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Nine months into the global pandemic, Riley Capuano told a grid of faces on a Zoom screen why she and her peers needed schools to reopen.
“I’ve never seen this many students struggling with mental health,” the Los Altos High School junior said during a virtual school board meeting on Dec. 14. “Being cooped up in your home all day is really, really tough. Read more ›
October is the month in which we highlight the need for depression awareness and accessible and affordable mental health screenings. Read more ›
Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps is being honored as PRWeek’s Communicator of the Year in recognition of his work to reduce stigma around depression and mental health issues. Read more ›
California high school and middle school students will have some lifesaving information at their fingertips as they go back to school this year. Read more ›
Has your child ever lived with a parent or caregiver who had mental health issues, such as depression? Witnessed a parent or caregiver being screamed at, insulted or humiliated by another adult? Been separated from their parent or caregiver due to foster care or immigration?
Those are some of the questions on a survey that California pediatricians will use to screen millions of children for traumatic experiences beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Read more ›
The Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” was associated with a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the show’s release, after accounting for ongoing trends in suicide rates, according to a study published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The findings highlight the necessity of using best practices when portraying suicide in popular entertainment and in the media. The study was conducted by researchers at several universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIMH also funded the study. Read more ›
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows how the effects of childhood trauma persist and are linked to mental illness and addiction in adulthood. And, researchers say, it suggests that it might be more effective to approach trauma as a public health crisis than to limit treatment to individuals. Read more ›
Many members of Generation Z — young people between 15 and 21 — have taken more active roles in political activism this year, and a new survey indicates that the state of the nation is to blame for this generation’s stress levels. Read more ›
Early elementary students with symptoms of depression are much more likely to be at risk for academic deficits, according to new research. Read more ›
Genetic tests for depression and anxiety treatments are part of a rapidly growing field called “personalized” or “precision” medicine. Instead of your doctor prescribing drugs based primarily on factors like weight and age, the tests show how a drug will affect you as an individual. Using your DNA, they compare how your particular genetic makeup affects how your body processes key components in antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. For instance, if you metabolize a certain chemical slowly, you may need a lower dose of a medication. These tests can also increase patient safety by identifying drugs that may cause undesirable interactions or side effects. Read more ›
Only about 50 percent of adolescents with depression get diagnosed before reaching adulthood. And as many as 2 in 3 depressed teens don’t get the care that could help them. To address this divide, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued updated guidelines this week that call for universal screening for depression. Read more ›
Researchers found that teens who spent a lot of time in front of screen devices — playing computer games, using more social media, texting and video chatting — were less happy than those who invested time in non-screen activities like sports, reading newspapers and magazines, and face-to-face social interaction. The happiest teens used digital media for less than an hour per day. But after a daily hour of screen time, unhappiness rises steadily along with increasing screen time. Read more ›
A recent study, published in the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, suggests that different groups of people also talk about depression differently. In particular, poorer black kids discuss their feelings of depression differently than other demographic groups. Read more ›
Over the last decade, anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services. In its annual survey of students, the American College Health Association found a significant increase — to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011 — of undergraduates reporting “overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year. Surveys that look at symptoms related to anxiety are also telling. Read more ›
“Can we screen you for depression?”
Depending on their answer, as many as 10,000 incoming UCLA freshmen and transfer students could become part of the school’s massive study into the causes and treatments of the mental disorder.
Called the Depression Grand Challenge, UCLA’s initiative — which seeks to cut the incidence of depression worldwide in half by 2050 — is launching the screenings as new students move into their dorms and prepare for the first day of classes on Thursday. Read more ›
When he was 16, DeMarrco Nicholson came home to find his mother unresponsive in the bathroom of their Washington, D.C., apartment, dead from sudden heart failure. In a matter of weeks, he was separated from his siblings, thrown into foster care and bounced from group home to group home in Anacostia, one of the poorest, high-crime neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Read more ›
Each year, more than 45,000 people die by suicide and in the past 15 years, the suicide mortality rate has risen by an alarming 24%. A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine examines how illness plays a role in suicide risk. Researchers found that 17 physical health conditions, ailments such as back pain, diabetes, and heart disease, were associated with an increased risk of suicide. Two of the conditions — sleep disorders and HIV/AIDS — represented a greater than twofold increase, while traumatic brain injury made individuals nine times more likely to die by suicide. Read more ›
When researchers in the UK exposed depressed adolescents to happy or sad words and imaged their brains, they found that depression has different effects on the brain activity of male and female patients in certain brain regions. The findings suggest that adolescent girls and boys might experience depression differently and that sex-specific treatments could be beneficial for adolescents.
By 15 years of age, girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys. There are various possible reasons for this, including body image issues, hormonal fluctuations and genetic factors, where girls are more at risk of inheriting depression. However, differences between the sexes don’t just involve the risk of experiencing depression, but also how the disorder manifests and its consequences. Read more ›
Gender differences in depression diagnosis and symptoms start to appear around the age of 12, a new study reports.
The analysis, based on existing studies that looked at more than 3.5 million people in more than 90 countries, confirmed that depression affects far more females than males. Read more ›
A Menlo Park mother plans to launch a mobile app that uses artificial intelligence and a cartoon squirrel to help adolescent boys better communicate their emotional state with parents.
Patrina Mack, founder of the app called K’Bro — short for “Are you OK, bro?” — said the idea came to her when she was going through a tough divorce and observed how difficult it was for her young son. Read more ›
Children with serious behavioral disorders might fare better at school if they get some exercise during the day, a new study suggests.
The researchers focused on children and teenagers with conditions that included autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression.
The study was conducted at a therapeutic day school affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The school enrolls ∼110 children each year in kindergarten through 10th grade with diagnosed BHD, many of whom have learning disabilities, but does not serve children with intellectual disabilities. They looked at whether structured exercise during the school day — in the form of stationary “cybercycles”— could help ease students’ behavioral issues in the classroom. Read more ›
More than 42,000 Americans die from suicide each year. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death in youth (10 to 24 years of age) and young adults (25 to 34 years of age), claiming the lives of 12,073 individuals in these age brackets in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Risk factors such as depression, other mental disorders, and substance use, along with precipitating events such as relationship loss or disruption; and environmental circumstances like barriers to accessing mental health treatment, can contribute to suicidal behavior.
An independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed a 10-year roadmap for advancing research to prevent youth suicide. The panel listed 29 recommendations that address three critical issues: improving data systems, enhancing data collection and analysis methods, and strengthening the research and practice community. Read more ›
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 ›
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.
Riley knew of at least two of the kids who had killed themselves the previous winter: an older girl at school (they had mutual friends) and a boy in her Christian youth group. Such peripheral connections are all that seem to connect most of the kids in the area who had killed themselves, and school and county officials began to worry they were witnessing a copycat effect…until copycat became too weak a word. It was more like an outbreak, a plague spreading through school hallways. Read more ›
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.
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 ›
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 ›