Posted on Leave a comment

Preventing Self-harm in Teens: A Guide for Appropriate Intervention

By Zocdoc | January 17, 2023
Medically reviewed by Dr. Nassim Assefi

Teens have the highest rate of self-harmamong any age demographic, with approximately 17% of teens reporting at least one instance of self-harm in their lifetime. The average age of the first incident of self-harm is 13. Often teens will seek out support from loved ones rather than mental health professionals. However, many teens will take extraordinary steps to conceal their self-harm, or even deny engaging in such behavior.

Additionally, they may not even be aware of what professional resources are available to them. As such, it is important for anyone with a teen in their life to be aware of warning signs and understand how to appropriately address instances of self-harm.

Why do teens self-harm?

There is not any single reason that teens engage in self-harm. However, there are a few common factors. Notably, many teens who engage in self-harm do so because they are grappling with difficult emotions that they are unable to healthily manage. Self-harm may provide such teens with a feeling of distraction or release, or may be a means of acting out frustration. Additionally, in some cases, teens may self-harm as a means of demonstrating their pain or stress to prompt help from others. Many risk factors may increase the likelihood of self-harming behaviors, such as mental illness, stress or traumatic experiences.

What is considered self-harm?

Self-harm can be carried out through many different means. Virtually any act in which someone intentionally causes harm to themselves can be considered self-harm. Some acts that can be considered self-harm include:

  • Cutting yourself
  • Punching yourself
  • Punching other objects
  • Slapping yourself
  • Burning yourself
  • Pulling out your hair
  • Pinching yourself
  • Poking yourself with sharp objects
  • Breaking bones

Additionally, all types of self-harm fall under one of two categories: suicidal self-injury and non-suicidal self-injury. Self-harm may co-occur with suicidal ideation and even suicide attempts, but they are not interchangeable. Many different factors can lead to either behavior, although prolonged self-harm can put teens at a higher risk of accidental suicide. Suicidal self-injury is self-harm where the individual is acting with the intention of ending their life or self-harm that is occurring alongside suicidal ideation or suicidal behaviors. All instances of self-harm should be taken seriously and met with immediate intervention, but in the case of suicidal self-harm in particular there must be no delay in life-saving response efforts.

Underlying conditions

As mentioned, in many cases underlying mental illness is the cause of self-harm or a significant exacerbating factor. Many types of mental illness and other underlying conditions or neurodivergent behaviors can contribute to self-harming behaviors. This can include the following conditions:

  • Depression: This disorder is characterized by low mood, reduced energy, and loss of interest.
  • PTSD: This is a disorder characterized by anxiety and flashbacks that are caused by experiencing a traumatic event.
  • Bipolar disorder: Bipolar is a mood disorder that is characterized by drastic shifts in mood and sometimes elements of psychosis.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety is characterized by persistent stress that is not proportional to the person’s current experiences. 
  • Compulsive behaviors: Compulsive behaviors are characterized by an urge to repetitively engage in actions in an attempt to cope with stress. These behaviors can be caused by a variety of underlying disorders. 
  • Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by psychosis and impulsive behaviors.
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse is the use of various substances in a way that is harmful or self-destructive.
  • Various chronic health conditions: Chronic health conditions can be painful, disruptive or stressful.

If an underlying condition is contributing to self-harm, it is important to address these underlying concerns to successfully treat the self-harm.

Contributing experiences

There are many life experiences that can increase a person’s risk of developing self-harming behaviors, including:

  • Abuse
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Divorce of guardians
  • Moving homes
  • Bullying
  • Unhealthy behaviors modeled by family and friends
  • Financial hardships
  • Discrimination
  • Feelings of shame

It is important to bear in mind that teens typically have not developed the mental and emotional skills that adults have, and therefore guardians and educators should check in with a teen who is experiencing significant change or a stressful event.


Posted on Leave a comment

Get Registered Today: Teaching Elementary Students About Self-Love Will Change Their Lives!

