Mental Health

Gender fluidity: What it means and why support matters

Gender fluidity refers to changes over time in gender identity and gender expression. For many people, gender identity and expression develop early and stay the same; for others, one or both may change. Understanding and supporting young people exploring gender is important to their emotional and physical well-being.

How to avoid a relapse when things seem out of control

This year has been extremely stressful for everyone, and that stress can lead to harmful habits. For those working to stay in recovery from an addiction, the challenge is even more profound. Those in this situation know that the more stressful things are, the more important it is to practice the healthy habits that sustain recovery.

Coping with IBS

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex and painful condition. Its cause is unknown and there is no cure, so treatment focuses on day-to-day management, but often people need additional assistance beyond medical care to cope with emotional side of living with IBS.

Coping with the loss of smell and taste

A majority of people with mild or moderate COVID-19 have reported problems with their sense of smell, and a similar percentage reported changes in taste perception. The loss of these senses may be temporary, but it can take as long as a year for them to return, and some people will not regain them at all.

Cultivating joy as a family

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but particularly for families. Everyone is feeling so much uncertainty and stress, but one thing we can do is look for ways to create small moments of joy every day. Games, activities, creativity, being outdoors — there are simple, fun ways to be together and make memories.

Why is music good for the brain?

A study conducted by AARP found correlation between a person’s engagement with music and their opinion of their brain health and cognitive ability. While the study did not involve any objective measure of brain health, music has been shown to activate multiple areas of the brain, and keeping brain pathways active helps keep the brain strong in older age.

As family well-being declines, so does children’s behavior

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of people who have not been sick, and parents are being hit particularly hard. A survey of US parents found that these worsening circumstances also affect children’s behavior.

How to cope when a loved one is depressed, suicidal, or manic

The pandemic has caused a surge in depression. If someone you care about is struggling with depression or bipolar disorder, or you have reason to think the person may be suicidal, there are ways you can help — and caring for yourself is important, too.

Staying positive during difficult times

The trials and challenges of this year are weighing heavily on many people, but attempting to employ positive psychology to put personal struggles in context, and accepting the ups and downs life brings, can ultimately increase positive feelings and provide perspective.

Managing the new normal: Actively help your family weather the pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

More than six months into the pandemic, it’s clear that we are going to be living with it for some time, and that expectations of life soon returning to normal are not realistic. This is a good time to assess the adjustments we’ve made and see how we can make different choices to get ourselves and our families through the challenge.