The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthoot and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
- A 2020 Michigan State University study examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life.
- This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
- There are several ways you can attempt to stay active and socially connected while battling depression, according to experts.
Study shows teens who have more friends may be less likely to suffer from depression as adults<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjA3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjgyODEyNn0.XrE4VbZm4h9pqGxE2OofGHyw-cD78SxZhbOSTPyTZPM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="1e9e2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="831359bc08f8626bb576f790b0b85836" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of teenage depression depression in adolescence" />
The study suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rated of depression later on in life.
Image by asiandelight on Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/msu-tsn093020.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 Michigan State University study</a> examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life. The results of this study suggested teens who have a larger number of friends in adolescent years may be less likely to suffer from depression later in life. These findings were especially prominent in women.</p><p>This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. This data asks students to select up to 5 male and 5 female friends and indicate how often they felt depressive symptoms. </p><p>MSU Sociology Assistant Professor Molly Copeland and lead author Christina Kamis (Sociology doctoral candidate at Duke University) published the study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in September. </p><p><strong>Female teenagers may struggle more with depression during their teen years but show fewer depressive symptoms later in life.</strong> </p><p>For female adolescents, popularity can lead to increased depression during their teen years. However, this ultimately may lead to lasting benefits of fewer depressive symptoms later in life.</p><p><em>"Adolescence (is) a sensitive period of early life when structural facets of social relationships can have lasting mental health consequences..." </em>Copeland went on to explain: <em>"Compared to boys, girls face additional risks from how others view their social position in adolescence."</em></p><p>Throughout this study, men showed no association between popularity and depressive symptoms, however, they did show benefits from naming more friends. As for why this is, Copeland has a theory: perhaps the expectations on young girls (compared to young boys) as well as the roles that lead to popularity can create a kind of stress and strain felt more prominently by girls than boys. </p><p>While this does create more difficult teen years for young girls, the stress and strain may lead to giving these girls a psychological skillset that benefits them later in life, allowing them to deal with stressful situations more easily.</p><p>The study also suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rates of depression later on in life. </p><p><strong>Results from both men and women followed a U-shaped trajectory of depressive symptoms.</strong></p><p>The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s. This was particularly more noticeable in women, who showed a steeper decline in symptoms between the ages of 18-26, followed by a more rapid increase in symptoms in their early 30s. </p>
How to stay social while battling depression<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjA3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDMyNDY1N30.e1ULIJ5QYXh4H1SGUPUTJqYBCnX2XWp6InjPRr-2Bdw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C22%2C0%2C22&height=700" id="832fd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cd648a11ed282f800f2f86bc3f35daa4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="depression support group concept of depressive symptoms peer support group" />
Attending support groups, planning activities with family or even just a weekly phone call to a friend can help alleviate depression.
Image by Mascha Tace on Shutterstock<p>Although maintaining relationships can help you cope with depressive symptoms, it can also be one of the most difficult things to do when you're experiencing depression.</p> <p>Jennifer L. Payne, MD, Ph.D. (and assistant professor/co-director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore) <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/staying-socially-active-with-depression/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explains to Everyday Health</a>: "One of the common symptoms of depression is social isolation…" </p> <p>Payne goes on to explain that you can "soak up some energy" by simply being around other people, moving around, staying active, etc.</p> <p><strong>Creating a daily schedule and planning activities ensures action. </strong></p><p>While it may be easy to turn down last-minute plans, it's more difficult to cancel plans you've already committed to with friends and family. While it's important not to overwhelm yourself with a packed schedule, creating a minimal daily schedule that involves seeing friends and family or doing activities that you've previously enjoyed can ensure you stay active and often makes you feel more accomplished at the end of each day. </p> <p><strong>Support groups and social networking with people who understand. </strong></p><p>While depression can very easily make you feel isolated and alone, surrounding yourself with others who may be struggling with depression as well can help in multiple ways. You will have peer support from people who relate to how you're feeling plus the added benefit of being around people, which can raise your spirits. </p> <p><strong>Keeping a journal (and setting goals) can help you feel accomplished. </strong></p><p>Keeping a thought journal and detailing certain daily or weekly goals (such as a plan to call a friend on Monday or to visit your local coffee shop for a change of scenery on Thursday). These small, achievable goals not only get you out of the house and/or interacting with others but they also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once they are complete. </p> <p><strong>Random acts of kindness, such as volunteering, will make you feel good. </strong></p><p><a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/kindness-benefits-james-doty?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1596517476" target="_self">Being kind is good for your health</a> in many different ways. Doing something nice for others can boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Similar to exercise, kindness, and altruism can also release endorphins, creating a <a href="https://www.quietrev.com/6-science-backed-ways-being-kind-is-good-for-your-health/#:~:text=Kindness%20releases%20feel%2Dgood%20hormones&text=Doing%20nice%20things%20for%20others,as%20a%20%E2%80%9Chelper's%20high.%E2%80%9D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">temporary sense of euphoria</a> that can help combat depressive symptoms. </p>
This could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
- The reason children suffer less from the novel coronavirus has remained mysterious.
