focused on solving the present situation’s problem and this usually helps to change thoughts and behaviors.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
    • This is a treatment “reserved for patients with severe major depression who have not responded to other treatments. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. A patient typically receieves ECT two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments. It is usually managed by medical professionals including a psychiatrist, an anethesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant (Psychiatry).


Eating Disorders

  • Eating disorders are mental disorders characterized by irregular eating patterns that are affected by mental aspects, such as anxiety or depression. Eating disorders have to potential to be extremely dangerous and can cause serious physical and mental health consequences.
  • 20 million women and 10 million men in America are affected by eating disorders
  • Eating disorders are illnesses that present themselves both mentally and physically
  • Eating disorders do not discriminate in who they manifest. They can impact people of all races, genders, ages, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body weight and shape.
  • Eating disorders are caused by a range of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors

  • Eating disorders can develop in many ways, including genetics, biochemistry, psychology, culture and environment (ULifeline).
  • Genetics
    • Eating disorders tends to run in families.
    • Specific chromosomes have been linked with bulimia and anorexia.
  • Biochemistry
    • Those with eating disorders may have highly abnormal levels of certain chemicals and this results in the regulation of appetite, metabolism and other related bodily functions.
    • “Both people with bulimia and anorexia have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Some research also suggests that individuals with anorexia have too much serotonin, which keeps them in a constant state of stress (ULifeline).
  • Psychology
    • Eating disorders are commonly suffered by those who have other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders and other disabilities.
    • “Other factors include low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, trouble coping with emotions or expressing your emotions, perfectionism and impulsivity” (ULifeline).
  • Culture
    • Societal expectations tend to encourage potentially unhealthy actions such as calorie counting, weight loss, dieting and rapid weight loss.
    • “Aspects of culture that contribute to eating disorders include an over-emphasis on appearance, societal beautfy standards that promote an unrealistically thin body shape, associating thinness with positive attributes and messages that fear monger people to avoid any fat or food at all costs.
  • Environment
    • “These factors include family or other relationship problems, difficult or turbulent childhood, history of physical or sexual abuse, acitivites that encourage thinness or focus on weight, peer pressure and bullying because of weight or appearance.

  • Anorexia (National Eating Disorders)
    • An emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.
    • Subclinical eating disordered behaviors (including binge-eating, purging, laxative abuse, and fasting for weight loss) are nearly as common among males as they are among females.
    • Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 with anorexia have 10 times the risk of dying compared to their same-aged peers
    • An ongoing study in Minnesota has found incidence of anorexia increasing over the last 50 years only in females aged 15 to 24. Incidence remained stable in other age groups and in males.
    • Several more recent studies in the US have used broader definitions of eating disorders that more accurately reflect the range of disorders that occur, resulting in a higher prevalence of eating disorders.
  • Binge Eating Disorders (BED) (National Eating Disorders)
    • Frequently consuming unusually large amounts of food in one sitting and feeling that eating behavior is out of control
    • Between 0.2% and 3.5% of females and 0.9% and 2.0% of males will develop binge eating disorder. Subthreshold binge eating disorder occurs in 1.6% of adolescent females.
    • 5.2% of the girls met criteria for DSM5 anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. When the researchers included nonspecific eating disorder symptoms, a total of 13.2% of the girls had suffered from a DSM-5 eating disorder by age 20.
    • 3.5% of women and 2.0% of men had binge eating disorder during their life. This makes BED more than three times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. BED is also more common than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia
    • 28.4% of people with current BED are receiving treatment for their disorder. 43.6% of people with BED at some point in their lives will receive treatment. Approximately 40% of those with binge eating disorder are male. 3:10 individuals looking for weight loss treatments show signs of BED.
  • Bulimia (National Eating Disorders)
    • An eating disorder in which a large quantity of food is consumed in a short period of time, often followed by feelings of guilt and shame.
    • At any given point in time, 1.0% of young women and 0.1% of young men will meet diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa.
    • 5.2% of the girls met criteria for DSM5 anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder. When the researchers included nonspecific eating disorders symptoms a total of 13.2% of the girls had suffered from DSM-5 eating disorder by age 20.
    • Eating disorder symptoms are beginning earlier in both males and females, which agrees with both formal research and clinical reports.
    • Rates of bulimia increased during the 1980s and early 1990s, and they have since remained the same or decreased slightly.


