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To be a healthy human means focusing on both physical and mental wellness. The global pandemic has added more stress to our daily existence and changed the way in which kids and teens develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively. What was normal is now a memory. With past estimates showing that up to 20% of the US population experiencing a mental illness each year, the topic of mental health needs to be front and center.

Please check back often as we are continually updating our resources and additing additional articles to help you stay informed about mental wellness.

Mental Health Conditions & Resources





Mental Health Resources & Supports


Black, Latinx, Indigenous, & People of Color

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Mental Illness: Symptoms & Diagnosis

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Photo: Michał Parzuchowski

"Disorders don’t just pop out of thin air and yell 'Surprise!' They develop over time due to a complex mix of influences."

Mental Health Detective: Making a Diagnosis

What is a diagnosis

A diagnosis is the identification of an illness.

The first meeting with a mental health or medical professional is uasually for an “intake.”

This is a fancy way of saying, “We’re going to ask you a lot of questions about everything.” The goal of an intake is to obtain a broad understanding of the person, their symptoms, and the ways in which the illness impacts their life.

Disorders don’t just pop out of thin air and yell “Surprise!” They develop over time due to a complex mix of influences. It then makes sense that a common approach to determining a diagnosis is to use the biological-psychological-sociological (biopsychpsocial) model to better understand an illness.

Biological: Most disorders have a genetic, or biological, component to them. Having a solid personal and family medical background is essential to understanding the illness.

Psychological: Personal experiences such as changing schools, losing a family member, or being targeted by a bully can have a long-term impact on us humans. An event that seems unimportant, positive or not so positive, may have an influence on how someone sees the world or feels about themself.

Social: Attending a large school with thousands of students is a very different social experience than going to a small school with only a few hundred kids. Moving to another city or even another country as a child can mean adapting to new social norms or cultural expectation. Social environments play a vital role in our development as they influence our relationships, our identity, and can impact how we adjust to external events.

The clues: Symptoms

Symptoms are the expression and the evidence or “clues” of an illness.

As an example, symptoms of a sprained ankle may be bruising, swelling under the skin, and it may be tender to the touch. Walking can also be very painful depending on the severity of the injury. It is up to the owner of that ankle to explain how it feels and give us the details of how the sprain happened.

Keep in mind that the visual clues and the patient’s verbal report are viewed collectively. Swelling on its own or bruising without any of the other symptoms can apply to several other medical issues not related to a sprained ankle.

Symptoms of a mental illness are similar. A loss of motivation or generalized sadness that lasts for a considerable amount of time can be a clue that someone is feeling mentally unwell. Or it may be something completely unrelated to mental, physical, or emotional health.

Remember, us humans interpret the behavior of others through our personal experiences and beliefs. It is vitally important to combine the individual's experience with any observations and the other clues to help point us towards a diagnosis.

Note Obviously, these are general examples and not intended to be used as a guideline to diagnose an actual illness, physical or otherwise.

Importance of a Diagnosis

To effectively communicate with other people, we need to agree on the meaning of the words we use. If we invite someone to lunch on Wednesday, they would be very confused if we ask them to join us for Purple on Envelope Day. Purple is not a meal, and Envelope Day isn’t an actual day of the week.

A common language is essential to communicate specific information effectively. In psychology, as with physical medicine, illnesses are given a name to make sure everyone involved is talking about the same thing. For example, having a diagnosis allows us to discuss treatment options, educate clients and their families, as well as find resources without explaining details of the illness each time we speak with someone.

Just as the word “Wednesday” refers to the third day of the week, Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis relays important information about the illness and how to best serve the person we are helping.


Beyond the Golden Rule: A parent's guide to preventing and responding to prejudice Handout/booklet by Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. How to help and guide kids in their understanding of racial bias and discrimination.

Conversations for families about race and anti-bias from Anti-Defamation League

Witnessing or experiencing racism, discrimination, or violence can be traumatic. Read our latest article on trauma to learn some of the basics.

Trauma in Kids & Teens - The Basics

Trauma: How to Support Kids & Teens


Article: Managing Stress That Comes With Drastic Lifestyle Changes Article by Erika S. Wheelhouse, MA, LMHC for Take This.

Great series of articles by mental health professionals for Take This. These were written to offer support during this difficult time.

Take This: COVID Series On TakeThis.org

Spending the quarentine together has a special set of stresses whether you have ADHD or love someone with ADHD. This brilliant channel by Jessica McCabe offers evidenced based information and tips on living with ADHD, including videos dedicated to managing it during the pandemic.

How to ADHD on Youtube

HowtoADHD.com homepage.

LGBTQ Youth face particularly difficult mental health issues during that can be exacerbated during the COVID-19 crisis. The Trevor Project published their White Paper on April 2020 outlining the immediate concerns. The Trevor Project: Implications of COVID-19 for LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

From TheTrevorProject.org

Being gentle with yourself can be a challenge in the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. Practicing self-compassion, the act of comforting and gently caring for yourself when experiencing uncomfortable or painful emotions. Dr. Kristen Neff has done extensive research on how self-compassion can positively impact psychological well-being.

Self Compassion exercises by Dr. Kristin Neff On Self-Compassion.org


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 -- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Samaritans Confidential Hotline: To talk or Text 24/7 877-870-4673
Available if you just need to talk, even when not in a crisis or seeking mental health support

Crisis Text Line Text: CONNECT to 741741

Games and Online Harassment Hotline Text “SUPPORT” to 23368 to get started

National Sexual Assault Hotline - RAINN 800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Human Trafficking Hotline 888-373-7888 (TTY:711) or text 233733. In the US Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.

The Trevor Project 24/7 helplines:

TrevorLifeline 1-866-488-7386
Or visit their online
Get Help Now page with information on text and chatlines with counselors available 24/7.

The Strive Family Resources (“Strive”) website provides general information about mental health resources. The website is intended for use by individuals (non-professionals) for non-commercial, personal purposes.

The information and resources on this website are intended to help individuals better understand the U.S. health care system, health services research and medical effectiveness, and diagnosed conditions, but not to provide specific medical or mental health advice. Individuals are urged to consult with their own qualified health care providers for all diagnosis and treatment, and for answers to personal health care questions.

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