Can CBD Oil Help With Stress and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Stress is a feeling of physical or emotional tension. It can come from any thought or event that makes an individual feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.

Stress is the body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps one avoid danger or meet a deadline. 

However, when the stress persists for an extended period, it may harm one’s health. For instance, negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, and loneliness, can lead to emotional eating. 

Emotional eating or stress eating can disrupt one’s weight-loss efforts and cause more stress, consequently leading to an unhealthy cycle (1).

Stress can also manifest on the skin in the form of rashes and hives, says The American Institute of Stress (AIS) (2). 

Stress is not the same as anxiety. While an existing stress-causing factor or stressor causes stress, anxiety is the stress that continues after the stressor is gone (3).

Meanwhile, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event that one has either experienced or witnessed.

PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

These symptoms can vary in intensity over time. An individual may have more PTSD symptoms when stressed in general, or when reminded of a traumatic experience. 

Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent or sexual personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat (4). 

In the military, soldiers on missions get exposed to frightening and life-threatening experiences. Events such as these can lead to PTSD.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 11% to 20% of the veterans who served in the Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Enduring Freedom (OEF) have PTSD in a given year (5).

Still, doctors are not sure why some individuals get PTSD. Like most mental health problems, PTSD is probably caused by a complex mix of: (6). 

  • Stressful experiences in one’s life
  • Inherited features of one’s personality, called temperament
  • Inherited mental health risks, like a family history of anxiety and depression
  • The way the brain regulates hormones and chemicals that the body releases in response to stress

The primary treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy. However, treatment can also include medication, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and prazosin (to reduce or suppress nightmares).

Combining these treatments can help improve symptoms.

CBD for Stress

Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce stress.

Researchers of a 2019 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry found that CBD’s anti-anxiety effect might help reduce the response to stressful environmental factors (7). 

A study published in the Frontiers in Immunology Journal demonstrated CBD as a potential remedy to depression linked to stress (8). 

Esther Blessing, Ph.D. of New York University, led a group of researchers in 2015 and investigated the benefits of CBD in helping with anxiety. Their review of 49 studies yielded promising results (9). 

Blessing noted that animal studies conclusively demonstrate CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors linked to multiple disorders.

These disorders include panic disorder (PD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Blessing added that the results are supported by human experimental findings, which also suggest CBD’s minimal sedative effects and an excellent safety profile.

Still, the results could not confirm that treatment with CBD would have comparable effects for those with chronic anxiety. 

Further tests are needed to determine the impact of prolonged CBD use on individuals. 


CBD has been shown to possess potential benefits to help with PTSD. 

A 2019 research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has suggested that CBD might have a beneficial effect on animal models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (10).

The authors believe this effect is believed to be due to the action of CBD on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS plays a vital role in the regulation of emotional behavior and is essential for synaptic processes that determine learning and emotional responses, especially those related to potentially traumatic experiences (11).

The possibility of CBD enhancing endocannabinoid signaling provided a possible explanation for the therapeutic effects of CBD and, consequently, the potential to treat PTSD.

The researchers concluded that the administration of oral CBD in addition to routine psychiatric care was associated with PTSD symptom reduction in adults with PTSD. 

CBD also appeared to offer relief in others who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD. 

A 2016 case report in The Permanente Journal noted the effectiveness of CBD oil for anxiety and insomnia as part of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (12). 

The authors found that CBD oil reduced the feelings of anxiety and reduced the insomnia of one 10-year old girl.

The strength of this particular case is that the child was receiving no medications other than the nonprescription diphenhydramine. 

With only nutritional supplements and the CBD oil to control her symptoms, her scores on the sleep and anxiety scales consistently and steadily decreased over 5 months. 

Ultimately, she was able to sleep on most nights in her room, behave appropriately, and become less anxious at school and home. 

A 2018 study published in the Frontiers in Immunology Journal demonstrated CBD as a potential remedy to depression (13). 

In the study, researchers examined the experimental and clinical use of CBD and found that it showed anti-anxiety, antiepileptic, and antipsychotic properties that might help reduce depression linked to stress.

The ECS plays a vital role in the human body due to its ability to maintain homeostasis or state of balance, as explained in a 2018 research published in the Journal of Young Investigators (14). 

Anandamide, also called the bliss molecule, is a neurotransmitter that is part of the ECS. Increased production of anandamide in the brain can help guard against the effects of stress. 

Anandamide also reduces behavioral signs of anxiety and fear, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience (15). 


Research on CBD’s potential therapeutic effect on stress and PTSD seems promising.

Still, more longitudinal investigations are necessary to substantiate further the response to CBD that was observed in the studies discussed above.

CBD’s long-term effects are still unknown, and CBD dosing guidelines remain unclear.

Before using CBD as an adjunct therapy, or as a remedy for symptoms or medical conditions linked to stress and PTSD, consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.