Athletes Mental Health

  • Anxiety Disorders are among the most common psychiatric problems in student-athletes. Performance anxiety, panic disorder and phobic anxiety after an injury are more likely to be sports-related. Generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are less likely to be sports-related but are still common.
  • Many athletes can experience anxiety that is either related to a medical problem or induced by a medical problem or substance use. The typical presentation is with physical symptoms and the psychological symptoms of worry and obsession. Feeling “overwhelmed” or “stressed” are frequent terms used at the time of presentation.
  • Performance anxiety is connected to the anticipation of the act and becoming overwhelmed during specific components of performance. Panic attacks are intense feelings of being overwhelmed with many physical symptoms such as racing heart, shortness of breath, shakiness and sweating that surface quickly. Phobias may be related to an injury, recovery and return to play.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder often presents with excessive worry or apprehension that is difficult to control. Obsessive-compulsive disorder presents with intrusive ideas, thoughts, urges or images that come into one’s mind with a ritualized behavior to try to undo or dissipate the obsession.

  • Mood Disorders include major depressive disorder (clinical depression), bipolar disorder, substance-induced depression (such as alcohol) and a mood disorder secondary to a medical problem (for example, thyroid disorder).
  • Fifteen to 20 percent of the population will suffer an episode of depression in their lifetime, and it is among the most common conditions a sports psychiatrist will treat.
  • The average age for onset of depression is approximately 22, but it is decreasing. Symptoms of depression include depressed mood, loss of interest, sleep and energy disturbance, appetite and weight changes and impaired concentration. Anxiety is a common symptom. A low frustration tolerance, isolation from teammates and lack of enjoyment with deterioration in performance is a part of the presentation with depression as well. Males are more likely to present with anger and excessive alcohol use.
  • To meet the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, an individual must have had some degree of mania in his/her life. Initial presentation for bipolar is an episode of depression. Other defining features of bipolar disorder include a strong family history of a mood disorder, chronic sleep problems, irritability, erratic performance, stormy relationships and impulsivity. A substance use disorder commonly co-occurs with bipolar disorder.

  • Personality Disorders are fairly common in athletes. The most common personality traits in student-athletes associated with performance are extraversion, perfectionism and narcissism. Individuals with personality disorders experience interpersonal difficulties, impulse control problems, misperception of comments or situations and affective instability. Individuals with personality disorders have maladaptive coping skills.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is common in athletes and presents with problems focusing, concentrating, learning, attention shifting and sustained attention. ADHD is probably the most common psychiatric condition that sport psychiatrists treat. Males tend to be more hyperactive. Females more likely will have the inattentive type.
  • The number of student-athletes with ADHD appears to be increasing and may be related to the influences of social media and a rewiring of the brain. This condition carries over into adulthood in about half of the cases. The symptoms can change with age and can be temporary.
  • The severity of the symptoms can result in limitations in a number of areas of life and result in performance slumps or interpersonal conflict. Males often present with denial, while females present tired and exhausted.

  • They found that between 4 to 8 percent of high school athletes have ADHD and 7 percent of college athletes employ stimulant medication for ADHD treatment. Among the professional baseball players, 8.4 percent had received exemptions for ADHD medications. The prevalence of ever having had an ADHD diagnosis for teenagers (12-17 years old) is 11.9 and for adults is 4.4 percent.
  • “ADHD may be more common in elite athletes than in the general population, since children with ADHD may be drawn to sport due to the positive reinforcing and attentional activating effects of physical activity,” Dr. Han and his colleagues write. “Common symptoms of ADHD may enhance athletic performance. Some athletes with ADHD naturally excel in baseball and basketball, which involve quick movements and reactive decision-making, due to these athletes’ inherent impulsivity. Many children with ADHD were reported to ‘hyperfocus’ [highly focus] on their own enjoyable activities without being distracted by regular life activities.”
  • “The management of ADHD in elite athletes may have important effects on safety and performance,” Dr. Han and his coauthors write. “Clinical collaboration with team physicians and athletic trainers are crucial to reduce safety concerns and to ensure the athlete does not violate antidoping rules. The focus of management should be on long-term outcomes for elite athletes in sport and life.”

