Several anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias, share a common underlying trait: increased sensitivity to uncertain threat, or fear of the unknown, report researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The finding could help steer treatment of these disorders away from diagnosis-based therapies to treating their common characteristics. Read more ›
In a new study, Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook researchers determined passive readings or posts or one-click feedback such as “likes” did not influence well-being. However, frequent and substantive comments from friends did improve emotional perceptions.
Investigators determined 60 comments from close friends in a month were associated with increases in users’ psychological well-being as large as those associated with major life events. Read more ›
Leslie Patterson said she knew nothing about dyslexia when she first became an elementary school teacher. Now, the certified academic language therapist and licensed dyslexia teacher at Griffis Elementary School in Caddo Mills, Texas, is leading the way in using technology to help some of her dyslexic students develop a love for reading.
Using Bookshare, which, with 480,000 books is the world’s largest digital library, Patterson is helping her students access books they can read, using their eyes and ears, by listening to and seeing highlighted text. Read more ›
Five women whose lives have been intimately, irreversibly touched by youth suicide — two by their own attempts and three by deaths of family members — spoke candidly about their experiences on a panel in Palo Alto Wednesday night, urging others to speak with the same candor about the oft-silenced topics of suicide and mental illness.
“Talking about suicide is what we all need to start doing, and talking about mental health conditions,” said Mary Ojakian, a Palo Alto resident whose son died by suicide as a college student in 2004. “That is where we need to go: understanding and awareness, which is pretty easy to get, for everyone.”
Exercise may be an effective treatment for depression and might even help prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place, according to three timely new studies. The studies pool outcomes from past research involving more than a million men and women and, taken together, strongly suggest that regular exercise alters our bodies and brains in ways that make us resistant to despair.
Scientists have long questioned whether and how physical activity affects mental health. While we know that exercise alters the body, how physical activity affects moods and emotions is less well understood.
Past studies have sometimes muddied rather than clarified the body and mind connections. Some randomized controlled trials have found that exercise programs, often involving walking, ease symptoms in people with major depression. But many of these studies have been relatively small in scale or had other scientific deficiencies.
Screening results are often used to recommend school services as well as potential medications. In 18 questions, the screener known as the ADHD Rating Scale Fourth Edition (ADHD-RS-IV) asks parents and teachers to numerically rate a child’s behaviors. Half of the questions are focused on inattention, the other half on hyperactivity.
Teachers and parents who use the screening tool may mistake autism-related social impairments for attention problems, according to the study. Read more ›
In a marked shift from recommendations first adopted in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics has lifted its recommendation discouraging all electronic media use in children under the age of 2.
The new recommendations for children’s media use acknowledge that some media exposure can have educational value for children as young as 18 months, but it should be high-quality programming—the AAP specifically referenced “Sesame Street” and children’s programming provided by PBS.
The academy also has recommendations for e-book use. Many of those books come with interactive elements that distract a child and make the book harder for a child to comprehend. Therefore, parents should read e-books along with their children, just as they would with a regular book. Read more ›
CHC Rocktoberfest Rocks Out For Kids and Teens, Raising Funds For Affordable Teen Mental Health and CHC Programs
Media Contact: Micaelia Randolph, 707.933.7332, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yvonne Wolters, 650.867.7929, email@example.com
PALO ALTO, CA, October 24, 2016 —On Saturday, October 15th CHC hosted more than 350 community leaders, parents, professionals, and philanthropists at its Fourth Annual CHC Rocktoberfest fundraiser, held at NCEFT in Woodside. The benefit celebration and dance raised funds to expand affordable teen mental health services and to support CHC programs in Silicon Valley.
CHC Rocktoberfest, co-chaired by well-known community volunteers Calla Griffith and Anne-Marie Gambelin, has become one of the hottest tickets around, known for it’s fun mix of Oktoberfest with a California twist. Featuring farm-to-table food, and over 20 fine artisan wines and craft beers, as well as rock n’ roll, courtesy of the band LoveFool, guests were treated to a first-class evening out. Read more ›
Media Contact: Micaelia Randolph, 707.933.7332, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yvonne Wolters, 650.867.7929, email@example.com
As part of its ongoing Teen Mental Health Initiative, CHC has announced the expansion of affordable teen therapy services under the leadership of Dr. Lynette Hsu. Dr. Hsu’s work will focus on medication assessment and management with a strong focus on anxiety and depression. “We are extremely pleased to add Dr. Hsu to our team at CHC and to be able to provide specialized, affordable and accessible services for teens in our community,” says Dr. Ramsey Khasho, Director of The Center at CHC. “The need is great.” Call 650.688.3625 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more ›
UCSB Researchers Study the Effectiveness of an Innovative Program Designed to Help Youth Learn About Mental Health
Mental Health Matters, a program of the Mental Wellness Center, is in place in 35 classrooms in schools in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito and Buellton, helping 11- and 12-year-old children learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of six major mental illnesses: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and stress disorders, major depression, bipolar disorders, eating disorders and schizophrenia.
