Health & Wellness Articles
2022 Virtual Grit & Grace Conference – Inspiring Our Community!
On November 17, women from across cultures came together to share their mental health stories to give hope and empower each other to heal and thrive. And, women from across the United States and around the world joined in virtually for a morning of inspiration.
Cultural Sensitivity, Pregnancy, and Mental Health
Interview with Dr. Saramati Krishna of Northwest Women’s Clinic in Portland, OR
When the News Is Personal: Teens, Anxiety, and Depression
An interview with mental health beat reporter Genevieve Reaume.
Making Anxiety, Depression, and Self-Harm Past-Tense
How Yamini Rajan overcame barriers to seek help and her thoughts on immigration and mental health.
2021 Grit & Grace Conference was an inspiring event!
On November 4th, women from across cultures came together to share their mental health stories to give hope and empower each other to heal and thrive. And, women from across the Unites States and around the world joined in virtually. Thank you to all who attended and...
My Story: Immigration Through COVID-19 – Yamini Rajan
When COVID first struck, I, like many other college students found myself back in my childhood bedroom. We abruptly transitioned to lectures on Zoom, curfews, and memories of high school while convincing ourselves that we would be back at school soon enough. Yet, while I adjusted to the new normal, I had to simultaneously prepare myself for another drastic change.
Mental Health For All – A Conversation with Dr. Vikram Patel
I recently had an insightful and thought-provoking conversation with Dr. Vikram Patel on how to address inequities in mental health care and ensure mental health for all.
Dr. Vikram Patel is The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was listed in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.
Happy World Mental Health Day!
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day to remind ourselves that mental health is an integral part of our well-being. And, take time each day to nurture our mental health.
Over the last seven months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended and impacted every aspect of our lives – including our mental health. The uncertainly, fears, isolation and loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is having a detrimental impact on our mental health & wellbeing. And, it’s ok to not feel ok. You are not alone. We are here to help.
My story – surviving the loss of my beloved daughter Priya
I know that I will always be Priya’s mom and that she will always be part of me. I will spend the rest of my days honoring her and her fight and struggle and all that she was to me and my family.
I am determined to share her story and our story and keep attending the support groups and do all I can to help increase awareness and decrease the stigma so people like Priya facing suicidal depression or other mental illness have all they need to not only navigate their illness with support, understanding and care but to also live a live devoid of shame and fear and hopelessness.
Hope Lives. Shame Kills. And What About Reality?
It can be hard to live in this world. Yes, there is beauty but there is also so much pain and cruelty. There is love but also so much hate. How do we sustain hope and trust in goodness? Especially now with the ever-loudening painfilled cries for social justice in a violent, brutal, and uncaring world where power is meant to dominate and does not seek to serve the people.
How to Keep Up With a Home Yoga Practice on a Budget When You’re Self-Isolating
Doing yoga at home is one of the best ways to stay grounded and stay active when you’re self-isolating. Not only does yoga keep you fit and toned, it comes with mental health benefits such as decreased anxiety and depression. Starting yoga at home is also one of the most affordable ways to stay in shape. Below, learn about the gear and technology you can use to have an uplifting and wallet-friendly yoga practice at home.
From Adversity to Advocacy: A Personal and Political Perspective on Navigating a Bipolar Life
“Sharing our stories without shame is a huge part of our journey to wellbeing” says writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author, Melody Moezzi. “We are not broken. We are brave. We are brilliant. We are beautiful. And, we are blessed.” Watch Melody’s inspiring story of how she is thriving despite her struggles with bipolar disorder.
The Color of My Mind: Reflections of A Queer Latina Mental Health Activist
As an eight-year-old Latina girl growing up in New York, Dior wrote in her dairy – “My life is over. My mother says no my life is not over. Well, I think so. The end.” Her parent’s divorce, domestic violence, threat of eviction and bullying at school filled her with despair. But her grandmother’s love sustained and inspired her to excel at school and become an activist.
Breaking Through: Beating the Odds Shot after Shot
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame hooper and Olympic gold medal winner Chamique Holdsclaw has dedicated her life to end the stigma of mental illness and be a voice for those who feel marginalized and voiceless. Watch Chamique’s inspiring story and share it with your family and friends.