  • Eating Disorders occur in both sexes but are more common in females, and in sports in which lower body weight/fat improves performance or weight is divided into classes. The triad of impaired eating, amenorrhea and osteoporosis are the classic features in females.
  • Full-symptom presentation usually occurs as the eating disorder progresses; however, disordered eating is more common at presentation. As the condition worsens, more impairment occurs. Individuals affected with eating disorders have decreased energy and a special relationship with food.
  • Eating disorders are more common in gymnastics and swimming/diving, which are judged on aesthetics, and in wrestling, cross country and distance running. Eating disorders can be life-threatening, especially anorexia nervosa.

  • Leaving the familiar environment of home and high school to attend college is a major life change for first-year college students. Yet, going to college can challenge an individual’s personal security, physical comfort and ability to enjoy activities. While all first-year students experience some stress adjusting to college life, some will develop Adjustment Disorder (AD). AD is one of the most common psychiatric diagnoses among adolescents and is often an early stage of a more serious psychiatric disorder and is also associated with suicidal thoughts. Early identification and intervention of students at risk for developing AD can lead to more timely intervention to provide relief of symptoms and possibly prevent further episodes.

  • Substance Use Disorders in student-athletes are different than in the general population. Student- athletes most commonly use alcohol, marijuana, opiates, stimulants (such as Adderall), caffeine, tobacco and performance enhancers.
  • Alcohol and drug use is more common in males and more common in the offseason for all student-athletes. Some of the consequences related to substance use include academic problems, vandalism, assault, injury, driving under the influence, sleep deprivation, sexual abuse and, in severe cases, death.
  • The brain pathways involved can be reinforced from use and create fundamental changes in the brain. Over time, the effects can hijack the brain. Alcohol and drug use commonly co-occur with mental health problems. Since alcohol is difficult to detect on a drug screen, the effects of alcohol often present with performance problems. Cannabis can be perceived as “safe,” but is detectable for longer periods of time on a drug screen.
  • Stimulant use [for example, amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Concerta and Ritalin)] is an increasing problem for student-athletes, especially since they are used for a number of non-medical reasons. Student-athletes who begin using an opiate [for example, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet and Oxycontin)] may continue to use it after their medical problems have been resolved.

  • Impulse Control Problems can manifest in erratic behavior and performance. An individual who suffers from an impulse control problem might exhibit episodes of aggression, fighting, and risky sexual behavior.

  • Psychosomatic Illnesses and presentations include pain without supporting evidence, prolonged recovery from injury, frequent injuries and performance problems. Symptoms are often manifestations of an emotional issue and occur more commonly in collision sports.
  • Individuals with pain are at increased risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use problems and adjustment reactions. A serious injury that leads to chronic functional impairment (or pain) in a student-athlete may manifest as a psychosomatic condition.
  • In addition to all of these, pain presents another challenge with today’s student-athletes. There may be pressure to play through the pain for fear of loss of a position or status. An athlete who is injured may experience a loss of identity.
  • Pain, injury and recovery, sleep, traumatic brain injury, suicidal ideation, transition and ending one’s athletics career bring challenges that have multiple associations to physical health, mental health and emotional well-being and substance use.
  • Over-training can look like clinical depression. Sleep disturbances are associated with decreased performance and mental health problems (like depression and ADHD).
  • Suicide presents another challenge and often is a part of a psychiatric illness with a strong connection to substance use, mental illness and perfectionism. Many warning signs emerge before suicide attempts that are often missed. More than two-thirds will have alcohol in their system at the time of the suicide attempt.
  • The challenge for any athletics department is to be aware of mental health issues and be trained to spot them when they emerge. Emotional well-being is important to any athlete’s success academically, athletically, socially and spiritually. Untreated mental health problems result in undue suffering, diminished positive affect and balance in life.
  • Most psychiatric disorders in student-athletes improve and resolve with proper treatment. Early recognition is important to shorten the time between illness onset and treatment, thus improving the mental health and emotional well-being for our student-athletes.


Coping Skills

  • Coping skills are strategies that help you reduce stress and more effective handle the difficult situations that life can throw at you (Serenity Mental health Centers)
  • Coping skills can come in handy during a variety of circumstances, which is why everyone can benefit from them-not just those who suffer from mental illness. (Serenity Mental Health Centers)

  • Help tolerate, minimize and deal with stressful situations (Very Well Mind)
  • Increases resilience by helping to learn how to properly handle negative emotions (Very Well Mind)
  • Healthy Coping skills may not provide gratification, but they do lead to long-lasting positive outcomes (Therapist Aid LLC).

