Upward Trend in Mental Health

Mindful Healing_Mental Health is Trending in a More Positive Direction

As a global culture we have come a long way from believing mental illness conditions were rooted in religion or superstition. Although records dating back to the 5th century suggest that Hippocrates was known to treat mental health conditions by identifying changes in environment or occupation, for centuries mental health was still marginalized and often unaddressed.

Support, Education, Advocacy, and Research

The way mental illness is portrayed and reported in culture and media has the greatest impact on influencing public opinion on mental health issues and perpetuating stigma. More recently, however, there has been a great deal of progress in the way pop culture media is building sensitivity for those who suffer from mental illness. Today, we see a trend towards de-stigmatizing mental health in all aspects of our lives. Public figures share their struggles with depression and anxiety. These include politicians, athletes, and actors. We are seeing more roles and stronger characters that serve the subject of mental health with more compassion and less stigma.

More Organizations and More Spending

While the prevalence of mental health conditions among adults has been relatively stable since 2008, we have seen an increase in organizations and federal spending. Cuts in 2019 will be the first year when funding has decreased. In fact, a 2020 bill to increase funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was just approved in June 2019 which would also increase funding for grants such as the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.

Not All Trends are Rosy

Despite the positive trend towards greater support and understanding for those who suffer from mental health issues, specific conditions like depression and ADHD are on the rise. Major depression continues to increase among women and young adults. The most concerning trend, however, is that conditions associated with mental health issues are worse among those who are uninsured or poor. The twelve-month prevalence was higher among uninsured adults (4.7%), compared to insured adults (3.9%), and far higher among those below 100% of the federal poverty level (6.8%) compared to those at or above the federal poverty level (3.5%).

You Don’t Need Insurance and Therapy is Affordable

Therapy and counseling are affordable, and you do not need insurance. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale based on your budget and needs. Part of our mission is to provide high-quality care without adding undue financial stress to our clients. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information depression,



How Much Does Therapy Cost Without Insurance?

Anxiety and Stress Group

Money and Mental Health

These are two topics that are almost considered taboo conversation starters. Money and mental health both have stigmas that may be difficult to broach in a conversation. This becomes an even greater challenge when they overlap. Most people consider getting therapy and counseling to be unobtainable because of financial barriers. Finding affordable help for mental health is a topic that is important and is becoming easier to talk about.

Deciding To Get Help In The First Place

Getting counseling and therapy for mental health issues is affordable. Many practitioners, like Mindful Healing Portland, offer services on a sliding scale based on your income. Now that you know that financing is not a barrier you will want to take some first steps to get help. You may still want to know where to start when feeling depressed or dealing with other mental health issues. Find someone to talk to, someone you trust.  This can be a family member or a friend. It is also ok if you feel more comfortable talking to a therapist, counselor or family doctor. Sometimes we feel less judged by “strangers”.

Is Counseling Just For Depression and Anxiety?

The short answer is no. Getting help for depression and getting help for anxiety are the primary reasons why people seek counseling, but you may need help more specifically with PTSD, grieving, pain management, ADHD, and generally feeling loss or needing help with direction in life. We view therapy as a collaborative process with the goal of healing psychic pain, fostering insight, developing personal empowerment, and creating inner harmony so you can live as your authentic self. Mindfulness services such as Mindfulness Training can help greatly in achieving these goals. Learn about Mindfulness Training at Mindful Healing.

If I Have Insurance Does It Cover Therapy?

All insurance plans must include mental health benefits according to the Affordable Care Act. This means most people with health insurance have some form of mental health coverage for treatment such as counseling and therapy. This also means that you might be required to choose a therapist within your providers network.  Your insurance may require other criteria like providing a diagnosis, paying a deductible, or a referral for treatment.

Affordable Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling are affordable, and you do not need insurance. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale based on your budget and needs. Part of our mission is to provide high-quality care without adding undue financial stress to our clients. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Anxiety Disorder and/or Depression,



Mental Health Issues Change from Culture to Culture

Mindful Healing_Mental Health Issues Differ from Culture to Culture_01


The classic definition of culture usually expresses a group of people based on multiple factors such as language, religion, cuisine, and region. Mental health disorders differ from culture to culture. Depression in the United States is different than depression in Japan, or Kenya, or China. Our own personal expectations of how to experience the world change based on our own unique cultures, including the cultures of our home. Thus, mental health reactions and issues can look different from person to person, even here within the city of Portland, Oregon.

Why Does it even Matter?

