Subtle differences in perception during late-teen years can predict the development of hallucinations, delusions, and, in some instances, psychosis later in life, according to new research.
Tony Shu, a recent Harvard University graduate and a 2021 OZY Genius Award winner, is working to end youth homelessness in Boston, Massachusetts through his nonprofit organization, Breaktime. His project helps youths ages 18 to 24 experiencing homelessness. Breaktime provides youths with job skills and transitional employment while also strengthening bonds with their local communities. Once participants complete the 15-week job training program, they receive jobs with Breaktime partners.
Looking ahead, Shu says, “Breaktime is working toward ending young adult homelessness across the U.S. We will continue to empower young adults experiencing homelessness to see their own worth and potential and become change makers in their own right. We hope that our work sets off a sustaining positive chain reaction.”
Experts across the U.S. who treat teens with eating disorders say they are seeing an unprecedented demand for treatment. Inpatient units have doubled or tripled in capacity, waitlists for programs and services are months long, and many of the patients coming in are sicker than ever. The biggest increase during the past year is anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where people deprive themselves of food. Other disorders being seen include bulimia nervosa, where people binge on food and then try to get rid of it with vomiting or other methods, and binge-eating disorder, where people consume excessive amounts of food in a short period.
The most common scenario is a teen who comes in saying her intention was to try to become healthier during the pandemic, often guided by TikTok videos and other social-media posts from fitness influencers. Social isolation, boredom, and fear of gaining weight during quarantine also led to unhealthy behaviors. Eating disorders often bring a sense of control during a period of stress. Diagnoses of depression and anxiety, common with eating disorders, also have been higher in the pandemic.
In recent years, school leaders noted that quality sleep is an important precondition for academic success, so multiple schools across the country began to push back school start times. But experts have found that the mental benefits of sleep extend far beyond learning. Recent studies found that during the pandemic lockdowns and remote learning, 43 percent of teens slept less at night and tried to sleep sporadically throughout the day to make up for it, causing an increase in mental health and physical issues.
Denise Pope, co-founder of the Stanford University-affiliated nonprofit Challenge Success, offers a metaphor for sleep’s powers, “If you had sort of a magic pill that you could take that would help increase your mental health, increase your physical health, lower your stress, make you more efficient most people would be itching for a dose. Well, we do have that magic pill. It’s called sleep.”
As of last week, critical fire weather conditions existed across more than half a dozen states in the U.S., including Arizona, where two massive wildfires are growing. One of them, the Telegraph Fire, has become one of the largest wildfires on record for Arizona. It has burned over 84,860 acres (34,342 ha) prompting evacuations and threatening communities. In Utah, there have already been 326 wildfires this year. Also alarming is the extreme level fire weather conditions — the highest category — in eastern Utah and western Colorado. When a natural disaster occurs, you must stay alert and be ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice. It’s also important to remember that emergencies can happen anywhere, and there are steps you can take now to be prepared.
A 15-year longitudinal study shows that childhood insomnia symptoms that persist into adulthood are strong determinants of mood and anxiety disorders in young adults.
Every year during June, the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride month in a number of different ways. Across the globe, various events are held during this special month as a way of acknowledging the influence LGBTQ+ people have had around the world. As well as being a month-long celebration, Pride month is also an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise awareness of current issues facing the community. Parades are a prominent feature of Pride month, and there are many street parties, community events, poetry readings, public speakers, street festivals and educational sessions, all of which are covered by mainstream media and attract millions of participants.
Many schools have gay-straight alliance clubs where both LGBTQ+ and straight students come together to create a safe academic environment for all students. They work to prevent harassment and bullying, and they fight discrimination in school and the surrounding community. There are currently thousands of these clubs in schools around the world.
New research from the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program in Toronto, Canada, suggests that vaping is not necessarily a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. This study found that vaping could raise the risk of developing asthma or having asthma attacks for teens. Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lungs and bronchial tubes and impairs the ability to breathe.
One in 8 people, or 13 percent, of e-cigarette users had asthma. E-cigarette users had 19 percent higher odds of having asthma. Current smokers had 20 percent higher odds of having asthma, while former smokers had 33 percent higher odds. About half of people who smoked e-cigarettes and had asthma reported asthma attacks in the past 12 months. Study participants who never smoked or used e-cigarettes did not have significant associations with asthma.
