Welcome! We are so happy to have you join us!

I’m Diana, the founder and mental health educator of Our Conversation Column.
 Let me introduce my good friend, Jan, our dedicated writer, editor and also, mental health educator. We are grateful to have him on our team.

Together, we created this column because we are parents with lived experience, that is, as parents we have seen our loved ones – our family members and our close friends - as well as our co-workers and neighbors, suffer from the ​anguish and havoc​ that mental illness inflicts. And we know firsthand how the families and friends of those with mental illness suffer along with them.

We all pay a heavy price, especially for ignorance and the stigma surrounding mental illness, even though resources and treatments exist. Yet so many are forgotten, undiagnosed and untreated.  
Jan and I have a passion for mental health awareness and education – to provide resources that are so desperately needed, particularly now, in these difficult, uncertain and disorientating times.

The efforts of so many mental health agencies, organizations, therapists, and local programs have been crippled by this COVID-19 pandemic The services that parents, teachers, and our communities have relied on for so many years have been seriously compromised, or even have ceased to exist. For the many who have come to depend on the usual mental health support structure, an abyss has opened up. 

Jan and I are usually busy, providing NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) classes and working with local mental health professionals, organizations, schools and businesses in our community. But not since we've all been social distancing.

So now here we are to help fill that gap for you.

Our goal is to give you a twice-monthly column that delivers current mental health information and educational resources, tools, videos, articles and support programs that focus on how to get and maintain the vital mental health support you and your loved ones need.
We hope you find our offerings helpful. 
What if You're Not the Only One
Having Trouble Functioning?

by Peggilee Wupperman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and an associate professor at John Jay College/City University of New York, and an assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine
Everyone is experiencing a tremendous amount of stress and other difficult emotions, and almost everyone is having at least some trouble functioning.
Yes, most people feel guilty about not being productive during the pandemic.
Nothing about this time is standard. The world has suddenly morphed into a dystopian sci-fi film, and nobody knows exactly how or when it will be resolved.
Before reading the rest of this article, please complete the following quiz to assess your level of functioning during this pandemic. Keep track of how many times you answer "yes" to the following items.
Since the pandemic started, have you had
multiple episodes in which you:
  • Planned productive activities that you haven’t been able to get yourself to start or complete?

  • Had trouble feeling motivated or energetic enough to plan productive activities?

  • Attempted to do something productive but had trouble focusing?

  • Had trouble sleeping and/or getting up in the morning? (And/or taken long naps during the day?)

  • Spent several hours passively watching TV, surfing the internet, or doing other things just to pass time?

  • Felt like you should be handling things better than you are?

  • Eaten more food than you’d like and/or less-healthy food than you’d like?

  • Experienced feelings of loneliness, anxiety, panic, depression, boredom, irritation, and/or numbness?

  • Felt anxious, guilty, or upset about experiencing these emotions, especially since so many people are in worse situations than you are? (Or felt guilty whenever you felt happy, since so many people are suffering?)

  • Have you felt anxious, guilty, and/or frustrated with yourself because you know (or at least assume) that you're having episodes when you're not coping as well as most people are?
Thanks for taking the quiz. Now for the scoring. Give yourself one point for every "yes" answer. If your total number of "yes" answers falls in the range of 2 to 11, that means that … you are handling this crisis much like most people are handling it.
Peggilee Wupperman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, an associate professor at John Jay College/City University of New York, and an assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine
She is invested in improving the understanding and treatment of dysregulated emotions and behaviors (often known as self destructive, impulsive, or addictive behaviors).

Tracey Marks, M.D
Tracey Marks, M.D., is an Atlanta psychiatrist and psychotherapist, specializing in the interplay between mind and body, and how it shapes our quality of life. 

DrMarks has worked with numerous professional men and women who struggle to find balance between life and work.
Mental Health Doesn’t Have to Be A Mystery
Removing stigmas related to mental health starts by educating and enhancing one mind at a time.

Dr. Marks YouTube Channel
This channel teaches you about mental health issues and self-improvement. Why? Because education empowers. You will learn about bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia and more.
Click to Download your
Indoor Fun Toolkit - Free!
The Ultimate Guide
to Indoor Fun
Here is an activity guide with ideas of things you can do as well as resources you can use.
Some of the resources are links to virtual tours like the Georgia Aquarium and Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Directory and Reviews for Online Therapy
Online Counseling Directory
The Online Counseling Directory is an international directory that provides a platform that connects people with therapists all over the world. The Online Counseling Directory also provides resources and guidance to therapists that wish to take their practice online with podcasts and documents that help you get started.
Please stay safe and healthy

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