It matters because when we focus on mental health, we are focusing on personal goals in navigating and experiencing this life. Goals and values can significantly change from person to person, as well as having a unique perspective about the world. A multiculturally competent counselor will not impose their worldview and values onto you, but help you figure out how to achieve your own personal goals, which may look very different from the therapist. Therapists who do not take a multicultural lens may try to impose their own biases onto you (and even multiculturally aware ones can too) and as such it will not be effective therapy because it no longer is about your personal perceptions.

Another reason it is important to understand that mental health disorders and issues change from culture to culture is being able to understand them as stress reactions and not as a disease. Cancer, no matter where it is identified in the world, looks the same, whereas mental health issues change from culture to culture. This is a huge shift to fundamentally understanding mental health disorders, stress, and personal development.

Examples of Cultural Misunderstandings

The culture we grow up in teaches us about how to interact with the world. A prime example of an American value and cultural value is eye contact. Eye contact is expected in the U.S. as a method of politeness, and a lack of eye contact can convey dishonesty, shame, or autism-spectrum disorders. Conversely, in China direct eye contact is considered rude. If a counselor meets with a client whose parents are from China, the client may not make eye contact, not because they are shy or ashamed, but because that’s appropriate. A counselor who does not understand this may misdiagnose a client or not communicate well.

Does the Health Care System Address This?

The health care system is changing and has become better over the years addressing mental health, but it is still a part of a system that treats mental health as a disease. This impacts how mental health is perceived and also impacts how people seek help.

Coping with the Stigma

Fight against the stigma that is reinforced by your environment. Don’t fear the incorrect negative labels. Get treatment for your anxiety or depression. Stigma doesn’t only come from others; you have to fight your own stigmas. It is not uncommon for you to believe that your challenges are from a personal weakness and you should be able to manage without help. These are natural healthy instincts and all the more reason to seek help. You are not alone, and you don’t have to be alone. Also, do not identify yourself with your depression or anxiety. You, in fact all of us, are much more than the issues that challenge us. We are foremost; family, friends, lovers, companions, and confidants.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Anxiety Disorder and/or Depression,



Fighting the Stigma of Mental Health

Mindful Healing_Fighting the Stigma of Mental Health

Stigma refers to the negative social views that are associated with a particular circumstance or quality. Within the realm of mental health, this is the feeling of, or negative perception about, a person with a mental health issue. Stigma is so pervasive that it is built into our colloquialisms; statements like “he’s crazy,” are used to describe bad behavior, which then creates an association between bad behavior and experiencing a disorder. This is unconstructive and can lead to discrimination both towards others and the self. Stigma creates many complications and misunderstandings about mental health.

Consequences of Stigma

Stigma can present a number of issues. For one, it makes people less understanding about other people’s suffering or conditions or causes people to blame others for their conditions. Let’s use another colloquialism to demonstrate this process. The phrase “she’s just anxious” can be used to dismiss the reactions of someone who experiences an anxiety. There are some major implications to that statement. It ascribes the characteristic of the disorder to define the person. We don’t describe someone diagnosed with cancer as “she is cancer” or someone who currently has the flu as “she is flu,” because we don’t blame the person for their health condition. The more proper phrasing that eliminates blame is “she experiences anxiety.”

The research shows some other jarring data about stigma. In addition to creating blame, negative views, and misunderstandings about mental health, it also causes people to ostracize those with mental health issues and isolate them. Research also shows that increased stigma makes mental health conditions worse. Sociologists and anthropologists have observed that societies that are more accepting of those with mental health issues tend to have people who have less severe symptoms and easier recoveries than societies with less acceptance.

Another challenge with stigma is that it is not just an external process towards others. We internalize stigma, which means that if we ever experience a mental health condition, we ostracize ourselves for having a health problem. Stigma is one of the primary barriers for those seeking help because not only do they have to deal with the challenges of mental health issues, they experience shame for having one in the first place.

Why Do Stigmas Persist?

There are lots of reasons. Part of it is that in a history of misunderstanding, the science of psychology is very young in Western society. The notion that mental health disorders are stress reactions is relatively new. The history of mental health has historical stigmas, misperceptions, and other prejudices that are passed down from generation to generation. The main book for diagnosis, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used to have homosexuality as a diagnosis despite it being a very normal part of our diversity in sexuality.

Another challenge comes in with public education and awareness. Despite the fact that we, as a species, all have different capacities and challenges with our abilities to think, emote, and process, mental health is not a normative subject in any K-12 program or even in universities. Some notions of mental health disorders and what they are have only just begun to enter the public perception.

