Extra Help: How to Find a Mental Health Professional

(Photo credit: Sara V.)

(Photo credit: Sara V.)

Making the decision to see a mental health professional can be difficult. Sometimes people are unsure whether they are truly in need of help; other times, the stigma attached with seeking help can make people fear that they might be “crazy” or that others will look down on them. The truth is that seeing a professional can dramatically improve your quality of life, because there are times when all of us could use some extra help in order to feel like ourselves again.

Finding the right counselor for you can be a tricky process, so here are some helpful points to remember during your search:

  • There are many different types of mental health professionals, so finding one can be confusing. They are, in short: 1) psychiatrists—medical doctors (MD) who primarily prescribe medication for treatment.  Some, but not most, also engage in talk therapy; 2) psychologists—usually a doctoral-level provider (PhD) who provides counseling, psychotherapy, and assessment, but typically does not prescribe medication (this does vary state-to-state, however); 3) licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed professional counselors (LPC), and licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), all of whom have a master’s degree in their respective area and provide counseling and psychotherapy; and 4) primary care providers, who, while not actually a mental health provider, often prescribe psychiatric medications.

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4 Things Teachers Can Do to Improve Their School’s Culture


Schools are most successful when everyone is on the same page, moving toward a common goal and motivated by a compelling vision, but sometimes goals get fractured and the vision gets blurry. It’s in those moments when you, as an individual, have the opportunity to make the greatest impact. Here are four ways to make it a positive one.

#1: Make room for social and emotional learning. 

In a positive school culture there is an expectation of social and emotional safety, which is something that you, as a teacher, can create from the ground up, starting with your classroom, your colleagues, and yourself.

Here are a few suggestions to promote the kind of positivity that keeps people not just comfortable in their school environment, but also enthusiastic and engaged:

Instagram Photo of the Day 4.16.14

cathyhhuang: So excited to move here in a few short weeks :) what other city in the northeast offers gondola rides downtown? #pvd #teachforamerica

cathyhhuang: So excited to move here in a few short weeks :) what other city in the northeast offers gondola rides downtown? #pvd #teachforamerica


Teach For America Alum or Middle School Teacher?

(Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan)

(Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan)

I was having dinner recently with a few other teachers who are all TFA corps members or alumni, and we hit on an interesting topic: how do you identify yourself when people ask what you do?

For me, that question really hit home. When I accepted my offer to join Teach For America in Memphis almost three years ago, I was thrilled to join such a prestigious organization. The first few times I flew home to New England for Christmas and then again during the summer, I definitely wore a TFA t-shirt on the plane. I was subconsciously begging to be asked what I was doing with my life, and when the question inevitably came, it went something like this:

Pop Links 4.15.14: Career Resources for 2012 CMs; Red Moon; Stressed Teachers; Student-Teacher Danceoff

  • 2012 corps members, check out this new site to explore career resources and ways to continue your impact beyond the corps!
  • Americans burning the midnight oil to finish filing their taxes were treated to a special show from Mother Nature: 17 minutes of a red moon! If you missed it, don’t worry–you can catch the next one in six months.
  • Results from a new study show that teachers are feeling more stressed than ever, leading to higher levels of disengagement with their students.
  • A group of students taking an impromptu dance break in the middle of the school day were pleasantly surprised when one of their teachers joined the fun! Watch the teacher-student danceoff!
  • TFANet Resource: Combining Like Terms

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The Hardest and the Richest

Freeman at graduation with the Merritts.

Freeman at graduation with the Merritts.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

– Mark Twain

I cross under the mountain tunnel, take Exit 1, my heart flutters—I’m almost there.

I haven’t visited my college since October, and I’m coming back to tell my stories, to see my friends, to visit a place that used to be a home. What a contrast a place can provide when the old person and the new person suddenly and seamlessly coexist.

I walk up the hill and onto the quad. I see Dr. Merritt pacing back and forth on the phone. He hands me a copy of The Bluestone Review, a literary magazine that has just been released that evening. I flip to my poem and read the familiar words as he continues his conversation.

After a few minutes, he looks at me and whispers an apology.

“Is Mrs. Merritt in her office?” I ask.

He nods.