LifeStance Insights

Our team of expert clinicians give their perspectives across a range of subjects, touching on current topics, family and loved one issues, mental health struggles and the comprehensive services that can help you live a better life.

FEATURED STORY

How to Support Mental Health Wellness for Student-Athletes

July 23, 2024 By: LifeStance Health Read Time: 7 Minutes
How to Support Mental Health Wellness for Student-Athletes
Updated from previous article on May 6, 2022. Sports, and especially team sports, have many benefits for kids and student-athletes. Studies have consistently shown that kids who participate in sports make better grades, are more likely to go to college and stay more active and healthier later in life. Student-athletes are more likely to finish college and less likely to drop out than non-athlete students. They benefit from priority class registration, mandatory study hours, and tutoring sessions that boost their GPA, resources not always available to non-athletes. Additionally, the transition to college can be nerve-wracking, even for those who find socializing easy. Being a student-athlete fosters early social interactions, helping to establish lifelong friendships and relationships from the start. Studies that showed the positive effects of playing sports dovetailed with increased parental investment on kids’ activities over the past forty years. That total number of collegiate student-athletes was an all-time high for the NCAA in 2023 and marks a near 3,000 spike from the previous year. Why Are Student-Athletes at Higher Risk for Mental Illness?...
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Types of Therapy

Dealing with Grief and Loss: Understanding the Journey and Finding Support

Grief is an inevitable and universal experience that touches everyone at some point in their lives. The loss of a loved one can be one of the most challenging and emotionally taxing events a person can face. While commonly associated with the death of a loved one, grief can also result from other significant losses such as the end of a relationship, loss of a job, or loss of health. The grieving process is unique to each individual, influenced by factors like personality, cultural background, life experiences, and the nature of the loss. As humans, we have developed various ways to cope with grief and grief counseling has emerged as a crucial support system for many. Grief is not “cookie cutter,” but there are common and universal aspects to grief and loss. These aspects stem from centuries of human wisdom and experience. Over time, we have developed techniques and methods to address the emotional pain associated with loss. This evolution has led to what we know as modern grief counseling, which incorporates evidence-based practices to provide effective support, helping individuals navigate their grief, process their emotions, and find a path to healing and resilience. According to Cindy Speakman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who practices in the State of California, when someone has experienced a significant loss of a loved one, they need to be se...

By LifeStance Health

Published: July 22, 2024
Read Time: 6 Minutes
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Dealing with Grief and Loss: Understanding the Journey and Finding Support

How Psychiatric Service Dogs Provide Support for Mental Health

What are Psychiatric Service Dogs? Psychiatric service dogs, psychiatric assistance dogs, and emotional support dogs all play valuable roles in supporting individuals with mental health conditions, but they differ in their training, legal definitions, and the roles they perform. Let’s look at each of them. Psychiatric service dogs are a type of service dog trained to perform specific tasks to assist individuals with disabilities, including psychiatric disabilities. Their training is focused on actionable tasks such as reminding their handler to take medication, providing safety checks or room searches for those with PTSD, interrupting self-harm behaviors, or pulling their handler from an overwhelming situation. Psychiatric service dogs have legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), allowing them to accompany their owners in most public places. Psychiatric Assistance Dogs (PADs) as a term is often used interchangeably with psychiatric service dogs. They are essentially the same, performing specific tasks to help individuals with psychiatric conditions. The key component that defines them as ‘service’ or ‘assistance’ dogs is their task-specific training related to the handler’s disability. PSDs are trained animals that aren’t to be confused with other types of service animals...

By LifeStance Health

Published: May 22, 2024
Read Time: 6 Minutes
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How Psychiatric Service Dogs Provide Support for Mental Health
Specialized Services

Guide to Finding the Right Child Psychiatrist

Childhood and adolescence can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and experiences, with normal ups and downs. However, sometimes you might notice changes in your child that seem out of the ordinary. They might exhibit persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or anger. Perhaps they’re having trouble at school, or their behavior seems drastically different. These signs can indicate that they might benefit from professional help. Like a pediatrician for physical health, a child psychiatrist is important for a child’s mental health. Child and teen psychiatrists have the knowledge and tools to understand and help young minds in their complex world. They can identify, diagnose, and treat Mental Health Conditions, helping your child navigate their feelings and experiences in a healthier way. More importantly, they can empower your child with coping strategies, fostering resilience for their journey ahead. “When a child is experiencing a physical health condition, most caregivers don’t think twice about reaching out to their pediatrician. Yet emotional issues in children can be trickier to spot and, understandably, some parents may not know how or when to involve a mental health professional,” said Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn. “Mental health should be treated no differently than physical health—they’re incredibly intertwined, and both play a critical role in children’...

