The recent murder of Maren Sanchez at Jonathan Law High School hit close to home, since I grew up one town over from Milford, and had friends who went to school there. I also have friends and relatives who teach in Connecticut, and have been trying to help their students cope with not only the loss of a sense of safety, but in some cases, the death of a friend.
When adolescents lose a peer, it is likely to be to a quick and violent death. The top three causes of death for teens are car accidents, suicide, and homicide. Sudden deaths can be harder to cope with than deaths that were expected, and violent deaths can be the hardest of all.
There was an excellent article in the Huffington Post about some differences between adolescent and adult grieving. After reading his piece, I wanted to give some tips for how to help your teen move through the terrible experience of losing a peer.
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We expect a lot from teens. We expect them to reach their full academic potential, to succeed in athletic, artistic, or charitable endeavors, and often hold down a job. They take on roles of responsibility in clubs, teams, families, and their communities. They care for younger siblings, pass standardized tests, plan for their young adulthood, and attempt to keep up strong peer and romantic connections. No wonder they’re exhausted!
I believe that teens can succeed in all these tasks, but I also believe that teens can get stressed and overscheduled trying to live up to all their obligations. I wanted to offer a few tips for you to help your teen keep life in balance. Read full post »
A new study in Pediatrics (the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) published an interesting study last week. The study looked at 4,000 kids, interviewed them in 5th, 7th, then 10th grade to see how bullying might affect them. What they found was not surprising to me. Kids who are currently being bullied or who have been bullied in the past and are still being bullied had poorer health outcomes. Read full post »
We’ve written a lot of posts about suicide, but I wanted to address a recent news story. The latest teen suicide to hit the media is that of 15-year-old Christian Adamek. On September 25th, he streaked a football game; by October 2nd, he was dead from self-inflicted injuries. There are lessons for all of us to learn in the sequence of events from his prank to his demise. Read full post »
In what is becoming a sadly familiar story, a 12-year-old girl named Rebecca Sedwick killed herself last week after months of both in-person and online torment by her peers.
What is especially frightening, at least to me, is that Rebecca’s family took all the recommended steps to protect their daughter. They immediately notified the school, then withdrew her from the school when the torment didn’t stop, and enrolled her at another one. They sought mental health counseling. They “unplugged” her from the websites bullies were using to reach Rebecca. And yet despite all these efforts, the bullies got through, and Rebecca took her own life.
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This week of September 8-14th is National Suicide Prevention week so we wanted to take a moment to bring up this important topic again. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people ages 15-24 and it is very preventable! During this week, let’s remember those whose lives ended too soon and watch for warning signs of depression and suicidal thinking amongst friends and loved ones.
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Guest author Megan Moreno: Adolescent medicine physician and Principle Investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team
As Sara described last week, an area of our research team’s interest has been investigating depression disclosures on social media. We have conducted several research studies in this area, each new study develops after learning new things from the last one. Our initial study in the area of depression looked at how often depression disclosures were present on Facebook. We found that up to a quarter of Facebook profiles of older adolescents included one or more depression symptom displays. We also found that these displays were in particular patterns, and that comments from friends to these displays were frequent. Read full post »
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and though this is the final day of May, we wanted to continue to blog about mood and emotions. We have some amazing guest bloggers who are doing interesting work in the areas of social media and depression. Over the coming weeks, I want to highlight the research performed by Dr. Megan Moreno and her Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT). To find more on social media and mental health, Dr. Moreno’s team has also contributed posts to On the Pulse.
Guest Author Sara Klunk: A college student and social media researcher perspective
As a college student on the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), I spend a lot of time researching, well, myself. Okay, not myself exactly, but people who are my age, go to the same university, and have a lot of the same interests. So basically, yes, I spend a lot of time researching myself, my friends and how we interact with each other on social media sites. As our team has continued to explore this area, it has been interesting to see how the results match up with my own experiences on these sites. Read full post »
May is Child Mental Health Awareness month so many of our posts over the coming weeks will cover the topic of mental health in teens. Fortunately, we have many experts in the field of adolescent mental health who have agreed to help offer information on this subject. Child and teen mental health is a topic often left un-discussed, yet it can cripple the lives of the teens who suffer and the families who love them. In this post, we’ve asked Dr. Carolyn McCarty, a psychologist at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital to answer questions on warning signs of depression in teens. Read full post »
We had a previous post by Dr. Henry Berman on ADHD that reviewed how it can affect teens and warning signs that it may be impacting a teen’s life. We wanted to follow up that post by talking with a parent, so interviewed a friend who raised a teen with ADHD. Read full post »