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Depression

Do Pandemic Mental Health Checks With Your Teens in These 8 Ways

A new study says the COVID pandemic is taking a toll on our collective mental health.

Per NPR:

Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published Wednesday. That’s nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And those with a lower income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be bearing the burden of these symptoms.

When a population experiences something traumatic, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster, researchers usually expect a rise in mental illnesses in the weeks and months following the event.

But the mental health toll of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be far greater than previous mass traumas, says Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University and an author of the study, which was published in the current issue of the American Medical Association journal JAMA Network Open.

The impact for teens can be devastating.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens, but experts are fearing the worst as young adults prepare to face unknown challenges that the return of school may bring – from coping with varying curricula, stressing over grades, and continued social isolation from friends and trusted teachers.

In Raising Global Teens, Dr. Anisha Abraham analyzes key subjects facing today’s teens, in the context of our modern, mobile world. Dr. Abraham shares some real-world examples with practical solutions, drawing on her latest research and personal experiences to help teens thrive in school despite COVID-19 and the eradication of their daily lives.

Some  points from the book include:

1.  Stop Comparing – Remind your teens that no one is perfect. Everyone is “uneven”, meaning they excel in some areas, but not others, and that is OK.

2. Time Management – Encourage your teen to set goals, prioritize tasks, break large assignments into smaller steps, work for designated time periods and take  breaks, and use a reminder system for deadlines.

3. Unwinding – Make sure your teen is taking time to fill their “anti-stress toolbox” with healthy ways to unwind. This could be as simple as talking to trusted friends or watching a funny show.

4. Mind & Body Care – Ensure your teen is getting adequate sleep, eating well, and exercising to regulate mood and energy levels.

5.Resilience – Support your teen during these times of uncertainty and  help them to build resilience and get “bounce”

6. Conversations – Have important conversations with teens about challenging topics such as pubertal changes, sexting, vaping, planning for the future and more

7. Signs of Depression & Suicide Risk – Understand warning signs which include: mood swings, withdrawal, poor sleeping or appetite, trouble with memory and concentration, talking or writing about suicide, and giving away belongings.

8. Get Help and Support. Know when and where to get professional support  if you believe your teen is depressed or suicidal. Each city, county, state and community have resources, some free, some paid that are available. Don’t wait too long. Do some research online and get help sooner than later. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Mental health is a serious thing to consider especially in this pandemic era. Consider these tips and purchasing Dr. Abraham’s book at Amazon here!

We are all in this together.

Study: Pregnancy and Insomnia Linked To Depression Later

 

Decreased sleep quality seems to be a common physical change during pregnancy.

But it is still unclear if insomnia in pregnancy is associated with the same risk factors as chronic insomnia in common people.

Recently, scientists conducted a study to explore the determinants of insomnia during pregnancy.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep and Medicine.

The study included 266 women who were in their late pregnancy. Researchers checked their sleep quality, general physical activity, and different sleep disorders.

The research team found that almost 40% of the women in the study received a diagnosis of insomnia.

The team then divided all women with insomnia in terms of insomnia duration: 49% developed insomnia at least 1 year before the study and 39.6% during pregnancy.

The women in whom insomnia developed during pregnancy showed different scores in eating at night, legs tingling, nightmares, and snoring compared to women without insomnia.

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Why New Moms Attempt Suicide A Year After Giving Birth

Depression, Hormones and societal expectations are among the common reasons women attempt suicide within the first year of  giving birth.

This summation of facts are among many eye -awakening revelations in a report about mental health and pregnancy in a recent Washington Post expose.

Author Michael Alison Chandler notes “mental health disorders are the most common complications of pregnancy, but just 15 percent of the women affected by postpartum depression seek professional help.”

She relays a few relatable examples of women who experienced mental breakdowns before, during and after pregnancy.

If you didn’t know how prevalent it is, know that “at least one in seven women experience anxiety or depression during pregnancy or in the first year after birth, making mental-health disorders the most common complication of pregnancy.”

Also illuminating:

About 80 percent of women experience “baby blues” within the first few weeks of child birth, often defined by mood swings and irritability or sadness.

Maternal depression is longer lasting and has more-severe symptoms, which can include anxiety, sleeplessness, extreme worry about the baby, feelings of hopelessness, and recurrent “intrusive thoughts” about hurting themselves or the baby.

Women are more likely to attempt suicide during the first year after childbirth than during any other time in their lives, and they tend to choose more lethal means.

These mood disorders are triggered by fluctuating hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, that ramp up during pregnancy and then drop off sharply after birth. Another significant hormonal shift occurs when women stop breast-feeding.

Researchers are trying to understand what predisposes some women to be more sensitive to these hormonal fluctuations.

It’s clear that environmental stressors play a role. The prevalence of depression is far higher for women who are poor or in abusive relationships or for women whose babies are born premature or disabled.

The good news is that medical practitioners are doing a better job at “screening for depression” and even lawmakers are beginning to look for solutions for expanding treatment options.

For example, last November, Congress passed the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act as part of a large medical research funding bill to provide federal grants to states to create programs that screen and treat women for maternal depression. The bill had broad bipartisan support, but as usual with Congress, it is stalled on how to fund it.

According to the Post, the House also last week approved just $1 million of the $5 million originally allocated. The Senate has not voted on it yet.

Congresswoman Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts introduced the bill because she said many women struggle silently through what is supposed to be “the happiest time of their lives.”

“Moms have a lot of guilt about how they feel, so they don’t seek treatment,” she told the Post. “We want to reduce the stigma and increase awareness that this is highly treatable.”

Read the complete WashPo article here.

Panel: Women Should Be Screened During & After Pregnancy for Depression

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Women should be screened for depression during pregnancy and after giving birth, an influential government-appointed health panel said Tuesday, the first time it has recommended screening for maternal mental illness.

The recommendation, expected to galvanize many more health providers to provide screening, comes in the wake of new evidence that maternal mental illness is more common than previously thought; that many cases of what has been called postpartum depression actually start during pregnancy; and that left untreated, these mood disorders can be detrimental to the well-being of children.

It also follows growing efforts by states, medical organizations and health advocates to help women experiencing these symptoms — an estimated one in seven postpartum mothers, some experts say.