14751 Plaza Dr. Suite F
Tustin, CA 92780
Elizabeth Shin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Southern California native serving people across Los Angeles and Orange counties. Growing up in a multicultural environment, she understands the challenges individuals and families face in this demanding and unpredictable world. As a therapist, she helps children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families heal from past pain, change destructive patterns, and restore hope for a happier life. As a wife and mother of 2, she strives for progress, not perfection. As an amateur baker, she strives for the perfect chocolate chip cookie because if anything in life is perfect, it has to be a cookie.
Q: Why does mental health have a bad stigma surrounding it when it's so common?
A: Mental health can be a very abstract idea for some people because unlike a physical ailment that can be addressed with medication/surgery/etc, mental health diagnoses cannot always be addressed with some physical cure. Mental health issues can be very scary for people because of the fear created in our culture about "crazy" people and the drastic behaviors that may come with some mental health diagnoses.
Q: How does social media affect mental health?
A: Increased exposure (your information is everywhere), immediacy of social media (you post something, and instantly it's on everyone's feed), and the permanence of social media (you post something, and it's always traceable somehow) create so many more issues for teens, including increased anxiety and depression. Social media, in spite of its many benefits, also puts teens in a challenging position because while they're in a stage when they are supposed to experiment and test social boundaries, communication skills, problem solving, etc, their mistakes are posted online for everyone to see forever. This creates a lot of shame and anxiety, more so than is necessary for a teen to learn valuable life lessons.
Q: Is there a way to self-assess my mental health? When would I 100% know that I need to go out and seek help?
A: Here are a few resources for self-assessments. Remember that self-assessments are not 100% effective, and if you believe that you or someone you know needs help, get help from a trusted adult.
Q: How would approach your parents about emotional struggles?
A: Speak from your perspective and use "I" statements. Focus on sharing your emotions and behaviors. If you can, be specific about where you're having problems (ie. having trouble sleeping, can't concentrate, constantly feeling worried, panic attacks, thinking about death and suicide, etc). Often times, parents hear their child is struggling but are confused about what their child is struggling with. Identifying specific behaviors or issues can be helpful to your parents as they seek to understand and navigate how to support you.
Q: How can we help someone with substance abuse issues?
A: Similar to helping someone with mental health issues, approach with a posture of care and curiosity. Judgment and shame are a sure way to get someone to close up and never want to open up to help. Substance abuse can be challenging because typically, people struggling with substance abuse have inconsistent motivation to get clean, have people in their lives who enable their substance use, and isolate themselves from those who can help while surrounding themselves with others who use. Emphasize their courage for acknowledging their problem and instill hope for recovery because research and countless testimonials tell us that recovery is possible, even in the most dire situations.
Q: What is the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack?
A: An anxiety attack, people may feel fearful, apprehensive, may feel their heart racing or feel short of breath, but it's very short lived, and when the stressor goes away, so does the anxiety attack. Panic attack on the other hand doesn't come in reaction to a stressor. It's unprovoked and unpredictable. but most people use it interchangeably.
Q:What really is "good mental health"? When does the line between healthy pain cross over into depression?
A: People will go through their ups and downs, it is a normal part of life; that doesn't necessarily mean that your mental health is bad or that you don't' have a proper way of coping, it just means that you are a human. The key is how we manage the ups and downs of life and if you have the proper tools to handle your relationships and conflicts you have. You should start to be concerned when things like binge eating or sleepless nights affect your ability to carry out your normal life.
Q: What is something comforting or appropriate to say to someone to support who is vulnerable or struggles with self confidence?
A:When you try to uplift someone we accidentally shutdown a conversation or make a person feel unsafe, and it is not always intentional, but saying less could mean more. If you want to be there for your friend, you don't necessarily have to say anything, most of the time they are looking for someone to listen.
Q:I’ve heard people around me use the term “seasonal depression”. Is seasonal depression real? Or is it just sadness correlating to the events that happen during that time (ex: finals, midterms etc.)
A: It is the way the environment is affecting your mental health. For example, people who live in Seattle (an area that is generally gloomier and cloudy) there are more people who show symptoms of depression compared to a place like California (which is a lot sunnier). I'm not completely sure if that is true but there have been observations where there is a correlation.
Q:I have heard that using ice with red dye on your wrist is a good coping mechanism when feeling like cutting. In your professional opinion does this method work?
A: Everybody's way of coping is going to be unique and. it is very personal thing. Coping is something that we do and will not be the same for everyone.
Q:How do you prevent someone's problems from becoming your own?
A: Boundaries and it is important to have a support system! You are not the only person who has to support your friend, and being the only person available is not fair to either one of you, so it is important to build a good support system for each other.
Q: Why is it significantly harder to get medical coverage for mental health issues compared to other physical ailments?
A: Part of it is the stigma and not being able to fully understand mental health and illness and the other is prioritizing physical needs first. There is also a conflict in identifying medications and making a diagnosis for mental health versus how you would for your physical health.
Q:I've heard of the term "smiling depression." What does it actually mean?
A:“Smiling depression” is a term for someone living with depression on the inside while on the outside they appear happy or content. They seem put together and that their lives are "normal" or "perfect"