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Diagnosing Anxiety & Other Mental Health Conditions

Whether you’re experiencing occasional stress or suspect you may be grappling with an anxiety disorder, our assessments are here to guide you in your journey towards greater clarity and support.

Common Adult Mental Health Conditions

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Understanding ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can interfere with daily functioning and social interactions. Individuals with ADHD may struggle with maintaining focus, organizing tasks, and regulating their impulses, leading to challenges in academic, work, and personal settings. While ADHD symptoms can vary in severity and presentation, early identification and intervention are crucial for managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

Key Symptoms of ADHD:

  • Persistent inattention, such as difficulty sustaining focus on tasks or activities
  • Hyperactivity, characterized by excessive fidgeting, restlessness, or an inability to stay seated
  • Impulsivity, demonstrated by acting without considering consequences, interrupting others, or engaging in risky behaviors
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization, including frequently losing items or being forgetful in daily activities
  • Difficulty following instructions or completing tasks, especially those that require sustained mental effort
  • Restlessness and an inability to engage in leisure activities quietly
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that impacts social interaction, communication skills, and behavior. Individuals with ASD may experience challenges in understanding and interpreting social cues, forming relationships, and communicating effectively. ASD is characterized by a wide range of symptoms and abilities, leading to the concept of a “spectrum” where each person’s experience with autism is unique. While some individuals with ASD may require significant support in daily functioning, others may exhibit exceptional abilities in specific areas. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for providing tailored support and resources to individuals and families affected by ASD.

Key Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder:

  • Difficulty with social interactions, including difficulty understanding nonverbal cues such as facial expressions or body language
  • Delayed or atypical language development, such as limited or repetitive speech patterns, or difficulty initiating or maintaining conversations
  • Repetitive behaviors or restricted interests, such as engaging in repetitive movements (e.g., hand flapping) or fixating on specific topics or activities
  • Sensory sensitivities, including heightened or diminished responses to sensory stimuli such as lights, sounds, textures, or tastes
  • Difficulty with transitions or changes in routines, leading to distress or anxiety when faced with unexpected events or situations
  • Difficulty with imaginative play or understanding abstract concepts, such as pretending or engaging in imaginative activities

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test (abbreviated to AQ) is a diagnostic questionnaire designed to measure the expression of Autism-Spectrum traits in an individual, by his or her own subjective self-assessment.

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Complicated Grief

Understanding Complicated Grief

Complicated Grief, also known as Prolonged Grief Disorder or Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder, is a condition characterized by intense and prolonged symptoms of grief that interfere with daily functioning and well-being. While grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one, individuals with complicated grief may experience persistent feelings of sadness, yearning, guilt, or anger that do not diminish over time. Complicated grief can significantly impact one’s ability to cope with loss, maintain relationships, and engage in daily activities, leading to emotional distress and impairment in various areas of life. It’s essential for individuals experiencing complicated grief to seek support and professional help to navigate through their grieving process and find ways to cope with their emotions effectively.

Key Symptoms of Complicated Grief:

  • Intense and prolonged feelings of sadness, emptiness, or despair related to the loss
  • Persistent yearning or longing for the deceased, accompanied by intrusive thoughts or memories
  • Difficulty accepting the reality of the loss, leading to disbelief or denial of the death
  • Excessive guilt or self-blame regarding the circumstances of the loss or unresolved issues with the deceased
  • Avoidance of reminders of the deceased or situations associated with the loss
  • Difficulty engaging in activities or relationships, leading to social withdrawal or isolation
  • Intense emotional reactions to reminders of the deceased, such as crying spells, anger outbursts, or physical symptoms such as tightness in the chest or difficulty breathing

Take this assessment to further explore if the symptoms you are experiencing are in line with Complicated Grief.

Depression Assessment


Understanding Depression

Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a common but serious mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed. Depression can affect how a person thinks, feels, and handles daily activities, often interfering with their ability to function normally. While everyone may feel sad or low from time to time, depression involves more than temporary feelings of sadness and can significantly impact one’s quality of life and overall well-being. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and seek support from mental health professionals to effectively manage and treat the condition.