Another contributing factor to stigma comes from our model for treating mental health issues. Like the vast majority of health issues in the United States, the funding for treatment of mental health disorders comes via health insurance statistics. Health insurance companies presently operate on the “disease” model of mental health, rather than viewing it in a holistic manner. In a disease model you either (1) have a disease and are unhealthy, or (2) you don’t have a disease and are healthy. However, the science shows that mental health disorders are likely normal stress reactions to unhealthy circumstances, rather than an unhealthy process. For a great essay with more details click on why disorders are not diseases.

Another source of stigma comes from the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry. Let’s unpack that loaded statement. First, there is massive stigma towards pharmaceuticals in general that prevent people from taking helpful medication. Pharmaceuticals have a role in mental health in creating adjustments to disordered neurochemistry and is not a reflection of anything right or wrong with a person. They help a lot of people and I am of the belief that people should take them if they help lead to a healthier, better life. The problem is in the campaign to medicate misery and anxiety as a whole. Uncomfortable emotions are major communicators that tell us about our world, environment, and needs. The notion that one is experiencing depression, trauma, or anxiety and, thus, is unhealthy is untrue. Learning how to understand and process our feelings and learning to adapt to our environment are important developmental milestones that lead to long-term healthier outcomes. Misery is not a sickness.

There are other major sources of stigma and this blog does not have the room to address them all. Culture, family, and knowledge are all intertwined. Just remember, fighting stigma starts at home. The more open and honest you can be about your own mental health, the more capable you are of offering courage and understanding for others to do the same.

Common Incorrect Prejudices Against Anxiety and Depression

It is important to identify misconceptions and realize why they are inaccurate. There is the notion that people suffering from depression lack willpower and need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Another misconception is that people suffering from anxiety have a weak personality, lack courage, or are just indecisive. There is no truth to either of those statements and the mentality of “just deal with it,” does nothing to actually fix legitimate psychological struggles. Anxiety and depression are not due to a lack of willpower or weakness. Nobody chooses depression or anxiety. There is strength to those who are surviving their struggle, and courage to working through it.

Coping with the Stigma

Begin with awareness. It starts with learning to differentiate between what are common misconceptions as opposed to what reflects reality. Know that whatever you’re experiencing or that others are experiencing isn’t due to some huge flaw but the result of some sort of internal reaction to environmental factors. If you are struggling with a mental health issue, you may experience fear of labels or judgment. If someone you know or love is struggling, you may struggle with your judgments towards that person’s plight. Those experiences of fear are ok and natural; how you respond to it will help determine the outcomes. Being able to work through fear and accept that what is going on is real, and not a reflection of value, is huge. Being able to lend a compassionate hand and listen to what’s going on can also make a big difference. Get treatment for anxiety or depression. Stigma doesn’t only come from others; you must fight your own stigmas. You are not alone, and you don’t have to be alone. Also, do not identify yourself with your own depression or anxiety. We are much more than the issues that challenge us.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Anxiety Disorder and/or Depression,



Top 5 Benefits of Mindfulness Training


Sometimes we get lost in critiques or problems of the past, daydreaming about the future, or worrying about potential catastrophes. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present, aware of where we are, and what we’re doing. Mindfulness training aids us in detaching from the mind’s narrative, connecting fully in mind, body, and spirit to the here and now, and has been shown to improve concentration and reduce stress.

Below are the top five benefits of mindfulness training.

More Patience

In our lightning-fast, instant gratification culture, it’s easy to get distracted. Mindfulness teaches us to practice patience, so it comes more naturally to us when we need it.

Better Focus & Productivity

It’s tempting to get caught up in social media, interruptions, and unhelpful thoughts. Mindfulness helps us recognize distracting thoughts or impulses and lets them pass without indulging them.

Less Stress & Anxiety

By learning how to make decisive choices about when to think about what, we can rewire our brains to reduce stress and anxiety.

Increased Compassion

Mindfulness broadens compassion for ourselves and others by helping us suspend self-judgment and bring our attention back to the present moment.

Heightened Body Awareness

We tend to lose awareness of what our body is feeling when we get too busy or distracted. With mindfulness, we can listen to our bodies and react in healthier, purposeful ways.

Mindfulness connects the mind and body through a systematic approach to intentionally shape our internal focus of attention. Mindfulness training can help you feel calmer, patient, aware, compassionate, and productive.


If you live in or Portland or near the Portland Area and would like to begin mindfulness training,



Benefits and What to Expect in a Private Yoga Session in Portland


Yoga continues to gain in popularity over the years and the availability of new classes every day confirms the trend. There is a Yoga trend that is growing even faster than classes. It is private yoga lessons.

What is the Difference Between Private Yoga Sessions and Yoga Classes?