  • Diversions: Coping skills that will allow you to stop thinking about the situation contributing to your distressed emotions, at least for a period of time (Positive Psychology)
    • Examples: Write, Draw, Paint, Play Instrument, Sing, Dance, Watch Film/TV (Positive Psychology and Creative Resilience Counseling)
    • These techniques aren’t necessarily meant to be the final solution, but they can be quite useful in keeping you safe, distracting you until you have a little time to think more clearly, etc. (Creative Resilience Counseling)
    • These strategies are particularly useful if you can recognize the warning signs of those overwhelming emotions (Creative Resilience Counseling)
  • Interpersonal/Social Coping Skills: Strategies that you can use to work through issues within yourself and situations in dealing with other people (Vista Taos Renewal Center)
    • Examples: Set boundaries and say “no”, talk to someone you trust, be assertive, write a note to someone you care about, use humor, encourage others, or help someone in need (Positive Psychology)
    • Interpersonal Coping skills help to reduce stress, resolve conflict, improve communication, increase understanding, etc. (NC State University Counseling Center)
  • Cognitive Coping Skills
    • Strategies in which a person uses mental activity to manage a stressful event or situation (American Psychological Association)
    • Examples: Write a list of strengths, Keep an inspirational quote with you, Write a list of pros and cons for decisions, Reward yourself, Self care (Positive Psychology)
    • Cognitive Coping skills can be helpful for putting the stressful experiences into perspective, seeking to understand the causes of the situation, thinking about steps to resolve the situation, etc. (American Psychological Association)
  • Tension Releasers
    • Tension releasing strategies involve acting on strong emtoions in ways that are safe for oneseld and others. They can also help you tolerate, minimize and deal with stressful situations in life (Infinite Mindcare; Very Well Mind)
    • Examples: Exercising, Playing a sport, Laughing, Crying, Yoga/Meditation, Deep Breathing, Taking Brief Rest Periods (Positive Psychology)


Women’s Mental Health

  • PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ALSO INCLUDE AFAB (ASSIGNED FEMALE AT BIRTH)

  • Account for close to 41.9% of neuropsychiatric disroders among women compared to 29.3% among men (World Health Organization)
  • More common among women (Talkspace)
  • Women tend to ruminate more whereas men tend to try to distract themselves from their issues (Talkspace)
  • Puberty: Due to the changes in hormones during puberty, girls are at a risk for depression. Temporary mood swings related to hormone changes however, are not caused by depression.
  • Depression rates tend to be higher in girls due to how earlier they reach puberty.
  • Experiences related to puberty can play a role in depression (Mayoclinic).
    • Emerging sexuality and identity issues
    • Conflicts with parents
    • Increasing pressure to achieve in school, sports or other aspects of life.
  • Hormone-Related Depression
    • A small number of women or people who are able to have periods have severe symptoms that disrupt everyday aspects of life.
    • PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) A type of depression caused by the changes in hormones experienced during periods. This requires treatment.
    • PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) includes more minor and short-lived symptoms such as bloating, irritability, headache, and breast tenderness.
    • Postpartum Depression: Occurs when there are serious and long-lasting depressed feelings, including crying more than often, low self-esteem, trouble sleeping, daily functioning problems, thoughts of suicide and inability to care for the child. This type of depression tends to be associated with hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy and birth complications, poor social support and breast-feeding problems.
    • Perimenopause/menopause: Depression risk rises during this time due to the fact that estrogen levels are significantly reduced. Factors that increase this risk include poor sleep, stress, menopause at a younger age or caused by surgical removal of ovaries, and a history of anxiety/depression.