Key Symptoms of Depression:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including hobbies, socializing, or sex
  • Changes in appetite or weight, such as significant weight loss or gain without dieting
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy, even after adequate rest
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, often without basis or justification
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts, or self-harming behaviors
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Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common mental health condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry or anxiety about various aspects of life, such as work, relationships, health, or everyday situations. Individuals with GAD often experience persistent and exaggerated concerns, even when there is little or no reason to worry, leading to significant distress and impairment in daily functioning. GAD can manifest both physically and emotionally, affecting one’s overall well-being and quality of life. Recognizing the symptoms of GAD is crucial for seeking appropriate support and treatment to effectively manage anxiety and regain a sense of control.

Key Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Excessive worry or anxiety about a wide range of events or activities, often anticipating the worst outcome
  • Difficulty controlling or managing worry, even when reassured by others
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge, accompanied by irritability or muscle tension
  • Fatigue or difficulty concentrating due to persistent worry or anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained pains
  • Avoidance of situations or activities that may trigger anxiety, leading to impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning
  • Experiencing anxiety or worry that is disproportionate to the actual threat or situation
Increase in stress and anxiety

Mood Disorders

Understanding Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by significant disruptions in mood, ranging from extreme highs (mania or hypomania) to profound lows (depression). These disorders affect how individuals feel, think, and behave, impacting various aspects of their lives, including relationships, work, and overall well-being. Mood disorders can vary widely in severity, duration, and presentation, but they often involve persistent and intense emotional experiences that interfere with daily functioning. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mood disorders is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment to help individuals regain stability and improve their quality of life.

Key Types and Symptoms of Mood Disorders:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, accompanied by changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Periods of mania or hypomania characterized by elevated mood, increased energy, and impulsivity, alternating with episodes of depression. Individuals may experience extreme highs (mania), extreme lows (depression), or mixed episodes combining symptoms of both mania and depression.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Chronic low-grade depression lasting for two years or more, with symptoms similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder but less severe.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Chronic fluctuations in mood between periods of hypomania and mild depression, lasting for at least two years.

The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) is a screening instrument used to assess manic symptoms in adults. Please note, the results of this assessment are not meant to be a diagnosis.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health condition characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or rituals (compulsions) performed to alleviate anxiety or distress. Individuals with OCD may experience distressing and irrational thoughts or fears that compel them to engage in repetitive behaviors or mental rituals to reduce their anxiety or prevent perceived harm. Despite recognizing that their thoughts and behaviors are excessive or irrational, individuals with OCD find it challenging to control or resist their compulsions. OCD can significantly interfere with daily functioning, relationships, and overall quality of life. Recognizing the symptoms of OCD is crucial for seeking appropriate support and treatment to manage symptoms effectively.

Key Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

  • Obsessions: Persistent, intrusive thoughts, urges, or images that cause distress or anxiety. Common obsessions include fears of contamination, doubts about safety or harm, or intrusive thoughts related to religion, sexuality, or morality.
  • Compulsions: Repetitive behaviors or mental rituals performed in response to obsessions to reduce distress or prevent harm. Common compulsions include excessive cleaning or handwashing, checking, counting, repeating words or phrases, or arranging objects in a specific order.
  • Distress and Impairment: Obsessions and compulsions cause significant distress, anxiety, or disruption in daily functioning, relationships, or occupational activities.
  • Resistance to Rituals: Despite recognizing that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive or irrational, individuals with OCD find it difficult to control or resist the urge to perform them.
  • Time Consuming: Obsessions and compulsions consume a significant amount of time, typically exceeding one hour per day, and interfere with other activities or responsibilities.
  • Impact on Relationships: OCD symptoms can strain relationships with family, friends, or colleagues, leading to social isolation or conflict.
  • Avoidance: Some individuals may avoid situations or triggers that exacerbate their obsessions or compulsions, further limiting their daily activities and experiences.
Panic Disorder Assessment at Light On Anxiety

Panic Disorder

Understanding Panic Disorder

Panic disorder involves frequent and debilitating anxiety and fear, often without reasonable cause.