  1. Mayo Clinic. (2018, Nov, 14). Weight loss: Gain control of emotional eating. Retrieved from
  2. AIS. (2019, Dec 26). What to Do When Stress Gives You Hives. Retrieved from
  3. MedlinePlus. (2020, April 9). Stress and your health. Retrieved from
  4. NIMH. (2019, May). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved from
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018, Dept 24). PTSD: National Center for PTSD. Retrieved from
  6. Mayo Clinic. (2018, July 6). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Retrieved from
  7. Linares IM, Zuardi AW, Pereira LC, et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Braz J Psychiatry. 2019;41(1):9–14. DOI:10.1590/1516-4446-2017-0015.
  8. Crippa JA, Guimarães FS, Campos AC, Zuardi AW. Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Front Immunol. 2018;9:2009. Published 2018 Sep 21. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009.
  9. Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825–836. DOI: 10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1.
  10. Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392–397. DOI:10.1089/acm.2018.0437.
  11. Castillo P. E., Younts T. J., Chávez A. E., Hashimotodani Y. (2012). Endocannabinoid signaling and synaptic function. Neuron 76 70–81. 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.020; Riebe C. J., Pamplona F., Kamprath K., Wotjak C. T., Wotjak C. T. (2012). Fear relief—toward a new conceptual frame work and what endocannabinoids gotta do with it. Neuroscience 204 159–185. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.11.057.
  12. Shannon S, Opila-Lehman J. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. Perm J. 2016;20(4):16-005. DOI:10.7812/TPP/16-005.
  13. Crippa JA, Guimarães FS, Campos AC, Zuardi AW. Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Front Immunol. 2018;9:2009. Published 2018 Sep 21. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009.
  14. Sallaberry, C. and Astern, L. The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. Retrieved from
  15. Morena M., Aukema, R., […], and Hill M. Upregulation of Anandamide Hydrolysis in the Basolateral Complex of Amygdala Reduces Fear Memory Expression and Indices of Stress and Anxiety. Journal of Neuroscience 13 February 2019, 39 (7) 1275-1292; DOI:

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6 Ways to Practice Self-Care on Valentine’s Day

By Sarah Ooi


Valentines Day_Active MinsdIt’s almost that time of year again, and I’m not talking about tax season. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Are you excited? You should be!

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to step away from stress, slow down, and focus on your mental health. This year, celebrate with the following 6 short and sweet ideas for your best (and healthiest) Valentine’s Day yet!

  1. Treat Yourself: Plan an activity, take a fun class, pamper yourself, or try something new.
  2. Get active: Seasonal Depression is snow joke (sorry). Conquer the winter blues by grabbing a friend and going for a brisk walk. Fresh air and sunlight is a surefire way to get your heart pumping.
  3. Celebrate all of your relationships: From family and friends, to co-workers and roommates, take time to let those closest to your heart know you care.
  4. Make a healthy (and delicious) meal: Better yet, make a meal and invite those friends over for dinner!
  5. Make someone’s day: The simplest gesture can have the greatest impact! Encourage someone through a random act of kindness.
  6. Rest: At the end of your busy and exciting day, make sure to get the sleep that you deserve.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Date February 10, 2016

Author Sarah Ooi

Tags holiday, mental health, self-care, student life



Back in Session: How to take care of your mental health in the classroom

September 22, 2017September 22, 2017Liz Dugas


Welcome back to school, and for the stress that that brings up for so many stigma fighters like us. We have all felt it, our attention slipping from a lesson, the words from the professor become just letters and sounds. Too much is happening in our brains to understand the lecture, to read the slide, to do the paperwork. And then the fear comes from missing the rest of the class, and falling behind. You are not alone in experiencing this, and with some helpful tips, it is possible to destress at your desk, right in the moment. The stigma of just shoving it down, of pushing our mental health out of the way for the sake of being students in the class is one that we cannot continue! Here are some helpful ways to destress and reorganize in the classroom.


In and Out

This is one which seems simple, as though we have been doing it all our lives. From the moment we saw light, we took a breath! But breathing can be the quickest way to retake control of your situation. When we focus on our breathing, the rest of the body has a break. It restores what many of us crave during an anxiety attack, control. We can control this one, immensely vital part of our lives. If you feel your minds spinning out of control, close your eyes and breathe. In for 6 seconds, hold for 4, out for 8. 6-4-8. Or any combination that works for you, just keep it consistent. Tell yourself in those moments, “I am resilient. I am strong.” Or breathe in sync with this gif! Breathe until you feel your mind clearing and repeat as often as you need. You are in control!


Put those hands to work!

There is something immensely soothing about having something to play with! When I had to give speeches (my least favorite part of being a student leader), I would roll around a stone I found at my favorite beach in Maine. A friend of mine has a small pack of play dough she will bring to class. A tactical tool is enough to keep the mind and body focused. The best tip for this- find what works. For some, it’s a malleable toy, like clay or dough. For some, it’s a fidget spinner or cube (leave all the memes about it behind, they are useful! And pretty). Some may friend comfort in doodling or pen clicking. Playing with hair elastics, as many of our SAC members do! Or you may be me and have a small stone or trinket that has both comforting texture and sentimental value to you. For you, it is whatever works! Get those hands busy and keep that mind clearer.