If I told you to describe yourself in 3 words, what would you say? Growing up, I would have said “shy, kind, and lonely.” Only one of the three words were positive. Why? Because elementary school was a time where other kids started teasing each other for all the things that made them “different.” Today, the things that make me different are celebrated by me and so many others, but back then, the criticism, teasing, and judgement broke me down.

In third grade, I had to get eight teeth pulled, because I could not lose my teeth and instead had two rows of teeth. People called me “sabertooth and can opener,” which made me feel like something was wrong with me. It was not anything I could control. I was not doing anything wrong, yet people made me feel so different, like an outsider. I was also very passionate about reading, which made me a “nerd.” Other kids laughed at me and called me names for always having a book in my hand. My love of reading is an important part of my success today, but back then it felt wrong for being interested in escaping through stories.

Why am I telling you this? Because kids can be mean, and other kids can develop insecurities that make them afraid to be who they are. So many of us grow up feeling like we must hide a piece of ourselves in fear of others not understanding or judging us. And so many of us carry these insecurities throughout our lives preventing us from finding pure happiness, fully connecting in our relationships, and being true to ourselves, our goals, and our needs.

I developed a workshop titled, “Learning To Love Yourself” for Elementary Students in grades 3-5 to help them learn to love every piece of who they are despite what their peers or society tells them. We are surrounded by other people’s opinions and social media has influenced the way we perceive friendship, validation, body image, and happiness.  If I could go back in time, I would do anything for someone to have taught me about ways to show kindness and love to myself rather than attack myself for not measuring up to expectations others have or society has created. And I would do anything to have had the tools I needed to cope with the insecurities, because we are all vulnerable to them, but they do not have to overpower our minds if we know how to manage them.

Therefore, this workshop is broken down into five sections, based on my workbook, “You Are Not Alone: The Workbook.” The sections are Affirmations, Choosing To Love Yourself, Emotions, Coping Skills, and an Emotional Wellness Toolbox.

Section 1: Affirmations.

Affirmations are a form of self-talk. Automatic negative thoughts pop into our heads. It is normal. But do they need to be the only voice we hear? No! We can use affirmations to combat those negative thoughts. We can reframe those negative statements:

 I am not smart enough to pass this math test. à I am studying as hard as I can, and I am doing my best. I believe in myself and know I will give it my all. No matter what the outcome is, I am proud of myself and my effort.

I am not a good basketball player. I suck and it is my fault my team lost the game. I let everyone down. à I am training and constantly bettering my skills. I can and will grow my talent. Every game I do better. I know I will score a basket next game.

The section ends with the youth participant working with their adult attendee to develop 3 affirmations they can tell themselves every day. Then, practicing saying them out loud in breakout rooms.

Section 2: Choosing To Love Yourself.

Choosing to love yourself means prioritizing yourself. We are taught that loving and prioritizing ourselves means we are selfish. That is a huge misconception! When you love yourself, you trust yourself, give yourself a break, celebrate yourself, listen to how you feel, say no if you do not feel comfortable, and stand up for yourself. By teaching youth how to love themselves, we are teaching them to be aware of their feelings, acknowledge their achievements, have patience with instead of criticizing themselves, respect and enforce their boundaries, and advocate for their needs.

This section ends with the youth participant working with their adult attendee to identify ways they can show themselves love, why they are proud of themselves, and why they love themselves.

Section 3: Emotions.

Everyone has emotions, in fact we all experience the same emotions in different ways. We all feel happiness, sadness, gratitude, anger, etc. The difference is how we express ourselves. Sometimes, anger can come out in breakdowns or violence. By learning different ways to express our emotions, we can find healthy ways to feel without holding it in or misplacing it in inappropriate situations.

This section offers the youth attendee a space to express different emotions through art, music, and entertainment, while sharing additional ways they can express themselves like verbally, writing, and movement. We may not always be able to find the words to express ourselves, but we still deserve a way to communicate our emotions. This section helps form different ways of communicating that we are not ok!

Section 4: Coping Skills.

Coping skills are the tools we use when we feel overwhelmed by emotions to manage them. As you know, we all have emotions, and we all feel overwhelmed sometimes. That is ok! But there are also things we can do to get through those times. Even if you feel not ok, you do not have to stay feeling that way. What makes you smile? What makes you feel calm inside? What makes you feel strong? This what we explore throughout this section.

