Bullying among boys easily dismissed?

At the end of first grade, 7-year-old Cameron Hale, an easy-going, cheerful little boy from a tiny rural town in western Washington, suddenly didn’t want to go to school anymore.

When Cameron adamantly refused to have a play date with a good friend, his mom, Kim Hale, 36, knew something was wrong with her middle child. His change in behavior just didn’t make sense.

“Cameron finally broke down in tears and told me that several boys at school had been teasing him relentlessly, making fun of his hair, his clothes, calling him names, and not letting him play at recess. And one of those boys was his good friend,” Kim says.

While the friend wasn’t actively participating in the teasing, Cameron told his mom that he was doing nothing to stop it, which made it all even worse.

At first Kim stayed silent, hoping the mean behavior would disappear over the summer. But when it picked up again at the start of second grade, Kim went to the principal with her concerns. Kim says that the principal dismissed the charge and convinced her that the behavior wasn’t bullying, but instead, it was simply boys being mean.

Full story of bullying among boys at CNN

Which Symptoms of Depression Most Hamper Parenting?

Researchers at the University of Exeter have identified the symptoms of depression that are most likely linked to poor parenting.

Although the link between depression and poor parenting has already been identified, this is the first time that researchers have reviewed a variety of studies in order to identify the reasons behind parenting difficulties.

“We have looked at a wide range of research studies and identified multiple factors that link depression in adults to difficulties in their parenting role,” said Lamprini Psychogiou, Ph.D.

“This work will help identify areas in which future research is necessary in order to develop interventions that will prevent mental health issues from being transmitted from one generation to the next. We hope that this will go some way towards helping both depressed parents and their children.”

Depression, sometimes referred to as clinical depression, is a serious mental disorder characterized by overwhelming, daily feelings of sadness, a low mood, lack of energy, sleep and eating disturbances, and an inability to take pleasure in things that normal a person would enjoy. The symptoms must be present for two weeks or longer before it can be diagnosed.

Full story of depression and parenting at PsychCentral

Teen depression: Mom’s mental health during pregnancy affects children later in life, study finds

Teenagers are more likely to be depressed if their mothers were depressed while pregnant, according to a new study.

Mothers’ depression after giving birth was also tied to their children’s mental health years later, but possibly for different reasons, researchers found.

Depression during pregnancy may affect a baby through stress hormones that move across the placenta, Rebecca Pearson, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and her colleagues said.

That goes against the suggestion of some researchers that depression is only important if it continues past the end of pregnancy and affects parenting.

“It should be treated during pregnancy, irrespective of if it continues during birth. It’s as important during pregnancy,” Pearson said.

She said the findings mean therapy should be made available to pregnant women with depression whenever possible. They also add another layer to the debate over the use of antidepressants in pregnancy.

Full story of teen depression and parenting at The Star

5 Signs Your Teen Needs Mental Health Treatment

Teens go through emotional ups and downs all the time. Hormones are changing, life can seem overwhelming, and without much life experience, a young adult can feel misguided. When parents are busy working, or a natural separation from family occurs, teens may turn to friends instead of parents.

Peer support can be helpful for certain issues. But when the symptoms of a mental illness are present, more than a good friend is needed.

The problem is, teens may not understand what the feelings they experience mean. As a parent, it’s important to stay connected so that you notice any changes or any symptoms of a mental illness in your child.

Mental illness includes depression; anxiety; bipolar disorder;schizophrenia; borderline personality disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); attention-deficit disorder (ADD); attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and many more disorders that can interfere with your teen’s daily life.

In an effort to self-medicate — to control the symptoms of the undiagnosed and untreated mental illness — a teen without help may turn to drugs, alcohol, or eating disorders to feel better, to escape, to numb out, or to feel in control.

Full story of signs for mental health treatment at PsychCentral

Mental Health in High School: Teach Students Link between Thinking Patterns, Emotions & Behavior

Adding a mental health component to school-based health education programs could enhance health behaviors, reduce depression and improve grades.

Teaching Students Links in Their Mental HealthResearchers from The Ohio State University College of Nursing found that a program called COPE: (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Healthy Lifestyles TEEN (Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition) had a beneficial outcome for several health and behavioral factors.

The high school health classes used an intervention that emphasized building cognitive behavioral skills in addition to nutrition and physical activity.

Participants had a lower average body mass index, better social behaviors, higher health class grades and drank less alcohol than did teenagers in a class with standard health lessons.

Symptoms in teens who were severely depressed also dropped to normal levels at the end of the semester compared to the control group, whose symptoms remained elevated.