Key Symptoms of Panic Disorder:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of anxiety and overwhelming fear that last for several minutes
  • Fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger
  • Strong physical reaction during a panic attack that may feel like a heart attack (increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, blurred vision)
  • Frequent avoidance of activities, situations or events that may trigger panic attack
  • Fear and physical symptoms lead to clinically significant emotional distress and/or functional impairment

The Anxiety Sensitivity Index above is a clinical assessment tool that will assist you as well as your provider to determine if you are experiencing “fear of fear” or “anxiety about anxiety”.

Freedom from panic attacks and panic disorder is not only about experiencing decreased “anxiety about anxiety” (otherwise known as anxiety sensitivity). It is also about experiencing decreased frequency and severity of panic attacks and related symptoms, as well as decreased emotional distress and life impairment. The Panic Disorder Severity Scale can assist you and your provider in obtaining an objective assessment regarding the frequency and intensity of your current panic symptoms.

Kid - Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Parenting Anxiety

Understanding Parenting Anxiety

Parenting stress and anxiety refers to the emotional strain and exhaustion experienced by individuals in their role as parents. The never ending responsibilities, challenges, and uncertainties associated with raising children can often contribute to heightened stress levels and anxiety for parents.  For example, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2017 found that 78% of parents reported feeling stressed at least sometimes during the past month. 

Key Symptoms of Parenting Anxiety:

Parenting stress and anxiety can manifest in various ways and may vary from person to person. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Constant Worry: Parents may find themselves frequently worrying about their children’s safety, health, education, and future.
  • Overwhelm: Feeling overwhelmed by the demands of parenting, such as managing schedules, balancing work and family life, and dealing with behavioral challenges.
  • Fatigue: Constant exhaustion due to lack of sleep, stress, and the demands of caring for children.
  • Irritability: Becoming easily irritated or frustrated, especially when dealing with challenging behaviors or situations.
  • Difficulty Relaxing: Finding it hard to unwind and relax due to ongoing worries and responsibilities.
  • Bodily Tension: Experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, stomachaches, or other stress-related ailments.
  • Perfectionism: Putting excessive pressure on oneself to be a perfect parent, leading to feelings of inadequacy or guilt when expectations aren’t met.
  • Isolation: Withdrawing from social activities or avoiding social situations due to feeling overwhelmed or ashamed of parenting struggles.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Trouble focusing on tasks or making decisions due to racing thoughts or preoccupation with parenting concerns.
  • Self-Doubt: Feeling unsure about one’s parenting abilities or constantly questioning if one is doing enough for their children.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you are not alone but you do deserve support! Managing parenting stress and anxiety often involves self-care practices, setting realistic expectations, and learning new coping strategies so you can stress less and enjoy parenting more.

Completing the Balanced Parenting Scorecard is the initial step outlined in our Overcoming Parental Anxiety workbook. From this starting place you will have a better idea of which components of the parenting experience are leading you to feel burnt out and from there, what action steps you can take to obtain well deserved enhancements in your emotional well being and overall life satisfaction. 

Social Anxiety Disorder Assessment

Social Anxiety Disorder

Understanding Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety (social phobia) is characterized by overwhelming worry and excessive self-consciousness in everyday situations.

