Presentation of a “series” format by subject | Medication

Dear Readers: We have recently received a number of inquiries about how people with mental disorders should approach romantic relationships. Given the volume and intensity of the letters on this subject, we will be creating a “series” on this subject every Tuesday for the next five weeks. Our team will devote part of the column to giving you advice on this subject. Using this serial format will allow us to explore a single topic in greater depth and detail, so I hope column readers will find it both informative and interesting. If the feedback is positive, we will endeavor to continue applying this series format to several more of today’s most relevant topics in the future.

Statistics on the prevalence of mental health disorders indicate that approximately one in four adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. Despite their ubiquity in modern society, however, there is still a significant stigma attached to mental health disorders, which can make encounters with a mental health issue an isolating and difficult experience. Of course, the difficulty of entering into a romantic relationship as someone with a diagnosable mental health disorder will vary depending on the type of disorder and its severity. Either way, having a mental health disorder of any kind can make navigating the modern dating world all the more complicated and confusing.

Next week, in an effort to help people with mental health issues who are looking to build healthy romantic relationships, we’ll be posting our first tip on this topic. In the meantime, the column will continue with its standard and familiar “question and answer” format, but stay tuned for the first episode of this series next week. Please feel free to submit any information, experience or questions you may have on this subject, and we will endeavor to provide as complete and targeted information as possible.


DR. WALLACE: I’m a high school student living with my family here in Southern California. The other day I heard my parents talking about the tornadoes that erupted in various parts of the country, and it made my mom think again about the fact that we live in an earthquake country. My dad didn’t seem too concerned, but my mom was talking about learning what preventative measures our family might be able to take to make our home as safe as possible from a possible earthquake.

Do you think my mother is smart to consider this, or is she too worried? — Living in the land of earthquakes, by e-mail

LIVING IN THE COUNTRY OF EARTHQUAKES: Your mother is actually very wise to think about the best way to keep your family home safe and intact as much as possible against natural disasters like earthquakes.

I don’t know what year your family home was built, but many seismic building codes weren’t in effect until the early 1980s. This means that if your home was built before that, it’s at greater risk of sustain damage in an earthquake. The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) points out that some moderate preventative spending can potentially mitigate a much larger repair bill after an earthquake.

A typical family home renovation involves contractors using the crawl space under the house to reinforce the walls and bolt the structure to the foundation. It usually takes a few days and most projects cannot be completed for a total cost of less than $10,000.

You can suggest that both of your parents look into the California Residential Earthquake Mitigation Program to see if they might be eligible to receive some of the funds needed to install these preventative measures.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he won’t be able to answer each of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at To learn more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Jessica C. Bell