Monday, May 13, 2019

What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Grieving a Suicide

What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Grieving a Suicide

Suicide can leave the survivors with anger, confusion and guilt, and even well-intentioned words can cause pain.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

New Study: How does Screen Time Affect Grades?

What effects can phone screen time have on students? At first glance, it may seem harmless but when we decided to take a closer look, we found a strong correlation between too much phone time and lower grades.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

6 Practical Ways for Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

6 Practical Ways for Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Every winter, approximately 5 percent of Americans come down with seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The onset of SAD typically occurs between the ages of 18 and 30, and four out of five people who suffer from it are women. While more research needs to be done to figure out the causes, it’s widely considered that the decreased amount of daylight during the winter months plays a role.

Some symptoms of SAD include:
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of interest in activities you typically enjoy
  • Cravings for junk food
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Does your child need therapy? Thoughts on parental fears and why we need you involved

Historically, psychiatry has not been kind to mothers. Early (and mostly wrong) ideas about what ‘caused’ emotional/behavioral difficulties and psychiatric disorders made it easy for clinicians to blame parents for all childhood conditions. Autism is a classic example. In the 1940s Leo Kanner, one of the most influential child psychiatrists of the time, stated that children with autism were kept in “refrigerators that did not defrost.” By refrigerators, he was referring to mothers, who he believed were emotionally and interpersonally distant. As most of you likely know by now, Kanner was wrong.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Depression Is Poorly Diagnosed and Often Goes Untreated

CreditStuart Bradford 
Using data from a survey that screened more than 46,000 Americans for depression, researchers found evidence that the condition is not properly diagnosed in many people. And even when diagnosed correctly, depression often goes untreated.
The nationwide survey was undertaken in 2012 and 2013 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It used a well-validated scale to determine depressed mood, and the researchers defined treatment as having visited a psychotherapist or other mental health professional or taken a psychiatric drug. The study is in JAMA Internal Medicine.
About 8.4 percent of the people interviewed had depression. But of those, only 28.7 percent had received any treatment.
At the same time, of those who were treated for depression, only 29.9 percent had screened positive for the disorder. Many people with less serious psychological problems were being treated with antidepressants and other psychiatric medicines.
“There are challenges in aligning depression care with patient needs,” said the lead author, Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. “Extending the use of simple screening tools in primary care is a good first step. Most adults who screen positive for depression don’t receive any treatment."

For Gay and Transgender Teens, Will It Get Better?

Animation by Jessica Tang. Emoji: Apple.
It’s easy to assume that now must be a better time than ever to be a lesbian, gay or bisexual teenager. We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Our culture has grown more accepting, too; one of the most anticipated albums of the year, Frank Ocean’s, embraces his desire for men. These factors work together to create the illusion that as a society we are barreling toward a world of complete liberation, where everyone is truly free to be whoever they are.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More Child Suicides Are Linked to A.D.D. Than Depression, Study Suggests

“Maybe in young children, we need to look at behavioral markers,” said Jeffrey Bridge, the senior author of the new research. CreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times 
Attention deficit disorder is the most common mental health diagnosis among children under 12 who die by suicide, a new study has found.

From He to She in First Grade


When our son turned 6, my husband and I bought him a puppet theater and a chest of dress-up clothes because he liked to put on plays. We filled the chest with 20 items from Goodwill, mostly grown-man attire: ties, button-down shirts, a gray pageboy cap and a suit vest.

But we didn’t want his or his castmates’ creative output to be curtailed by a lack of costume choices, so we also included high heels, a pink straw hat, a dazzling fairy skirt and a sparkly green halter dress.

He was thrilled with these presents. He put on the sparkly green dress right away. In a sense, he never really took it off.

For a while, he wore the dress only when we were at home, and only when we were alone. He would change back into shorts and a T-shirt if we were running errands or had people coming over.

Then we would come home or our guests would leave, and he would change back to the sparkly green dress, asking me to tie the halter behind his neck and the sash around his waist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

If you know someone who might be suicidal, here are 12 helpful suggestions.

A lot of people in the United States live with suicidal thoughts.

One study suggested that about 15% of Americans will have suicidal thoughts in their lifetime. About 40,000 Americans die by suicide each year.

I could tell you more statistics too, like how more than half of those are by firearm or how men are three and a half times more likely to die by suicide than women. I can tell you a lot of statistics. And those statistics are important. But for most of us, they're just numbers.
But when it's not just numbers — when it's your dad, spouse, or someone you love who you think is in danger — what the heck are you supposed to do?

This is a situation that, unfortunately, some of us might have to deal with one day. And it can be incredibly scary.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

11 Ways to Calm a Child’s Repetitive Anxious Thoughts

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

“What if I have no friends to sit with at lunch?”

One anxious thought can repeat in the mind like a vicious broken record. Are you familiar with this phenomenon?

If you’re a parent of an anxious child, you might even hear this thought repeated out loud. What can you do to help? When nothing in your verbal toolbox seems to break the cycle of repetitive anxious thoughts, try the power of physical touch. A hug can actually activate the parasympathetic nervous system and soothe a child’s chattering mind.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016



When asked, “How many brothers and sisters do you have?” I might give any of the following answers: only child, oldest of 3, or oldest of 5. All true. This is what it means to be a stepdaughter.
1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day. I am a statistic, a stepdaughter three times over, starting at ages 2, 9, and 15, with two half-brothers, a stepbrother and a stepsister. Everyone offers advice. Over the years I’ve heard dozens of opinions from the well-intentioned about how divorced parents and new stepparents should and should not behave. Most get it wrong.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Best Way to Fight With a Teenager

When raising teenagers, conflict usually comes with the territory. A growing body of research suggests that this can actually be a good thing. How disagreements are handled at home shapes both adolescent mental health and the overall quality of the parent-teenager relationship. Not only that, the nature of family quarrels can also drive how adolescents manage their relationships with people beyond the home.




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