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Generation at risk: America’s youngest facing mental health crisis

Alex Crotty was just 11 when things started feeling wrong.

It wasn’t just a matter of being unhappy. She always felt empty and miserable — never content or connected to other children. For years, she suffered alone, filled with shame. She switched schools, but that didn’t help.

d0faa_tdy_health_cynthia_anxiety_171212_1920x1080.today-inline-vid-featured-desktop Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

“I didn’t feel unloved. I just felt numb to the world. Like, I was surrounded by great things, but just I couldn’t be happy. And I didn’t know why that was,” Alex told NBC News.

Finally, at 14, she decided to break her silence. “I can’t feel anything,” Alex simply told her mother, Heather Olson of New York. “So she just gave me a hug, cradled me in her arms on the bed, and was like, ‘Well can you feel me? Can you feel my love?'”

“A hug and kisses was the only thing that came to mind at the spur of the moment, but that was precisely what she needed to start the journey forward,” Olson said.

Alex was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. Now 16, she is in therapy and on medication. She’s far from alone.

d0faa_tdy_health_cynthia_anxiety_171212_1920x1080.today-inline-vid-featured-desktop Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisisCourtesy Heather Olson

There is an acute health crisis happening among members of the youngest generation of Americans, with critical implications for the country’s future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 5 American children ages 3 through 17 — about 15 million — have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year.

Only 20 percent of these children are ever diagnosed and receive treatment; 80 percent — about 12 million — aren’t receiving treatment.

d0faa_tdy_health_cynthia_anxiety_171212_1920x1080.today-inline-vid-featured-desktop Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

Recent research indicates that serious depression is worsening in teens, especially girls, and the suicide rate among girls reached a 40-year high in 2015, according to a CDC report released in August.

“Child and adolescent mental health disorders are the most common illnesses that children will experience under the age of 18. It’s pretty amazing, because the number’s so large that I think it’s hard to wrap our heads around it,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founding president of The Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit children’s mental health advocacy group.

Over the next few months, NBC Nightly News will examine the state of American children’s mental health, including reports on what has led to this increase — especially in anxiety and depression — treatment obstacles, promising research and innovative programs to help children.

Is your toddler depressed?

Mental health problems may actually start much earlier than previously thought.

A toddler who is crying for hours and angrily stomping his or her feet may not be having a temper tantrum, but showing signs of depression. Research suggests that 1 percent to 2 percent of children 2 to 5 years old have depression, said Dr. Joan Luby, director of the Early Emotional Development program at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a pioneer in the study of the condition in preschoolers.

She believes untreated depression in toddlers can lead to more depression later in life.

“Young children are more cognitively sophisticated, more emotionally sophisticated, than we previously understood. They have complex emotions. They’re aware of emotions in their environment. They feel emotions like guilt,” Luby said. “They have all the prerequisites of what depressive symptoms are.”

d0faa_tdy_health_cynthia_anxiety_171212_1920x1080.today-inline-vid-featured-desktop Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

That may show up as constant sadness and low self-esteem. A child may not want to play with a favorite toy or with friends over a sustained period of time.

Vickey Harper of St. Louis became worried when her 2-year-old daughter, Myla, began having “scary” tantrums that sometimes lasted almost an hour. The girl would scream, kick and hit her mother in the face.

“My gut was just telling me that something was not right,” Harper said. Mental illness runs in the family, but she was surprised when doctors suggested Myla had depression.

The girl is taking part in Luby’s research to see whether early intervention can make a difference. Parents are coached on how to play with and respond to their kids — exercises meant to help kids recognize their emotions, like being sad, angry or nervous. The hope is that will help them learn to control those feelings and “change a lifelong trajectory,” or prevent episodes of depression later in life, Luby said.

Now, Myla’s long tantrums are gone.

“She is not the same kid that walked into those therapy sessions,” Harper said. “She can tell me when she’s feeling something. She still yells sometimes, but it’s on a much smaller scale.”

Why adolescents are so vulnerable

Teens are known for their moodiness, and adolescence — a particularly turbulent time of life — is one of the most vulnerable periods to develop anxiety and depression. About 50 percent of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, according to the American Psychiatric Association. A tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

But for teens like Alex Crotty, depression is very different from adolescent angst, Koplewicz said.

“Teenagers have a different kind of depression. They don’t seem sad. They seem irritable,” he said. “This really has an effect on your concentration, which will affect school. It will affect your desire to continue playing sports. It’ll affect your desire of being with your friends.”

d0faa_tdy_health_cynthia_anxiety_171212_1920x1080.today-inline-vid-featured-desktop Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

Warning signs also include the duration and the degree of symptoms, he said. Take notice if your teen is experiencing moodiness or irritability for more than two weeks and it’s occurring every day, for most of the day, and if you see a change in sleep patterns and a change in desire to work and socialize.

Teenagers also think about suicide more often — and 5,000 young people take their own lives every year in the United States, Koplewicz added.

For years, Alex was too scared to reach out for help because she thought that if she told her parents about her depression, they wouldn’t believe her or they would overreact and send her to a “psych ward,” she said.

It’s why The Child Mind Institute is collecting brain scans from 10,000 children and teens, hoping to identify biological markers of psychiatric illness. The project could improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

After medication and therapy, Alex is doing great.

“I am so much stronger after coming out of this,” she said, urging other kids to speak up. “If you always feel like something’s wrong, talk to somebody. If you feel like you’re blaming things on yourself all the time, talk to somebody. Just if things don’t feel good, talk to somebody.”

Mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs

Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) integration has brought about tremendous change to the Southeast Asia region, and this has not only had many benefits but has caused many problems. Moreover the characteristic differences among the GMS countries in terms of trade and investment, society and cultural values, medical information and technology, and the living and work environment have become major health problems in terms of mental disorders. The aims of this article were to identify the gaps in those aspects, to propose mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs, and to recommend policies for policymakers and program investors.

A comparative analysis of existing policies and a literature review of previous research were used to generate a synthesis of the existing knowledge of the mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs. The results recommend mental health and mental disorder programs for policymakers, program investors, and stakeholders in order to strengthen the directions for implementing these programs in the future. The healthcare markets and target groups in this area are likely to expand to neighboring countries in the context of changes in domestic and international factors, which have both positive and negative impacts according to the political, economic, and social situations of the influencing countries. Consequently, building the capacity of international mental health networks in public and private settings will provide more information for dealing with mental health and mental disorders in the GMS countries.

###

This article is open access and can be downloaded from here: http://www.eurekaselect.com/154348

Reference: Ruchiwit M,. Mental Health and Mental Disorder Recommendation Programs. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 2017, Vol 13, DOI: 10.2174/1573400513666170720150430

Manyat Ruchiwit

Department of Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Thammasat University, Thailand

*Address correspondence to the author in the Faculty of Nursing Thammasat University, P.O. Box: 99 Khlong 1, Khlong Luang, Pathumthani, Thailand; Tel/Fax:+66-8986-9213 Email: mruchiwit99@gmail.com

Mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs

Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) integration has brought about tremendous change to the Southeast Asia region, and this has not only had many benefits but has caused many problems. Moreover the characteristic differences among the GMS countries in terms of trade and investment, society and cultural values, medical information and technology, and the living and work environment have become major health problems in terms of mental disorders. The aims of this article were to identify the gaps in those aspects, to propose mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs, and to recommend policies for policymakers and program investors.