Key Symptoms of Social Anxiety:

  • Anxiety triggered by situations where one may feel judged or criticized by others.
  • Fear of acting in a socially inappropriate way that would lead to negative evaluation or embarrassment.
  • Avoidance of social situations where judgment or scrutiny may occur
  • Fear of judgment causes clinically significant emotional distress or impairment in functioning.
  • Specific social anxiety presentations are public speaking anxiety and selective mutism
Trichotillomania Assessment


Key Symptoms of Trichotillomania:

  • The individual pulls out his or her hair regularly, which results in hair loss.
  • The individual makes a consistent effort to stop hair-pulling.
  • The individual’s hair-pulling causes him or her clinically significant distress or impairment in their everyday life.
  • The individual’s hair loss is not due to another medical condition.
  • The individual’s hair-pulling is not attributable to symptoms of another mental disorder.

The first step in treating Trichotillomania and other Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) is enhancing your awareness of the nuances of these behaviors, such as the frequency, body sites, and the antecedents of the behaviors (in other words, what are some of the triggers that occur right before engaging in the pulling or picking behavior), as well as the thoughts and negative feelings associated with the BFRB. By obtaining a clearer and less emotionally driven understanding of a BFRB, you can begin to implement effective habit reversal therapy to decrease the frequency of the behavior and intensity of the urge to engage in the BFRB.

Common Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conditions

Mental Health Screening Tools for Kid

Mental Health Screening Tools

Child/adolescent anxiety and related behavioral health conditions can take many different forms. It is not always obvious to the child or the family that one is experiencing anxiety symptoms. As a first step, it can be helpful to take an assessment to obtain an objective picture of current symptoms. 

The Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED) is a self-report instrument used to screen for childhood anxiety disorders including general anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. In addition, it assesses symptoms related to school phobias. There is a child self-report form and a parent form for parents to complete on behalf of their child.

The Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 (PSC-17) is a psychosocial screen designed to facilitate the recognition of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems so that appropriate interventions can be initiated as early as possible.

The My Thoughts about Therapy – Youth (MTT-Y) questionnaire is intended to give providers insight into overall therapy treatment engagement. It asks questions about thoughts and experiences with therapy.



The core symptoms of childhood ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, with these symptoms interfering  with a child’s daily functioning in multiple settings, such as school, home, and social environments.


  • Difficulty sustaining attention: Children with ADHD may struggle to stay focused on tasks or activities, becoming easily distracted or quickly bored.
  • Trouble organizing tasks: They may have difficulty organizing their thoughts, materials, and belongings, leading to disorganization and difficulties in completing tasks.
  • Forgetfulness: Children with ADHD may frequently forget or lose things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school assignments or toys.


  • Restlessness: Children with ADHD often have difficulty sitting still, constantly fidgeting, squirming, or moving around.
  • Excessive talking: They may engage in excessive and nonstop talking, even when it is not appropriate or necessary.
  • Difficulty engaging in quiet activities: Children with ADHD may find it challenging to engage in calm and quiet activities, often seeking more active and stimulating experiences.


  • Acting without thinking: Children with ADHD may struggle with impulse control, frequently blurting out answers before questions are complete or interrupting others’ conversations.
  • Difficulty waiting turns: They may find it challenging to wait for their turn in games or activities, often displaying impatience or agitation.
  • Risk-taking behavior: Impulsivity may lead to engaging in potentially dangerous activities without considering the consequences.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms should be present in multiple settings, such as home, school, and social environments, and should significantly impact a child’s functioning and development to meet the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.

Help for picky eating

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

The PARDI-AR-Q (Bryant‐Waugh, R., Eddy, K. T., Micali, N., Cooke, L., & Thomas, J. J. (2019)) is a self-report measure of the key features of avoidant restrictive food intake disorder and measures the severity of impact of self-reported ARFID symptoms and ratings of common ARFID features (sensory-based avoidance; lack of interest in eating or food; and concern about aversive consequences of eating). 

These symptoms may look like other mental health problems. It is best for a child/adolescent to meet with a mental healthcare provider who can rule out other emotional and physical causes of these symptoms and to provide you with a formal diagnosis.

Pervasive Developmental Delay (PDD)

Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by persistent difficulties in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following:

  • Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity: This can range from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
  • Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction: These may include poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication, abnormalities in eye contact and body language, or deficits in understanding and using gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
  • Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships: This includes difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts, difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends, or absence of interest in peers.

