Reclaim Your Mental Health

Millions of Americans suffer from mental health disorders and the numbers have been growing long before the pandemic began. 

According to the Center for Disease Control one in five people will experience a mental health disorder each year, now the largest cause of disability worldwide (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016). 

So, what is causing this worldwide mental health crisis? 

According to Knopf (2016), paralyzing anxiety and an inability to regulate emotions has created a society in which suicide is now a leading cause of death – even for young children under eight years old. 

Suicide rates increased 30% between 2000–2018 while the number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher (CDC, 2020). 

In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 (CDC, 2020). These statistics are staggering, but there is hope. Whether you are experiencing a mental health crisis, or just struggling to cope in your daily routine, emotional intelligence is the key to unlocking a healthier way of life. 

Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Martin Seligman, renowned psychologist and author explained “the prevention of mental illness comes from recognizing and nurturing a set of strengths, competencies, and virtues – such as future-mindedness, hope, interpersonal skills, courage, the capacity for flow, faith, and work ethic” (as cited by Covey, Covey, Summers, & Hatch, 2008, p. 10). 

The ability to regulate one’s emotions is important, not only for the mentally ill, but for anyone struggling with lifestyle problems. 

This skill set has been termed “emotional intelligence” which describes an individual’s ability to understand and regulate his or her own emotions and to recognize these emotions in others (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009; Gardener, 1987; D. Goleman, 1995; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).  

Unlike IQ, thought to be predetermined from birth, it is widely believed EI can be learned (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009; D. Goleman, 1995; Guerra et al., 2014). 

Moreover, Goleman (1995) suggests emotions out of control can actually impede the intellect and mastering this emotional competence can help to facilitate other types of intelligence, including IQ. 

Bradberry and Greaves (2009), suggest individuals with high EI scores are high performers and, on average, make more money than individuals with lower EQ scores. 

The ability to understand and manage emotions as well as managing behavior and personal relationships may be the intangible “it factor” that determines success, and it can be developed. 

There are an increasing number of studies that show a relationship between EI and an array of positive outcomes such as emotional well-being, job satisfaction, and general life success. 

Emotionally intelligent people are considered better at coping with life’s challenges and environmental demands, contributing to overall positive psychological and physical health (Lanciano & Curci, 2015). 

Brent (2018) reports preventative interventions aimed at bolstering resiliency can have long-term protective effects against suicidal ideation. 

These prosocial preventive approaches, which can be learned, have been shown to reduce suicidal ideation and attempts (Brent, 2018). 

Just as helplessness and despair are learned behaviors, optimism and hope can be learned as well (D. Goleman, 1995; Kanoy, 2013). 

EQ Matters More than IQ

The term “emotional intelligence,” frequently referred to as EI or EQ, refers to an individual’s capacity for learning about, understanding, and attending to his or her own emotions and those of others (D. Goleman, 1995; Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004). 

Mayer and Salovey (1988) identified five domains associated with EI including: (a) knowing one’s emotions, (b) managing emotions, (c) motivating oneself, (d) recognizing emotions in others, and (e) handling relationships. 

The emotionally intelligent individual has been described as “personally resilient and a positive influence on others” (Morton, 2012, p. 12).  

Goleman (1995) suggests that approximately 20% of factors contributing to life success can be attributed to IQ, leaving 80% of success determined by other forces. 

So, what are these “forces” that can positively contribute to success? 

They include the ability to “motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulses and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope” (Goleman, 1995, p. 34). 

Just as helplessness can be learned, so can hopefulness and resilience. 


Get Started

As an expert in emotional intelligence and organizational development, I offer one-on-one coaching and corporate workshops to help individuals and organizations reach their goals for improving mental health, building more effective communication, and addressing stress and burnout.

Contact me today for a free personal development workbook that includes an Emotional Intelligence Assessment Tool. This tool will help you identify your growth opportunities as you set new goals for your personal development. 

Want to learn more? 

See a list of services here. You can also schedule a free 30-minute consultation here.



Bradberry, T. & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego: Talent Smart.

Brent, D. (2018). Commentary: A time to reap and a time to sow: Reducing the adolescent suicide rate now and in the future: Commentary on Cha et al. (2018). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry59(4), 483-485. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12903

Carter, R. (2010). Within our reach: Ending the mental health crisis. New York, NY: Rodale Inc.

Gardner, H. (1987). The theory of multiple intelligences. Annals of Dyslexia, 37, 19-35.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Bantam Books.

Insel, T. (2013, January). Thomas Insel: Towards a new understanding of mental illness [Video file]. Retrieved from

Knopf, A. (2016). Suicide in young children compared to young adolescents: Differences and commonalities. Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter32(11), 3-4. doi:10.1002/cbl.30171.

Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1988). Personality moderates the interaction of mood and cognition. Affect, cognition, and social behavior, 87-99.

Lanciano, T., & Curci, A. (2015). Does emotions communication ability affect psychological well-being? A study with the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) v2.0. Health Communication, 30(11), 1112-1121.

Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004). Emotional intelligence: Theory, findings, and implications. Psychological Inquiry, 15(3), 197-215. Retrieved from EITheory FindingsImplications.pdf.

Morton, W. (2012). Everything you need to know about emotional intelligence & leadership. Newmarket, Ont.: BrainMass Inc.

Nutt, A.E. (June 7, 2018). Suicide rates rise sharply across the United States, new report shows. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 25, 2018 from

Whiteford, H. A., Degenhardt, L., Rehm, J., Baxter, A. J., Ferrari, A. J., Erskine, H. E.,. 

. . Johns, N. (2013). Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet, 382(9904), 1575-1586.

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