  • Affects women at twice the rate that it affects men (Talkspace)
  • Studies have shown that the symptoms of anxiety may be more pronounced in women and therefore more debilitating (Talkspace)
  • Women are twice as likely to be affected by panic disorder as men (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
  • Anxiety commonly occurs with depression
  • According to Texas Health, an article published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research delved into the gender differences of how anxiety affects women and they found the following information:
    • “Women experience higher lifetime diagnosis rates of all anxiety disorders, except social anxiety disorder, which occurs at the same rate for both men and women” (TexasHealth).
    • “There are no differences in the age of onset and chronicity of the illness between the genders” (TexasHealth)
    • “Women diagnosed with one anxiety disorder are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an additional anxiety disorder, bulimia nervosa and/or major depressive disorder, while men are more likely to be diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or intermittent explosive disorder” (TexasHealth)
    • “Experts saw a significant interaction between race and gender specific to people diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, as anxious Hispanic men were more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder (3.6 percent) than Hispanic women (2.1 percent)” (TexasHealth)
    • “Women with anxiety disorders, particularly white and Hispanic women, were found to experience a greater illness burden than men, which signals a higher rate of disability for women with the disorders” (TexasHealth)
    • “Women tend to deal with their anxiety by agoraphobic avoidance, while men more often turn to substance abuse” (TexasHealth)

  • According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, usage of drugs in women usually have issues related to hormones, pregnancy, breastfeeding and women also have unique reasons for using drugs, such as weight control, coping with pain and attempts to treat mental health.
  • “Women often use substances differently than men, such as using smaller amounts of certain drugs for less time before they become addicted” (Drugabuse).
  • “Women can respond to substances differently. For example, they may have more drug cravings and may be more likely to relapse after treatment” (Drugabuse).
  • “Sex hormones can make women more sensitive than men to the effects of some drugs” (Drugabuse).
  • “Women who use drugs may also experience more physical effects on their heart and blood vessels” (Drugabuse).
  • “Brain changes in women who use drugs can be different from those in men” (Drugabuse).
  • “Women may be more likely to go to the emergency room or die from overdose or other effects of certain substances” (Drugabuse).
  • “Women who are victims of domestic violence are at increased risk of substance use” (Drugabuse).
  • “Divorce, loss of child custody, or the death of a partner or child can trigger women’s substance use or other mental health disorders” (Drugabuse).
  • “Women who use certain substances may be more likely to have panic attacks, anxiety, or depression” (Drugabuse).


Men’s Mental Health

  • PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ALSO INCLUDE AMAB (ASSIGNED MALE AT BIRTH)

  • Over 6 million men suffer from depression per year.
  • Men are more likely to report fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in work rather than sadness.
  • Men have higher rates of suicide, substance abuse and are less likely to use official mental health services (Psychology Today).
  • At some point in their lives, 30.6% of men reported experiencing a period of depression. The American Psychological Association reports that 9% of men have feelings of anxiety or depression on a daily basis; 1 in 3 of these men took medication because of these feelings and 1 in 4 spoke to a mental health professional about it.

  • Approximately 19.1 million American men ages 18-54 have an anxiety disorder. About 3 million men have a panic disorder, agoraphobia or any other phobia (Mental Health America)

  • More than 4 times as many men as women die by suicide in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death among males (Mental Health America)

  • Approximately 1 in 5 men develop alcohol dependency during their lives
  • In the U.S., out of 20.2 million adults with a substance abuse disorder, 50.5% or 10.2 million adults, had a co-occurring mental illness. Of those with a dual diagnosis, more than half are men.

  • Social norms
  • Reluctance to talk
  • Downplaying symptoms

  • Sexism: Men who strongly conform to typical masculine norms may be more likely to have poorer mental health.
  • Trauma: This could include extreme emotional events such as being sexually abused, experiencing combat, or being in high stress situations regularly (e.g., firefighters or policemen). For example, 65% of men who are raped will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).10 Witnessing a violent event or being in a war can also increase the risk of anxiety disorders like PTSD.
  • Poor working conditions or a high workload: Work stress and a lack of social support have been associated with a higher likelihood of mental health issues in men.
  • Traditional gender roles: This can include feeling pressure to be a provider or societal norms that discourage men from talking about their feelings.
  • Childhood abuse/family issues: Any detrimental issue that occurs in childhood can lead to an increased risk of mental health disorders in adulthood.
  • Loss of work: Unemployment and retirement are associated with an increased risk of depression in men. One in 7 men who lose their jobs become depressed.
  • Separation and divorce: Often, men tend to see themselves as being providers and the one to keep the family happy. Depression is more prevalent and more severe among divorced men. is it different-separation.
  • Financial issues: Economic factors are a top cause of stress for many people and could play a role in the development of certain mental health disorders.
  • Substance abuse: Men may be more likely to use drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with mental health issues, though such ‘self-medication’ can make things worse in the long run.