A comparative analysis of existing policies and a literature review of previous research were used to generate a synthesis of the existing knowledge of the mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs. The results recommend mental health and mental disorder programs for policymakers, program investors, and stakeholders in order to strengthen the directions for implementing these programs in the future. The healthcare markets and target groups in this area are likely to expand to neighboring countries in the context of changes in domestic and international factors, which have both positive and negative impacts according to the political, economic, and social situations of the influencing countries. Consequently, building the capacity of international mental health networks in public and private settings will provide more information for dealing with mental health and mental disorders in the GMS countries.

###

This article is open access and can be downloaded from here: http://www.eurekaselect.com/154348

Reference: Ruchiwit M,. Mental Health and Mental Disorder Recommendation Programs. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 2017, Vol 13, DOI: 10.2174/1573400513666170720150430

Manyat Ruchiwit

Department of Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Thammasat University, Thailand

*Address correspondence to the author in the Faculty of Nursing Thammasat University, P.O. Box: 99 Khlong 1, Khlong Luang, Pathumthani, Thailand; Tel/Fax:+66-8986-9213 Email: mruchiwit99@gmail.com

Mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs

Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) integration has brought about tremendous change to the Southeast Asia region, and this has not only had many benefits but has caused many problems. Moreover the characteristic differences among the GMS countries in terms of trade and investment, society and cultural values, medical information and technology, and the living and work environment have become major health problems in terms of mental disorders. The aims of this article were to identify the gaps in those aspects, to propose mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs, and to recommend policies for policymakers and program investors.

A comparative analysis of existing policies and a literature review of previous research were used to generate a synthesis of the existing knowledge of the mental health and mental disorder recommendation programs. The results recommend mental health and mental disorder programs for policymakers, program investors, and stakeholders in order to strengthen the directions for implementing these programs in the future. The healthcare markets and target groups in this area are likely to expand to neighboring countries in the context of changes in domestic and international factors, which have both positive and negative impacts according to the political, economic, and social situations of the influencing countries. Consequently, building the capacity of international mental health networks in public and private settings will provide more information for dealing with mental health and mental disorders in the GMS countries.

###

This article is open access and can be downloaded from here: http://www.eurekaselect.com/154348

Reference: Ruchiwit M,. Mental Health and Mental Disorder Recommendation Programs. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 2017, Vol 13, DOI: 10.2174/1573400513666170720150430

Manyat Ruchiwit

Department of Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Thammasat University, Thailand

*Address correspondence to the author in the Faculty of Nursing Thammasat University, P.O. Box: 99 Khlong 1, Khlong Luang, Pathumthani, Thailand; Tel/Fax:+66-8986-9213 Email: mruchiwit99@gmail.com

Phone Addiction Is Real — And So Are Its Mental Health Risks

A lot of us must be wondering if we’re hooked on our tech: Searches for “phone addiction” have risen steadily in the past five years, according to Google Trends, and “social media addiction” trails it closely. Interestingly, phone addiction and social media addiction are closely intertwined, especially for younger people, who probably aren’t playing chess on their phones or even talking on them—they’re on social media. And according to a growing number of studies, it’s looking more and more like this pastime is addictive. Even more concerning is the fact that this addiction is linked to some serious mental health risks.

68020_960x0 Phone Addiction Is Real -- And So Are Its Mental Health Risks

Shutterstock

Last month, MIT’s Sloan Management Review published a clever experiment—professors at two business schools in Italy and France made giving up one’s smartphone for a day a requirement of the students in their courses. Most of the students, who could plan what day they’d give up their phones, felt some degree of anxiety. They didn’t know what to do with the extra time, from eating breakfast to riding on public transportation. They also noted how often people who did have phones checked their phones—one student pointed out that his friend checked his phone four times in a 10 minute period—and that that was probably what they themselves looked like on a typical day.

An earlier study, in the U.S., which also had young people give up their phones, found that they performed worse on mental tasks when they were in “withdrawal,” and felt physiological symptoms, like increased heart rate and blood pressure. They also felt a sense of loss, or lessening, of their extended self—their phones.

But the reality, especially for younger people, is that phone use, especially heavy use, isn’t so lighthearted. A study last month looked at the rise in depression and suicide in teenagers in recent years. The CDC had noted a rise in the rates of both over the years 2010-2015, and found that girls were particularly at risk: Their suicide rate rose by 65% in those five years. The number of girls with severe depression rose by 58%.

The authors of the new study wanted to see what might be causing these disturbing trends. Though it’s only a correlation, the team found a tight relationship between mental health issues and a rise in “new media screen activities.” About 48% of those who spent five or more hours a day on their phones—a lot of time by any measure—had thought about suicide or made plans for it, vs. 28% of those who spent only one hour per day on their phones. No other variables—like household financial issues, homework, or school pressure—could account for the rise in mental health issues over that time.

“Although we can’t say for sure that the growing use of smartphones caused the increase in mental health issues, that was by far the biggest change in teens’ lives between 2010 and 2015,” study author Jean Twenge said in a statement. She’s the author of the book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us, and has been following this pattern for years.

Interestingly, teens who spent more time doing sports, homework, socializing with friends in real life, and going to church had a lower risk for both depression and suicide.

The problem is that teens are spending more and more time, not talking on the phone like they were in decades past, but Instagram-ing and snapchat-ing. These are dangerous pastimes because they give the appearance of social interaction, but they couldn’t be further away from it. The comparisons that are implicit in looking at other people’s lives online, which are often highly manicured (and misleading), is thought to be what’s so depressing about social media. “These increases in mental health issues among teens are very alarming,” Twenge said. “Teens are telling us they are struggling, and we need to take that very seriously.”

Another study, presented last month at the Radiological Society of North America conference, looked at the brains of teens who fell into the category of smartphone or internet addiction. The authors found some differences in the chemistry of the reward circuits of the brain, particularly in the ratio of the neurotransmitter GABA to other neurotransmitters. Interestingly, when the teens went though cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for their addiction, their brain chemistry changed and looked more like non-addicted controls.

Earlier studies have also looked at activity in the addiction circuits of the teenage brain when they’re actually interacting with social media. It found that cells in one of these areas, the nucleus accumbens, were activated when participants viewed Instagram pictures with more “likes.”

Finally, a particularly telling sign that something’s wrong is that some of the developers of social media features have started speaking up about its addictive risks. Features like red, rather than blue, notifications were intentionally designed to grab people’s attention, and keep them coming back for another hit. Loren Brichter invented the pull-to-refresh mechanism for an app that Twitter eventually acquired. “Smartphones are useful tools,” he recently told The Guardian. “But they’re addictive. Pull-to-refresh is addictive. Twitter is addictive. These are not good things. When I was working on them, it was not something I was mature enough to think about. I’m not saying I’m mature now, but I’m a little bit more mature, and I regret the downsides.”