Senses all around!

When I have immense stress in class and I find myself pulling away from a lecture, what helps me is reconnecting with the world around me. This is a technique called grounding, which is using your senses to draw you back into the now. This can be done either mentally or graphically. I find that seeing words on a paper helps me to see things more concretely, so I often will write down my grounding steps. This what I use- (and examples as I am writing this!)


5 things you can see.

(Desk, lobby of my Residence hall, coffee, scissors, residents)


4 things you can hear.

(Soundtrack music, muffled chatter, keys, laughter)


3 things you can tactilely feel.

(Mouse, nail polish on my fingers, breath on my lips)


2 things you can smell

(Coffee, BO)


1 thing you can taste

(Sweet Dunkin’s coffee!)


You do you!

In the end, I can’t tell you what will work for you! Only you can! I didn’t one day wake up and decide “I’m going to practice grounding today when I get overwhelmed in my classes!” Use the subconscious things that you do already as your basis. Think back to what helped you in those moments of fear, think about what got you to feel more in control. And use that. Don’t compare your ways of destressing in class to others. Everyone comes to the table with different skills. Be willing to learn and ask questions, but don’t compare or derogate your own methods.

The classroom can be stressful, triggering, overwhelming. Some days it is a struggle to get through a lecture. But with these tips, as well as your own home brewed skills, we will break the stigma of college mental health from within the classrooms. Welcome back to school, stigma fighters, and here’s to a great year!

Liz is a member of the Active Minds Student Advisory Committee and a chapter leader at Worcester State University.

coping grounding SAC stress

Emerging Scholars Fellowship

Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Mental Health Within R&B and Hip-Hop Music

May 20, 2016 Janelle Goodwill

Janelle is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Janelle and her fellow scholars here.


Recent media conversations surrounding mental health have increased after R&B singer Kehlani publically (and bravely) shared her struggles following a recent suicide attempt. Trouble ensued after Kehlani uploaded a photo of herself in a hospital bed shortly after being admitted. Since then many people, both celebrities and fans alike, have criticized and horrifically taunted Kehlani, claiming that the attempt to end her life was fabricated and was only done in efforts to gain attention.




First, we must recognize that invalidating a survivor’s lived experience is both despicable and cruel. There is no place for it. Moreover, we as a culture must remember that the famous people we place on pedestals are just that— people— who are prone to experience the same kinds of hurt and pain that you and I encounter every day. Sometimes, life just happens. And in those moments it does not matter who you are, where you are from, or how many followers you have, because life can and will eventually hurt.


It’s during these times that it becomes absolutely critical for us to consider, mull over, and extend grace (not judgment) to others— because behind the smiles and seemingly perfect Instagram pictures, you never know what someone is really going through.


From there it also becomes important for us to remember that Kehlani is not the first R&B or Hip-Hop artist to discuss their personal struggles through music.

In 2015 August Alsina released “Song Cry,” where he openly shared some of his fears, frustrations, and hurts. He went further to pen:

For all them nights I thought of suicide, contemplating

I can’t hold back these tears

Let me cry

They say a man ain’t supposed to cry


You can view the rest of the song here.

Over twenty years ago we saw a similar pattern among rappers like Notorious B.I.G. and DMX who shared their experiences with suicidal ideation and stress in “Suicidal Thoughts” and “Slippin”,  while A Tribe Called Quest shared their views on the matter in “Stressed Out”.



From left to right: Notorious B.I.G., A Tribe Called Quest, and DMX (Images retrieved from and

In this we are reminded that although anyone can experience difficulty, no one should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed for needing help in working to navigate the various mental health struggles they may face. If you or someone you know does need help, please be sure to review the resources listed below. Also, never underestimate the power and strength of sharing your own story, as your willingness to be vulnerable could be influential in helping save someone else’s life.


If you are someone that you know is struggling and needs help please be sure to pass along the information listed below.

If you prefer information via text message:

Crisis Text Line (

If you prefer information via the web:


Active Minds – General Mental Health Information

Active Minds – Student Resources

Facebook Help Center

Instagram Help Center

Emerging Scholars Fellowship media mental health Music Rap/Hip-Hop suicide prevention


Chapters 101

Happier Holidays: Tips to De-stress and Enjoy Your Break

November 15, 2016 November 15, 2016 Amanda Uhme2 Comments

This time of year can be the best: heading back home, family-time, food everywhere, gift-giving!


But the holidays can also be the worst: heading back home, family-time, food everywhere, gift-giving.

The way you view the holiday season can depend on a lot of different factors. Does traveling back to your home town make you excited or anxious? Does your family make you feel comfortable or alienated? For many of us, it’s complicated.