  • Psychotherapy. This includes individual counseling with a private therapist, or group therapy. Psychotherapy can help you uncover and work through specific issues that may have contributed to mental health issues as well as teach you improved coping skills.
  • Behavioral therapies. You may participate in cognitive behavioral therapy to address negative, unhealthy thought patterns and make positive changes to behavior, or dialectical behavior therapy, which is often used to help people who have borderline personality disorder or suicidal behavior.
  • Medication. Different medications are prescribed for various mental illnesses. For example, certain antidepressants are helpful in the treatment of both depression and anxiety. Medications are usually used in conjunction with psychotherapy for the best results.

  • Helping you understand your condition.
  • Reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
  • Enabling you to set and achieve specific wellness goals.
  • Improving your ability to deal with stress.
  • Helping improve your relationships with family and friends.
  • Reducing or eliminating negative or destructive behaviors, like overeating or overspending.


Sexual Assault Awareness

  • Rape/Partner Violence: 610-372-9540
  • National Sexual Assault hotline: 800-656-4673

  • It is an unfortunate and scary fact that sexual violence is “shockingly common in our society. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Precention (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. are raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, often by someone they know and trust.”
  • Sexual violence additionally occurs at higher rates for non-white communities. According to , “for adult women, recent data from the CDC report lifetime prevalence of rape as about 1 in 5 for African Americans (22.0%) and whites (18.8%) and in in 7 for Hispanics (14.6%)” (NCBI).
  • Additionally, “Of API women, 23% experienced some form of contact sexual violence, 10% experienced completed or attempted rape, and 21% had non-contact unwanted sexual experiences during lifetime” (APIGBV)
  • “Of API men, 9% experienced some form of contact sexual violence and 9% had non-contact unwanted sexual violence during their lifetime.” (APIGBV).
  • Sexual violence also affects those in the LGBTQA+ community. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than straight people.
  • “44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35% of straight women.
  • “26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29% of straight men.” (HRC).
  • “47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime” (HRC).
  • “Among people of color, American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%) and Black (53%) respondents of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey were most likely to have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime” (HRC).
  • Sexual violence can occur to anyone of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and economic status. It is important to be aware of what actions to take when someone informs you of a sexual assault.

  • Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in sexual activity
  • Consent is
    • Freely given
      • Consenting is a choice you made without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Reversible
      • Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
    • Informed
      • You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
    • Enthusiastic
      • When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
    • Specific
      • Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t meant you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).
  • Consent is never implied by things, like your past behavior, what you wear or where you go and is always clearly communicated-there should be no question or mystery.


Race and Ethnicity

  • Marginalized, oppressed, and disenfranchised people have unique concerns, trauma, stress, obstacles, and challenges because of historical experiences, cultural differences, and social disparities. It is vital to have culturally competent professional counselors provide a safe and trusting environment and assist in eradicating minority stigma, bias, and mental health misdiagnoses.
  • African American and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about ½ the rate of White Americans in the past year.
  • Asian Americans used mental health services at about ⅓ the rate of White Americans in the past year.
  • 36% of Hispanics with depression received care, versus 60% of whites.
  • In 2018, 58.2% of Black and African American young adults 18-25 and 50.1% of adults 26-49 with serious mental illness did NOT receive treatment.
  • Only 8.6% of Asian Americans sought any type of mental health services or resource compared to nearly 18% of the general population nationwide.

  • Percent of African Americans with Mental Illness: 17% [Source]
  • Number of African Americans with Mental Illness: 6.8 million

  • Percent of Latinx/Hispanic Americans with Mental Illness: 15% [Source]
  • Number of Latinx/Hispanic Americans with Mental Illness: 8.9 million

  • Percent of Asian Americans with Mental Illness: 13% [Source]
  • Number of Asian Americans with Mental Illness: 2.2 million

  • Percent of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives with Mental Illness: 23% [Source]
  • Number of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives with Mental Illness: 830,000

  • Percent of people who identify as being two or more races with mental illness: 25% [Source]
  • People who identity as being two or more races are most likely to report any mental illness within the past year than any other race/ethnic group.

