How to Improve Your Self-Esteem

How to Improve Your Self-Esteem

There are many ways that you can start improving your self-esteem. 

When low self-esteem becomes a long term problem, it can negatively affect one’s mental health. Self-esteem is often built from the experience’s in one’s life. However, there are many ways to improve your self-esteem. Those with high self-esteem tend to be less vulnerable to the ups and downs of life, and less commonly have anxiety or depression. Improved self-esteem can offer many benefits and help you live a more positive life.

The following list consists of five tips for improving your self-esteem.

Use Positive Affirmations

Use positive affirmations to recognize your successes as well as to believe in your ability to reach your goals. The way that we talk to and treat ourselves matters. Many people greatly benefit from using positive affirmations to help boost their self-esteem.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

People commonly think negatively about themselves. Whether it comes in the form of self-doubt, anger, or anything in-between, it can be harmful to view yourself this way. When you find yourself thinking negatively, try to challenge these thoughts. Many times, you will realize that these negative thoughts are in fact far from the truth. Try your best to replace negative or harmful thoughts with more positive ways of thinking.

Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has strengths, but not everyone realizes them. Take time to recognize your strengths and develop them. Knowing what your strengths are can boost your self-esteem and help you combat feelings of doubt.

Set Limits and Learn to Say “No”

Sometimes in the pursuit to please others, we over burden ourselves. Recognize your limits, and own wants and needs. It is okay to say “no” to others in order to protect your own mental health. 

Build Positive Relationships

Our self-esteem is often influenced by those around us. If you are surrounded by negative people, it can be hard to view yourself in a positive way. Focus on developing healthy relationships that build you up, rather than bring you down.


Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention

Suicidal thoughts are often the result of an untreated mental health condition, but they can affect anyone. According to NAMI, suicide is the 10th leading cause of deaths for adults in the United States. To help decrease this statistic, it is important to talk about suicide prevention. By raising awareness, showing support, and providing resources, we can help prevent suicide. 

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
988 or call 911 immediately.

Mental Health by the Numbers

For those struggling with a mental illness, you are not alone. Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness each year. It is important to understand the prevalence of mental health conditions, and the suicidal thoughts that might follow.

The following statistics on mental illness have been found by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

  • 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience mental illness each year
  • 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2020   
  • 11% of U.S. adults with mental illness had no insurance coverage in 2020
  • 150 million people live in a designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area
  • 12+ million U.S adults had serious thoughts of suicide (2020)
  • Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S (when looking at all ages)

Warning Signs

Warning signs that someone may be at immediate risk for attempting suicide include, but are not limited to:

  • Often talking or thinking about death
  • Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves
  • Feeling intense emotional or physical pain
  • Withdrawing from friends and/or family
  • Taking extreme risks, such as driving extremely fast or recklessly
  • Talking about feeling empty and/or hopeless
  • Giving away important processions or creating a will
  • Saying goodbye to friends and/or family

Other serious warning signs that someone may be at risk for attempting suicide include, but are not limited to:

  • Rapid, extreme mood changes
  • Researching methods of killing themselves
  • Consuming alcohol often or abusing other substances
  • Acting anxious or on edge
  • Talking about feelings of guilt or shame

Risk Factors

People of all ages, gender, and background can be at risk of suicide. There is no single cause of suicidal behavior. Although the risk factors vary, they commonly include: 

  • Family history of mental illness or substance abuse
  • Depression or other mental disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Individual history of suicide attempts, or attempts of family members
  • Exposure to abuse, including physical and emotional
  • Presence of firearms in the home

Supporting Those in a Crisis

It is common for family and friends to have trouble supporting an individual in a crisis. This is commonly due to a lack of understanding, and lack of preparedness. Although the behaviors of those in a crisis may be unpredictable, there are ways to help support a loved one in a crisis. 

  • Professional help is likely necessary to help someone in a crisis. Family members should contact the individual’s healthcare provider, or call 911 if in immediate danger.
  • Create an open dialogue, and don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Show support and concern
  • Be patient
  • Do not argue or raise your voice
  • Remove any firearms from the home

Crisis Lifeline

If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988


Creating Kindness in Your Life

Creating Kindness in Your Life

There is always an opportunity for creating kindness in your life. Whether it be at work, school, home, or anywhere else, you can help create a positive atmosphere with kindness. Even seemingly small acts of kindness can have a big effect. 

Everyone faces their own challenges and hardships. When someone is faced with these troubles, kindness and compassion from others can go an especially long way. You may not know if someone is struggling, but whether they are having a hard day or a great day, a kind word or action never hurts. For this reason, we encourage you to see every moment as an opportunity to spread kindness.