The holidays can be particularly hard for those struggling with mental health. There are a lot of changes in the routine you’ve set up for yourself at school, some of the coping mechanisms or support networks you’ve built may not be available, forced family meals can be triggering and uncomfortable, and financial stress of holiday shopping can compile to make your relaxing break anything but relaxing.

Luckily, we have some tips for you to kick this holiday break’s butt! If you’re feeling down, upset, confused, or in a funk over the next month or so, try some of these tips:

Make some “you” time.

Put on your comfiest clothes, shut your door, load up the Netflix, and do what you want to do. Sometimes stepping away from everyone and everything can really help you relax. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing most, do it as much as you need.

  1. Get out of the house.

In addition to spending some time by yourself, having a change of scenery can be a huge help. Go to a movie, take a walk or run, go for a drive, or take a book to a local coffee shop. The fresh air will do you good!

  1. Plan in advance.

Think ahead to what days over your break might be more high-stress than others or when you’ll be seeing that relative you’re not over-the-moon about and then think through what you can do to get through those times. Think about meditating those mornings or giving yourself a reward to look forward to at the end of the day.

  1. Be patient with yourself.

With all of the expectations and hustle of the holidays, it can be a lot to take on and think about. Don’t try to do too much yourself whether it’s with gifts, family, or friends. Ask for help when you need it and be realistic about what you can and want to get done in a day.

  1. Make yourself a priority.

There’s no shame in looking out for #1 (that’s you!). If your routine is what keeps you going at school, try not to lose sight of that at home. Sleep, eat, exercise, socialize, rest and relax as normally as you can–and don’t be afraid to let your family know that it’s what you need.

  1. Keep in touch with your support network from school.

You all have heard about texting and the internet, right? Get in there! Text, call, FaceTime, Skype, GChat, send carrier pigeons–just because you’re taking a break from classes doesn’t mean you need to take a break from your friends. It’s possible they need a helping hand to get through the holidays too. You can even play games, watch a movie, or debrief your days over the phone.


family holiday stress


Miscellaneous / Prevention & Awareness

Mental Health in College Athletes

December 9, 2016 Ava Mirzadegan


About a month ago, I would have had my collegiate senior game. A day that I had been both dreading and anticipating ever since I started playing my sport. It is a day to honor student-athletes that will be playing their last collegiate match, but it is far more than just celebrating their last game. It represents all the years of hard work that go into becoming the athlete who is walking onto the field, as announcers call out your name and accomplishments. Senior day signifies that you have finally made it. It means that it was all worth it. Every conditioning session, every penalty corner repetition, every dollar and minute spent was worth it. You have reached the pinnacle of your athletic career and have attained what was likely a childhood dream.


Unfortunately for many, it can represent much more than simply their time and effort. A number of college athletes have the added component of dealing with mental health concerns, which go unaddressed most of the time. An alarming amount of which experience suicidal ideation or suffer death by suicide, causing them to miss out on their senior game, as well as their lives. The reason for this is as disheartening as it is preventable. Athlete culture has a stigma surrounding mental health. This is likely due to the idea that showing weakness is unacceptable for athletes.


We push through. We dig deep for a second wind. We are resilient. We do not ask for help.


This ideology is what negatively affects college-athletes and causes them to feel alone or helpless. There is always a tension between players, whether it be based on playing time, perceived favorability, or simply the player’s athletic ability. Separate from team dynamics, the mere amount of time spent and the consequent lack of opportunity to take part in other activities, can easily cause a student-athlete to feel like a body on a field.


It is hard not to feel one’s identity reduced from a person with interests and passions to a series of numbers; times, reps, jersey.


To add even more isolation to the struggle of an athlete, many are restricted in regards to outside activities. Social lives, free time and overall well-being are compromised. Amid weight lifting, conditioning, practice, traveling for games, team activities, classes, and study hall, many students feel that they are not getting the most of their time in college. As millennial as this may sound, the “fear of missing out” is a critical factor in one’s health. It also does not help that being an athlete tends to keep athletes in a bubble. When all, or most of your friends are athletes as well, branching out can be difficult. I strived for and cherished any non-athlete friends I could, because they provided a relief from the constant pressure.


That is not to say I did not love my teammates. Some of my teammates became my best friends on and off the field. There is an incomparable bond that comes with the territory; your teammates become your family. Though having said that, I want to shed light on the apprehension that many still have about opening up to other teammates. On my team alone, I knew of at least five other players that had sought out treatment or had considered it. This knowledge had been shared with me in confidence. It was information that I only acquired by speaking up about the need for mental health reform and actively cultivating my relationships. For many of us, myself included, treatment did not fit into our schedule. The designated athletic department psychologist (there was only one for the entire department) had been booked for weeks in advance, and the student counseling services building was a far trek I was not able to justify making.