Part of the problem with “using” is that we think social media will give us a boost, but it doesn’t—it makes us feel worse. This is a “forecast error” that keeps us coming back, even though it often has a negative effect on our mental health. And this cycle sounds eerily like a classic addiction.

It will be interesting to see how our interactions with our phones change over time—maybe the pendulum will swing back the other way as cell phones, and social media, become less novel. But for young people who have grown up with both, it’s not a novelty, it’s just a way of life. It may take bigger pushes to help them see just how addictive phones can be, and how damaging to their mental health.

Phone Addiction Is Real — And So Are Its Mental Health Risks

A lot of us must be wondering if we’re hooked on our tech: Searches for “phone addiction” have risen steadily in the past five years, according to Google Trends, and “social media addiction” trails it closely. Interestingly, phone addiction and social media addiction are closely intertwined, especially for younger people, who probably aren’t playing chess on their phones or even talking on them—they’re on social media. And according to a growing number of studies, it’s looking more and more like this pastime is addictive. Even more concerning is the fact that this addiction is linked to some serious mental health risks.

68020_960x0 Phone Addiction Is Real -- And So Are Its Mental Health Risks

Shutterstock

Last month, MIT’s Sloan Management Review published a clever experiment—professors at two business schools in Italy and France made giving up one’s smartphone for a day a requirement of the students in their courses. Most of the students, who could plan what day they’d give up their phones, felt some degree of anxiety. They didn’t know what to do with the extra time, from eating breakfast to riding on public transportation. They also noted how often people who did have phones checked their phones—one student pointed out that his friend checked his phone four times in a 10 minute period—and that that was probably what they themselves looked like on a typical day.

An earlier study, in the U.S., which also had young people give up their phones, found that they performed worse on mental tasks when they were in “withdrawal,” and felt physiological symptoms, like increased heart rate and blood pressure. They also felt a sense of loss, or lessening, of their extended self—their phones.

But the reality, especially for younger people, is that phone use, especially heavy use, isn’t so lighthearted. A study last month looked at the rise in depression and suicide in teenagers in recent years. The CDC had noted a rise in the rates of both over the years 2010-2015, and found that girls were particularly at risk: Their suicide rate rose by 65% in those five years. The number of girls with severe depression rose by 58%.

The authors of the new study wanted to see what might be causing these disturbing trends. Though it’s only a correlation, the team found a tight relationship between mental health issues and a rise in “new media screen activities.” About 48% of those who spent five or more hours a day on their phones—a lot of time by any measure—had thought about suicide or made plans for it, vs. 28% of those who spent only one hour per day on their phones. No other variables—like household financial issues, homework, or school pressure—could account for the rise in mental health issues over that time.

“Although we can’t say for sure that the growing use of smartphones caused the increase in mental health issues, that was by far the biggest change in teens’ lives between 2010 and 2015,” study author Jean Twenge said in a statement. She’s the author of the book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us, and has been following this pattern for years.

Interestingly, teens who spent more time doing sports, homework, socializing with friends in real life, and going to church had a lower risk for both depression and suicide.

The problem is that teens are spending more and more time, not talking on the phone like they were in decades past, but Instagram-ing and snapchat-ing. These are dangerous pastimes because they give the appearance of social interaction, but they couldn’t be further away from it. The comparisons that are implicit in looking at other people’s lives online, which are often highly manicured (and misleading), is thought to be what’s so depressing about social media. “These increases in mental health issues among teens are very alarming,” Twenge said. “Teens are telling us they are struggling, and we need to take that very seriously.”

Another study, presented last month at the Radiological Society of North America conference, looked at the brains of teens who fell into the category of smartphone or internet addiction. The authors found some differences in the chemistry of the reward circuits of the brain, particularly in the ratio of the neurotransmitter GABA to other neurotransmitters. Interestingly, when the teens went though cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for their addiction, their brain chemistry changed and looked more like non-addicted controls.

Earlier studies have also looked at activity in the addiction circuits of the teenage brain when they’re actually interacting with social media. It found that cells in one of these areas, the nucleus accumbens, were activated when participants viewed Instagram pictures with more “likes.”

Finally, a particularly telling sign that something’s wrong is that some of the developers of social media features have started speaking up about its addictive risks. Features like red, rather than blue, notifications were intentionally designed to grab people’s attention, and keep them coming back for another hit. Loren Brichter invented the pull-to-refresh mechanism for an app that Twitter eventually acquired. “Smartphones are useful tools,” he recently told The Guardian. “But they’re addictive. Pull-to-refresh is addictive. Twitter is addictive. These are not good things. When I was working on them, it was not something I was mature enough to think about. I’m not saying I’m mature now, but I’m a little bit more mature, and I regret the downsides.”

Part of the problem with “using” is that we think social media will give us a boost, but it doesn’t—it makes us feel worse. This is a “forecast error” that keeps us coming back, even though it often has a negative effect on our mental health. And this cycle sounds eerily like a classic addiction.

It will be interesting to see how our interactions with our phones change over time—maybe the pendulum will swing back the other way as cell phones, and social media, become less novel. But for young people who have grown up with both, it’s not a novelty, it’s just a way of life. It may take bigger pushes to help them see just how addictive phones can be, and how damaging to their mental health.

Phone Addiction Is Real — And So Are Its Mental Health Risks

A lot of us must be wondering if we’re hooked on our tech: Searches for “phone addiction” have risen steadily in the past five years, according to Google Trends, and “social media addiction” trails it closely. Interestingly, phone addiction and social media addiction are closely intertwined, especially for younger people, who probably aren’t playing chess on their phones or even talking on them—they’re on social media. And according to a growing number of studies, it’s looking more and more like this pastime is addictive. Even more concerning is the fact that this addiction is linked to some serious mental health risks.

68020_960x0 Phone Addiction Is Real -- And So Are Its Mental Health Risks

Shutterstock

Last month, MIT’s Sloan Management Review published a clever experiment—professors at two business schools in Italy and France made giving up one’s smartphone for a day a requirement of the students in their courses. Most of the students, who could plan what day they’d give up their phones, felt some degree of anxiety. They didn’t know what to do with the extra time, from eating breakfast to riding on public transportation. They also noted how often people who did have phones checked their phones—one student pointed out that his friend checked his phone four times in a 10 minute period—and that that was probably what they themselves looked like on a typical day.

An earlier study, in the U.S., which also had young people give up their phones, found that they performed worse on mental tasks when they were in “withdrawal,” and felt physiological symptoms, like increased heart rate and blood pressure. They also felt a sense of loss, or lessening, of their extended self—their phones.

But the reality, especially for younger people, is that phone use, especially heavy use, isn’t so lighthearted. A study last month looked at the rise in depression and suicide in teenagers in recent years. The CDC had noted a rise in the rates of both over the years 2010-2015, and found that girls were particularly at risk: Their suicide rate rose by 65% in those five years. The number of girls with severe depression rose by 58%.