  • Percent of US Adults with Mental Illness who are Uninsured: 12% [Source]
  • Number of US Adults with Mental Illness who are Uninsured: 5.3 million [Source]
  • Percent of youth with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional problems: 7.8% [Source]
  • Number of youth with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional problems: 910,000 [Source]


Neurodiversity

  • Support the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) – “Nothing About us Without Us”

  • Neurodiversity, according to ASAN, “means that no two brains are exactly the same. Every person has things they are good at and things they need help with, and there is no such thing as a “normal” brain. The nueordiversity movement says that people with brain-based disabilities (like autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, or mental health disabilities) should be accepted and included in society just like neurotypical people (people without brain-based disabilities).”
  • The neurodiversity movement also says we shouldn’t try to cure or get rid of autism. Autistic people should be allowed to exist, and we should work to make sure that everyone gets the accommodations we need to reach our full potential” (ASAN).

  • “Autism is a developmental disability.” (ASAN)
  • “It affects many things about the way we learn, move, communicate, and experience the world. Disability in a natural part of human diversity. However our society is set up in a way that excludes people with disabilities, including autistic people” (ASAN).
  • “The disability rights movement says that people with disabilities are not the problem. Instead, society is the problem when it does not accommodate people with disabilities” (ASAN).
  • The following is a list of factors from ASAN describing some aspects that autistic people have in common:
    • “We think differently”
    • “We process our senses differently”
    • “We move differently”
    • “We communicate differently”
    • “We socialize differently”
    • We might need help with daily living”
  • There are many different ways to be autistic, as not every autistic person will relate to every aspect.

  • ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
    • According to ADDitude, “attention deficit disorder (ADD) is no longer a medical diagnosis, but “ADD” is often used to refer to Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD and associated symptoms.”
    • Symptoms of ADD include “poor working memory, inattention, distractibility, and poor executive function” (ADDitude).
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
    • This term is “commonly used to describe what doctors now diagnose as Predominantly Hyperactive Type ADHD. (ADDitude)
    • Symptoms usually include struggling to be patient, not understanding patience, racing thoughts, anxiety, forgetfulness, poor organization, listening skills, refusal to participate in activities that require mental focus.

  • OCD is a mental disorder that includes repetitive thoughts, behaviors, or rituals that can interfere with daily activities.
  • Symptoms may include repetitive thoughts, images or compulsions, strict adherence to routines (deviating from routines can be discomforting for people with OCD), intrusive thoughts, racing thoughts, the need to arrange objects in a certain manner, etc.
  • According to International OCD Foundation, “Common obsessions in OCD include contamination, unwatned sexual thoughts, losing control, religious obsessions, harm, perfectionism and others (superstitions, sexual orientation and concern with getting an illness)” (International OCD Foundation).
  • “Common compulsions in OCD include washing and cleaning, mental compulsions, checking, repeating (such as rereading or rewriting) and others (such as arranging, confessing to get reassurance, and avoiding situations that may trigger obsessions” (International OCD Foundation).

  • Dyslexia is a mental disorder that includes prolonged difficulties in reading, writing, processing numbers or math-related problems. These problems persist even when given proper guidance and learning opportunities. These difficulties usually do not reflect cognitive abilities.
  • According to Addressing Dyslexia, “the impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning and teaching environment, as there are often associated difficulties such as:
    • auditory and/or visual processing of language-based information
    • phonological awareness
    • oral language skills and reading fluency
    • short-term and working memory
    • sequencing and directionality
    • number skills
    • organizational ability
  • Motor skills may also be affected.
  • “It is a hereditary, life-long, neurodevelopmental condition. Unidentified, dyslexia is likely to result in low self-esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, and low achievement.”
  • “Learners with dyslexia will benefit from early identification, appropriate intervention and targeted effective teaching, enabling them to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.” (Addressing Dyslexia).