I was lucky to have coaches that actively tried to promote wellness, both physically and mentally. We took part in weekly mindfulness exercises and did team yoga, but I still believe that stigma is prevalent in athletic culture as a whole, even despite a coach’s outlook. When we glorify the ability to forego one’s feelings, emotionally and physically, it is no wonder athletes do not admit to their peers or coaches that they are not well. One’s admitted health concern becomes a point of scrutiny and weakness, even if it is only brought up out of concern.


After a recent conversation with a former teammate, I was pleased to hear that the coaches, and other members of the department, made a point to discuss mental health concerns with the team. They stated that their doors were always open for any athletes that were struggling with their mental health and wanted to talk about it.


However, as much as this represents a positive stride towards changing the culture, it was still one that does little to address underlying concerns that hold students back from bringing up their personal struggle. Knowing that coaches are willing to talk to you does not eliminate the fear that it will have negative consequences on playing time and one’s relationship with their coaches. The level of comfort discussing such matters may even rely on the closeness or quality of the coach-athlete relationship, a factor that is reciprocally affected by such an interaction.


So what feasible changes can be implemented to improve athlete culture?


Open discussion regarding mental health should be encouraged. Students do not feel comfortable sharing with coaches for fear of having it negatively affect their playing time. Therefore, this perception needs to be changed. Department-wide shifts need to be made. Students should be encouraged to voice their concerns, perhaps even anonymously, to provide an honest evaluation of the current state of things. The fear of judgement needs to be addressed or completely avoided, by way of anonymity or entrusted members of the department.

Mental health professionals should be made available to athletes. If speaking directly to a coach is not something a student is comfortable with, athletic departments need to enlist the services of more than a single therapist. It should be just as easy to treat one’s mental health as it should a sprained ankle. Athletic training rooms are filled to the brim with athletic trainers and their assistants. Additionally, every team is designated several athletic trainers that are specific to their team. Yet, there are often far fewer sports-specific therapists on staff. This goes to show which side of wellness takes precedence in the current culture.

Athletes, as well as athletic department staff, need to be educated on mental health and practice wellness habits, just like any other component of their sport. Athletic departments need to have internal curriculum for their own programming, but also one that is specific to student-athletes. Raising awareness is the first step in prevention and care. It should not be viewed as a superfluous measure, but one of vital importance.

It is no coincidence that in 2013, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Hainline, declared the top health and safety concern of the NCAA to be mental health. Just as concussions have started coming out of the shadows, and athletes are increasingly aware of the effects, treatment and prevention, mental health needs to follow suit.


The NCAA, backed by 24 different organizations, recently published a set of guidelines, or “best practices,” that are relevant to the mental health of athletes. A suggested practice states that athletes should be regularly evaluated and treated by licensed practitioners. The institutions should establish clearly communicated procedures for referrals, as well as emergency action plans for suicide ideation and psychosis. The guide further suggests that athletic programs should include mental health screenings as a part of yearly physical exams. Lastly, a mental health curriculum should be formulated to educate athletes about self-care, stress management practices, the importance of sleep, peer intervention methods, and how to recognize symptoms of mental health disorders.


These guidelines, exemplary in expression, need to be followed up on, and promoted. Actually implementing these changes outlined by the NCAA should be taken seriously, as student’s lives and well-being are at stake.


college mental health student athletes suicide prevention


Stress Less Week: Download These Mental Health Apps Today

By Chapters Team


mental-health-apps-SFWADDealing with a specific mental health issue? Anxious at work? Just feeling more down than usual? There’s an app for that!


Thanks to Active Minds at the University of Rochester for putting together this extensive list of mental health-related mobile apps. Refer back to this list whenever life gets tough!


Reminder: These apps are not substitutes for clinical assistance. If you’re feeling suicidal or are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK.


Anxiety and Stress


Beat Panic

Beat Social Phobia (iTunes/Android)

BellyBio Interactive Breathing



Worry Box- Anxiety Self Help

Stop Panic & Anxiety Self Help

SAM – Self Help for Anxiety Management

Panic Aid





Emotions and Feelings – AutismFeelings Book

Bipolar Disorder



eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker


Drug and Alcohol Addiction


12 Steps AA Companion (iTunes/Android)

Control Alcohol (iTunes/Android)

ImQuit – Quit Addiction

Sobriety Counter

Stop Drinking (iTunes/Android)


Eating Disorders


Eating D

Body Beautiful

Take Control

Mood Boosters


Beating the Blues


Mood Tracking Journal and Diary



My Mood Tracker

Live Happy

Mood Panda

Life Mood


Sad Scale

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide



PTSD Coach

Recovery (general)


Operation Reach Out (iTunes/Android)

Recovery Box

Recovery Record

Rise Up + Recover



LifeLine Response

Circle of 6

OnWatch (iTunes/Android)