The Healing Power of Vulnerability
Adam knew he was gay from a very young age, but it took him over a decade and a half to admit it to both himself and those around him. He went through multiple episodes of depression, without realizing it was because he refused to accept essential parts of himself and share them with his friends and family. Once he learned how to become vulnerable, he realized how powerful it can be to operate from a place of radical vulnerability and not listen to shame.
Finding silver lining during quarantine
Most of us have been in quarantine for weeks now. Many of us haven’t the faintest idea of what we are doing or what is going to happen next. A lot of us are feeling isolated, scared, and alone.
Ruth Lesser shares her experience with isolation and her thoughts on the silver lining behind all this.
Give yourself a chance to experience your feelings. Feel them, acknowledge them, and then move on.
Already struggling with generalized anxiety disorder in my daily life, the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened my mental health and wellbeing. I realized that I had a problem when I could not bring myself to turn off the news for fear that I might miss something important. I was afraid to go to work because I knew that I would be exposed and could bring illness and even death to my loved ones.
Being okay with ‘just okay’ is so important!
2020 has been a hard year for me personally – and even more importantly, less than ideal globally. When people ask me how I’m doing, my boiler plate answer is: “I’m surviving not thriving.”
But especially now, being okay with ‘just okay’ is so important – And more profoundly, in doing so, it allows people around you to feel empowered and safe in being ‘just okay’ too.
Hold On Pain Ends.
Over the last two days, I was heartbroken to hear about the loss of two young lives to suicide – ‘This Is Us’ writer Jas Waters, 39, and Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, 34.
Every 40 seconds, we lose someone to suicide around the world.
If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, please reach out to someone you trust – a friend, family member or a mental health professional. And ask for help.
It’s time to talk about youth mental health.
At 12, Yamini and her family moved from India to the U.S. and the transition was very difficult. Her struggles to fit in combined with her mother’s battle with breast cancer pushed her into a vicious cycle of self-harm, bulimia, and depression. After attempting to take her life at the age of 13 Yamini realized that things had to change. Watch Yamini share her story of her journey to wellness and healing.
It’s time to share our struggles & seek help.
“It’s only natural to go to the doctor if you cut yourself. But I wasn’t raised in a family where you’d get help if you were struggling mentally.” Says Nike executive and parent Dave Schechter, “it’s time to share our struggles and seek help.”
Hope is real. Change is possible.
Doctors have widespread job dissatisfaction, high rates of depression, and one of the highest suicide rates of any profession in the United Sates.
ASHA Storyteller & Child Psychiatrist Diane Kaufman, MD wants to share her story to break the silence & end the stigma surrounding mental illness. And remind us all that hope is real, and change is possible.
3 tips to navigate through these difficult times
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe impact on my mental health. I am unable to go to school and finish off my senior year the way I had dreamed of for the last four years. I am unable to leave the house unless I am working or need “essential goods”. Staying at home has been extremely overwhelming to the point where I’ve needed to leave home for the sake of my own mental health.
I’ve learned to put my mental health first.
Daring To Say I Am Not Okay
I am okay with feeling not okay. Resilience is not just about bouncing back. It’s acknowledging and accepting that yes, I am feeling down, but knowing this feeling does not mean forever. Once I see and feel where I am without judgement there is an opportunity to soothe the pain by telling my true story, to stop feeling ashamed, to be cared for by another, and to open my heart and mind to experiencing the multitudes of being that I am, the multitudes of being that we all are. This moment now inspires our better tomorrow.
Speaking up & seeking help helped me heal from PTSD and depression.
Adverse childhood experiences like abuse and trauma can have a life-long debilitating impact on the mental health & well-being of children. Hoda’s story is a powerful reminder to speak up and seek help. It can save your life.
Why Staying Connected is So Important for Our Mental Health: Now More Than Ever
Now, in this strange time of social distancing and quarantine, it is more important than ever to stay connected with our friends and loved ones. Check in with your friends that you haven’t heard from. Reach out to others if you are feeling alone, down, anxious, or afraid.
Take charge of your mental health.
The fast-growing COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all our lives.We understand this is a difficult time for all of us, and it’s taking a toll on our health – mental and physical. We wanted to share some tools that can help you stay calm & centered.
An inspiring book to calm and center us in these troubling times.
If there is one book we recommend you read now, it would be The Rumi Prescription by Melody Moezzi. Melody’s story of courage and resilience intertwined with the timeless wisdom of Rumi is sure to soothe and strengthen us all.