- Researchers identified a cytokine, IL-17A, which appears to protect children from the ravages of COVID-19.
- This cytokine response could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
A member of staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a child's temperature at the Harris Academy's Shortland's school on June 04, 2020 in London, England.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images<p>Experts don't want to place kids at the back of the line, regardless of how strong their immune systems appear. At least one company, Moderna, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-vaccine-for-kids-moderna-plans-pediatric-trial-2020-9" target="_blank">hopes to begin testing</a> vaccines in pediatric volunteers by year's end.</p><p>Innate immune response is especially high during childhood (compared to adaptive immunity). This makes evolutionary sense: nature wants an animal to survive until its ready to procreate. Turns out the children in the study possessed high levels of cytokines that boost their immune response. The biggest impact is made by IL-17A, which appears to protect the youngest cohort from the ravages of the coronavirus. </p><p>While both age groups produced antibodies to fight off the infamous spike protein, adults that produce neutralizing antibodies actually suffer a <em>worse</em> fate. Herold says this "over-vigorous adaptive immune response" might promote inflammation, triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). </p><p>This matters for vaccine development. As Herold says, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Our adult COVID-19 patients who fared poorly had high levels of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that convalescent plasma—which is rich in neutralizing antibodies—may not help adults who have already developed signs of ARDS. By contrast, therapies that boost innate immune responses early in the course of the disease may be especially beneficial."</p><p>Herold says current vaccine trials are focused on boosting neutralizing-antibody levels. With this new information, researchers may want to work on vaccines that boost the innate immune response instead. </p><p>With <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html" target="_blank">at least 55 vaccine trials</a> underway, every piece of data matters. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Symptoms of mental illness in children are often dismissed as "going through a phase."
- A 2020 CDC study examined mental health symptoms in four different school districts within the United States from 2014-2018. This study found that, based on the reports from both teachers and parents, one in six students showed enough behavioral or emotional symptoms to be diagnosed with a childhood mental disorder.
- Mental health conditions or illnesses in children are generally defined as delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills, or emotional regulation.
- Children can develop many of the same mental health conditions as adults, but their symptoms may be different.
1 in 6 (or 1 in 3, depending on the school district) children were shown to have enough symptoms to be diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Photo by Syda Productions on Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/school-aged-mental-health-in-communities.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 CDC study</a> examined mental health symptoms in four different school districts within the United States from 2014-2018. This study found that, based on the reports from both teachers and parents, one in six students showed enough behavioral or emotional symptoms to be diagnosed with a childhood mental disorder.</p><p><strong>What was the Project to Learn About Youth Mental Health (PLAY-MH) study?</strong></p><p>This was a school-based study conducted throughout the years of 2014-2018. This study was designed to estimate how many kindergarten - grade 12 students had specific mental health disorders. </p><p>The information was collected in two phases. In phase one, teachers in selected school districts were asked to complete a short questionnaire to determine a student's risk for a mental health disorder. In phase two, the parents of selected students were asked to complete a more structured interview to determine if their child met the criteria for a mental health disorder. Between 1 in 6 students (1 in 3 in some districts) fit the criteria, according to the combined data.</p><p>Teachers also identified a higher percentage of boys, non-Hispanic Black students, and students receiving free or reduced-price lunch as having a higher risk for mental disorders than their peers at most schools. However, based on the parent reports, there were generally no major demographic differences in the percentage of students who met the criteria for a mental disorder. This interesting discrepancy suggests that estimating effects of race or income on symptoms gave different results depending on the way the symptoms were examined. </p><p><strong>How can we help at-risk students?</strong></p><p>The information gathered during this four-year study can help parents, teachers, and communities alike to understand and become more aware of the mental health struggles of younger children. With this knowledge, interventions and treatments can become more normalized when dealing with children's mental health conditions.</p><p>The CDC has some suggestions for how we, as communities, can help our at-risk children:</p><ul><li>Schools can consider screening students for mental health concerns and then following up with effective services and counseling options. </li><li>Pediatric and family clinics can use this information to establish how many children may be at risk. </li><li>Communities and parents can work together with school systems to integrate mental health services and referrals into the schools. </li></ul>
Common mental health disorders in children, according to experts<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzk1NDc4My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODg4NzYwMH0.C3dNExRsuVrcDvs_z68q2FY62kee157DLvBtubmmq8A/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="7b6fe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a6b046f215f2c8d99c44d09de0dbdef3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Stressed and anxious student sitting at desk during exam" />
Anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, ADHD, ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and eating disorders are among commonly overlooked mental health conditions in children.