Safe Helpline


Teen Hotlines

Watch Over Me – Personal Safety App

Self-Harm Prevention


SAFE Alternatives


Project Toe

Self-Help Therapy


Alura: Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy

Constant Therapy

CBT Referee

DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach

DBT Self Help

Self-Esteem Blackboard

Self Help Classics





This Way Up

Social Anxiety


SAS – Social Anxiety Support

Overcoming Social Anxiety

Suicide Prevention


ASK & Prevent Suicide (iTunes/Android)

HELP Prevent Suicide (iTunes/Android)

QPR Suicide Crisis Support

Suicide Lifeguard

Safety Plan

Wingman Project

Date April 17, 2015

Author Chapters Team

Tags anxiety, autism, mental health, self-harm prevention, stress, stress less week, suicide prevention, Technology


Stress Less Week is Coming Up: April 13-17

By Chapters Team



It’s one of the toughest times of the year: papers and projects are due, you’re running solely on caffeine and there just isn’t enough time for sleep. The good news is you’re not alone: 51 percent of college students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety in the last year.

That’s why Active Minds is hosting Stress Less Week from April 13-17. We’ve developed tons of resources and programs to help you get through your finals to-do list with as little stress as possible. Here are three ways you can participate in Stress Less Week:

  1. Take a #SelfCareSelfie. Join our social media campaign by sharing a selfie that shows how you like to de-stress and take care of yourself — whether that’s doing yoga, reading a book, playing with a puppy, etc. Share the picture on Instagram with#SelfCareSelfie and the national office might share it on our networks!
  2. Screen a hit TV show on campus. We’ve joined up with our friends at Pivot TV to bring an episode of their critically acclaimed show, Please Like Me, to your campus for FREE! Season 2, Episode 7 features topics like suicide, bipolar disorder, depression, and grief. Screen the episode on campus to give students a break from studying and start a discussion about mental health.
  3. Join our Twitter chat. On April 15 at 1 pm (EST), we’re co-hosting a Twitter chat on stress reduction during finals with our friends at Stamp Out Stigma. Follow our Twitter account and join the conversation with #SOSChat.

Date March 31, 2015

Author Chapters Team

Tags #SelfCareSelfie, anxiety, self-care, stress, stress less week

Stress Less Week: Podcasts to Help You Laugh More

By Maggie Bertram


Anyone in the Active Minds National Office will tell you that I’m obsessed with podcasts. It all started several years ago with This American Life and Planet Money and really hit its stride when the first season of Serial emerged.

But, as much as I love the aforementioned podcasts, they can be suspenseful, require specific attention, and even a little stressful. So, I’ve amassed my list of my favorite podcasts that make me laugh and are just all-around entertaining. Do you have a favorite I missed? Tweet it to us @Active_Minds!

  1. Dear Sugar Radio

Ok, so this is an advice podcast that can sometimes deal with heavy subjects, BUT who doesn’t want to be saturated with the unique brand of wisdom and love that Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond bring to any conversation? Oh, and yes–I’m talking about that Cheryl Strayed. The author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things. I mean, who among us don’t want Cheryl Strayed to be our cool aunt?

  1. Not Too Deep (with Grace Helbig)

Do you watch YouTube videos that aren’t about cats, puppies, or seemingly painful human follies with any regularity? Then you probably know Grace Helbig. Helbig is a comedian who has published two best-selling books, starred in films like Camp Takota, and even had her own show on the E! Network. This podcast is all about dumb stuff. Seriously. The deepest question entertained on the show is who the guest would want to throw cold spaghetti at if given the opportunity. You need this in your ears.

  1. The Nerdist

Chris Hardwick has made his way in entertainment as a master host and great business dude. But for the last 6+ years he’s also been doing this interview podcast with his friends Matt Mira and Jonah Ray. They interview comedians, entertainers, and other random famous folks for an hour and the back catalogue is vast. Scroll through and you’re sure to find at least 10 episodes with people you adore right off the bat.

  1. Girl on Guy

Ok, so this is a little deeper interview show, but Aisha Tyler (of Friends, Archer, The Talk, and Criminal Minds fame) is literally the cool chick you always wanted to hang out with, and you didn’t think you ever could, but she came up to you one day, put you at ease, and you ended up talking well into the night and forging a life-long friendship. A bunch of the old episodes are now behind a pay wall, but I would recommend subscribing and just seeing what pops up next for free. It’s sure to be great.

  1. Unqualified (with Anna Faris)

Ok, I realize people have kind of a love/hate relationship with Anna Faris’s characters, but after listening to this podcast you can’t deny that she’s super authentic, hilarious, and incredibly nice. Each week she’s joined by a celebrity friend and they give their unqualified advice to listeners. It’s not always politically correct, but if you can look past those moments, it’s definitely entertaining.

  1. The Dead Authors Podcast

This sounds boring, right? But it’s actually comedian Paul F. Tompkins portraying H.G. Wells in conversation with another comedian portraying–you guessed it–another dead author. And it’s hilarious. Start with the one where Kristen Schaal portrays Tennessee Williams, and if you don’t laugh out loud at least three times, tweet me @maggiebertram, and I will personally apologize.