Yoga and mindfulness helped me heal and stabilize my moods.
As a young girl I was always very active. I started out with ballet as a toddler which led to highland dancing as I got a bit older. From then on, I was involved in a variety of sports such as volleyball, soccer and basketball. This kept me very busy as a child, if I wasn’t at school I was at practice or a game.
A story of friendship & resilience
My name’s Hanna, mine’s Jaxon, and we’re seniors at Glencoe High School. Jaxon: those of you who know us know that we’ve been friends for a long time but we got truly close in sophomore year when we were both going through a lot. In the ensuing time, our experiences...
Creating art helped me cope with depression and self-harm.
Instead of becoming consumed with my restlessness, I would focus on just free drawing and making up different patterns and configurations. It helped me take my mind off whatever was bothering me at the time, and at the end I would have a piece of art and a sense of achievement. Cutting would only ruin the design I spent time creating and over time my dependency on self-harm shrank.
12 Questions Everyone Should Ask About Their Mental health
Here are 12 questions all of us should ask about our mental health. Please share this checklist with your family, friends, and colleagues to start the conversation about mental health.
LIVING WELL by Emily Wu Truong
ASHA International salutes mental heroes like Emily Wu Truong featured in this newsletter for her courage in sharing her story to give hope to others on their road to recovery and well being.
LIVING WELL by Chacku Mathai
Chacku’s shedding light on his unique cross-cultural perspective on well-being.
LIVING WELL by Anusha Ramji
Anusha is a 19-year-old, dreamer, fashion designer, aspiring psychologist, poet, writer, blogger and mental health activist who was born and raised in California and currently lives in Bangalore, India.
LIVING WELL by Dave Mowry
Dave Mowry is an author and stand-up comedian who has performed 40 Stand Up for Mental Health shows sharing his story and shattering the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, one joke at a time. And in his book, No Really, We Want You to Laugh.
LIVING WELL by Bekah Miles
Bekah Miles is a member of ASHA International’s Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives Speakers Bureau and the winner of the 2016 HopeBringer Award.
LIVING WELL by Melody Moezzi
Melody Moezzi, an Iranian-American writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author.
LIVING WELL by Francisco Stork
Francisco Stork is a lawyer and author of six novels including a young adult novel The Memory of Light, inspired in part by his own experience with depression.
Depression: Let’s Talk
Depression affects 350 million people of all ages, from all walks of life, and in all countries around the world. It impacts people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks and can have a devastating impact on their ability to earn a living, and their relationships with family and friends. When left untreated, depression can lead to suicide.
Practice an attitude of gratitude
Twenty-seven years ago, a psychiatric nurse introduced me to the gifts of maintaining a gratitude journal and it has transformed my life. Every day, regardless of where I am in the world, I meditate and journal at least three things I am grateful for.
Exercise for a healthier you
I don’t have the time or the need for exercise. But, my psychiatrist insisted that exercise could relieve my depression and boost my overall well-being.
Stay connected for a healthier life
Social connections improve physical health and mental and emotional well-being, boosts immunity, and lowers the level of anxiety and depression.
3 Things You Can Do To Be the Hope
Together, we are tearing down the insidious walls of shame and stigma, and empowering people on their road to recovery and wellness, one day, one person at a time.
How to support a loved one struggling with mental health issues
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
Hydrate for health
Each morning, after I meditate and brush my teeth, I drink a glass of water and offer gratitude for its many health benefits to energize, nourish and sustain my body and mind. Water helps boost energy levels, regulates weight, lowers stress, builds muscle and tones, nourishes our skin, reduces kidney stones and helps us stay regular.
Breathe for better health
The yogis say “if you can control your breathe, you can control your life.” Our breathe is a barometer of our physical and emotional health.
Practice Emotional First Aid
Each year, I reaffirm my resolve to nurture my health – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Ironically, it wasn’t until I was debilitated by depression that I realized the critical importance of emotional health.
Alone we struggle; Together we thrive.
I have learned over the years that alone we struggle; together we thrive. Yet, the stigma surrounding mental health issues deters most of us from seeking help.
You are not alone in this pain
On a beautiful sun-kissed evening in June, my dear friend Michele gathered a group of friends in her beautiful garden for an evening of friendship and conversation – about mental health. As the hummingbirds fluttered from bloom to bloom, we savored blueberry...