The authors of the new study wanted to see what might be causing these disturbing trends. Though it’s only a correlation, the team found a tight relationship between mental health issues and a rise in “new media screen activities.” About 48% of those who spent five or more hours a day on their phones—a lot of time by any measure—had thought about suicide or made plans for it, vs. 28% of those who spent only one hour per day on their phones. No other variables—like household financial issues, homework, or school pressure—could account for the rise in mental health issues over that time.

“Although we can’t say for sure that the growing use of smartphones caused the increase in mental health issues, that was by far the biggest change in teens’ lives between 2010 and 2015,” study author Jean Twenge said in a statement. She’s the author of the book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us, and has been following this pattern for years.

Interestingly, teens who spent more time doing sports, homework, socializing with friends in real life, and going to church had a lower risk for both depression and suicide.

The problem is that teens are spending more and more time, not talking on the phone like they were in decades past, but Instagram-ing and snapchat-ing. These are dangerous pastimes because they give the appearance of social interaction, but they couldn’t be further away from it. The comparisons that are implicit in looking at other people’s lives online, which are often highly manicured (and misleading), is thought to be what’s so depressing about social media. “These increases in mental health issues among teens are very alarming,” Twenge said. “Teens are telling us they are struggling, and we need to take that very seriously.”

Another study, presented last month at the Radiological Society of North America conference, looked at the brains of teens who fell into the category of smartphone or internet addiction. The authors found some differences in the chemistry of the reward circuits of the brain, particularly in the ratio of the neurotransmitter GABA to other neurotransmitters. Interestingly, when the teens went though cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for their addiction, their brain chemistry changed and looked more like non-addicted controls.

Earlier studies have also looked at activity in the addiction circuits of the teenage brain when they’re actually interacting with social media. It found that cells in one of these areas, the nucleus accumbens, were activated when participants viewed Instagram pictures with more “likes.”

Finally, a particularly telling sign that something’s wrong is that some of the developers of social media features have started speaking up about its addictive risks. Features like red, rather than blue, notifications were intentionally designed to grab people’s attention, and keep them coming back for another hit. Loren Brichter invented the pull-to-refresh mechanism for an app that Twitter eventually acquired. “Smartphones are useful tools,” he recently told The Guardian. “But they’re addictive. Pull-to-refresh is addictive. Twitter is addictive. These are not good things. When I was working on them, it was not something I was mature enough to think about. I’m not saying I’m mature now, but I’m a little bit more mature, and I regret the downsides.”

Part of the problem with “using” is that we think social media will give us a boost, but it doesn’t—it makes us feel worse. This is a “forecast error” that keeps us coming back, even though it often has a negative effect on our mental health. And this cycle sounds eerily like a classic addiction.

It will be interesting to see how our interactions with our phones change over time—maybe the pendulum will swing back the other way as cell phones, and social media, become less novel. But for young people who have grown up with both, it’s not a novelty, it’s just a way of life. It may take bigger pushes to help them see just how addictive phones can be, and how damaging to their mental health.

‘Safe space’ aims to help people having mental health crisis

9325b__98949856__89622257_johncampion-1 'Safe space' aims to help people having mental health crisis

Image caption

Police and crime commissioner John Campion said officers could not be expected to be mental health professionals

People having a mental health crisis who are held by West Mercia Police could now be taken to a “safe space” instead of a cell.

New laws are now in force which limit the time people suffering mental health problems can spend in custody.

An NHS trust says a “safe space” area at Newtown Hospital, Worcester, means officers can be stood down.

The force dealt with more than 5,000 mental health cases in 2017. Its PCC says demand on police “can be reduced”.

West Mercia Police said it was constantly reviewing its own policies.

Gary Morgan, a spokesman for Worcester Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs mental health services in Worcestershire, says the new safe space will have trained mental health experts who can assess patients quickly and plan future care.

It will be a “designated place of safety” for any person detained by police in the county when suffering from a mental disorder.

From 1 January to 27 October this year, officers across Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire were called out 5,439 times to mental health incidents.

‘Right support’

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion said officers needed to be able to use their time “keeping communities safe”.

Mr Campion said: “There is a natural link between crime and mental health as it can either make people more vulnerable to crime, or may be an underlying cause for offending.

“That link cannot be eliminated entirely, but I am certain that current levels of demand can be reduced.

“Ensuring that people suffering with mental health issues get the right support is vital.

“Our police are not mental health professionals and we cannot expect them to be, particularly when demands on their time are increasing.”

Porn star August Ames revealed past sexual abuse, mental health issues before hanging death

Porn star August Ames was found dead last Tuesday after she was cyberbullied for her recent tweets.

 (Getty)

Porn star August Ames, who hanged herself last week after she was relentlessly bullied on social media for her comments about working with an actor who worked in gay porn, revealed she suffered sexual abuse and mental health issues before her death.

The 23-year-old, who starred in nearly 290 movies, was found dead Tuesday morning in California. In mid-September, she appeared in a podcast where she detailed experiencing “a lot of sexual molestation” while growing up, adding that the offender was not her father, the Independent reported.

“It was just awful. It’s still recent where I have to keep myself occupied or else I start thinking about all that s—t and then I fall into a depression,” she said, citing the podcast. “I try to do therapy. I hate that word. I hate therapy.”

Ames said therapists would judge her after she revealed she worked in the adult industry. She then detailed her past drug abuse and how she used it to escape her issues.

“I don’t drink alcohol anymore. When I would drink, I’d black out every time. I used to smoke a lot of weed too, I used to be a big stoner but I’ve cut that out too. I just drink water now,” Ames said.

August Ames, 23, died of asphyxiation due to hanging, the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said. (Instagram)

She added that she resorted to medication for her bipolar disorder, depression and multiple personality disorder. She recalled the “crippling” feeling when she wasn’t on medication.

Ames received major backlash in early December after she tweeted that she declined filming for a movie after she discovered the male actor also worked on gay pornography. She cited health safety reasons and insisted she was “not homophobic” and just wasn’t willing to put her “body at risk.”

“Whichever (lady) performer is replacing me tomorrow for @EroticaXNews , you’re shooting with a guy who has shot gay porn, just to let cha know.  BS is all I can say…Do agents really not care about who they’re representing? #ladirect I do my homework for my body,” she tweeted.

Despite her insistence, several people accused her of being homophobic. Jaxton Wheeler, an adult film star, also took to Twitter to criticize Ames and said in a now-deleted tweet that Ames should “swallow a cyanide pill” for her comments. He posted the tweet after her death and soon apologized for his “out of context comment.” It’s unclear if he knew about her death when the tweet was posted. 

“My gay community friends please a life is lost and we gain nothing from anything but showing respect and sympathy, her fans and loved ones are upset, I’m sickened in my out of context comment. As I stated before anyone even made my tweet a thing,” Wheeler said.