  1. Another Round

I am in love with this podcast. It’s one of the new Buzzfeed podcasts and the hosts, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, are literally two of the most engaging and charming podcast hosts I have heard in a long time. They take on all kinds of social issues (with guests like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Melissa Harris Perry), but they do it in a very approachable way that weaves in humor masterfully. Oh, and as I’m writing this, the week’s guests are Eugene Mirman and John Roberts from Bob’s Burgers, so how can you really go wrong?

  1. Sampler

I love all of Gimlet Media‘s podcasts, but Sampler is a treasure. It’s literally a podcast about what is happening in podcasts (meta, right?). Host Brittany Luse (of the podcast For Colored Nerds) leads listeners through the latest and best must-hear moments in podcasts. How do you think I heard about The Dead Authors Podcast?

Other awesome/funny/lighthearted stuff to plug into your ears:

The Indoor Kids — Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani plus a guest talk about video games

Mystery Show — Starlee Kine solves mysteries that can’t be answered by the internet

The Dinner Party Download — a potpourri of the week’s arts and leisure news bites from NPR


Date April 19, 2016

Author Maggie Bertram

Tags podcasts, stress, stress less week

Tag: stress

Managing Wellness During Exam Season

October 29, 2017 October 19, 2017 Maura Barret

It’s that point in the semester again.  The pages of your agenda are filled with due dates of midterms, papers, and group projects.  The amount of hours you sleep dwindles and the cups of coffee you consume skyrocket.  You manage to go to your 9 am lecture while running on four hours of sleep…

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Back in Session: How to take care of your mental health in the classroom

September 22, 2017 September 22, 2017 Liz Dugas

Welcome back to school, and for the stress that that brings up for so many stigma fighters like us. We have all felt it, our attention slipping from a lesson, the words from the professor become just letters and sounds. Too much is happening in our brains to understand the lecture, to read the slide,…

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Tune in For Laughs: Staff Picks

April 19, 2017Maggie Bertram

Stress management is important, and we here at the Active Minds National Office have a bunch of different ways we prioritize it. Some of us like to go to the gym, take walks, meditate, do yoga, hang out with friends, go hear live music, cook, bake, or toss stress balls at each other from across…

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Mental Health Advice I Would Give My Freshman Self

February 17, 2017 Elizabeth Williams

I am now in my final semester of college. I am so proud of myself for making it this far. Despite living with depression and anxiety, I have had an amazing college experience. 4 years of learning mind-blowing concepts, developing career skills, taking scary risks, and forging new paths. 4 years of fighting for my…

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Happier Holidays: Tips to De-stress and Enjoy Your Break

November 15, 2016November 15, 2016Amanda Uhme2 Comments

This time of year can be the best: heading back home, family-time, food everywhere, gift-giving! But the holidays can also be the worst: heading back home, family-time, food everywhere, gift-giving. The way you view the holiday season can depend on a lot of different factors. Does traveling back to your home town make you excited…

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12 Ways to Promote Mental Health Awareness on Your Campus

September 8, 2016 September 7, 2016 Lee Ann Gardner

Now’s a great time to look ahead and plan your programs through the end of Fall semester and beyond; if you’re looking for a way to promote your Active Minds chapter on your campus, and raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention, consider hosting an event around one of the mental health awareness campaigns…

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Stress Less Week: Podcasts to Help You Laugh More

April 19, 2016April 18, 2016Maggie Bertram

Anyone in the Active Minds National Office will tell you that I’m obsessed with podcasts. It all started several years ago with This American Life and Planet Money and really hit its stride when the first season of Serial emerged. But, as much as I love the aforementioned podcasts, they can be suspenseful, require specific attention,…

Continue Reading

Stress Less Week: Is it Stress or an Anxiety Disorder?

April 16, 2016 April 15, 2016 Maggie Bertram

We often talk about stress and anxiety disorders as if they’re interchangeable. This isn’t surprising. A lot of the physical symptoms we experience with stress and anxiety are the same. Heart palpitations, sweating, rapid breathing, muscle tension, and headaches are all common symptoms. Stress, of course, is a regular part of each person’s day–no matter how…

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Text, Talk, Act. Because Mental Health Matters.

March 9, 2016 March 8, 2016 Faven Mesfin

Often, the most necessary conversations are the ones that are most difficult. Text, Talk, Act (TTA) makes at least one conversation a little easier by assisting students to share their mental health stories through a very familiar platform: text messaging. Once again this semester, Active Minds is excited to partner with TTA on April 19…

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: My Findings on Stress, Substance Use, and Social Problem Solving

June 9, 2015January 14, 2016Rickie Miglin

Drinking and smoking marijuana to cope with stress is an experience that many college students have. For my project, I was interested to see if the way college students react to problems played a role in the relationship between stress and problematic substance use. What I found might not even come as a surprise –…

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Three Pieces of Advice for Transitioning Veterans

November 10, 2016 November 10, 2016 Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring him to your campus or organization to speak about mental health.