An important note is a private yoga session is not a class for one student. It provides much, much more. You get the benefits. In other words, a private yoga session is not just getting more individual time and attention (although you do get more of both), it is about getting results tailored for your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness goals.

Below are the top three benefits you get from private yoga sessions.

Setting Personal Goals

This is by far the biggest benefit. Not everybody seeks yoga for the same reasons and not everybody’s reasons have the same personal priority. You may seek yoga to solve a physical, physiological or emotional challenge you have been having. It is impossible to have a one-size-fits-all approach to effectively reach your destination when sharing your yoga time with an entire class.

Instant Feedback and Communication

Simple questions like, “Am I doing it right?’ will be answered in real-time right away. Your private yoga instructor will be with you at every moment helping to personalize and shape your yoga practice more efficiently. Even with classroom yoga instructors that adapt to the class, the way the class gets adapted may not offer students the ability to get the feedback and communication that best suits them.

Confidence and Confidentiality

An important part of yoga is having confidence in your progress. Confidence may not come in a classroom full of other yoga students. You may not get the immediate feedback you need, or you may not feel 100% comfortable with a classroom of spectators even when the instructor and classmates are positive and encouraging.  For many, a private instructor is a safer environment to be imperfect and feel less self-conscious.

We Encourage Yoga. Period.

Whether you choose a classroom environment or a private yoga instructor, beginning yoga is a path to many benefits. If you want yoga lessons that are tailored and personalized for your goals with immediate attention and feedback, while feeling safe to try new poses, then private yoga sessions are for you.


If you live in or near the Portland Area and would like to inquire about private yoga sessions,



Can Adults Have ADHD?

Young boy holds ADHD text written on sheet of paper

There is a lot of confusing data and information about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which presents itself in people by age 12. The information suggests that as people age, many grow out of it while others do not. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 8.7% of adolescents have ADHD, with nearly 3 times as many males (13.0%) as females diagnosed (4.2%). Meanwhile, the data suggest that 4.4% of adults experience ADHD with the gender gap narrowing significantly (5.4% for adult males versus 3.3% for adult females). About 14 million adults experience Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the United States, and only 20 percent (3 million) of them seek help for it. Many consider ADHD a diagnosis for children and they are correct that the symptoms are present in childhood; however, there are many adults that were never diagnosed as children and continue to face the challenges of ADHD as adults.


There do tend to be some differences. For one, the overall adult rate of ADHD is about half the rate of childhood ADHD, indicating many grow out of it or learn to adapt in such a way that the disorder no longer impairs their functioning and quality of life. The severity of ADHD tends to decline with age, which may indicate that people learn to adapt on their own as they age, though for some, their responses to ADHD are maladaptive and they tend to display more antisocial behavior as an adult. Hyperactivity also tends to decline with age; where many children tend to wander, climb, squirm, and move around at inappropriate times, most adults with ADHD don’t act on these behaviors and tend to display more fidgetiness, inner feelings of restlessness, or impatience instead. Difficulties with inattention, poor planning, impulsivity, and restlessness tend to persist into adulthood.

Another major difference between child and adult ADHD is that adults have different responsibilities than children which can make navigating ADHD more challenging. Behaviors of inattention and hyperactivity have more severe consequences in adult relationships and the workplace than they do in childhood relationships and school. When we don’t pay attention in school and do poorly, the consequences of a poor grade are less likely to affect livelihood than missing important information at work and being dismissed. The inattentive as well as hyperactive/impulsive features of ADHD also increase the risk of being in a car crash, as well as the risk of developing issues with addiction. These are dangers that are not as prevalent to children.


There is no known cause of ADHD. The present information is unclear and new studies are working on trying to further understand ADHD every year. The strongest argument is genetics, but there are some links to possible environmental causes during development. Additionally, there are arguments that ADHD represents normal diversity in our brain chemistry, just as we humans have diversity in hair color, body-types, and athletic abilities. Others suggest that there are cultural factors at play, which is why so many more boys are diagnosed compared to girls and reasons to why the gender gap decreases significantly with age.


There can be a lot of reasons that a child growing up goes undiagnosed. One issue that comes up is awareness. The modern understanding and definition of ADHD is relatively new. Although documentation suggests that pediatricians had noticed symptoms of ADHD as early as the 1900s, it didn’t gain public awareness until the 1980s when it was called attention deficit disorder (ADD). Once a diagnosis was in the public health consciousness, diagnoses among kids began to climb as doctors, mental health professionals, teachers, and parents were now able to recognize the symptoms and diagnose the condition. Most of today’s adults did not have the opportunity that children have today regarding mental health.