This section provides the space for the youth attendee to work with their adult attendee to identify coping skills they can try when they feel various emotions like anger, anxiety, burnout, sadness, overwhelmed, and lonely.

Section 5: Emotional Wellness Toolbox.

What is in your emotional wellness toolbox? This toolbox is a set of tools we can pull from when we need extra support. The toolbox the youth attendee will develop in this presentation includes:

  • People you can talk to
  • Ways to express your emotions
  • Coping skills
  • Positive affirmations
  • Reasons you love yourself

This section ends with a conversation between the youth attendee and their adult attendee on where they can go and what they can do when life feels tough.

As you can see, each section creates the opportunity for the youth attendee and their trusted adult attendee to engage in open dialogue together to open honest communication about how they are feeling and what they are experiencing.

“Learning to Love Yourself” workshop is available exclusively to upper elementary school students (grades 3-5). All youth registrants must have a trusted adult present, whether it is a parent, guardian, caregiver, adult family member, or another trusted adult in the participant’s life. The intention is to create the space for the youth attendee to share in a safe, vulnerable conversation where they can be supported as well as give the adult a glimpse into what the youth attendee is experiencing and the type of support they may need.

This workshop was developed to offer youth a space to fall in love with who they are and offer support to themselves before the world gives them every reason not to. The takeaways from this workshop are everything I wish I had learned when I was in elementary school.

Register Today: Peer Support Coalition of Florida (

You can learn more about the workshop as well as additional workshops at

Posted on Leave a comment

Get Registered Today: Why We Must Teach Our Youth About Positive Self-Talk and Coping Skills

Who are you? This is a question that I struggled with for years. Trying to distinguish who I was from who I thought I had to be and who people told me I was felt like an impossible task. I mean, how was I supposed to love myself when all the messaging around me told me that I shouldn’t? Everywhere I looked, commercials, entertainment, social media, I saw ads for beauty and weight loss. “If you get this injection or take these pills, you too will be this beautiful.” As a result of the messaging around me beginning at a young age and the lack of conversation around what it means to love and care for yourself, I hated myself, I criticized myself, and I mentally tore myself apart. And unfortunately, this is not just my story, but the story of so many young people around the world.

We are growing up in a world where life has become a comparison game and validation has been attached to strangers online. The pressure to have enough followers on social media has consumed many of us. When I was younger, I remember posting a picture on Instagram then holding my phone in my hand for hours refreshing to see who would like it and more importantly who wouldn’t. I spent hours trying to get the perfect picture just to end up deleting it because I did not get an “appropriate” number of likes. I remember crying for hours in my room telling myself how I am ugly or stupid or not cool enough. I criticized every aspect of myself to rationalize why my posts did not get more likes.

I wish someone told me back then the secret to loving yourself was talking to yourself with love. I wish I knew then what I know now about self-talk. We are constantly talking to ourselves, but not usually with kindness. Take a moment and reflect on the messages you tell yourself. For me, before learning how to reframe my thoughts, every negative thought I could possibly tell myself echoed through my mind like a broken record. No wonder by the time I was in college I began feeling hopeless. If only I had access to a conversation that taught me not only how to talk to myself but also how to cope with the negative thoughts when they come, maybe I would not have ended up hospitalized in a psych ward or spending countless hours falling apart questioning why I was not good enough.

This is why I am beyond grateful to announce that I have created that resource I desperately needed when I was in middle school. “Positive Self-Talk and Coping Skills” was developed specifically for middle school students to teach them how to reframe negative thoughts into positive thoughts and how to cope with negative thoughts and overwhelming emotions. The goal is simple: giving our youth the tools they need to navigate the journey of life.

Based on my workbooks, “You Are Not Alone: The Workbook” and “I AM,” the workshop is broken down into 5 sections: Who Are You; Reframe Self-Talk; Positive Self-Talk; How Do You Feel; and Coping Skills.