Mental Health Matters is an innovative curricular unit designed for students approaching or in adolescence whereby they are taught basic facts about mental wellness. Two formats are available: one for sixth graders and one for ninth graders. Students learn to recognize symptoms of mental health disorders and that treatment is available. A secondary objective is to directly address the stigma too often associated with mental illness. The goal is to increase the students’ understanding of mental illness, reduce the associated stigma and share wellness practices.
But, does program actually work? Read more ›
Many children with autism struggle to form friendships, in part because they have difficulty with social skills such as recognizing facial expressions. A research team at the Stanford School of Medicine is using Google Glass to help.
As KQED’s “Future of You” blog recently explained, a group of scientists at the Autism Glass Project, led by Dennis Wall PhD, have built facial-recognition software for Google Glass to help children distinguish between seven different types of facial expressions. Wall’s pilot study, in which kids with autism used Google Glass to help identify expressions in images shown on a computer screen, gave promising results. In the next phase of the research, which is still looking for volunteers, the team is testing whether Google Glass helps kids recognize others’ emotions during real-world interactions. Read more ›
New research provides some of the first evidence that medications taken by millions of American children to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) offer long-term benefits.
Based on an analysis of Medicaid claims for nearly 150,000 children diagnosed with ADHD in South Carolina between 2003 and 2013, researchers including Princeton University postdoctoral associate Anna Chorniy found treatment with ADHD medication made children less likely to suffer consequences of risky behaviors such as sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse during their teen years and injuries.
Many U.S. states are facing a severe shortage of psychiatrists, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Psychiatrists and mental health advocates say America today needs more than 30,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists, and has only 8,300—and the need appears to keep rising.
Advocates have long scrambled for solutions to the problem: increase funding for clinics; expand loan-forgiveness programs so medical students might be encouraged to go into child psychiatry; increase the number of psychiatric beds in hospitals; and expand telehealth. Read more ›
A Kaiser Permanente study found that the risk of younger siblings developing an autism spectrum disorder is 14 times higher if an older sibling has ASD. The study, which was published in Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, also found the risk level was consistent across gestational age at birth.
The study included Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California and focused on at least two siblings born to the same mother between 28 and 42 weeks of gestation from 2001 through 2010. Researchers examined the medical records of the 53,336 children born during this time, of which 592 were diagnosed with ASD. They found that: Read more ›
Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience have identified an inner ear deficiency in children with Autism that may impact their ability to recognize speech. The findings, which were published in the journal Autism Research, could ultimately be used as a way to identify children at risk for the disorder at an early age. Read more ›
Many pediatricians remain ill-equipped to identify and support kids with the developmental disorder, but a new approach may help. New research suggests that a series of two-hour videoconferencing sessions may be enough to significantly boost the capability of working pediatricians to better treat those on the spectrum.
Through a program called ECHO Autism, researchers at the University of Missouri evaluated whether practicing pediatricians could be trained to screen for and treat autism in a series of remote training sessions. Read more ›
The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines aimed at preventing schools from discriminating against the growing numbers of students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The department said schools must obey existing civil rights law to identify students with the disorder and provide them with accommodations to help them learn. Read more ›
CHC Launches Mental Health Initiative for Teens — Expands Affordable Teen Therapy, Community Education and Engagement
Palo Alto, CA July 29, 2016 — Children’s Health Council (CHC) today launches the CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative, focused on teen anxiety, depression and suicide. The CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative is an integrated program of community engagement, mental health education and affordable teen therapy, all aimed at preventing teen suicides and increasing the mental wellness of teens. The CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative will include comprehensive mental health education for parents, teens and schools to raise awareness of mental health issues, remove the stigma around discussing them, and educate the community about signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression and suicide for earlier identification and intervention. Read more ›
Libby Craig, a Palo Alto native and Gunn High School graduate, spent four hours every Sunday night for several months this year as a volunteer crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, a free, confidential, 24/7 support service accessible nationwide by simply texting the number 741741. Recently, she joined the nonprofit organization full time and is leading Crisis Text Line’s efforts to grow the service in the Bay Area, in part in response to the youth suicide clusters in her own hometown. Read more ›
In a potential crisis crossing demographic lines, one-third of California’s 11th-graders and one-quarter of seventh-graders reported feeling chronically sad or hopeless over the past 12 months, a survey released on July 18 showed.