Industry trade magazine Adult Video News (AVN) first reported Ames’ death and released a statement from her husband saying: “She was the kindest person I ever knew and she meant the world to me. Please leave this as a private family matter in this difficult time.”

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Generation at risk: America’s youngest facing mental health crisis …

Alex Crotty was just 11 when things started feeling wrong.

It wasn’t just a matter of being unhappy. She always felt empty and miserable — never content or connected to other children. For years, she suffered alone, filled with shame. She switched schools, but that didn’t help.


7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...


“I didn’t feel unloved. I just felt numb to the world. Like, I was surrounded by great things, but just I couldn’t be happy. And I didn’t know why that was,” Alex told NBC News.

Finally, at 14, she decided to break her silence. “I can’t feel anything,” Alex simply told her mother, Heather Olson of New York. “So she just gave me a hug, cradled me in her arms on the bed, and was like, ‘Well can you feel me? Can you feel my love?'”

“A hug and kisses was the only thing that came to mind at the spur of the moment, but that was precisely what she needed to start the journey forward,” Olson said.

7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...


7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...

Alex was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. Now 16, she is in therapy and on medication. She’s far from alone.

There is an acute health crisis happening among members of the youngest generation of Americans, with critical implications for the country’s future.

7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...


7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 5 American children ages 3 through 17 — about 15 million — have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year.

Only 20 percent of these children are ever diagnosed and receive treatment; 80 percent — about 12 million — aren’t receiving treatment.

Recent research indicates that serious depression is worsening in teens, especially girls, and the suicide rate among girls reached a 40-year high in 2015, according to a CDC report released in August.

Related: Anxiety, irritability may be first warning signs of depression in kids

“Child and adolescent mental health disorders are the most common illnesses that children will experience under the age of 18. It’s pretty amazing, because the number’s so large that I think it’s hard to wrap our heads around it,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founding president of The Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit children’s mental health advocacy group.

Over the next few months, NBC Nightly News will examine the state of American children’s mental health, including reports on what has led to this increase — especially in anxiety and depression — treatment obstacles, promising research and innovative programs to help children.

Related: Generation at risk: Children at center of America’s opioid crisis

Is your toddler depressed?

Mental health problems may actually start much earlier than previously thought.

A toddler who is crying for hours and angrily stomping his or her feet may not be having a temper tantrum, but showing signs of depression. Research suggests that 1 percent to 2 percent of children 2 to 5 years old have depression, said Dr. Joan Luby, director of the Early Emotional Development program at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a pioneer in the study of the condition in preschoolers.

She believes untreated depression in toddlers can lead to more depression later in life.

“Young children are more cognitively sophisticated, more emotionally sophisticated, than we previously understood. They have complex emotions. They’re aware of emotions in their environment. They feel emotions like guilt,” Luby said. “They have all the prerequisites of what depressive symptoms are.”

That may show up as constant sadness and low self-esteem. A child may not want to play with a favorite toy or with friends over a sustained period of time.

7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...


7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...

Vickey Harper of St. Louis became worried when her 2-year-old daughter, Myla, began having “scary” tantrums that sometimes lasted almost an hour. The girl would scream, kick and hit her mother in the face.

“My gut was just telling me that something was not right,” Harper said. Mental illness runs in the family, but she was surprised when doctors suggested Myla had depression.

The girl is taking part in Luby’s research to see whether early intervention can make a difference. Parents are coached on how to play with and respond to their kids — exercises meant to help kids recognize their emotions, like being sad, angry or nervous. The hope is that will help them learn to control those feelings and “change a lifelong trajectory,” or prevent episodes of depression later in life, Luby said.

Now, Myla’s long tantrums are gone.

“She is not the same kid that walked into those therapy sessions,” Harper said. “She can tell me when she’s feeling something. She still yells sometimes, but it’s on a much smaller scale.”

Why adolescents are so vulnerable

Teens are known for their moodiness, and adolescence — a particularly turbulent time of life — is one of the most vulnerable periods to develop anxiety and depression. About 50 percent of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, according to the American Psychiatric Association. A tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

But for teens like Alex Crotty, depression is very different from adolescent angst, Koplewicz said.

“Teenagers have a different kind of depression. They don’t seem sad. They seem irritable,” he said. “This really has an effect on your concentration, which will affect school. It will affect your desire to continue playing sports. It’ll affect your desire of being with your friends.”

Related: Suicides in teen girls hit 40-year high

Warning signs also include the duration and the degree of symptoms, he said. Take notice if your teen is experiencing moodiness or irritability for more than two weeks and it’s occurring every day, for most of the day, and if you see a change in sleep patterns and a change in desire to work and socialize.

Teenagers also think about suicide more often — and 5,000 young people take their own lives every year in the United States, Koplewicz added.


7c546_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis ...


For years, Alex was too scared to reach out for help because she thought that if she told her parents about her depression, they wouldn’t believe her or they would overreact and send her to a “psych ward,” she said.

It’s why The Child Mind Institute is collecting brain scans from 10,000 children and teens, hoping to identify biological markers of psychiatric illness. The project could improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

After medication and therapy, Alex is doing great.

“I am so much stronger after coming out of this,” she said, urging other kids to speak up. “If you always feel like something’s wrong, talk to somebody. If you feel like you’re blaming things on yourself all the time, talk to somebody. Just if things don’t feel good, talk to somebody.”

Mental health patient located safe

RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) A missing mental health patient in Rutland has been located safe.

Police say 20-year-old Robert Ettori took off from the Rutland Regional Medical Center last week after a tussle with staff. He was in the process of being transported to an in-patient area after being committed for a psychological evaluation. Officials say he was only wearing boxer shorts when he ran away from the hospital. However, Sunday morning, police say Ettori was located safe in Burlington. He has been returned to the facility. Police say no charges are pending.

The mental health crisis among young Americans, by the numbers

“This event should have awakened people to what can we do in our society, but too many people took the opposite tact and caused more harm to themselves and others,” David Hemenway, who conducts research on injury prevention at Harvard and was not involved in the study, tells Axios.

What they did: The researchers calculated the average rate of accidental firearm deaths for adults and children in the United States from 2008-2015, and measured deviations from that rate. They compared that to data on background checks, Google searches for ‘buy gun’ as a proxy for gun sales and searches for ‘clean gun’ to account for people taking their guns out of storage.

Finally, they broke the national data down state-by-state to check that the relationship between mass shootings, gun purchases, and gun deaths wasn’t coincidental. Because the trend was true in each individual state, and not just in the national average, the association was stronger.

What they found: Background checks and Google searches for buying guns and about gun maintenance increased following Sandy Hook, indicating increased gun exposure — the rush stopped when the legislation failed . A large jump in accidental deaths in both adults and children occurred during that time. Then, as people learned how to use their guns or put them into storage, death rates returned to normal.

“It’s really about exposure,” says study author Phillip Levine, an economist at Wellesley College. “Regardless of how many guns there are, if they’re all stored properly, the risk of accidental deaths is limited. It has to be about what’s occurring that’s leading them to not be stored properly at that moment.”