Section 1: Who Are You focuses on separating yourself from the labels given to you. We live in a society where everyone is trying to label who they are and labeling everyone around them, which can feel overwhelming and confusing. How does a human being fit into a single box? In this section, we focus on opening the box by removing labels and identifying ourselves as the multifaceted individuals we are through positive adjectives. I am not simply a girl, I am passionate, hardworking, kindhearted, loving, empathetic, strong, and so much more!

Section 2: Reframe Self-Talk focuses on rewording the automatic negative thoughts we experience. We are not failures for making mistakes, we are humans who are learning and growing each and every day. When speaking to friends, we often encourage them and offer support. When speaking to ourselves, we often use criticism, judgement, and punishment. In this section, we focus on becoming friends with ourselves through reframing how we talk to ourselves.

Section 3: Positive Self-Talk focuses on affirmations. When we are feeling down, insecure or overwhelmed, affirmations are a way to offer the emotional support we need to ourselves. These are definite phrases of “I am, I have, I will, I can, I believe, and I deserve.” Affirmations are how we can change the narrative from questioning what is wrong with us to knowing that we are more than enough as we are.

Section 4: How Do You Feel focuses on identifying how you feel. Emotions can be tricky, sometimes we are feeling sad, but we respond out of anger. But how do you change your response if you do not know how you are feeling? In this section, we are practicing connecting our current feelings to their origin to better understand and take a step toward learning how to cope with them!

Section 5: Coping Skills focuses on building a coping skill toolbox to manage overwhelming emotions. When you are feeling overwhelmed, what is one thing that helps you to breathe? When you are exhausted, what helps you get the rest you need? When you feel sad, what is one thing that helps you to smile? This section is all about making the connection between feelings and support so that youth are equipped with the tools they need before they need them.

Each section contains breakout rooms, practice exercises and/or group discussions to keep the audience engaged in building the tools they need. And most importantly, each section creates the opportunity for the youth attendee and their trusted adult attendee to engage in open dialogue together to build honest and supportive communication.

“Positive Self-Talk and Coping Skills” workshop is available exclusively to middle school students (grades 6-8). All youth registrants must have a trusted adult present, whether it is a parent, guardian, caregiver, adult family member, or another trusted adult in the participant’s life. The intention is to create the space for the youth attendee to share in a safe, vulnerable conversation where they can be supported as well as give the adult a glimpse into what the youth attendee is experiencing and the type of support they may need.

This workshop is designed to equip the next generation with all the tools I wish I had when I was their age!

Register Today: Peer Support Coalition of Florida (

You can learn more about the workshop as well as additional workshops at

Posted on Leave a comment

Get Registered Today: Why Mental Health Conversations Are Essential for Our Teens!

Between December 2018 and March 2019, I attempted suicide to end my life 3 times. I felt empty and hopeless inside. I wanted to give up. Why didn’t I? What happened to get me there in the first place? How did I overcome? Let’s back up…

By the age of 5, I was struggling with my body image. I was a competitive cheerleader at the time, back in the day where the young kids also wore the tiny uniforms. My belly hung over my skirt, and someone made a joke that I looked “fat” in my uniform. It was not meant to be a malicious comment, but rather teasing between siblings. However, I took it to heart. I also felt pressured that I had to be a flyer, and a flyer had to be tiny. This was the beginning of compulsively checking my stomach in the mirror. It was also the beginning of anxious distress around the notion of being “good enough.”

As I got older, the fear of not being “good enough” deepened. Throughout elementary school I had panic attacks if my homework was not completed by 3:30p or if I did not get an A. By middle school, I felt inferior anytime someone scored higher than me, which resulted in countless breakdowns. I still remember hiding in the back of my closet in a basket under my stuffed animals so that my parents would not hear me cry. I was terrified of disappointing them. I had all these feelings, but never had anyone to talk about them. Whenever I tried, I always ended up crying, which resulted in comments like “Stop acting like a baby; get over it; suck it up; big girls don’t cry; etc.” Finally, I decided I needed to express it somehow, so I started a blog, which resulted in more teasing and bullying. Throughout high school, my mental health just got worse. My mom would have to pick me up from school frequently because of panic attacks causing severe chest pain. My breakdowns just got worse, but no one around me knew. I was a high-energy kid excelling at school to everyone else.