Among the questions, students were asked if they felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more that it stopped them from doing usual activities — symptoms of depression. Their answers, compared with the previous survey two years ago, represented a 1 percentage-point increase for ninth-graders, and less than a percentage point increase for seventh and 11th-graders.
In November of 2015, the California Department of Public Health, on behalf of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist our community in better understanding youth suicide in Santa Clara County.
Palo Alto and the neighboring SF peninsula communities have been significantly impacted by teen anxiety, depression and suicide. Children’s Health Council’s Teen Mental Health Initiative focuses on this serious issue and what we can do about it.
The Teen Mental Health Initiative began with CHC’s 3rd annual Breakfast in February, which included an interactive panel discussion with experts who offered a variety of perspectives, strategies, and recommendations for supporting teens in crisis. After the breakfast, CHC extended these important discussions through a variety of community outreach efforts, such as workshops, forum discussions, and community coffees.
Today, Children’s Health Council is pleased to announce new opportunities and activities for teens that will be offered as part of our Teen Mental Health Initiative. Led by CHC’s Dr. Anna Parnes and Bridget Stolee McCormick, LMFT: Read more ›
Despite how common they are, anxiety disorders continue to be belittled as mere worrying instead of debilitating, disabling conditions that require treatment.
While a little bit of anxiety can be beneficial by helping us keep safe, people with untreated anxiety disorders experience overwhelming, uncontrollable feelings of dread or fear that can interfere with daily life and prevent them from doing the things they want to do. Learning more about these conditions is one way to help combat mental health stigma and get help to the people who need it.
Olivia Remes, lead author of the analysis and an anxiety researcher at the University of Cambridge, reviewed 48 of the best or most comprehensive studies on anxiety prevalence around the world and was able to pinpoint which cultures, genders and age groups are most likely to be affected. Read more ›
Facebook is rolling out worldwide tools aimed at preventing suicide, expanding its reach beyond the United States. Working with mental health groups such as Forefront, Lifeline and SAVE.org, Facebook started working on suicide prevention about a decade ago after a string of teen suicides in Palo Alto.
Since then, as Facebook has grown to 1.6 billion users worldwide, social media is playing a larger role in how people — especially teens — share their thoughts and lives with others. Read more ›
Children from impoverished families are more prone to mental illness, and alterations in DNA structure could be to blame, according to a study published on 24 May in Molecular Psychiatry.
Poverty brings with it a number of different stressors, such as poor nutrition, increased prevalence of smoking and the general struggle of trying to get by. All of these can affect a child’s development, particularly in the brain, where the structure of areas involved in response to stress and decision-making have been linked to low socioeconomic status. Read more ›
New research suggests emotions underpin how students learn in the classroom. In a new book, Emotions, Learning, and the Brain , Immordino-Yang and her colleagues at USC’s Brain Creativity Institute found that as students learn new rules during a task, such as the most efficient way to answer a math problem or the best deck to choose in a card game, they show emotional and physical responses long before they became consciously aware of the rules or are able to articulate them. Read more ›
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that students who feel more connected to their school have better health and educational outcomes than those who do not. Students with strong school connectedness are less likely to engage in alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use (ATOD) or violence. Engaging families, communities, and the students themselves creates a caring and supportive environment ripe for school connectedness. It is vital for schools to foster the belief that the adults and peers at school care about student education as well as about the students as individuals. Read more ›
Stunning increases in U.S. suicide rates for all ages gripped headlines today as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on the subject.
Overlooked in many stories: While the numbers of suicides for children remain low compared to other populations, girls aged 10-14 had the highest growth in suicide rates of any group between 1999 and 2014, the most recent year reported in federal data. In that time, the rate of suicides for girls in that age group tripled, growing from 0.5 per 100,000 people to 1.5 per 100,000 people. Read more ›
Why is it that girls tend to be more anxious than boys?
It may start with how they feel about how they look. Some research has shown that in adolescence, girls tend to become more dissatisfied with their bodies, whereas boys tend to become more satisfied with their bodies. Another factor has to do with differences in how girls and boys use social media. A girl is much more likely than a boy to post a photo of herself wearing a swimsuit, while the boy is more likely to post a photo where the emphasis is on something he has done rather than on how he looks. Read more ›
A growing dialogue within Asian communities is playing out in many of the Bay Area’s high-performing school districts, but the challenge of easing student pressure is also raising tensions and even a backlash from parents and highly motivated students — who worry reforms might dumb down learning.
California’s Asian teen suicide rate has fluctuated over the years, but through 2013 — the latest figures available — generally remained below the rate of white teens. Educators and doctors, however, say the signs of stress are disturbing . . . Read more ›
New research hints that social robots may be the key to helping autistic students develop stronger social skills.