What’s happening: After mass shootings, particularly ones that raise the specter of gun control legislation, it’s well documented that gun purchases rise, though the trend appears to have stopped since the election of a congress and president that are against gun control. This is one of the first studies to link those legislative battles and gun sale trends to accidental deaths.

Yes, but: There are a lot of factors at play during these watershed events, so it’s difficult to put the blame solely on discussions of gun control, says Hemenway.

What’s next: Levine would like to parse out the long-term effects of these gun purchases. There’s little evidence of an increase in murders after shootings, but it makes sense to assume that more guns could lead to more murders or gun-involved domestic violence in the long run. But because so many other factors influence gun violence, it’s extremely difficult to sort out any trend, says Levine.

Hemenway would like to see research into the impacts of multiple guns in a household. “The difference between 0 and 1 is enormous. Between 1 and 5, we just don’t know.”

A Catch-22: There are proven ways to reduce gun violence, notes economist and sociologist Philip Cook in policy piece that ran with the study. Concealed carry laws, laws that ban those convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing guns, and extended sentences aimed at curbing armed robbery all appear to measurably reduce gun violence. But in the initial act of passing such legislation, it’s possible gun deaths may temporarily go up.

Despite this, “I don’t think one should take away that you shouldn’t bother trying,” says Levine.

Alison Snyder contributed reporting to this story.

School nurses on front lines of mental health, societal problems

WINTHROP — On a recent morning, Rachel Miville was focusing on the health needs of at least eight children.

At one point, Miville received a visit from two JV basketball players at Winthrop High School, a boy with a swollen ankle and a girl with an inflamed toe, who both worried they’d miss their games against Lisbon High School the next day.

While dealing with the basketball players, Miville also assisted two other high-schoolers. One declined to be observed by a reporter. The other, a junior, hit her head recently, and Miville gave her a short neurological assessment, asking how she was sleeping, how her balance was, and other questions.

Then Miville, who has worked as a school nurse for 10 years, grabbed a walkie-talkie, threw on her coat, left the building and made the short drive to Winthrop Middle School. One student complained of swollen lymph nodes, another had an ear ache, and a third asked to see her later in the morning. In between talking with students, Miville was communicating with other staff members of the Winthrop School District via text message.

It seemed like a busy morning, but it was a typical one for Miville, the only nurse in a school district of about 900 students. Besides going between the middle and high schools, which are next to each other, “Nurse Rachel” also makes trips to Winthrop Grade School, more than a mile away, and to students’ homes.

“No matter what (school) building I walk in, it’s consistent like that,” she said. “School nurses have this reputation of giving out Tums and putting Band-Aids on, but it’s not like that. I make home visits. I’m often the first in line to catch things. … Do they have adequate food, water, access to heat?”

Given the growing number of health and social problems facing Maine children, Miville and other Winthrop school officials say the district’s nursing services could use even more support in the future to ensure students are healthy and ready to study.

The problems include a rise in children being diagnosed with complicated, chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma, as well as mental illnesses such as anxiety.

In the Winthrop School District, Miville is currently overseeing 122 students with asthma, 51 with anxiety or depression, 36 with life-threatening allergies, seven with seizure disorders, and six with diabetes, she wrote in an email. She was not immediately able to provide multiple years of data, as the numbers were not saved in one place or in an easily comparable format.

At the same time, the number of low-income Maine children enrolled in federally subsidized health care programs has been dropping, leaving many school nurses on the front line in recognizing health problems. And with the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic, the rise in substance abuse among adults has also harmed children in various ways.

“The health problems of students are certainly more dramatic than they were 17 years ago when I started this job,” said Ann Bouchard, of Waterville High School, who was recently named school nurse of the year by the Maine Association of School Nurses. “We have kids with chronic health conditions that are physical, but we also have a large number of kids with serious mental health issues, including skyrocketing levels of anxiety.”

Mental, physical needs

Deborah Hagler, a Brunswick pediatrician who serves as vice president of the Maine chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, agreed that mental health and behavioral health problems are growing among children, and said that those ailments can manifest in physical symptoms.

“The data supports that,” she said. “I’m sure the school nurses see that in the form of belly aches, head aches, students who are tired. We see that more and more.”

When told how many students Miville is responsible for in the Winthrop schools, Hagler added, “It would depend on how many children have complicated medical needs, but I would assume that’s not optimal. That’s a lot of little people for one person to potentially administer and keep track of medications. … You don’t know if a child is using an inhaler the right way, or has the correct insulin dose.”

No recent information was available about the average staffing levels of nurses in Maine school districts. In 2008, the National Association of School Nurses found that the average school nurse in Maine oversaw 602 students, the ninth lowest rate in the country.

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that there be one full-time, registered nurse in every school building — a threshold that school districts like Winthrop don’t meet.

While school counselors, health aids and other staff can play an important role in the care of children, it’s best to have a registered nurse who can perform physical health assessments, according to Ilmi Carter, a school nurse in Rockland and president of the Maine Association of School Nurses.

Not only can nurses free up time for teachers or administrators who may have to attend to students, they can also pinpoint what’s causing a complaint and prevent the student from having to leave school for the day, Carter said.

They can also catch more serious problems, particularly among students whose guardians can’t provide them with steady health care, said Janis Hogan, a school nurse in the Camden area who is Maine director for the National Association of School Nurses.

‘The best liaison’

On one Monday morning, Hogan said, a boy came into her office on the instruction of his mother and asked her to look at a circular rash.

Hogan suspected Lyme disease and instructed the parents to bring the child to a doctor, who put the boy on antibiotics, Hogan recalled. But that night, the boy was taken to the hospital with a high fever and diagnosed with Lyme carditis, in which bacteria was attacking his heart.

Lyme carditis “can be fatal,” Hogan said. “He was sent to Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and was in the ICU for close to a week, so I wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t come here.”

On the recent morning in Winthrop, Miville also called several parents and asked them to bring their kids to the doctor. She gave the basketball players ibuprofen and other remedies, but offered no assurances about their games the next day.

“I’m really wanting to play tomorrow,” said Noah Dunn, a freshman, who was icing his wrapped-up ankle in Miville’s office and intermittently scrolling through his phone. “I hope I can.”

“If anything, you need to go home, so you can be off that foot,” Miville told him.

In fact, Miville’s workload this year has been be slightly lighter than it was one year ago.

Until this year, the Winthrop School District has employed a full-time health worker to assist her in the grade school. But this year, it was able to pay a second health worker to assist her in the middle school, after receiving extra funding when it took a student from Fayette, according to Superintendent Gary Rosenthal.

The extra set of hands has helped, Miville said, because “I would have had to run up here at least three more times if she wasn’t here.”

Still, both Rosenthal and Miville say the district could use even more nursing support. While Miville recognizes the budgetary constraints facing the town, she thinks the town should hire a second full-time nurse.

Last summer, Town Councilors suggested they might be willing to raise funds for another health worker position, but that funding was dropped from the final budget.