In addition to helping others, spreading kindness can be beneficial to your own happiness and overall mental health. According to Mental Health UK, being kind to others can help improve your self-esteem, confidence, and overall happiness. 

To help get you started creating kindness in your life, we have the following suggestions.

Give your full attention when listening to others.

Offer to help someone complete a task.

Take the time to get to know more about another person.

Express gratitude.

Share your skills with others.

Take the time to get to know another person.

Recognize other’s strengths.

Pick up trash or litter from a public space.

Celebrate the success of those around you.

Volunteer or offer assistance to those in need.

Write an inspirational note to someone.

Take time to appreciate the small things.

Give a heartfelt gift to someone.

Offer to run errands or help a busy friend.

Help cleanup or organize.

Bring a treat to share with others.

Offer to take a photo for a couple or family.

Write a thank you note for someone.



Learn More

To learn more ways that you can start spreading kindness, as well as the benefits, we recommend the following resources.

Mental Health UK:

Mayo Clinic:

International Women’s Day

Annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated. The day aims to promote gender equality and honor the achievements of women. We can work towards equality by raising awareness, offering educational resources, providing support, and more. 

History of International Women’s Day

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 19th, 1911. On that day more than one million people gathered at rallies worldwide.  The day continued to be celebrated annually. The UN recognized 1975 as International Women’s Year, and began celebrating March 8th as International Women’s Day. Presently, the day is celebrated in more than 100 countries and is an official holiday in more than 25.

2023 Theme

International Women’s Day has a new theme annually. This year’s theme is “#EmbraceEquity.” The theme aims to remind us that equality isn’t always enough to reach equity for all. To reach equity among all, we must stand against stereotypes, call out discrimination, and embrace others’ differences.

How to Show Support

There are many ways you can help show support for International Women’s Day and its goals. Ways to show support include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Use the hashtag #EmbraceEquity on social media to spread awareness for the day
  • Advocate for gender equality in the workplace
  • Attend an online panel or discussion
  • Shop at a women-owned business
  • Donate to a women-centric charity or organization

Learn More

For more information about International Women’s Day, the following resources are suggested:

International Women’s Day:


Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic changes in one’s mood, ability to think, and energy. Individuals with the disorder experience extreme highs and lows, which are known as mania and depression. Typically, mood swings only occur rarely, but may occur multiple times in a year. In between episodes, some individuals may not experience any symptoms.

The average age-of-onset of bipolar disorder is typically around 25, however, it can occur earlier. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 2.8% of the United States population is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can interfere with daily life, and may worsen if left untreated. However, with treatment many individuals may find relief from symptoms and a better ability to live with the condition.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are different types of bipolar disorder, each with their own defining characteristics. 

  • Bipolar I Disorder: defined by severe manic episodes lasting at least seven days, as well as depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks
  • Bipolar II Disorder: defined by pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes, but not manic episodes as severe as with Bipolar I
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: defined by periods of depressive and hypomanic symptoms lasting for at least two years, however, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode


People having a manic episode may:

  • Talk faster or more than their usual
  • Feel jumpy or wired
  • Be distractible 
  • Have decreased need for sleep
  • Have heightened self-confidence
  • Think they can do many things at once
  • Engage in risky activities
  • Feel “up”
  • Feel irritable
  • Experience a loss of appetite

People having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel slowed down
  • Feel sad or hopeless
  • Have trouble sleeping or be sleeping too much\
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate
  • Be forgetful
  • Talk slowly
  • Have little or no interest in activities that are normally enjoyable
  • Feel empty


Treatment can often provide individuals relief from symptoms. Plans may vary but commonly include a combination of:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) helps reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder for many. This type of therapy aims to help individuals identify and change negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
  • Medication
    • Some medications may help decrease the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Many people work with their health care provider to try a few medications before deciding which is best for them. 
    • The medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, second-generation antipsychotics, and antidepressants. In addition, medications used for sleep or to decrease anxiety may be prescribed.


How to Sleep Better

How to Sleep Better

Sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy mind and body. However, many individuals struggle with sleep for a variety of reasons. Luckily, there are many ways that you can improve the quality and duration of your sleep.

If you are hoping to improve your sleep routine, we encourage you to read the following tips.


Know How Much Sleep You Need

Knowing how much sleep your body needs is a great place to start when looking to improve your sleep. Although individuals’ specific needs vary slightly, the CDC has established guidelines for how many hours of sleep people should be getting each night. 