Photo by Monkey Business Images on Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/mental-illness-in-children/art-20046577" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to experts</a>, these are some of the most common disorders among children:</p><p><strong>Anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders):</strong> These conditions may appear as persistent fears, worries, or anxiety that disrupt their ability to participate in play, school, or other typical age-appropriate activities.</p><p><strong>Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):</strong> Children who struggle with ADHD have difficulty with attention, tend to have impulsive behaviors, generalized hyperactivity, or some combination of these issues. </p><p><strong>Depression (or other mood disorders): </strong>Depression in children presents as persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest that disrupt their ability to function in school and interact with others. </p><p><strong>Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):</strong> PTSD is a prolonged state of emotional distress and anxiety that is prefaced with negative memories, nightmares, and disruptive behaviors in response to a traumatic event the child may have suffered. </p><p><strong>Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): </strong>This is a neurological condition that often can be noticed in early childhood (before the age of three), if you know what to look for. The severity of ASD can vary— a child with this disorder has difficulty communicating and interacting with others.</p><strong>Eating disorders: </strong>Eating disorders show as a preoccupation with an ideal body type. These include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.<p><br></p><p>You can read the full study <a href="https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1007/s10578-020-01027-z?sharing_token=a3EvHilTjILJ1pJ3KXQQP_e4RwlQNchNByi7wbcMAY64y5G2OhNS1lAeStiE_xCQ5Ke8aBy4C65sfPZeG19uCwJxFWfAgXejmrE2lLmeYUPkpgNGQgq5jMOY-830oPGU5UOPil0_vjxCu9D4EOPVGt5v1H35kEN5sBTGFb5YJJ8%3D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p>
Technology is an important tool, but it will take an ecosystem of educators, students, and caregivers to make the most of it.
- The old adage that it "takes a village" has proven true for education in the time of coronavirus. What constitutes a "school" and who is considered an "educator" has changed out of necessity, but important opportunities for the future have come from these unexpected circumstances as communities have and continue to adapt.
- "The greatest human superpower is empathy," says Kaya Henderson, "the ability to deeply connect with other people and to see yourself in them and to see them in you." She argues that "a part of the reason why we are so divided in this world today is because we see people as 'other' and we don't see them as extensions of ourselves."
- While technology has become a big part of the education landscape, community is still the keystone. "I want technology to amplify and to scale excellence," Henderson says. "To amplify knowledge and to scale excellence all at the same time while paying deep attention to the human connections that are integral to education."
From reassessing the way schools are funded to changing the curriculum, there are ways to fix the inequities in education.
- Recognizing when something is overtly racist is easy, but when it comes to education in America there is often subtle and systemic racism at play that can put children at an early disadvantage. Chris Lehman of the Science Leadership Academy says that now is the time to have these important conversations and to design schools to be anti-racist.
- Lehman says that in Philadelphia, the amount of money spent on one child's K-12 education can be $170,000 less than that of another child who lives in the suburb just a block away. These racist systems and structures are in place in cities across the country but are often not addressed.
- Family income directly translates to the amount spent by the public to educate children. "That's one of the most anti-American things I can imagine," Lehman says about the racial and socioeconomic inequity. While funding is a major component, changes must also be made at the curriculum level.