“These are family issues and home issues and social issues that we have no control over but that we have to deal with every day,” Rosenthal said. “The nurse is the best liaison who deals with this stuff every day.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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Law School Student Leaders Pledge to Improve Campus Mental Health


4b00b_210252_1325882.jpg.1500x1006_q95_crop-smart_upscale Law School Student Leaders Pledge to Improve Campus Mental Health

Harvard Law School’s student government leaders signed a pledge to improve mental health at the school, joining student leadership from 12 other top law schools.

The letter criticizes the “damaging” popular culture stereotype about law school—that it must be a “grueling and overwhelming ordeal to adequately prepare students for legal practice.”

Student government president Adrian D. Perkins and vice president Amanda Lee wrote, along with the other signees, that each school plans to broaden their mental health outreach efforts through their own initiatives and in association with other campus student groups.

This pledge follows the Law School’s distribution of a survey last month meant to gauge the status of student mental health at the school. A similar survey conducted at Yale Law School in 2014 found that 70 percent of the 296 students in the sample group struggled with mental health at some point during their time in law school.

Prior to the release of the survey, Lee said it was necessary for Harvard to collect its own data about mental health.

“We wanted to have some baseline data for our community as well and Harvard’s quite different from a lot of schools because we’re just so large,” Lee said. “Having that information is really important for advocating for better services.”

The Law School’s Student Mental Health Association has also planned its own initiatives to address questions about the “character and fitness” questions on the Bar examination, the test necessary to practice law in the United States, that inquire about certain mental health diagnoses and sometimes lead students not to seek help.

In addition to Harvard, other signatories included student leadership at Columbia, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale Law Schools.

—Staff writer Jamie D. Halper can be reached at jamie.halper@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @jamiedhalper.

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Generation at risk: America’s youngest facing mental health crisis

Alex Crotty was just 11 when things started feeling wrong.

It wasn’t just a matter of being unhappy. She always felt empty and miserable — never content or connected to other children. For years, she suffered alone, filled with shame. She switched schools, but that didn’t help.


d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis


“I didn’t feel unloved. I just felt numb to the world. Like, I was surrounded by great things, but just I couldn’t be happy. And I didn’t know why that was,” Alex told NBC News.

Tune in to NBC Nightly News Sunday night for more

Finally, at 14, she decided to break her silence. “I can’t feel anything,” Alex simply told her mother, Heather Olson of New York. “So she just gave me a hug, cradled me in her arms on the bed, and was like, ‘Well can you feel me? Can you feel my love?’”

“A hug and kisses was the only thing that came to mind at the spur of the moment, but that was precisely what she needed to start the journey forward,” Olson said.

d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis


d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

Alex was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. Now 16, she is in therapy and on medication. She’s far from alone.

There is an acute health crisis happening among members of the youngest generation of Americans, with critical implications for the country’s future.

d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis


d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one in five American children, ages 3 through 17 — some 15 million — have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year.

Only 20 percent of these children are ever diagnosed and receive treatment; 80 percent — some 12 million — are not receiving treatment.

Recent research indicates serious depression is worsening in teens, especially girls and the suicide rate among girls reached a 40-year high in 2015, according to a CDC report released in August.

Related: Anxiety, irritability may be first warning sign of depression in kids

“Child and adolescent mental health disorders are the most common illnesses that children will experience under the age of 18. It’s pretty amazing because the number’s so large that I think it’s hard to wrap our heads around it,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founding president of The Child Mind Institute.

Over the next few months, NBC Nightly News will examine the state of American children’s mental health, including reports on what has led to this increase — especially in anxiety and depression — treatment obstacles, promising research and innovative programs to help children.

Related: Generation at risk: Children at center of America’s opioid crisis

Is your toddler depressed?

Mental health problems may actually start much earlier than previously thought.

A toddler who is crying for hours and angrily stomping his feet may not be having a temper tantrum, but showing signs of depression. Research suggests 1 to 2 percent of children 2 to 5 years old have depression, said Dr. Joan Luby, director of the Early Emotional Development program at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a pioneer in the study of the condition in preschoolers.

She believes untreated depression in toddlers can lead to more depression later in life.

“Young children are more cognitively sophisticated, more emotionally sophisticated than we previously understood. They have complex emotions. They’re aware of emotions in their environment. They feel emotions like guilt,” Luby said. “They have all the prerequisites of what depressive symptoms are.”

That may show up as constant sadness and low self-esteem. A child may not want to play with a favorite toy or her friends over a sustained period of time.

d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis


d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis

Vickey Harper of St. Louis became worried when her 2-year-old daughter Myla began having “scary” tantrums that sometimes lasted almost an hour. The girl would scream, kick and hit her mother in the face.

“My gut was just telling me that something was not right,” Harper said. Mental illness runs in the family, but she was surprised when doctors suggested Myla had depression.

The girl is taking part in Luby’s research to see if early intervention can make a difference. Parents are coached on how to play with and respond to their kids — exercises meant to help kids recognize their emotions, like being sad, angry or nervous. The hope is that will help them learn to control those feelings and “change a lifelong trajectory,” or prevent episodes of depression later in life, Luby said.

Now, Myla’s long tantrums are gone.

“She is not the same kid that walked into those therapy sessions,” Harper said. “She can tell me when she’s feeling something. She still yells sometimes, but it’s on a much smaller scale.”

Why adolescents are so vulnerable

Teens are known for their moodiness, and adolescence — a particularly turbulent time of life — is actually one of the most vulnerable periods to develop anxiety and depression. Some 50 percent of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, according to the American Psychiatric Association. A prevalence to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

But for teens like Alex Crotty, depression is very different than adolescent angst, Koplewicz said.

“Teenagers have a different kind of depression. They don’t seem sad, they seem irritable,” he noted. “This really has an effect on your concentration, which will affect school; it will affect your desire to continue playing sports, it’ll affect your desire of being with your friends.”

Related: Suicides in teen girls hit 40-year high

Warning signs also include the duration and the degree of symptoms, he said. Take notice if your teen is experiencing moodiness or irritability for more than two weeks and it’s occurring every day, for most of the day, plus you see a change in sleep patterns and a change in desire to work and socialize.

Teenagers also think about suicide more often — and 5,000 young people actually take their own lives every year in the U.S., Koplewicz added.


d832c_toddler_sot_for_digital.nbcnews-ux-1080-600 Generation at risk: America's youngest facing mental health crisis


For years, Alex was too scared to reach out for help because she thought that if she told her parents about her depression, they wouldn’t believe her or overreact and send her to a “psych ward,” she said.

It’s why The Child Mind Institute is collecting brain scans from 10,000 children and teens, hoping to identify biological markers of psychiatric illness. The project could improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

After medication and therapy, Alex is doing great.

“I am so much stronger after coming out of this,” she said, urging other kids to speak up. “If you always feel like something’s wrong, talk to somebody. If you feel like you’re blaming things on yourself all the time, talk to somebody. Just if things don’t feel good, talk to somebody.”