Guidelines by the CDC, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Sleep Research Society recommend:

  • Teens (ages 13-18) get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 19-60) get 7 or more hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 61-64) get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly
  • Adults (ages 65 or older) get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to getting enough sleep each night. It can be much easier to fall asleep and wake up when you stick to a consistent schedule. Try your best to also follow this schedule, or close to it, on weekends to help your body stick to its routine.


Avoid Large Meals, Caffeine, and Alcohol Before Bed

Eating a large meal before bed can make it hard to fall asleep as your body is trying to digest what you just consumed. While most people know not to drink caffeine right before bed, it is important to realize that even caffeine consumed hours earlier can still cause sleep troubles. Many people have an alcoholic drink before bed, as it can induce drowsiness. However, alcohol often decreases the quality of peoples’ sleep. For these reasons, it is best to avoid eating large meals and drinking caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.


Take Time to Relax

Taking time to relax can help you fall asleep faster and also sleep better. Before trying to sleep, take some time to put aside any stressors and allow yourself to relax. Writing a list of things you need to do or want to remember the next day can help you set stress aside for the night. After doing that, make time for a relaxing activity that you enjoy.


Enhance Your Sleeping Environment

There are many ways that you can improve your bedroom or sleeping environment. A few ways that you can do this include keeping your room dark, having comfortable bedding, and keeping the temperature cool. By creating a comfortable place to sleep in, you will likely have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive anxiety over a number of things. Many people occasionally feel anxious. However, individuals may be diagnosed with GAD if they experience ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily life.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the US, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In many cases, GAD also occurs along with other anxiety or mood disorders. 

Living with GAD can be a long-term challenge, however, many find treatment beneficial. Treatment plans commonly include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Many individuals find relief of some, if not all, symptoms of GAD with treatment.


Common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Overthinking and planning for worst-case scenarios
  • Persistent worry or anxiety about everyday things
  • Difficulty with uncertainty
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
  • Feeling restless or having trouble relaxing
  • Irritability

Common physical symptoms of GAD  include:

  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Headaches, stomachaches, or muscle aches
  • Nausea or diarrhea


Treatment can often provide individuals relief from symptoms. Plans may vary but commonly include:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) helps reduce symptoms of GAD for many. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be the most effective form of psychotherapy in the treatment of GAD. CBT teaches individuals skills to help them manage worries or feelings of anxiety. This process allows individuals to overcome symptoms of anxiety.
  • Medication
    • Antidepressants, including medications in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) classes, are the most commonly used medications to treat GAD.
    • Anti-anxiety medications, such as Buspirone, may also be used to treat GAD.
    • Benzodiazepines, which are anti-anxiety sedative medications, may also be prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety in limited circumstances. These medications can be helpful in rapidly decreasing symptoms of anxiety. However, they are often habit forming, causing them to typically be prescribed on only a short-term basis.


Protecting Youth Mental Health

Protecting Youth Mental Health

Protecting youth mental health is vital. The mental health struggles of children and adolescents go unnoticed far too often. Troubling behavior is simply written off as just “part of growing up.” However, mental health conditions in youth are more common than you might think. 

There are many steps we can take to work towards better mental health. The following consists of information about youth mental health, as well as how you can better protect it.

Mental Health Is Worsening Among Youth

According to an address by the U.S. Surgeon General, mental health continues to decline among the youth population. This means that now, more than ever, we must bring focus to the struggles faced by children and adolescents.

“If we seize this moment, step up for our children and their families in their moment of need, and lead with inclusion, kindness, and respect, we can lay the foundation for a healthier, more resilient, and more fulfilled nation.”  -Dr. Vivek H. Murthy Surgeon General of the United States

Your Part

If you are the parent or legal guardian, there are many ways that you can help protect your loved one’s mental health. Some ways to support your child’s mental health include:

  • At the base of protecting their mental health, is awareness. Look out for warning signs of distress, or other concerning behaviors. It is important to make an appointment with your child’s healthcare provider if you believe they are struggling with their mental health.
  • Do your best to keep a healthy home environment for children living at home. Mental health is impacted by a variety of factors, including environment. Do your best to provide a supportive, stable, and predictable home,
  • Try to be the best role model you can. Take care of your own mental and physical health, and be open to discussing the topics.

Educators play a vital role in supporting youth mental health. If you are a youth educator, there are many ways that you can help protect the mental health of your students. Some ways to support mental health include:

  • Create a safe space. You cannot control the environment your students come from, but you can choose the one that you provide. Try to create a space that is welcoming and comforting to all.
  • Try to be accommodating of students’ needs. Many mental health conditions can cause troubles in memory, concentration, and learning overall. Do your best to help the students who might be facing these difficulties.
  • Be aware of the warning signs of common mental health disorders. Take appropriate action if needed.


