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Hanks Named #2 Most Influential Mental Health Expert on the Web

Anyone can make a difference for good. Anyone. This list is proof. I’m a social worker in Salt Lake City, UT on a mission to create meaningful online conversations about my passions: mental health and relationships. I love social media because it allows me to have a voice and share helpful and inspiring information across the globe. Me? I write and blog and tweet and post and share because I want to help make your life better by sharing trusted resources, helpful articles, tips, humor, and answer your mental health and relationship questions.

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Stop Pretending You’re ‘Fine’

Our goal this month on Studio 5 is to help you “Live without Pretending.” We’re giving you a chance to put that theme into practice, starting with the conversations you have every day. Therapist Julie Hanks says it’s time to stop pretending you’re fine, when you’re not.

When someone asks, “How are you?”, do you automatically say, “I’m fine”? If so, you’re not alone. “Fine” seems to be the default answer for many of us. Sometimes we’re not fine but we feel like we should be fine. Here are some ways to stop pretending you’re find and become more authentic.

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Ask Julie: Periodic Depression Interferes with Life

Q: I get depressed sporadically and it interferes with my life and I want to fix it. I’ve always had emotional problems my whole life. Anxiety, depression, difficulty coping with life, codependency, low self-esteem; and I have been trying SO HARD to “just be happy” like everyone tells me to do, but I just can’t do it. I TRY. And I don’t want to take meds, and I don’t know how much a therapist is but I don’t have a lot of money.

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Ask Julie: Not Depressed Or Anxious But Prefer Being Alone

Q:  I know there have been several questions on this site regarding preferences for solitude, but most of these questions have come from people with diagnosed disorders such as depression, social phobias, PTSD, etc., and the answers provided have been framed in the context of the relevant disorder. My concern is that, despite being depression and anxiety-free, I am becoming Read more

Ask Julie: Should I Seek Help For Depression?

I have been struggling with what I believe to be depression for the last year and a half (I have never been diagnosed with depression). I thought it was linked with my hypothyroidism, but even after recieving treatment for it the depression (or what I thought to be depression) still lingers. Should I seek help from a professional or should I simply leave everything as is. (I am desperate for some form of advice because whatever I have has caused many problems at home and in school).

A:Thanks so much for writing in. The answer is yes, you should address the depression. I want to recommend that you talk to your parent or guardian about getting you in for a mental health evaluation. The depression may or may not be linked to your other health problems. Watch the video for additional help.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

7 Ways To Beat Winter Sadness: Sharecare

Does your mood take a nose dive during the winter months? In this new post for ShareCare I give a few ideas for beating seasonal depression. Click the post title above to go to the article.

During the winter months, about 15% of Americans suffer from a mood disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD symptoms are similar to those of depression—feelings of sadness, low energy, sleep problems, irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, anxiety, social isolation and, in severe cases, suicidal thoughts. The difference between general depression and SAD is that sufferers generally gain weight and only experience depression symptoms during a specific and recurring time of the year.

Seasonal depression impacts significantly more women than men. Among people with SAD, 60 to 90% are women, and females between the ages of 15 and 55 are at highest risk.

Overcoming Cyber Envy: Studio 5

Therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW, owner and executive director of Wasatch Family Therapy, cautions women to remember that a digital life is the best version of someone, not the entire picture.

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Ask Julie: Can Employers Find Out I’ve Been Hospitalized?

Q In 2011 I was sent to a Behavioral Center because I tried to kill myself and I was self-harming very badly. I was released after a week and everything was fine. But now I’m trying to get a job and I’ve applied to many, but every time they fill it with someone who applied after me. I know I’m qualified for the jobs, so I’ve been wondering if they could see that I had been sent to the health center if I hadn’t told them? Please and thank you for your time.

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Mental Health Benefits Of Running

Last month I sat down with KSL’s Brooke Walker and Raylee Eck in beautiful Sugarhouse Park to chat about the health and mental health benefits of running. Ironically, I had to skip my run that morning to get to ready for the video shoot. Ha!