By LifeStance Health

Published: May 20, 2024
Read Time: 6 Minutes
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Guide to Finding the Right Child Psychiatrist
Lifestyle/Cultural

How To Address School Avoidance – Parents Guide 

School avoidance has long been a serious concern for many parents, educators, and mental health professionals. It is a phenomenon characterized by a child’s reluctance or refusal to attend school, which can stem from countless complex emotional, psychological, and environmental factors. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this issue for many families due to increased stressors, disruptions in routine, and the transition to remote or hybrid learning formats. Understanding and addressing school refusal requires empathy, patience, and a commitment to uncovering the root causes behind a child’s anxiety. This guide aims to empower parents with strategies and insights on choosing the right interventions to offer a supportive environment that encourages attendance and well-being. What is School Refusal? School avoidance, often misconstrued as mere truancy, involves a complex interplay of factors that can make attending school feel insurmountable for some children. Rather than a simple reluctance or disobedience, this response is often rooted in anxiety, fear, or distress. Recognizing the signs early can pave the way for effective interv...

By LifeStance Health

Published: May 13, 2024
Read Time: 5 Minutes
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How To Address School Avoidance – Parents Guide 
Types of Therapy

Somatic Therapy Exercises – 5 Exercises to Try at Home

Somatic therapy, a form of body-centered therapy, emphasizes the connection between the mind and body in healing. It is particularly effective in addressing trauma and stress-related issues. While somatic therapy is best administered in office by a licensed professional, there are some exercises that can be used at home in between sessions. What are Somatic Exercises? Somatic therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the physical body as a means to understand and treat psychological pain. It integrates both psychotherapy and physical therapies for holistic healing. Somatic exercises involve gentle movements and body-awareness techniques aimed at releasing muscle tension, improving posture, and promoting relaxation. These exercises focus on enhancing the connection between the mind and body to alleviate stress and reduce physical discomfort. Through mindful movement and breath awareness, somatic exercises help individuals become more attuned to bodily sensations, facilitating a sense of calm and well-being. These practices are often used in therapeutic settings to address chronic pain, trauma, and stress-related conditio...

By LifeStance Health

Published: May 8, 2024
Read Time: 3 Minutes
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Somatic Therapy Exercises – 5 Exercises to Try at Home
Disorders

What is Hoarding Disorder? 

For over 700 years, the concept of hoarding has been a notable element in European literature, reflecting the social and economic milieu of different eras. Esteemed authors have often imbued their characters with hoarding behaviors, providing a mirror to the times. Notable examples include Miss Flite in Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House” and the Collyer brothers in Franz Lidz’s “Ghosty Men.” Similarly, in “Great Expectations,” Dickens presents Miss Havisham as a character who compulsively hoards remnants of her past. These depictions in literature not only illustrate hoarding behaviors but also offer insights into the historical and economic contexts that influenced these portrayals, enhancing our understanding of hoarding’s evolution through time. Hoarding is a mental health condition characterized by the excessive collection and retention of items, leading to clutter that disrupts an individual’s living space and daily functioning. This behavior stems from an ongoing difficulty in discarding possessions, irrespective of their value, causing distress and significant impairment. Historically linked with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), hoarding was reclassified as a separate entity in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) in 2013. This reclassification acknowledges its unique symptoms and challenges, distinguis...

By LifeStance Health

Published: May 6, 2024
Read Time: 6 Minutes
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What is Hoarding Disorder? 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Spravato Nasal Spray (esketamine) and How It Can Help Treatment Resistant Depression

What Is Spravato? Spravato is a type of medication administered through a nasal spray to individuals who have not responded well to conventional antidepressants or experience depression with suicidal ideation and intent.  It is a new treatment approach that offers the potential for rapid relief of depression. What sets Spravato apart is its differentiated mechanism of action and its active ingredient, esketamine. It’s a derivative of racemic ketamine, a widely used generic anesthetic consisting of esketamine and arketamine, and unfortunately, a drug of abuse when used recreationally and outside of a medical indication. Spravato is delivered via 2-3 intranasal spray devices administered 5 minutes apart, each providing 28 mg of esketamine in a fine mist, allowing the medication to be absorbed through the nasal passage. Patients typically receive 8 treatments the first month and respond quickly, often within 3-7 days, compared to traditional antidepressants that can take 6-8 weeks to take effect. Difficult to treat depression and depression in those with suicidal thoughts cause many problems for patients and families, including prolonged suffering, functional impairment, job loss, caregiver stress and reduced quality of life. According to Dr. Rachel Dalthorp, a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in Treatment Resist...

By LifeStance Health

Published: April 30, 2024
Read Time: 5 Minutes
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Here’s What You Need to Know About Spravato Nasal Spray (esketamine) and How It Can Help Treatment Resistant Depression