Meaningful Activities Could Prevent Depression (and Other News)

Team Of Volunteers Picking Up Litter In StreetThis May is Mental Health Month. Mental health issues remain more stigmatized than physical health challenges, and Mental Health America’s Mental Health Month aims to change that. MHA’s annual monthly awareness event dates back 65 years, and this year the focus is on ways mental health affects physical health. The organization has published several pamphlets designed to increase awareness of mental health issues and offer advice on how to protect your mental health. The fact sheets cover topics such as social support, healthy diets, nutritional supplements, alcohol abuse, getting mental health help, and coping with stress.

Stress is associated with a host of mental health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Mental Health America aims to place special emphasis on the intersection of physical and mental health issues, and is using this Mental Health Month to encourage people to take better and more holistic care of their bodies and minds.

As part of our ongoing commitment to good mental health and excellent therapy, will be spotlighting the importance of stellar mental health care and providing advice on how to improve your mental health.

No Significant Connection Found between Mental Illness and Crime

Every time a crime makes national headlines, it reignites a debate about mental health care. Researchers have known for years that people with mental health challenges are more likely to be crime victims than perpetrators. A recent review by the American Psychological Association helps buttress this previous line of research. The study found that mental illness did little to explain crimes, and that only 7.5 percent of crimes had any connection to a serious mental health issues. Among the small portion of crimes that did involve mental health concerns, bipolar accounted for 10% of crimes, while schizophrenia played a role in 4% and major depression contributed to 3%.

Training Focuses on Mental Health First Aid

Many people have witnessed a person experiencing a mental health crisis, but it can be challenging to know what—if anything—to do in this stressful situation. Mental health advocacy organizations across the country are working to change this by offering basic training on how to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge. Some training sessions target first responders such as police officers, but a Las Vegas, NV program has begun offering “mental health first aid” to the general public. The program teaches people how and when to intervene in a mental health crisis and who to call when additional help is necessary.

Inmates Train Dogs to Be Service Animals for Autistic Children

A service dog can play a powerful role in helping children with autism adapt to the world around them. Training these dogs can be expensive and time-consuming, though. A California-based program called Pathways to Hope aims to make service animals a bit more accessible by using inmates to train them. The dogs provide companionship to the inmates, potentially helping to calm tensions and make prison life better and less psychologically damaging. Inmates who train dogs also learn a valuable skill. When the dog completes training, a child with autism can benefit from the hard work of a prisoner.

Physical Activity Keeps Hippocampus Healthy in People at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

The hippocampus, a region of the brain that plays key roles in memory and spatial reasoning, is also the first brain area Alzheimer’s attacks. A new study found that, in older adults already at risk for Alzheimer’s, moderate daily physical activity can help protect the hippocampus, potentially preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s.

Newly-Approved Brain Stimulator Offers Hope for Individuals with Uncontrolled Epilepsy

Although doctors have made significant progress over the last 50 years in the fight against epilepsy, some people continue to live with debilitating and near-constant seizures. The FDA recently approved a brain stimulation device that can reduce the prevalence of seizures by as much as 50%. The device works by controlling electrical activity in the brain and delivering an electrical impulse to calm seizures before symptoms begin. In a clinical trial, half of patients who used the device saw a complete elimination of seizures.

Dr. Drew Doesn’t Understand Your ‘Garbage’ Diagnosis

In response to a call from a man seeking advice about his girlfriend’s health conditions, which included interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and lactose intolerance, Dr. Drew remarked that there was no actual pathology behind these issues and that physicians refer to these disorders as “garbage bag” diagnoses.

Meaningful Activities Protect the Brain from Depression

If you want to avoid depression, helping others may be the way to go. A recent study found that teenagers who found helping others rewarding were less likely to develop depression than those who derived their joy from video games and similar pursuits.

1 Is 2 Many

Despite numerous programs designed to reduce violence against women, the rates of abuse remain shockingly high. Young women report the highest rate of dating violence, with one in 10 adolescents experiencing violence in a relationship within the last year. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has created a new initiative, Not Alone, designed to protect students from dating violence.

Drugs Helping Kids’ Mental Health

There’s plenty of press coverage of the so-called over-medication of children, but it turns out medication for children may be working. About 7% of children take a mental health medication, and more than half of parents say the medication is helping.


Mentally ill more likely to be victims, not perpetrators, of violence, study shows. (2014, February 25). Retrieved from

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  • starla

    May 2nd, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    NO connection between mental illness and crime rates?
    To hear a bunch of people talk you would think that everyone who has ever gone to jail has some kind of mental issue.
    That’s the way they make it sound anyway.
    But then I don’t know what is worse- to think that there are a bunch of criminals sitting in jail and receiving no treatment for their illness or that there are people just so mean that the only reason they commit a crime is to, well, be mean.

  • Amanda

    May 3rd, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Yes! I think that most of us are aware of what to do when someone falls and gets hurt and we need to stop the bleeding or even how to offer basic CPR but then most of us would freeze and have no idea how to react or what to do if the same friend had a mental health crisis and needed help with those sorts of problems. I think that there are a lot of us who are afraid or feel so helpless that we would totally shut down even if someone’s life depended on us at that point in time just because we are so unfamiliar with those situations and the thought of someone mental health being in jeopardy like that would cause us to make decisions that we would otherwise know were irrational and wrong.

  • Stephanie L

    May 6th, 2014 at 3:48 AM

    Until you have been the victim of an abusive relationship you can say that you should just get out but it isn’t that easy. Many become very dependent upon the abuser and once you have given everything to that person then it ia hard to imagine a life without him or her in your life.
    I have been that needy person and getting out was so hard for me. This is someone who I thought that I would be with for the rest of my life and that I was in love with.
    It took me a very long time to wake up and recognize that hitting is not love.

  • madeLeine

    May 7th, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    Teaching our children that there is more to life than technology and their phones is imperative if we want to provide them with life lessons that stick with them. Yes, the other things are fun and of course we all want to spend some time goofing around sometimes, but it is time to take a stand at some point and do something MEANINGFUL and CHALLENGING with our lives to get the most out of them. We have to see life and others as more than the here and now but also think about what we can do to make a difference to someone tomorrow and beyond, and teaching our children that there is more to life than games and toys is a big part of that.

  • Foster

    May 10th, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    I am sure that there are people who are cringeing at the thought of inmates training these dogs, but I think that this is actually a great idea. It gives them something productive to do and it can also help to tamper down some of the rough feelings that they probably have while in prison. If it can get rid of their aggression with others and know that it could be helping someone else out later, as well as giving the inmates something productive and meaningful to do then I am all for this.

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