  • Neurodivergent people tend to have higher rates of anxiety.
  • One aspect related to anxiety may be social concern and empathy. Highly empathetic tendencies usually result in “risky strengths” and “excessive empathy can lead to “empathetic personal distress and excessive interpersonal guilt” and this can result in an increased level of anxiety (Linkedin).
  • Aspects related to executive functioning skills may also lead to heightened levels of anxiety. With work and school schedules constantly changing and lack of clear plans can result in anxiety.
  • Additionally, those who face executive functioning challenges can make decision-making very difficult.
  • What can help:
    • Regular information and updates about schedules
    • Set up specific times for contact with people
    • Teach people how to use technology such as Zoom or Skype
    • Discuss respectful communication rules
    • Set an alarm for reminders

  • Due to multiple factors, including social isolation, bullying and harassment, abusive relationships, economic-related stress, life-related stress (including aspects such as facing a big change in life or a constant change in schedules), psychological reasons (executive functioning difficulties, sensory overload, intrusive thoughts), all of which are factors commonly faced, neurodivergent people are at a higher risk for depression than neurotypical people.
  • There is very little information on the links and connections between neurodiversity and depression.
  • “However, this can be helped by taking some simple steps to recognize the needs to neurodiverse groups and acting to make changes to suit them in their day-to-day lives” (Vocendi).


LGBTQIA+ Community Mental Health

  • Those in the LGBTQIA+ community face unique challenges in terms of mental health.
  • Identifying as LGBTQIA+ is NOT a mental disorder.

  • Following Information directly quoted from Mental Health America
  • Among U.S. adults, 4.5 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
  • LGBT identification is lower as age increases; 8.2 percent of Millennials (born between 1980 and 1999) identify as LGBTQIA+, compared to 3.5 percent of Generation X individuals (born between 1965 and 1979).
  • Women are more likely to identify as LGBT than men (5.1 percent compared to 3.9 percent).
  • Research suggests that LGBTQ+ individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBTQIA+ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.
  • Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.

  • Between 30 and 60 percent of those in the LGBTQIA communities deal with anxiety and depression at one point in their lives, which is 1.5-2.5 times higher than those who are not in the LGBTQIA community (ADAA).
  • LGBTQIA+ members are also at a higher risk of anxiety and depression due to societal factors, environmental factors and other underlying mental health disorders or issues.

  • LGBTQIA+ community members are also at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior.
  • Suicide risk tends to be the highest during teen years and early adulthood.
  • For transgender adults, “The lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in 40%.
  • “In 2015, more than 4.5 times as many lesbian, gay and bisexual…high school students reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months compared to (cis heterosexual) students…42.8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth seriously considered suicide” (National LGBT Health Education Center).

  • Substance use patterns tend to be higher for those in the LGBTQIA+ community compared to reports from cis heterosexual adults.
  • LGBTQIA+ communities are also at a higher risk for substance abuse disorders.
  • The transgender community is more at risk for substance abuse disorders compared to the other communities within LGBTQIA+.
  • “Sexual minorities with SUDs are more likely to have additional (comorbid or co-occurring) psychiatric disorders. For example, gay and bisexual men and lesbian and bisexual women report greater odds of frequent mental distress and depression than their heterosexual counterparts. Transgender children and adolescents have higher levels of depression, suicidality, self-harm, and eating disorders than their non-transgender counterparts” (DrugAbuse).

  • LGBTQIA+ have and still do face societal pressure to conform to cis heteronormativity. Those who identify as LGBTQIA+ very often feel pressured to mask themselves and hide their identities, which can not only lead to uncomfortable situations, such as gender dysphoria or misgendering, but also potentially violence.
  • Everyone in the LGBTQIA+ communities experiences homophobia, cissexism, etc. in some way, shape or form. Some discrimination is more systematic than others, such as cissexism.
  • Those who are in the transgender and nonbinary communities are at an especially high risk due to stigmatization both outside and within the LGBTQIA community. Oftentimes, they are left out in many research projects involving the LGBTQIA community and are often not seen by the community. Those who are intersex also face that problem.
  • LGBTQIA+ people are often associated with negative stereotypes and a prime example of this was during the AIDS epidemic, in which many of those within the LGBTQIA+ community were ostracized because cis heterosexual people associated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer and intersex communities as carriers of AIDS.

  • The most effective way to help the community is conducting research from those within the LGBTQIA+ community, listening to those within the community and learning what actions may constitute as cissexism, homophobia and discrimination against those within the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • The community needs cis heterosexual people to recognize their own internalized homophobia and cissexism in order to help LGBTQIA+ communities feel less ostracized.
  • Those within the LGBTQIA community may also need to check themselves for internalized cissexism, homophobia or other forms of discrimination.


Other Mental Disorders