Full story of high school mental health at PsychCentral

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Sitting, Lack Of Exercise Linked With Symptoms Of Depression In New Study

A new study shows an association between sitting time and mental health. Particularly, the longer a person sits, the more likely he or she is to have symptoms of depression. The findings, first reported in Runner’s World, were reached by researchers from Victoria University and the University of Queensland.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is based on 8,950 women ages 50 to 55 who answered surveys in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Researchers took note of their depressive symptoms and physical activity levels, and also grouped them based on how much time they spent sitting each day (four or fewer hours a day, four to seven hours a day, or more than seven hours a day).

The study found that women who sat for more than seven hours a day were at a 47 percent higher risk for depressive symptoms, compared with women who sat for four or fewer hours a day. And women who didn’t do any exercise had a 99 percent higher risk for depressive symptoms, compared with those who exercised according to physical activity guidelines.

Runner’s World reported that those who sat the most and didn’t exercise had the highest risk of all, with a tripled risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.

Full story of lack of exercise and depression at Huffington Post

A Suicide Prevention Solution Hiding in Plain Sight

If you were duck hunting, when do you load your guns… When you see the ducks? Of course not.

By the time Homecoming Veterans who need the help the most end up on the doorsteps of their families, for many, it’s already too late.

The solution: Help Veterans before they become Veterans. Help them better prepare for homecoming during the critical months prior to separation from military service and during the dangerous months after they arrive home.

The Decompression Dilemma

The entire military and VA heath systems are operating with a major disconnect for Veterans and their families. A “Catch 22” exists for Veterans who are suffering the most from PTSD and other Combat related mental health issues. It is a major contributing factor to not only Veteran suicide but it explains some of the underlying reason why Veterans and their families are spiraling out of control and falling between the cracks of our society. The “Catch 22”: Warriors are trained to accomplish their mission or to die trying. Adapt, improvise and overcome is the ethos that is galvanized into their being. This Spartan code has been trained into young men and women of every nation since before Homer wrote the Iliad. Remember the old saying? “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Full story of suicide prevention at the Huffington Post

Personality may be key to genetics of bipolar disorder

People with bipolar disorder vary significantly from their unaffected relatives, and from healthy controls, on several measures of personality, a study shows.

Furthermore, genetic analysis revealed suggestive linkage peaks for those traits that were heritable, potentially proving useful for the identification of genes underlying susceptibility to bipolar disorder.

“The results of our analyses suggest that personality dimensions may have utility in dissecting the genetic architecture of BD [bipolar disorder],” the researchers write in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Personality scores on the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) were collected from 428 members of 101 families in which one or more people had a bipolar diagnosis or major depressive disorder. An independent sample of 53 control participants with no personal or family history of mental illness was also recruited.

The TCI is a self-administered true/false questionnaire that assesses personality in seven dimensions. It assesses four temperament dimensions – novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence and persistence – and three character dimensions – self-directedness, cooperativeness and self-transcendence.

Full story of personality and bipolar disorder at News Medical

Healthy Kids: Recognizing mood disorders in children and adolescents

As an adult, you probably know someone – or know someone who knows someone – who suffers from major depression or bipolar disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 20.9 million American adults, or 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, have a mood disorder.

Recently, what had been considered an “adult only” concern has become more common in the pediatric population.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one in 100 children has bipolar disorder (a disorder that causes a person to experience extreme mood swings from elated highs to overwhelming lows), or a related mood disorder, such as major depressive disorder. In addition, recent studies have found that 15-18 percent of teens have experienced a mood episode by age 18.

What does a mood disorder look like in children and adolescents?

Mood disorders are not always easy to diagnose in children and adolescents because symptoms can overlap with other mental health disorders and brain development is still occurring at this age. However, parents and caregivers can look for some symptoms if concerned a child or adolescent may be experiencing a mood disorder:

Full story of mood disorders in children at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Teen recalls bullying stirred thoughts of suicide

Michael Miller clearly remembers the day he was called a “fat faggot.” It was in 2006, the year he was in seventh grade, and Miller had already gotten a strong taste of bullying from day one of middle school.

When enough slurs, exclusions and taunts added up, Miller found himself at the brink of suicide — close enough to consider details that would save his family as much pain as possible, he said.

“Sixth and seventh grade were the worst. When I got to Central, I remember everyone was on edge a lot. Half the kids we didn’t know came from Ferndale (Elementary School), new groups were starting up, everyone was going through puberty.”

Those foul words didn’t come from a troubled peer, however. They came from a teacher’s lips, Miller said.

“People thought it was funny,” he said. “And that’s when we realized it was OK to do that to each other. As negative as he was, he was a role model. He made it seem OK to harass kids in front of each other. And talk about them when they were out of the room.”

That educator had plenty of company. Starting in fifth grade at Freewater Elementary School, Miller’s classmates started marching to peer pressure about how to dress, whom to talk to and what attitude to adopt, he recalled.

Full story of bullying and suicide at the Union Bullentin