Throughout college, the fear of not being good enough continued to grow inside of me. I would vomit before exams and lose a week of sleep. By the time I graduated, I was beyond exhausted and overwhelmed. And, around that time, I lost my grandfather in a fatal car accident and my uncle to suicide. My heart was consumed by the tragedy in addition to the built-up distress I was experiencing. I ended up in the psych ward after attempting suicide 3 times.

Why am I sharing this personal story? Because my story is evidence of how a mental health conversation could have changed everything for me. Looking back, if there was a form of mental health education available to me or conversations or resources, I may have had access to support or learned the tools I needed to cope with life’s stressors. And therefore, I am so happy to have developed a workshop called “Mental Health Conversations” for high school students to teach them how to validate and support someone reaching out for help and more importantly how to reach out for help if they are struggling.

The full workshop is divided into three parts: Checking in With Others, Types of Support Available, and Reaching out for help.

The first part teaches the attendee how to check in with those around them. The five steps we discuss are:

  1. Check-in with yourself first
  2. Ask non-judgmental, open-ended questions
  3. Actively listen
  4. Validate their feelings
  5. Follow Up

To effectively learn how to utilize the five steps, attendees will practice with sample scenarios through group engagement and breakout rooms.

Next, we move into the types of support available. The five types of support we discuss are:

  1. Encouragement
  2. Community
  3. Emotional
  4. Informational
  5. Physical

To practice identifying the type of support, the attendees will learn the difference between I have, I want, and I need then learn how to connect what they are feeling to the type of support they have/want/need.

Lastly, we will bring it all together with taking what we learned about conversation and support to develop the language needed to reach out for help. The attendee will learn how to connect what they are feeling to the type of support they need to who/where they can reach out to for that support. During this section, not only will the attendee learn the following 5 steps to self-advocacy, but also practice utilizing the language to reach out through group engagement and breakout rooms.

  1. Know yourself and your needs
  2. Create goals for your conversation
  3. Express yourself clearly
  4. Be honest and vulnerable
  5. Be persistent

As you can see, this workshop is designed to teach the next generation of leaders all the tools I wish I had when I was their age!

You can register for this workshop at: Peer Support Coalition of Florida (

You can learn more about the workshop as well as additional workshops at

Posted on Leave a comment

Tips To Lose Weight While Protecting Your Mental Health

Written by: Bettie Olson

Losing weight is on everyone’s mind. There are diets expounded all over the internet and social media. But doctor recommended or otherwise, they all miss one huge thing: your mental health. Dieting is hard and often stressful if you don’t meet your goals like New Year’s resolutions, and not paying attention to your moods and how you feel only makes it worse. Here are some tips to keep you happier while dieting.

Avoid Sugar

Foods high in sugar have little nutritional value and increase the risk of diabetes and depression. Replace that Coke and other soda with unsweetened tea or flavored seltzer. Sodas can have as much as 16 grams of sugar, and while you may get a quick energy boost, the crash that follows is never pleasant. Soda also has high amounts of caffeine that can increase anxiety, so drinking water instead will help you feel more at ease. Try to drink around two liters of water a day. In addition to keeping your kidneys healthy, staying hydrated can improve concentration and prevent feelings of fatigue.

Eating Habits

Have you ever been in such a hurry that you wolf down a drive through meal in the car while driving? Not much fun is it. Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND states that paying attention to where and how you eat can make a huge difference in your mood. Eat in an area where you can be comfortable. Enjoy the flavor and chew slowly and completely. Thorough chewing and eating slower will help you feel full faster. If you don’t have time to enjoy the meal, consider a quick healthy snack instead. Some nuts or a granola bar to stave off hunger pangs works great and will help you eat less when you do have time to sit down for a meal. Stock up on fruits and vegetables that you can eat on the go, or even eat for breakfast with yogurt. These foods don’t cause the spike in blood sugar that causes a ‘sugar crash’ in an hour.

