Where can vets turn when VA hospitals fail to provide psychiatric care?

The Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., serving 8.76 million veterans each year. But as we’ve seen over the last few years, the system is far from perfect, with its fair share of scandals such as long wait times and cover-ups.

9 life-saving resources anyone can use to take action now to feel better during Mental Illness Awareness Week

Did you know October 2-8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week? Tens of millions of Americans are affected by mental illness. This week is all about bringing more awareness to mental health issues and replacing stigma with hope. In fact, you can start being proactive by taking the #StigmaFree pledge at www.nami.org/stigmafree.

PTSD linked with mental decline and dementia among September 11 first responders

On Sept. 11, 2001, selfless rescuers and first responders rushed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. It was a day of terror in New York City, rattling the nation as many of us watched the scene unfold on TV. As rescue efforts continued amidst the rubble, stories of hope emerged, thanks to the efforts of first responders. Now, over a decade later, the aftermath still lingers in their minds -- and it’s affecting their health, according to a recent study.

A new option for reducing anxiety and depression - probiotics!

Anxiety disorders and depression are among the most common mental health conditions in the U.S., with anxiety affecting 18 percent of the adult population and depression affecting an estimated 1 in 10 U.S. adults. These conditions take a toll both now and in the future. In fact, some scientists have noticed anxiety and depression cause shorter telomeres in DNA -- a telltale sign of a shorter lifespan. So, what to do?

Best foods for depression?

Depression is more than simply “feeling down.” It prevents people from enjoying activities they once enjoyed, robs them of motivation and energy, isolates them from family and friends, and interferes with their overall health and happiness.

Exercise may help teens dealing with depression

The teenage years can be challenging enough, but even more so when depression is thrown into the mix. Depression is common, especially among teenagers. It’s been estimated that approximately 20 percent of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood. But there may be a natural solution to help teens who are dealing with depression.

Try this “MAP” for depression relief: Meditation plus exercise

Many people have experienced depression. Around 6.7 percent of U.S. adults have had a major depressive episode within the last year, the National Institute of Mental Health reports. This disorder can be debilitating, and it goes beyond simply feeling sad and lethargic. Symptoms may include an inability to focus, concentrate or make decisions. But how can you get relief from depression symptoms?

Natural treatment for depression: Try bright light therapy

In the winter and around the holidays, many people struggle with seasonal affective disorder (tied to the cold and dark season) and depression. Their treatment may include anti-depressants, psychotherapy and even light therapy. Light therapy refers to exposure to artificial light to affect your brain chemicals. By mimicking natural outdoor light, light therapy can lift your mood.

Get to the root cause of anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health problems in the United States. It can negatively impact a person’s quality of life and disrupt important activities of daily living, and it may sometimes overlap with panic disorder and depression.

Let’s talk about mental health: Bipolar disorder

October recently brought us World Mental Health Day. So let's look at a commonly misunderstood mental disorder -- bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by prolonged "highs" and "lows" in mood. During "highs," or manic states, people with bipolar disorder might be talking a mile a minute and have many ideas. They may seem to be tripping over their own words, sleep very little and spend large amounts of money. They may have high confidence and experience interpersonal problems.

Stopping your antidepressants? Be proactive and communicate with your doctor

Your doctor prescribes antidepressants. It’s been a few weeks, and so far, no improvements. You’re experiencing side effects, there seems to be no benefit, and you figure you can probably do better on your own with a little research and experimentation with at-home remedies. Perhaps this describes you, or the way you've been feeling. In fact, this is quite common.

Emotional health? There’s an app for that

Emotions play a key role in decision-making, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life. Your emotions can affect your health, and your health can affect your emotions. So it’s no surprise that as technology advances, people are looking for new ways to track and improve their emotional health. And yes, there’s an app for that – in fact, quite a few!

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