Social robot developer RoboKind recently released preliminary research results regarding Milo and Robots4Autism that indicate children affected Autism Spectrum Disorders are more engaged in autism therapy when interacting with social robots than with other people. Read more ›
New research suggests the way a parent responds to their children’s emotional displays can influence the amount of food they provide to the child and also trigger binge eating by the parent.
The study of more than 440 parents and their preschoolers offers insight into why some parents who binge eat also may try to restrict their children’s food intake, placing their children at higher risk for unhealthy eating habits and weight problems. Read more ›
After reviewing the existing studies on autism screening, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a group of experts tasked by the federal government to review medical studies and provide recommendations for the public, said Tuesday in a statement in JAMA that there is not enough evidence to recommend all infants be screened for the developmental disorder.
This adds to growing contention among experts about which babies should be screened for autism,
Over the past few decades, cognitive scientists have found that small alterations in how people study can accelerate and deepen learning, improving retention and comprehension in a range of subjects, including math, science and foreign languages.
Now, two new studies explore the effectiveness of one common cognitive science technique — the so-called testing effect — for people with attention-deficit problems, one of the most commonly diagnosed learning disabilities. Read more ›
Katherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, launched “Young Minds Matter,” a new series designed to lead the conversation with children about mental and emotional health.
The Duchess of Cambridge serves as a guest editor for The Huffington Post – United Kingdom to discuss problems, causes and most importantly solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK’s mental health crisis among children. Read more ›
Adolescents between 12 and 18 years old in the U.S. should be screened for depression, according to guidelines reaffirmed by a government-backed panel of prevention experts.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says about 8 percent of U.S. adolescents experience major depression each year. Less is known about how common the condition is among younger children, however. Read more ›
In Palo Alto, members of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s epidemiological assistance team are scheduled to begin an investigation this week on the “suicide contagion” risk in a similar way they may investigate a viral or bacterial outbreak that spreads through a community. As federal officials arrive in Palo Alto, they will face a community that is trying to find innovative ways to combat suicide when it becomes a “contagion.” Read more ›
A group of parents who saw a need for a locally based, ongoing group to support other parents concerned about the mental health and well-being of their teens will be launching such a group this month.
The mental-health subcommittee of parent-advocacy group SELPA 1 CAC will host its first “Parent Chat” on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Los Altos Library. The group is supposed to be peer-driven, though a licensed marriage and family therapist will attend as a facilitator, and is open to parents of any children ages 14 and up. Read more ›
More than 300 local parents, educators, clinicians and community members gathered Tuesday morning to discuss ways to combat what one speaker called the “new norm” for teenagers in the area: alarmingly high rates of anxiety, stress, depression and death by suicide.
The Children’s Health Council (CHC), a Palo Alto nonprofit that supports youth with anxiety, depression, ADHD and learning differences through services and school sites, devoted an annual breakfast panel to the topics. CHC billed the event as a “call to action” for a community continuing to cope and learn from two separate youth suicide clusters in the last several years. Read more ›
In a new study, researchers reveal how brain scans could be used to identify children at high risk for later-life depression – information that could pave the way for early intervention and prevention.
Study coauthor John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann professor in health sciences and technology and a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and colleagues publish their findings in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Read more ›
From online news articles written at five different reading levels to algorithms that create personalized vocabulary lists, ed-tech tools are rapidly expanding the ways in which teachers can differentiate their literacy and reading instruction.
Experts say the new technologies have the potential to transform learning, one child at a time. Bernadette Dwyer a board member of the International Literacy Association says, “The problem up to this point is that when we’ve designed curriculum, we’ve done it with a mythical ‘average student’ in mind, then tried to fix the curriculum after the fact to address the needs of particular children, but digital tools can help us anticipate the needs of children upfront, particularly for struggling readers.” Read more ›
Kids who have allergies at an early age are more likely than others to also have problems with anxiety and depression, according to a new study.
The researchers studied 546 children who had skin tests and exams at age one, two, three, four and seven and whose parents completed behavioral assessments at age seven. Read more ›
Palo Alto, CA, January 5, 2016 — Each year, Children’s Health Council (CHC) hosts a breakfast and panel discussion on a topic of interest to parents and the community. These events bring together well-known speakers, writers and professionals whose insights can help with the critical job of raising our children and teens. The 3rd CHC Breakfast in this series will be held on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, Menlo Park from 8:30am – 11:00am. Tickets are $100 per person, and will include breakfast and an interactive panel discussion on the serious issue of teen anxiety and depression in our community and what we can do about it. The event is hosted by Co-Chairs Calla Griffith and Catherine Harvey, CHC, and its Board of Directors, with 100% of event proceeds going toward CHC’s Teen Initiative.