Try a Personalized Diet

Dieting doesn’t have to be about deprivation and calorie counting. Cutting back on red meat and replacing it with more plant-based options is always a good idea. Personalized diet plans based on what you like to eat and what you don’t make reducing the bad stuff easier. Anyone who has ever counted calories knows that dropping too many results in no energy and irritability. Starving yourself on a crash diet plan just doesn’t work, plus it’s not healthy, mentally or physically. The weight loss programs at WeightWatchers represent how real weight loss can be achieved without restrictions on eating what you like. Losing pounds is more a matter of not eating more of one type of food over another and maintaining a balanced diet that boosts mental health. Substituting more healthy foods for less healthier foods is the key, rather than counting calories. And even if you can’t do it perfectly, keep a log of what you eat.

Stay Away from Highly Processed Foods

Often highly processed foods are also more complex to break down and use and include an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. FDA regulations help, but there are still too many chemicals and contaminants (think hormones and microplastics) in these foods. New evidence also shows that these foods alter the microbiome in the gut, and scientists are finding that these gut bacteria affect metabolic homeostasis, mental health, and even immunity. Doctors and scientists are just scratching the surface of how the gut microbiome affects our quality of life, and what they are finding out is nothing short of amazing.

Dieting and losing weight isn’t a temporary change to get a desired result anymore. Changing your lifestyle is the key to long term health and happiness. The changes you make to eat healthier and improve your mental health through your diet will last a lifetime, and so will the satisfaction of success.

Posted on Leave a comment

After incredible loss, she’s on a mission to save lives from suicide | I Don’t Mind


By Jackie Menjivar

Warning: Content discussed addresses suicide.

As a child, Fran Reicherter’s self-described superpower was her writing and her desire to change the things she knew could be better in the world. Now, the 23-year-old founder and president of Inspiring My Generation, is using her platform to transform the way we talk about and cope with mental health challenges. 

Through the encouragement card program, Inspiring My Generation is sending messages of love and support to people hospitalized in psychiatric facilities. Thousands of cards have been donated to help comfort patients on their paths to recovery. (Check out our coloring page in collaboration with Inspiring My Generation here)

A lot of this work is informed by Fran’s own experiences coping with loss, navigating the mental healthcare system, and surviving multiple suicide attempts. She’s taking the tools and resources that she learned on her mental health journey, and making them accessible to everyone. 

We sat down with Fran to learn more about how she’s using awareness, education, and early intervention to save lives.

IDM: Would you mind sharing your own personal journey with mental health?

Fran Reicherter (FR): Inspiring My Generation actually started as a blog when I was 12. At that point in my life, I was already struggling with severe anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. It was a way for me to express my emotions, but then it became my hope that other people reading it would find some kind of inspiration within it.

I was absolutely terrified of failing and that just kept getting worse until the end of high school. My parents decided to separate, and my whole life just shattered. I’ve now attached the idea that my parents’ divorce was my own fault because I wasn’t good enough. My eating disorder got to an all-time high, and that was kind of the only sense of control in my life at that time.

I was really lucky because I had my grandparents, aunt, and uncle, who were really there for me during that time. When I was in college, my grandfather would FaceTime me for a cup of coffee every morning before class, when I’d walk home to my dorm, and over dinner. He always made sure that I felt important and I felt seen.

“My uncle was the one who really talked to me and supported me emotionally through it. For the first time it felt like maybe I was going to be okay, and he said that we were going to get through this together.”


Posted on Leave a comment

6 Gen Z’ers You Need to Know to Break Open your Mental Health Echo Chamber

6 Gen Z’ers you Need to Know to Break Open your Mental Health Echo Chamber

Let’s face it– social media can be tricky sometimes. While it’s certainly a helpful tool in keeping us connected, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we’re constantly pressured to show off the best version of ourselves online. Plus, when our feeds are full of endless information, and bad news that’s often out of our control, tuning everything out can seem like the easier option.

Social media also has the potential to impact our mental health. In a study from the Washington Post, 43% of Gen Z’ers admitted that social media negatively affects their self-esteem. Additionally, 27% of Gen Z, which is defined by its online-ness, reports poor mental health. This statistic is particularly striking since it’s 12% higher than the next closest generation. 

