This Week in Mental Health

The latest on research and advocacy for the week of March 22nd.

Written by Esther Fernandez

This Week in Mental Health

01 Research looks at how one in five mothers experience postpartum OCD, how mindfulness may improve mental health, how dementia diagnosis can increase risk of suicide, and more.

02 Singer Demi Lovato, The Bachelor Ben Higgins, Prince Harry, and Frankie Jonas talk mental health advocacy.

Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide, sexual assault

Conversations about mental health have grown exponentially over the last decade, with more and more people committing to personal and collective wellness. While we have a ways to go before mental health awareness, education and treatment are accessible to all, each day brings new and positive strides within the field. 

Our This Week In Mental Health series covers the latest happenings in research, treatment, human interest stories, and more. Stay updated on new developments so you’re better equipped to navigate the world, and most importantly, your own recovery.

Here’s what’s happening the week of March 22nd.


Gen X, Millennials in Worse Health Than Prior Generations at Same Age 

Gen X and millennials have more anxiety and depression, substance use, and health problems compared to previous generations. The new study looked at over 688,000 Americans, and researchers suggest that declining health is caused by complex, societal issues rather than just a singular factor like obesity. 

Learn more here.

Study Shows Health Decline in Gen X and Gen Y

OCD Among New Mothers More Prevalent Than Previously Thought

A new study shows that eight percent of women meet diagnostic criteria for OCD during pregnancy, and 17 percent meet criteria 38 weeks after delivery. Previously, the former statistic was reported to have been around 2 percent. Researchers suggest that asking more specific questions, in particular about harm-related intrusive thoughts, helps more mothers to recognize and report their OCD symptoms.

Learn more here.

Recent Dementia Diagnosis Associated With Short-Term Higher Suicide Risk

A new study shows that a recent diagnosis of dementia can increase suicide risk. Researchers from multiple schools, including Yale and the University of Michigan, looked at 2.5 million people aged 65 and older. It was found that the highest rate for suicide was within the first 90 days of dementia diagnosis. This study suggests the importance of screening and support services, as well as firearm safety, as over half of those who died by suicide used a firearm.

Learn more here.

Science Of Happiness Course Gives Students Conclusive Mental Health Boost

A UK university course on happiness helped students increase their mental well being. The course included learning about the psychology and neuroscience of happiness, but required no exams. From the three cohorts of students — some who took the course in person and others online during the pandemic — it was found that all three groups had better mental health than control groups.

Learn more here.

Online Mindfulness May Improve Mental Health During Covid-19 Pandemic

Researchers found that anxiety and stress can be alleviated using online mindfulness sessions. The new study looked at 233 participants globally from March to August 2020. After participating in 15-minute mindfulness sessions, 89% of participants found mindfulness to be helpful, 76% had decreased anxiety, and 80% had decreased stress. Researchers also found a 52% increase in people looking for mindfulness resources during the pandemic.

Learn more here.

Narcissism Driven By Insecurity, Not Grandiose Sense Of Self

A new study found that narcissists are better explained by insecurity rather than an inflated sense of self. Previous studies have been unclear in the reasoning behind narcissistic symptoms and motivation for behavior. The study looked at 300 participants, and also noted that inflated sense of self is more of a sign of psychopathy rather than genuine narcissism.

Learn more here.


Demi Lovato Talks Mental Health in New Youtube Documentary

Demi Lovato talks about her substance use, sexual assault, and eating disorder in her newest documentary Dancing With the Devil. Although this isn’t the first time Lovato has spoken up about her mental health, the documentary focuses on newer events that have happened in her life, most notably her overdose in 2018. She also mentions her misdiagnosis of Bipolar disorder when she was younger.

Learn more here.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil Trailer

Ben Higgins Opens Up About His Past Addiction

Ben Higgins from The Bachelor talked about his painkiller addiction on the Facebook show "Addiction Talk". After an injury in high school, he underwent knee surgery and was given pain medication. From there, his addiction began, and he kept it secret from the rest of his family who assumed the medication was related to his surgery. It took time for him to understand he had a problem, but after four years, he was able to recover.

Learn more here.

Prince Harry Lands New Job At BetterUp

After his interview with his wife Meghan Markle, and Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry announced he will become the chief impact officer at BetterUp, a start up that focuses on coaching and mental health. Prince Harry explained how he was interested in the company’s mission, and that he received coaching himself. In his position, he will help with tasks like product strategy and mental health advocacy.

Learn more here.

Frankie Jonas Reveals Struggle With Substance Abuse and Suicidal Thoughts 

Frankie Jonas opened up on Tik Tok about his struggle with addiction and suicide. He explained in the short clip that he has struggled with substance abuse and has attempted suicide. After getting treatment, he now feels he is in a better place.

Learn more here.

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