Mental Health Obstacles for Bullying Victims, and Other News

Sad girl being bullied by peers at schoolAlmost a third of American teens experience bullying at some point in their lives. The consequences of bullying include a number of mental health issues as well as various high-risk behaviors. However, a recent study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition suggests less than a quarter of bullied teens receive mental health care.

Researchers surveyed 440 middle and high school students in North Carolina. Twenty-nine percent of all respondents reported being bullied in the past, but among participants ages 11-14, the figure was 54%. The average percentage for participants ages 15-18 was 46%. Survey responses helped researchers identify 28 barriers to mental health care, with 11 of them specific to bullying victims. These barriers included lack of adequate screening and counseling by medical providers, institutional barriers, poor enforcement of rules and investigative procedures, and inadequate school follow-up and parent communication.

Pediatricians Only Want E-Cigs to Be Used by People Aged 21 and Older

Electronic cigarettes, which produce no smoke but deliver nicotine through an inhaler-like device, currently face few legal restrictions. The American Academy of Pediatrics, citing concerns about nicotine addiction among children, wants to change that. The organization recommends that e-cigarettes be restricted to users age 21 or older. A proposal has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which has 90 days to review it.

Surgeon’s Calming Words May Ease Stress of Surgery

Conversational hypnosis—a type of calming speech that encourages patients to relax—may ease patients’ stress about surgery, particularly when the calming words come from a surgeon. The study suggests just a few calming words may be even more effective than drugs in easing patients’ anxiety.

How Performance Reviews Can Harm Mental Health

Companies such as Microsoft Corp. and Eli Lilly & Co. are looking at ways to improve their performance review process. The stress of an assessment from a manager can undermine mental health and researchers have suggested the act of giving an employee a grade can trigger a fight or flight response, so some companies are moving toward a low-pressure model. With this new approach, employees and their supervisors regularly meet to talk about their work in a more informal setting, rather than waiting all year for a detailed evaluation.

Virtual Reality Maze ‘Predicts Alzheimer’s Disease’

A virtual reality maze may help predict Alzheimer’s among people ages 18-30, decades before symptoms typically appear. When presented with the virtual reality maze, some participants with a heightened genetic risk for Alzheimer’s had reduced function in a brain region associated with spatial navigation. This suggests Alzheimer’s could subtly inhibit spatial reasoning well before symptoms are apparent, giving scientists a new way to approach future research, diagnosis, and treatment.

Depression Too Often Reduced to a Checklist of Symptoms

Mental health workers frequently rely on the list of depression symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to arrive at a diagnosis. But a recent study suggests this checklist-based approach may not always work. Researchers found some depression symptoms are interconnected, making some more central to depression and therefore more telltale signs of the condition. Researchers advise providers to look at the interaction between symptoms rather than the symptoms themselves.

New Help for Homesick Students on Campus

People have long dismissed college students’ homesickness as uncool or childish, but researchers are looking at the issue in a new way. Researchers say it is a distinct emotional state akin to grieving that may put students at risk for other issues, such as depression and anxiety. Twenty percent of students report being bothered about missing home, and 5% report experiencing homesickness so severe it interferes with their ability to function on a daily basis. A number of schools are now implementing programs to help homesick students, such as animal-assisted therapy.

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  • Deena

    October 30th, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    It can sometimes become very hard for parents to get involved even when there is a situation involving bullying because often the kids do not share with them the things that are going on. I think that there are often parents who have no clue what their kids are experiencing on a daily basis because they have not been able to get the child to open up to them and talk to them. If you sense that there is a change in their lives that doesn’t look good I urge you to try to get them to talk to you about it. That could make all the difference in the world to them.

  • bunny

    October 30th, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    Well that is certainly great news for Alzheimer’s research! Not so great for those people who do not do so well in the virtual maze but at least if you know early then there could be even more things that you can do to halt the progression and slow the destruction of the disease.

  • Regan

    October 31st, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    There is still a lot of research that needs to be done to tell us just how safe e cigarettes are. I think that pediatricians are right to not support their use by adolescents and teens.

  • Taylor

    October 31st, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    There’s nothing that can make you feel more comfortable when you find that you have to have surgery than a doctor who will ease your fears with a very good bedside manner. It can make all the difference in the world when you are anxious and worried. Someone who will just talk with you and make you feel like they are going to take care of you, I think that this is something that any of us would be looking for in a good doctor.

  • marian

    October 31st, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    I left the first college I attended my freshman year with all F’s because I hated it and just wanted to come back home. Eventually I graduated form another school four years later with honors, but the first school was just too far away and never the right fit for me.

  • Emmie

    November 2nd, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    I know that I do a good job at work all throughout the year, but there is something about having that face to face meeting every year with my manager for that one review that sets me on edge.
    As soon as we schedule it, I just don’t feel like myself and probably do the worst work of the year =in the days leading up to that meeting.
    I sort of wish that we would shift focus and do small little check ins all throughout the year. I think that for all of us this would be much less stressful then the way that most of us have to endure it now.

  • Carl

    November 4th, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    How about the simple fact that many of us are not talking about bullying at all for fear of the shame?

  • ginger

    November 5th, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    is there any sort of notion out there that when people use the electronic cigarettes they are just trading one bad habit for another??

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