Many teens are burdened with a chronic and sometimes paralyzing fear of being harshly judged by others. Many are unable to get the in-person treatment that can help them. However, according to Swedish researchers, an entirely online version of a widely used behavioral therapy technique can give significant relief to teens affected.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD), is a more common psychiatric disorder among teens. It often leads to problems around friends, performance in school, and participation in leisure activities. The treatment is a gradual process and many teens struggle to set up and maintain in-person programs or are too anxious about meeting in-person for the program. Teens with SAD that participated in the Swedish study found that an online therapy program was highly effective to help curb anxiety, stress, and depression.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for ages 12 to 15. Vaccinating children and teens is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic. Meanwhile, the CDC announced last Thursday that masks and social distancing are no longer necessary for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. “Fully vaccinated” means that a person has had two doses of an approved vaccination and has waited two more weeks after the final dose for antibodies to take full effect
The CDC and health officials reminded people that there are caveats to this announcement. Masks should still be worn in certain crowded environments (such as public transportation or hospitals), those that are unvaccinated should still follow original mask guidelines, and those that are immunocompromised should seek guidance from their doctor. Health and state officials also reminded people that private businesses and counties or cities will be able to decide how to proceed with mask requirements and social distancing based on local metrics and needs. President Biden addressed the country in the White House Rose Garden to announce the new guidance and said, “I think it’s a great milestone, a great day.”
Joshua Nelson will be graduating from his suburban St. Louis high school in just a couple of weeks with a scholarship to Southeast Missouri State in hand. The 18-year-old will have his tuition paid for his pursuit in the school’s pre-optometry program. That isn’t enough for Nelson, who is president of his school’s Multi-Cultural Achievement Committee, which encourages students of color to become college and career ready.
Nelson had saved $1,000 of his own money for college and has decided to create a grant to help another college-bound student in need. He has created the Joshua Nelson Scholarship in Action. He is getting help from parents and teachers to review applications for this special scholarship, with the hope that some donors will help the $1,000 multiply. Nelson said, “I really thought it was important to give back to my community that poured in so much to me. The fact that I can just help somebody a little bit makes me feel great and I really want to see other people succeed.”
Depressive symptoms are more common in teenage girls than in their male peers. However, boys' mental health appears to be affected more if they suffer from obesity. Irrespective of gender, bullying is a considerably greater risk factor than overweight for developing depressive symptoms.
Subtle differences in the shape of the brain that are present in adolescence are associated with the development of psychosis, according to an international team. The 'sobering' results were made using the largest study to date of brain scans in adolescents at risk for psychosis.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health -
During the month of May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the U.S. movement to raise awareness about mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. For 2021, the message “You are not alone” will be emphasized. According to NAMI, “Now more than ever, we need to find ways to stay connected with our community. No one should feel alone or without the information, support, and help they need.”
In Canada, May 3 through May 9 is the 70th anniversary for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Mental Health Week. This year’s message will be featured on social media outlets as #GetReal to encourage people to voice their emotions. CMHA’s Mental Health Week’s focus is on how naming, expressing, and dealing with our emotions—the ones we like and the ones we don’t—is important for our mental health.
Both organizations emphasize mindfulness as a way to improve long-term mental health.
Scientists investigated whether the COVID-19 virus could be affecting placental tissue of infected expectant mothers. Their analysis found that while evidence of the virus in the placenta is rare, the placenta in infected mothers tended to exhibit a much higher level of immune system activity than those of non-infected pregnant women, they report.
Many teens have had struggles with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses due to isolation and stress from the unknown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. One group of teens in California is trying to help. As part of their school’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) club, Natalie Tun and Ritik Kumar found a way to help those struggling with mental health.
The teens helped create a support group through Zoom called “Just Like Me.” It is an emotional support group and a way for teens to really communicate with each other about their own mental health struggles. They believe that coping with isolation and loneliness has been one of the hardest parts for teens during the pandemic as they struggle to find someone to connect with. Tun says, “I’ve had a long mental health journey … I find it really helpful to talk to other people and really connect about my own mental health struggles.”
A new report found that one in three teen girls and one in five teen boys have experienced worsening anxiety since March 2020. After a year of living through a pandemic, it’s no surprise that teens are worrying. Beyond concerns regarding COVID-19, many teens report anxiety about their family, schoolwork, future, and health of the planet. Researchers want to remind teens that the discomfort of anxiety has a basic evolutionary function—to get us to tune into the fact that something’s not right or a personal warning system.
Basically, teens should not feel anxious when everything is well, and when you do feel anxious, it should match the scale of the problem before you. Feeling a little tense before a big game or presentation is appropriate and can help your performance. Having a panic attack over it means your anxiety may be going too far. While there are ways for you to try and self-control your anxiety, such as controlled breathing, it may be worth talking to a mental health care provider for advice on how to manage it.