At year’s end, it’s a tradition for blogs to post a list of their most popular posts of the year. I thought I’d shake things up a bit and rather than create a list based on page views, share my personal favourites featured here in 2012. Some were very popular, and some were a bit overlooked.

It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy the familiar titles, and discover great videos you may have missed the first time around.

1. U Can Cope – An inspiring short film for those who are feeling suicidal, featuring people in recovery from depression discussing what helped them as well as info and advice from experts.

2. Self Help Books: How Can You Tell Which Ones Are Good? – An excellent and informative vodcast from The Psych Files. Psychologist Michael A. Britt explains some of the common pitfalls in pop psychology books, what makes useful advice and what doesn’t, and what to look for to spot a book from an author with low standards. Very useful tips before you go shopping for a new self-help book.

3. 2011 Gloria Neidorf Memorial Lecture on Bipolar Disorder – This academic lecture explores a topic that’s very hot outside ivory towers as well: the link between sensitivities to foods including milk casein, wheat, and gluten, and effects on mental health. Could a gluten-free diet be an answer, if standard treatments aren’t effective enough?

4. The Teenage Brain – Actress Lisa Kudrow interviews fellow Vassar College alum and psychology professor Abby Baird on the neuroscience and psychology of youth. With brains that are not fully developed, youth take more risks and are more vulnerable to peer group influences. A fun, funny, and lively discussion, don’t let its longer length (an hour) put you off, this is worth watching (especially if you’re a parent).

5. Catwoman Therapy! – My favourite of the Funny Friday series of comedic mental health-related  videos, this Super Therapy webisode features villainess Catwoman in session with her psychotherapist, talking about her obsession with Batman and her cat mannerisms. Super LOL fun.

6. Remember – A very touching and creative video made by a daughter as a tribute to her mother, who died of Alzheimer’s disease. A haunting original jazz song is accompanied by hand-drawn animation. See if you can watch it without shedding a tear.

7. Laughter: Love, Joy, and Language – A neuroscientist studied laughter and reveals it has as much to do with breathing and social expression as it does emotion. A fascinating TEDx talk.

8. The Top Ten Myths of Behaviour Change – Drawing on learnings from psychology, behavioural economics, marketing, neuroscience, sociology, social media, and more, this stimulating half hour lecture discusses ways to get a populace to change a behaviour – in this case, to recycle more.

9. Science Nation – Sleep Deprived Kids – After talking about some of the consequences of sleep deprivation for low income children, on development and cognitive performance, the good news is that the negative effects can be avoided simply by ensuring that kids get adequate sleep.

10. The Wright Show – Robert Wright interviews famous and fun behavioural economist Dan Ariely about his book “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.” Even good people lie, and Ariely discusses why, delving into the death penalty, cost benefit analyses, rationalizing, and some psychological experiments as well as real world examples.

11. Come out, Come Out Wherever You Are – An inspiring call to action for people to come forward and publicly identify as having mental health issues. Produced by a service user, this is a video made for peers to remind us that a diagnosis doesn’t have to be a hindrance, many successful people have had issues, and to fight stigma we must be visible. As someone with bipolar and OCD who’s been “out” for many years, I encourage people to weigh the pros and cons and come forward in careful and considerate ways.

12. Guided Meditation – A brief and beautiful three-step guided mindfulness meditation video to restore mental health. This lovely production from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre is an excellent tool to add to your personal resources and watch whenever you need to focus and relax.

Happy New Year, and happy viewing!