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Meet Tabitha Arey


Tabitha Arey, MSN, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Specialty: neurological trauma, adoption/foster care, substance use disorders


Tabitha is a board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner with experience working with kids and teens in the foster care system, adults experiencing substance use disorders, and patients in the Trauma/Neuro ICU and COVID ICU experiencing extreme mental and physical trauma and loss. These experiences have affirmed her passion for mental health care and obsession with the fascinating and resilient nature of the human brain and people’s ability to overcome adversity.


She also just generally enjoys helping others find ways to effectively cope with the bittersweetness of living, parenting, and experiencing joy in today’s social, environmental, and political climate.


Her two small humans and two rescue pups keep her on her toes and provide plenty of laughter and chaos on the daily.

We can confirm she has a dark sense of humor, dislikes talking about herself and will vibe with you if you're socially awkward. 


Favorite Superhero: Deadpool – simply for the laughs and dark humor. But Dr. Strange and Gamora are close runner ups since they are smart and badass and whatnot.

Favorite movie: I’m more of a TV show person, but favorite movies would include Star Wars, Avatar, and Interstellar.

Favorite bands/singer/music: I am unapologetically a product of the 90’s, so my taste in music is all over the place – some faves include Radiohead, Blink-182, Jack Johnson, or any 90’s hip hop.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?: Time travel – pretty sure I would thrive as a cavewoman. 

If you could have three wishes, would what they be?: to live right next to a mountain so I could hike every day, an end to fighting/war in the name of religion, and free health care for all.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself: If I had to choose another career, I’d be a marine biologist. I’ve been a scuba instructor since my early 20’s and I’m lowkey obsessed with the weird creatures in the ocean (octopus, jellyfish, nudibranchs) and love diving with sharks.

Tell us about your pets: I have 2 rescue doggos. The grumpy old lady Zoe is an 11-year-old Chi-weenie who weighs 9lbs and is [obviously] the alpha. The big ol’ doofus Lincoln is a 6-year-old heeler/pitbull/dalmatian mix with tall/skinny legs, which makes him resemble an AT-AT robot from Star Wars.

What are you most passionate about in the mental health field? : I mean – all of it. But if I have to pick one thing it would be ending stigma. We have come a long way, but there’s still so much shame and secrecy surrounding mental illness. Stigma just perpetuates and compounds the problems experienced by people with a mental health diagnosis. Being able to openly share and seek help without fear of judgment is the best way to realize we’re all human and we’re in this together. 

What are your thoughts about treating adult ADHD?: I think treatment depends on how it affects your everyday life, which can vary greatly from person to person. Being diagnosed in adulthood is becoming more common as we begin to understand how people (especially women) adapt, compensate, and mask symptoms of neurodivergence from an early age and may not match textbook definitions.

What is your philosophy on using medication to treat mental health? Are medications lifelong? : Medication for mental health can be lifesaving – I have no doubt about this. However, I understand why a person may be hesitant to try this option due to many factors, such as side effects, stigma, and general misconceptions about some meds. I do think there are many ways to approach mental health treatment and medications are only one potential piece of the puzzle. I believe medications can, in most cases, support a struggling individual in a way that allows them to not have to spend so much energy just to keep their head above water. As a result, they can instead use that energy to engage in therapy and/or other services that can help complete that mental health care puzzle and lead to more long-term solutions. The duration of medication for mental health depends entirely on the risk versus benefit for each person, and it is ultimately your choice if you decide medications aren’t right for you for any reason.

What are other things you feel could be beneficial to improve mental health other than
 I’m a big advocate for therapy, especially if you find a therapist you vibe with and can be completely honest with. There’s also so much research supporting the effects of nutrition, exercise, sleep, and sunlight on mental health, so despite them being almost everyone’s least favorite solution – they can be a game changer. 

Tell us about the intersection between your experience in the neuro ICU and psychiatry?: Neuro ICU taught me so much about how even just the smallest of changes in our brains can alter so many aspects of everyday lives including language, balance, memory, learning, motor function – everything. It was also a place where many people were experiencing the worst days of their lives at a young age due to head trauma, strokes, and other similar things. This environment nudged me into having the absolute honor of holding parent’s/spouse’s/children’s hands while guiding them through the devastating process of unexpected loss, giving me the constant reminder that there are only 2 guarantees in life: birth and death; everything in between is what we make of it. Taking care of our meat suits – especially the noggin portion can make our time here more enjoyable.

Thoughts on marijuana: I’m relatively neutral on this one, but I’m a big proponent of the “everything in moderation” saying. It helps some people and doesn’t with others, so it’s really an individual decision if it’s right for you. 

If a patient is nervous about an evaluation, especially when talking about tough things like trauma or sexual abuse, what would you want them to know? You certainly don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to. It does help to have a clear picture of your history to differentiate between symptoms of trauma and other diagnoses; however, this is entirely up to you if you wish to share or not. I will ask in a general way, and you can give as much or as little info as you want. I have plenty of personal and professional experience with processing traumatic events, so you don’t have to feel alone in your tough experiences ever. 

Do you have any personal experiences regarding mental health you are opening to sharing?  I have definitely had my own experiences in mental health care throughout my life, and that is a part of what led me to this field. I think that making it through the things I’ve made it through has solidified my belief that anyone can persevere and thrive despite any setback, adversity, or shitty situation.  

Paperflower Psychiatry

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