General

Does a Handout to the Homeless Help or Hurt?

We walk down a city street or stop at a stoplight and the panhandler is there, cardboard sign in hand, seeking a handout. What should we do? Close our eyes or open our wallet? Most crucially, no matter what course we decide on, are we helping or hurting?

Because I treat those who are mentally ill and addicted, a population widely represented among those on the streets, I am sometimes asked what I think is the appropriate response when approached for money.
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Mental Health

What’s Your Personal Happiness Score?

Happiness is hard to quantify, but for the third time since 2012, the World Happiness Report has done just that: gathered data from around the world and ranked countries from most to least happy. It’s not just a feel-good exercise. The goal of the report is to build recognition of the elements most likely to create happiness within nations and promote their spread across the globe. A successful society, after...
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General

Are Sibling Battles Hurting Your Kids’ Mental Health?

“He hit me!” “Who said you could wear that?” “Make her leave me alone!” Such is the soundtrack of most parents’ lives, and to a certain degree, we shrug it off. After all, siblings fight, and why wouldn’t they? They are captive audiences – forced to share belongings, attention and personal space. It’s fertile ground for conflict.

The good news is all that squabbling can teach valuable social lessons, such as negotiation, compromise and patience. But increasingly, research is making clear that the fighting we tend to accept as just part of growing up is also capable of inflicting lasting psychological wounds.
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Mental Health

The Most Painful Word: Unwanted

In 2013, a 15-year-old named Davion Navar Henry Only stood before a church congregation and asked for someone, anyone, to adopt him. He had bounced around the foster care system since birth and was now making a desperate bid for a place to belong.

It was a heartbreaking story that quickly went viral as millions reacted to the teen’s plea to end the pain of having neither home nor family.

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General

Is Sleep for Losers?

You snooze, you lose. It’s a saying that’s too often interpreted literally. We see the day as much too short and the competition as much too fierce to allow for the indulgence of a full night’s sleep.

But that’s the problem: Sleep is not an indulgence. It’s essential to our physical and mental health, and it’s crucial for performing our best. Even so, it’s easy to buy into the mindset that the true movers and shakers of the world are not the ones snoring in their beds, and that those who need their sleep are somehow the weak members of the herd.
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Alcohol Abuse

The Not-So-Funny Side of YouTube Drinking Videos

If a person knew nothing about alcohol and turned to YouTube for enlightenment, this is what they’d likely come away with: Drinking is something young and attractive people do, it has little long-term downside beyond a hangover, and it’s hilarious.

That’s the conclusion of a University of Pittsburgh study that examined how alcohol is portrayed on the 70 most popular YouTube videos that depict intoxication. These...
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Mental Health

3 Ways to Guard Against Abusive Love

One of the most heartbreaking things about abusive relationships is how much they can look like love in the beginning to their victims. They are often swept off their feet, passionately courted, and made to feel more special than they have ever felt before.

Then comes the crash: The desire to be near becomes a desire to control; talk of love becomes suspicion, sarcasm and hostility; behavior seems aimed at demeaning rather than revering. And to this emotional abuse is often added physical abuse as well.
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