Additionally, individuals with ASD often exhibit restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following:

  • Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech: Such as simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases.
  • Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior: This includes extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat same food every day.
  • Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus: Such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests.
  • Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment: Apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement.

The following criteria must also be met:

  • Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
  • These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and ASD frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of ASD and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

IED is characterized by recurrent behavioral outbursts representing a failure to control aggressive impulses. Children and adolescents with IED have low frustration tolerances and are disproportionately enraged by small annoyances.

Key symptoms of IED:

  • Verbal aggression (e.g., temper tantrums, tirades, verbal arguments, fights)
  • Physical aggression toward property, animals or other individuals
  • Some children and adolescents with IED will engage in verbal aggression or physical aggression that results in damage or destruction of property or in physical injury.
  • The magnitude of aggression expressed during the recurrent outbursts is  out of proportion to the provocation or to any precipitating psychosocial stressors.
  • The recurrent outbursts are not premeditated, nor are they committed to achieve a tangible objective such as money, power, or intimidation.  
  • The child or adolescent senses increasing tension prior to committing the act and experiences pleasure, gratification or relief during or following the act.
  • The impulsive aggressive outbursts have a rapid onset and typically last for less than 30 minutes.

These symptoms may look like other mental health problems.  It is best for child/adolescent to meet with a mental healthcare provider who can rule out other emotional and physical causes of these symptoms and to provide you with a formal diagnosis.  

Mood Disorders treatment at Light On Anxiety

Mood Disorders

A mood disorder is a broad term used to describe the different types of depression and bipolar disorders, all of which affect mood. These conditions can involve symptoms of moods ranging from extremely low or flat to extremely high or energized. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder associated with symptoms of mania, which is characterized by periods of abnormally elevated mood, including (but not limited to):

  • Higher energy levels than usual
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Talking loudly and/or excessively
  • Risky or unusual behavior
  • Restlessness or difficulty focusing

The Child Mania Rating Scale, Parent Version (CMRS-P) is a screening tool intended to be completed by parents and is used to assess manic symptoms in children. Please note, the results of this assessment are not meant to be a diagnosis.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by frequent, disturbing intrusive thoughts, feelings, ideas, or sensations (obsessions) and accompanying behaviors that one feels compelled to engage in (compulsions). Compulsions can be either external (washing hands) or internal (counting or praying). One engages in compulsions to get rid of obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. 

Key Symptoms of OCD:

  • Frequent disturbing intrusive thoughts, feeling, ideas or sensations (obsessions)
  • Repeated behaviors that one feels compelled to engage in an attempt to reduce or manage anxiety symptoms (compulsions)
  • Obsessions and compulsions cause emotional distress and/or impairment in functioning

These symptoms may look like other mental health problems.  It is best for child/adolescent to meet with a mental healthcare provider who can rule out other emotional and physical causes of these symptoms and to provide you with a formal diagnosis.  

Kid - Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

All children and adolescents will occasionally disobey, argue with parents and defy authority.  Children and teens are more likely experiencing ODD than “normal” striving for independence and autonomy when these oppositional behaviors  interfere with learning, school adjustment and disrupt child’s relationships with peers and family members.   

Key symptoms of ODD include:

  • Having frequent temper tantrums
  • Arguing a lot with adults
  • Refusing to do what an adult asks
  • Always questioning rules and refusing to follow rules
  • Doing things to annoy or upset others, including adults
  • Blaming others for the child’s own misbehaviors or mistakes
  • Being easily annoyed by others
  • Often having an angry attitude
  • Speaking harshly or unkindly
  • Seeking revenge or being vindictive

These symptoms may look like other mental health problems. It is best for child/adolescent to meet with a mental healthcare provider who can rule out other emotional and physical causes of these symptoms and to provide you with a formal diagnosis.

Looking for Answers to Your Mental Health Challenges?

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