Getting Help and Resources

Bettering youth mental health starts by the individual. Treatment can help decrease symptoms and improve one’s overall quality of life. Contact a health professional if you, or your child, may be struggling.


If you, or someone you know, is considering suicide or self-harm, contact the following crisis hotlines:

  • The Crisis Text Line: 741741
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988

If in immediate danger, call 911.


To read more about youth mental health, we recommend the following resources:



Valentine's Day and Mental Health

Valentine’s Day and Mental Health

For some, Valentine’s Day may feel like a reminder of that “missing piece” in your life. Even for those in a relationship, some people find that the day brings their attention to the faults in their relationship. If you find yourself feeling this way on Valentine’s Day, know that you are not alone. It is okay to not feel okay. These feelings do not take away from your strength as an individual.

We suggest taking this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show your self love and kindness. We often focus on showing love to those around us, but neglect to show any to ourselves. To help get you started, we recommend the following tips.

Prioritize Your Needs

Prioritizing your needs is not selfish. Many people spend their time trying to care for others, while disregarding to meet their own needs. What you want and need matters. 

Take a Break

Life is full of stressors, and you can easily become overwhelmed if you don’t allow yourself a chance to take a break. Try to give yourself time to put off any tasks that are not urgent. Spend the time relaxing, resting, or by doing something that brings you peace.

Spend Time With Yourself

Spend time with yourself and learn to appreciate your own company. Some people think that they need to be with someone else to go to the movies, dinner, etc. If you feel that way, know that you can still enjoy all of those things on your own. Going out by yourself may be uncomfortable at first, but many people grow to cherish this alone time.

Recognize Your Own Strengths

It can be easy to look at others and admire their strengths. However, we often fail to give ourselves that same recognition. Try to recognize your own strengths, and give yourself credit for who you are.

Getting Help and Resources

It’s not always possible to combat the negative thoughts and feelings you may have by yourself. It is important to seek professional health if you are struggling with your mental health or relationship.

Depressive Disorders

Depressive Disorders

There are multiple different types of depressive disorders. People often view these disorders as the same thing, however, they vary in symptoms and causes. Determining what type of depression you are experiencing is important in creating a treatment plan that is right for you. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you believe you are experiencing symptoms of depression.

One of the most common mental health conditions is depression. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 280 million people worldwide have depression.

Although the symptoms of depression may vary depending on what type you are experiencing, depression can often affect the way that an individual thinks, feels, and acts. Fortunately, treatment for depression has proven effective for many. With the right treatment plan many experience relief from their symptoms. 

The following consists of information on many, but not all, of the common types of depression. 

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

  • For one to be diagnosed with MDD, their symptoms will have lasted for more than two weeks and typically cause significant interference with daily activities.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) (also referred to as dysthymia)

  • PDD often causes less severe symptoms of depression. However, the symptoms last longer, typically for at least two years.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • For those with seasonal affective disorder, their symptoms typically come and go with the changing of seasons. Most individuals with SAD experience symptoms of depression in the fall and winter, with symptoms subsiding during the spring and summer months. 

Perinatal Depression

  • Perinatal depression can be experienced during pregnancy, or after delivery of the baby (postpartum depression).


The signs and symptoms of depression vary by person and type of depression, but they commonly include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • Lack of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Trouble thinking or concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Lack of energy
  • Suicidal thoughts

Causes and RIsk Factors

There are many causes and risk factors for depressive disorders. Although there is no one clear cause for the disorder, risk factors include:

  • Life circumstances such as relationships, financial situations, and more can influence someone developing depression.
  • Trauma can cause long-term changes in the way that one thinks and make them more vulnerable to depression.
  • Genetics play a strong role in mood disorders as they tend to run in families.
  • Other medical conditions can contribute to depression. Many physical and mental health conditions can increase one’s risk for depression.


Symptoms of depression can often be relieved through treatment. Studies show that depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. After proper evaluation, a health care provider can help create a treatment plan suited to you. Treatment plans may include a combination of:

  • Medication
    • Antidepressants are the most common medication used to treat depression. In some cases, mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications may also be prescribed.
  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy is commonly used to treat depression and can be very beneficial. Commonly used types of psychotherapy used in the treatment of depression include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family-focused therapy.
  • Self Help
    • There are a variety of ways that an individual can help reduce symptoms of depression. Symptoms of depression are often decreased by exercise, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and more. 

Crisis Help

If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour Suicide and Crisis Lifeline hotline at 988

Learn More