Through the drones of machinery and roaring turbines, a calm voice came over the loudspeaker of the C-141 troop transport plane, “please prepare for landing.” I had been in Iraq for over a year on what seemed like a dark and twisted Groundhog Day. Stepping off of the plane in Germany was a surreal experience. The lush green hills and puffy white clouds draped against the blue sky were a far cry from the deserts of Iraq. I had never felt so relieved in my life.

After being wounded during an ambush, I came closer than I had ever imagined to dying. My life as an Infantryman in Iraq was a mix of long hours and overwhelming boredom, peppered with brief moments of pure terror, racing adrenaline, and extreme focus.  Conversations with friends ran the gamut of pop culture, politics, sports, music, and goals. There was a lot of time to think about home, about family and friends, and about what I wanted to do when I got out of the military.

The first few months back in the United States I was riding an almost euphoric emotional high, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the freedoms our country has to offer. For me, trying to settle back in to civilian life was the priority. Eventually the newness of it all faded away and I was left with the realization that I had no real plan. I was 21 years old and had spent three of my formative early adult years in a highly structured environment where “right place, right time, and right uniform” was the overarching mantra to the lower enlisted soldier. Having choices and excessive free time were a welcomed, yet unfamiliar luxury.

I became consumed with anxious thoughts that kept me awake at night. Depression crept in as the reality of what I had lived through began to fully sink it. The guilt of surviving, while other soldiers who were stronger, faster, and more proficient did not, was hard to digest. Frustration permeated my daily life as the larger questions loomed over almost every moment of my existence.

Admitting that I needed help was one of the toughest realizations I came to in my life. Stigmas are a very real barrier to mental health treatment. From my personal experience, they are even more pronounced in the military, where not being able to pull your weight can lead to mission failure or getting someone killed.  Through supportive friends, family, and caregivers I accepted the realization that I wasn’t able to do it on my own and I sought treatment for what was eventually diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

bryan-adams-am-conference-2010After years of focus, time, and hard work I was able to fully appreciate and respect the importance of mental health. I felt the need to educate others, to change the conversation about mental health. That is what lead me to Active Minds— their mission is to eliminate stigmas on college campuses.

I found myself working to raise awareness for mental health treatment through speaking engagements and publications; my current duties also include working in veteran’s services at Rutgers University, where I have learned a lot about the re-integration process and mental health.  I do not however, consider myself an expert; I feel that I am more of an observer and fellow traveler on the journey. I want to share some of the practices which I have seen as very effective not only to my personal situation but many returning veterans.

Below you will find three recommendations I have for you to keep in mind if you are a transitioning veteran or working with transitioning veterans.

Have a plan:

Develop a concrete plan of action several months before leaving the service. Smaller goals      are an easy way to measure progress and build confidence.

If you plan on attending college after leaving the military it is a good idea to start researching schools up to a year in advance as many have early admissions deadlines. Learn about their rankings, majors, accolades, and veteran programs. Start contacting them with any questions you may have; there is no such thing as a dumb question.

If you are looking to start working immediately afterwards, take advantage of the career and professional development resources available to you as a veteran. Veteran friendly companies, job fairs, and job placement companies for veterans are all great resources. A simple internet search can yield local and federal hiring events that could connect you with Human Resource professionals and hiring managers.

Much like in the military, you should dress for success. Make sure you prepare for your interviews by practicing with others. Do research on the company, its goals, and major initiatives. Tailor your resume to the specific company you are applying for and utilize resources available to translate your training and experience into civilian terminology.

Take Care of Yourself: Maintaining a healthy mind and body will make your ability to deal with stress, change, and adversity more manageable. It has been shown that as many as one in four adults have some form of diagnosable mental health disorder. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of treatments and psychiatric services which can be tailored to your individual needs. You can also file for disability claims for any injuries or illnesses you believe you may have developed as a result of your service. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation as a result. If you are going to file a disability claim I recommended seeking assistance from a specialized claims officer or veteran’s service organization. If you have private insurance you can utilize providers within your network who may have specializations in working with veterans.

There are many other holistic approaches which you can take advantage of as a returning veteran. Mindfulness practices, meditation, yoga, outdoor recreation, regular exercise regimens, and group activities which promote healthy coping mechanisms have all been proven beneficial. A service animal can also act as a day-to-day support mechanism to help you navigate through life. Seeking treatment should never be viewed as weakness; it takes a strong person to take the tough steps necessary in recovery.

Continue to Serve: As veterans we are used to having a mission and serving the country for the greater good. This sense of service runs strong in us all and it is important that we continue to fulfill this need. Community service and helping others is one of the highest forms of self-actualization one can achieve. There are many opportunities for veterans to give back to their communities and country. We can use our skills, knowledge, and experience to improve the lives of others who are less fortunate.

Active Minds Speakers Bureau PTSD veteran mental health

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