But certainly, our social media experiences don’t need to be negative. By following Gen Z’ers who advocate for mental health and self-care, we can turn our feeds into safer and kinder places. Moreover, when we find advocates who offer diverse perspectives, experiences, and voices around mental health, we gain new insights and strategies we might otherwise miss in the algorithm. 

Here are 6 Gen Z’ers to follow on Instagram if you want to break open your echo chamber around mental health: 

1. Francesca Nicole Reicherter (she/her) | @freicherter

Francesca Nicole Reicherter is a mental health advocate committed to using her platform to be a voice for those who have lost theirs. She is the founder of Inspiring my Generation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting disparities in mental health awareness, support, and treatment accessibility. On Instagram, Francesa shares resources and initiates conversations from various perspectives about making mental health care more accessible for everyone. In addition, she draws from her personal experience with suicide and mental health treatment to create safe spaces for people to talk about their own experiences.


Posted on Leave a comment

Inspiring My Generation – Francesca Reicherter | Go Solo

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Francesca Reicherter, founder of Inspiring My Generation Corporation, located in Parkland, FL, USA.

What’s your business, and who are your customers?

Inspiring My Generation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention through mental health awareness, emotional support, and education. We accomplish this through 3 main initiatives.

• Normalize The Conversation Podcast. Inspiring My Generation advocates an innovative approach to raising awareness through creating a platform for open conversations. We focus on not only starting the conversation on mental health but also providing space and tools for supportive, validating conversations. We enlist mental health professionals, advocates, and individuals living with mental health conditions to join our Normalize The Conversation podcast series while simultaneously encouraging others to be an active part of the conversation. Since launching the series in 2020, We have hosted over 80 mental health conversations. New episodes premiere every Wednesday anywhere you get your podcast.

• Encouragement Card Program. At Inspiring My Generation, we firmly believe that emotional support is one of the most beneficial ways to prevent suicide. Our goal is to create a world where everybody feels seen, heard, loved, valid, worthy, and enough. Through our Encouragement Card Program, we enlist our community to provide emotional support to individuals hospitalized in psych wards as a sign of hope and love. Since launching this initiative in 2020, we have disbursed over 4,000 cards to individuals hospitalized in psych wards. Cards are donated every month among partnered facilities.

• Workbook Series. Education is key for prevention, which is why Inspiring My Generation is dedicated to providing resources that help you build the tools you need. “You Are Not Alone: The Workbook,” published in 2021, is a guide to help you build affirmations, self-love, ways to express your emotions, and coping skills. This workbook is recommended for ages 8+ and is targeted toward youth. “I AM,” published in 2022, is a guide to help you build confidence in who you are, separate who you are from how you are feeling, determine what type of support you are looking for, and find the words you need to advocate for your mental health. This workbook is recommended for ages 8+ and targeted for all ages.

Our customers are people who want to support mental health awareness and suicide prevention by normalizing the conversation and utilizing tools and resources to boost their mental health. Most customers are interested in building coping skills or learning how to advocate for their mental health.


Posted on Leave a comment

How divorce impacts children’s mental health & Interventions to support emotional development?

person in white long sleeve shirt holding black pen

Divorce: the alteration of a family unit through parental separation. Divorce occurs for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to, growing apart and infidelity. Whatever the case may be for you and your ex-spouse, there is one thing that will always be in common: if children were part of the family unit, they will be experiencing the emotional and mental impacts of the divorce alongside you.

Kids can be impacted in many ways, but some of the most common areas to monitor are academic performance, social life, and emotional regulation as seen below.

Potential impacts of divorce on children.

  • Blame themselves for the divorce.
  • Attribute acting out (bad behavior) to the divorce.
  • Poor academic performance.
  • Experimentation with risky behaviors.
  • Behavior Regression.
  • Experience emotional outbursts.
  • Decreased mood.
  • Start fights with peers.
  • Lose interest in activities.
  • Suffer from separation anxiety from the parent(s).

Potential long-term effects of divorce on children.