Malta mental health provider charged with sex act, abuse

  • e3fcf_920x920 Malta mental health provider charged with sex act, abuse

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Malta

A mental health provider in Malta is accused of forcibly touching and sexually abusing a female patient during treatment sessions.

The crimes by Brett Klersfeld, 62, allegedly took place between October 2017 and November 2017, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.

The department received a complaint on Dec. 8. Klersfeld, of Valatie, was charged with a criminal sex act, a felony, as well as forcible touching, sexual abuse and sexual conduct, which are misdemeanors.


He is being held at the Saratoga County jail in lieu of bail.

Mental health charity calls for more compassion towards suicidal people

A leading mental health charity has called for greater compassion towards people suffering from suicidal thoughts following Friday night’s incident on the M5.

The motorway was closed for five hours while police helped a man on a bridge who was suffering from serious mental health problems.

The closure between Exeter and Cullompton caused long delays leading to some people on social media posting unsympathetic and thoughtless comments about the situation.

Mind, which campaigns for greater mental health awareness, said that people should treat mentally ill patients with the same compassion as those with physical illnesses.

A spokesperson from Mind, said: “Not all suicides are mental health-related but most are. If someone is suicidal they are in crisis and need urgent help, and should be treated with the same compassion as if they were experiencing a physical health emergency.

“Suicides are not inevitable; they can be prevented, with the right support in place.

“Public attitudes are hugely important because when people feel they can’t open up about their mental health or suicidal thoughts they don’t ask for help and risk becoming more unwell.

“We need to break down the stigma that surrounds suicide so that people feel more able to speak out about how they are feeling and seek support before they reach crisis point.

“That’s why public awareness campaigns like Time to Change, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are so important.

“If you’re feeling suicidal, confide in someone you know or contact your GP, call 999, go to AE or call the Samaritans (116 123). You can also find more information on the Mind website or through Mind’s confidential Infoline 0300 123 3393.”

The Samaritans can be reached round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call them on the phone. You can reach them by calling 116 123, by emailing jo@samaritans.org or by visiting www.samaritans.org

Mental health charity calls for more compassion towards suicidal people

A leading mental health charity has called for greater compassion towards people suffering from suicidal thoughts following Friday night’s incident on the M5.

The motorway was closed for five hours while police helped a man on a bridge who was suffering from serious mental health problems.

The closure between Exeter and Cullompton caused long delays leading to some people on social media posting unsympathetic and thoughtless comments about the situation.

Mind, which campaigns for greater mental health awareness, said that people should treat mentally ill patients with the same compassion as those with physical illnesses.

A spokesperson from Mind, said: “Not all suicides are mental health-related but most are. If someone is suicidal they are in crisis and need urgent help, and should be treated with the same compassion as if they were experiencing a physical health emergency.

“Suicides are not inevitable; they can be prevented, with the right support in place.

“Public attitudes are hugely important because when people feel they can’t open up about their mental health or suicidal thoughts they don’t ask for help and risk becoming more unwell.

“We need to break down the stigma that surrounds suicide so that people feel more able to speak out about how they are feeling and seek support before they reach crisis point.

“That’s why public awareness campaigns like Time to Change, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are so important.

“If you’re feeling suicidal, confide in someone you know or contact your GP, call 999, go to AE or call the Samaritans (116 123). You can also find more information on the Mind website or through Mind’s confidential Infoline 0300 123 3393.”

The Samaritans can be reached round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call them on the phone. You can reach them by calling 116 123, by emailing jo@samaritans.org or by visiting www.samaritans.org

Alarm over restraint of NHS mental health patients

Patients in mental health units were physically restrained by staff more than 80,000 times last year in Britain, including 10,000 who were held face down or given injections to subdue them, new NHS figures show.

Girls and young women under the age of 20 were the most likely to be restrained, each being subjected 30 times a year on average to techniques that can involve a group of staff combining to tackle a patient who is being aggressive or violent.

Black people were three times more likely to be restrained than white people, according to the first comprehensive NHS data on the use in England of such techniques, which have provoked controversy for many years.

Mental health campaigners fear that the use of such force can cause patients physical harm or revive painful memories of the trauma that many have suffered in childhood.

The figures, published by the NHS Digital statistical agency, show that the 80,000 uses of restraint in 2016-17 included patients being subjected to “prone” restraint – being held face down – 10,000 times, and patients being controlled by “non-prone” physical force 43,000 times. Chemical restraint was used on another 8,600 occasions.

The findings have prompted fresh concern among mental health experts that too many patients are still being restrained, despite moves by the government and NHS in recent years to reduce the incidence.

“It is troubling to see how prevalent the most severe, and dangerous, kinds of restraint are in the mental health system,” said Brian Dow, director of external affairs at the charity Rethink Mental Illness. Prone restraint, he warned, “can be terrifying and badly damage someone’s recovery”.

NHS Digital’s figures were published in the recent annual mental health bulletin detailing activity and treatment in NHS mental health units in England. They show that:

■ Black people were more than three times more likely to be restrained than white people.

■ Prone restraint, which guidance says should be used only in life-threatening situations, is used on fewer women than men, but is used on the former more often; women are physically subdued multiple times.

■ Mechanical means of restraint were used 1,200 times, seclusion on 7,700 occasions and segregation 700 times.

Katharine Sacks-Jones, the director of Agenda, an alliance of 70 organisations working with women and girls who are at risk, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many women and girls are being restrained over and over again.

“The picture for girls and young women is particularly alarming, with those under 20 subjected to restrictive practices nearly 30 times each on average, the majority of these being incidents of physical and face-down restraint.

“More than half of women who have mental health problems have experienced abuse, so not only is restraint frightening and humiliating, it also risks retraumatising them.”

In its annual report in July, the Care Quality Commission, which regulates NHS care in England, said its inspectors had found unwarranted and wide-ranging variation between units in terms of how often staff used restraint. Wards with low rates had staff who had been trained to handle difficult behaviour and de-escalate challenging situations.

But, the CQC added, mental health wards dealing with acutely unwell patients are high-risk environments where patients can regularly be violent towards staff or fellow patients. The number of times restraint techniques are used has risen from 781 per 100,000 bed days in 2013-14 to 954 per 100,000 bed days last year. However, use of face-down restraint has fallen, from 231 incidents per 100,000 bed days in 2014-15 to 199 incidents per 100,000 bed days in 2015-16.

The Department of Health said that its guidance, issued in 2014, stressed that restraint should be used only if other means of dealing with difficult situations were unlikely to succeed.

“Physical restraint should only be used as a last resort and our guidance to the NHS is clear on this – anything less is unacceptable,” a spokeswoman said. “Every patient with mental health issues deserves to be treated and cared for in a safe environment. We are working actively with the CQC to ensure the use of restraint is minimised.”

The bulletin also reveals that almost one in 20 people in England received NHS help last year for mental health problems.

A total of 2,637,916 people – 4.8% of the population – were in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services at some point. Of these, 556,790 were under 18.

In addition, 101,589 (3.9%) of those 2.6 million patients ended up in hospital receiving treatment.

In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.