"You should try meditating." If I've heard it once, I've heard it a dozen times. People often say that if you are stressed out, the best thing you can do is meditate. While there is plenty of scientific evidence showing that it can reduce anxiety and improve your mental health, for me, it doesn't seem to help at all. Not doing anything allows all of my stressful and frantic thoughts to come pouring into my mind. Focusing on my breath is not enough to clear away these thoughts. I understand that I could devote more time to practicing meditation, but there are other some effective ways I've found to de-stress. Here are a few of the activities I've found effective, and a few others, that have been backed by research to help you handle stress.

Early, or a first episode psychosis, are the first signs that a person is experiencing a loss of contact from reality. This moment is often frightening, confusing and distressing to a person and his or her family.

We need your help.

This week Congress is coming back from their August recess and we want to make comprehensive mental health reform an impossible issue for them to ignore.

Ask your two U.S. Senators to co-sponsor The Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 (S 1945). And, ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor the The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646).

Are you suffering in silence?

My name is Tom, I manage schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, and for about 4.5 years, early in my recovery, I experienced sexual dysfunction due to my medication side effects. I take an antipsychotic and a mood stabilizer. I suffered in silence, not sure how to talk about it with my doctor, not sure there were any options. I was also court ordered to take my medication, so I was not sure what to do. I started to get diabetes and gained a lot of weight from my medication, so my psychiatrist and medical doctor started talking to me about how they wanted to change my medication. I gathered my courage, and took it a step farther, and told them I would also like to consider something to help me avoid sexual side effects if possible. My psychiatrist said he would look into it, and came up with a pretty good solution.

A program called 'In Our Own Voice' uses personal stories to reduce stigma of people living with mental illness.

There is a lot I can't recall about the onset of my depression.  I've done a good job of somehow blocking out those times when I was at my lowest. However; I do remember the turning point, when I started on my road to managing my depression, rather than letting it drag me around.

My first exposure to mental illness was at age 12. My mom’s brother was going through a difficult divorce with the mother of his children, who was displaying symptoms of mental illness. Acting in ways that put my herself, my Uncle and cousins in danger. When I would hear family telling others about the divorce they would say "Well she was mentally ill" to explain the divorce. There always seemed to be a tone spoken about her that seemed like it was blaming her for her behavior. As a 12 year old who could not understand what was going on, I internalized mental illness as a character defect.

Psychiatric and mental health in America has not succeeded at engaging people diagnosed with mental illness in their own care and empowering them and their families to become true partners with their providers.

The Washington State Supreme Court determined that the practice of "psychiatric boarding", or forcing people in mental health crisis to wait for hours, days, or even weeks in the Emergency Department to receive treatment, is unlawful.

The 2014 NAMI National Convention was an amazing, surreal experience. For four days, people from all over the country came together to educate and learn about mental illness.