Other barriers to diagnosis come with the difficulty of assessing normal developmental challenges for children versus ADHD. Is a disorganized child who refuses to do homework improperly motivated or struggling with a mental health issue? Is a spacey, wandering child just marching to the beat of their own drum, or dealing with something else? These are difficult questions to answer and given that half of children diagnosed with ADHD will grow out of it, sometimes it may feel like a better option to caretakers to let kids be and see what happens.


There are two main categories of symptoms, or characteristics in ADHD: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. The characteristics of adults with ADHD tend to impair performance at work and in interpersonal relationships. People with ADHD tend to have challenges with work, sustaining energy for tasks at work, doing mundane tasks, applying for jobs, attendance, and have higher rates of unemployment compared to the rest of the population. Difficulties with sustaining attention, hyperactivity or impulsivity tend to make it difficult for people with ADHD to attentively listen in conversations, wait their turn, or plan out their actions.

Inattentive Symptoms

  • Difficulty with paying close attention to details; tends to make careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted, both by external stimuli and one’s own thoughts, often daydreaming
  • Poor follow-through; difficulty sustaining attention in tasks
  • Difficulty with organization; tends to be messy, miss deadlines, and has poor time management
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities; often loses things
  • Difficulty in listening to others
  • Avoidance, dislike, or reluctance to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort; often leads to procrastination

Hyperactive/Impulsive Symptoms

  • Frequent fidgeting, tapping, or squirming while seated; extreme difficulty sitting still
  • Restlessness; acts as if being driven by a motor
  • Tends to be noisy; difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Talks excessively, interrupts others, difficulty waiting their turn
  • Often leaves seat or place in situations where remaining still is expected
  • Acts without thinking of consequences; impulsive

Can Therapy Help with ADHD?

Yes, it can. Therapy can help in a variety of ways including using techniques to increase attention span and reduce impulsivity. Therapy can be helpful in learning skills that do not come naturally and identifying unhelpful reactions. Counseling can also be used to treat anxiety, depression, or substance use which many people with ADHD also experience. Nutritional counseling can also be important to help treat symptoms.

Do I Need Insurance for ADHD Therapy?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or near the Portland area and want information or help with ADHD,



8 Steps to a 5-Minute Mindful Breathing Exercise


Trigger Warning: If you’ve had a history of trauma, and are prone to flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, or are actively experiencing PTSD, this process may set off some of those experiences, which can reactivate feelings of the trauma. There are other mindfulness exercises that involve more grounding that may be a better fit for you, and you may want to skip this exercise.

Please read through all of the instructions before you begin.

  1. Get in a comfortable position. This exercise can be done, sitting, laying, or standing if you wish.
  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Invite your eyes to rest.
  4. Breathe in through the nose (if you can’t breathe through your nose the mouth makes an excellent substitute), out through the mouth, practicing diaphragmatic breathing. In order to practice diaphragmatic breathing,
    1. Inhale deep into the belly, then the chest; invite your belly to expand and the ribcage to open as you inhale.
    2. Exhale out through the mouth, at a pace that is comfortable for you, bringing the belly in towards your spine.
    3. If you find it is difficult to breathe deep into the lungs you may consider resting your hands on top of your head, as this will open up the ribcage and make it easier to breathe deep.
  5. Focus on the breath like a curious observer. Notice the coolness of the inhale, the warmth of the exhale. Notice how the chest rises and falls, and how the air flows through your windpipe.
  6. As you go through this process, you may notice that your mindbody wanting to attend to different sensations, thoughts, or feelings. Perhaps you feel the urge to scratch an itch, or begin planning your to-do list is for tomorrow, or feel bored of this moment attending to the breath. Push nothing away and attach to nothing.
  7. Any time you notice a thought or a feeling, label it and let it pass through your mind as though it were a log flowing down the river of your mind, and return your attention to the breath. You can tell yourself things like, “my mind is planning,” or “mind is judging,” or “body is feeling some anxiety.”
  8. When the timer goes off, take a few moments to wiggle the fingers and toes, blink open the eyes, and then return to the room.

Go ahead now and take the time to complete the exercise, then return to reading.

Was it challenging for you to just breathe and sit still? Did you notice that even though all you’re supposed to be doing is breathing that your mindbody was having thoughts and feelings? I know my mind wandered to planning, criticism, and pondering. Did you notice any patterns? This exercise can be helpful to reduce anxiety, and understand the background content of our minds. It can also be a helpful reminder that we are more than our thoughts and feelings, and we do have some control over how we interact with them. Learning to regulate our interactions with our mindbody can go a long-way to improving our overall mindbody fitness.


No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.