The Healing Power of Anger
Listening to Kailash speak helped me realize that anger can be transformed into collective action to overcome many a global injustice – whether it is child labor or the stigma and discrimination marginalizing the lives of people living with mental illness.
Want to be happy? Be grateful.
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness
Over the last twenty years, I have created a Personalized Wellness Action Plan that has helped me thrive despite recurrent bouts of depression. The daily practice of pranayama, Transcendental Meditation, journaling, and exercise, combined with proper nutrition, hydration, meaningful work, loving relationships, service, joyful hobbies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and sleep have helped me thrive despite the stressors and setbacks of life.
The Healing Power of Self-Care
I had the honor of meeting Dr. James Gordon; a Harvard educated psychiatrist, and a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma.
The Many Benefits of Sleep
It takes tremendous will power to turn off the lights and go to sleep while daylight lingers a bit longer each day. Yet, I have learned over the years, that I need to get eight hours of sleep to be healthy and productive.
The Healing Power of Nutrition
“Gayu, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” my mother used to insist, “It’s not enough to know how to do calculus. It is also important to know how to cook.”
The Healing Power of Social Connectedness
Social connection improves physical health and psychological well-being. And, the social support of family and friends has been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological consequences of stress and may enhance immune function.
The Healing Power of Compassion
For the first time in my life, I met others like myself, people struggling with mental health issues, and I knew I was not alone. In the two weeks I spent in their midst, I received the gifts of hope, acceptance, compassion, love, and understanding that has helped me heal, and inspired me to help others like myself heal.
Powerful Gratitude Practices
Many scientific studies, including research by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, have found that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional well-being and physical health than those who don’t.
Power of Community
A 41-year old mother of two struggling with schizoaffective disorder was hospitalized due to her deteriorating health – she had lost 65 pounds in a few months and was haunted by hallucinations – once a vibrant woman who had plenty of friends, an MBA, and a career, today she spends her time talking to the imaginary demons in her head. And, a 24-year-old young man, struggling with depression, shot and killed himself.
Healing through Advocacy
A wonderful work of mental health advocate and advocacy that is tearing down the insidious chains of stigma and discrimination, one day, one person at a time.
Nick Vujicic – Personifying the healing power of resilience
Nick Vujicic was born in Australia to a Serbian immigrant family, with a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. Most of his childhood he struggled with depression, and after a suicide attempt, he decided to concentrate on what he did have instead of what he didn’t. He realized that his life story inspires many people.
The Healing Power of Work
Inspiring stories of people who have defied their diagnoses and discovered meaningful careers and highlight an organization that is promoting recovery through work.
The Healing Power of Intention
Intention is the starting point of every spiritual path. It is the force that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love. Intention generates all the activities in the universe.
The Healing Power of Gratitude
Grateful people — those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind — have an edge on the not-so-grateful when it comes to health, according to Emmons’ research on gratitude.
The Healing Power of Holistic Wellness
Over the last two decades, I have created a life of holistic wellness by integrating the Eight Dimensions of Wellness: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, Intellectual, Occupational, Financial, and Environmental. And, my new-found wellness has empowered me to create a life of meaning and purpose.
The Healing Power of Gardening
Summer is one of my favorite seasons when my spirit soars with the sun and my blooming garden. Nurturing my garden nurtures my mind, body, and soul. And, it reminds me that cultivating wellness is very much like cultivating a garden. It takes a whole lot of hard work, dedication, and willingness to live in harmony with nature.
The Healing Power of Hope
There is a quote that says, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” That day, Aida taught me that while depression has no barriers-not of age, gender, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status–hope has no boundaries. Hope has the power to heal and make us whole again.
The Healing Power of Meditation
Meditation once believed to be a practice relegated to mystics, has increasingly become mainstreamed over the last couple of decades.
The Healing Power of Music
Robert and his ensemble captivated the 300 conference attendees with their divine music, I stood in awe, witnessing the transcendent power of music to unite us as a people, comfort, inspire, and heal our souls.
The Healing Power of Breath
For the last 23 years, I have practiced pranayama every day and it has profoundly transformed my life. Despite recurrent bouts of depression, anxiety and panic attacks over the years, the consistent practice of pranayama has helped me thrive in life. I start each...