  • Increased substance use
  • Psychiatric hospitalizations
  • Mental health symptoms and/or conditions
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships.
  • Increased risk of divorce
  • Financial problems.
  • Employment difficulties.


The most important thing you need to know about the effects of divorce on children’s mental health is that the parents play an important role in how their children adapt. The parents’ relationships and behaviors can play a role in either increasing or decreasing the mental/emotional effects.

Here are some important interventions to utilize:

  • Minimize conflict and hostility around children.
  • Avoid putting children in the middle.
  • Maintain a healthy parent-child relationship.
  • Speak to children with warmth and encouragement.
  • Teach coping skills and help children feel safe.
  • Preserve appropriate discipline structure.
  • Have a support network for yourself and your kids.
  • Seek professional help (if needed to help you and/or the family unit adjust).


Posted on Leave a comment

Invisible plastics: Is your health at risk?

close up photo of plastic bottles

Here’s a fact you probably did not know: each year, the average American consumes a credit card’s worth of microplastics every year. In fact, some research has shown that we may ingest greater than 100,000 microplastic particles every day.

What are microplastics? How are we exposed?

Microplastics are toxic chemicals invisible to the naked eye.

Exposure can come from a variety of sources, including ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Microplastics can appear in our food, water, and air. Additionally, these particles can be found in everyday products, like synthetic clothing, tea bags, laundry/dishwasher pods, paper cups, facial cleansers, cosmetics, and even in some medicines. Some of the plastics ingested are composed of toxins, such as pigments, flame retardants, water repellents, and phthalates. Moreover, particles spread through the air may be composed of dust, synthetic fibers, and industrial/traffic emissions.

What is the harm?

The full extent of the health impact is unknown because there are many factors at play, including the length of time the particles are within our bodies, amount and frequency of exposure, type of exposure, predisposing genetic factors, and more. However, microplastics have been found to potentially impact brain development and/or cause neurotoxicity, metabolic disturbances, and increased cancer risk. In addition, they may also double as endocrine disruptors impacting hormone function and (potentially) causing weight gain.

In the context of brain health, exposure to microplastics during periods of brain development can have a significant impact on learning ability, memory, and behavior throughout the lifespan.

What can we do to reduce risk?

Unfortunately, once these plastic particles are emitted into the air or food or water supplies, they are essentially impossible to get rid of. As a result, reducing plastic pollution now can make a huge impact in the future. However, this method is not easy and requires support from everyone. Another more attainable method includes educating yourself on what to look for when purchasing food or storage containers, avoiding storing food or water in plastic containers, refraining from microwaving food in plastic containers.

Here are 2 great tips to remember:

When purchasing an item contained in a plastic container, on the bottom there will be a number inside a triangle. Refer to code below.

1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

2: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

4: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

5: Polypropylene (PP)

6: Polystyrene (PS)

7: Other (PC)

Although the numbers listed above are related to recycling, they also offer us great insight as consumers. Numbers 2,4 and 5 are the safest among the 7 plastic labels. Numbers 3 and 6 should always be avoided, while 1 and 7 should be avoided or used with caution.

In the cosmetic industry, the ingredients list will include the names of plastics contained. Refer to the names of 22 plastic chemicals to watch out for below in your cosmetic products.

  1. Polymer
  2. Nylon-12 (polyamide-12)
  3. Nylon-6
  4. Poly(butylene terephthalate
  5. Poly(ethylene isoterephthalate
  6. Poly(ethylene terephthalate)
  7. Poly(methyl methacrylate) 
  8. Poly(pentaerythrityl terephthalate)
  9. Poly(propylene terephthalate) 
  10. Polyethylene
  11. Polypropylene
  12. Polystyrene
  13. Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon)
  14. Polyurethane
  15. Polyacrylate
  16. Acrylates copolymer
  17. Allyl stearate/vinyl acetate copolymers 
  18. Ethylene/methacrylate copolymer
  19. Ethylene/acrylate copolymer
  20. Butylene/ethylene/styrene copolymer
  21. Styrene acrylates copolymer
  22. Trimethylsiloxysilicate (silicone resin)