Syrian War Creates Childhood Mental Health Crisis, and Other News

Shadows of children standing in lineSix years of fighting in Syria have exposed a generation to horrific violence. “Invisible Wounds,” a new report from Save the Children, highlights the immense mental health toll of the constant trauma Syrian children face. According to the report, 3 million Syrian children under the age of 6 have spent their entire lives in a war zone. Two million children have fled the country as refugees to face an uncertain future. Of the children who remain in Syria, at least 25% are at risk of developing a mental health condition.

Two-thirds of Syrian children interviewed for the report had lost a loved one. Nearly half of adults said they had seen their children lose the ability to speak in response to trauma. Eighty percent reported more aggression among children and young adults, and 71% said children increasingly experienced nighttime bedwetting, a common symptom of posttraumatic stress (PTSD).

Syrian children exposed to violence, anxiety, and loss may experience a range of symptoms, including depression, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts. Some respond to violence by becoming violent themselves. Fifty-nine percent of adults interviewed for the report knew of children recruited into armed groups. Some respondents reported having limited access to only one psychiatrist within regions of more than 1 million people. One in four children said they did not feel they had anyone to talk to or access to a safe place to go when they felt upset or scared.

Before the war, nearly 100% of Syrian children were enrolled in school and literacy rates were close to 95%. About a third of school-aged Syrian children are now not attending school and many more are at risk of dropping out, suggesting even if the war ends, the future looks bleak for Syria’s children.

In-Home Occupational Therapy Curbs Depression in Visually Impaired Patients

Vision impairments elevate the risk of depression, especially for aging adults, but occupational therapy for this population could reduce the risk. In a new study, researchers found people with age-related macular degeneration who experienced occupational therapy-related improvements in daily functioning had better mental health.

Violent Video Games Found Not to Affect Empathy

Researchers have long debated the effects of video games, particularly violent ones. A new study of the long-term effects of violent video games suggests these games do not reduce or blunt empathy. Other studies have found similar results. For example, a 2015 study also concluded that violent video games do not make kids violent.

Teenagers Do Dumb Things, But There Are Ways to Limit Recklessness

Developing brains and immaturity may lead teenagers to make impulsive and sometimes reckless decisions. An international study of more than 5,000 adolescents determined that teens have similarly risk-prone brains, but that risk-taking behaviors vary across cultures. According to the study, cultural norms and expectations can constrain teens’ tendency to take risks.

3 Myths That Shape the Transgender Bathroom Debate

Three myths may color the debate about transgender bathroom use. There is no supporting evidence to back up the idea that nondiscrimination policies for public bathrooms would lead to an increase in attacks in those facilities. Scientific and sociological research also undermines the false claim that being transgender is a temporary condition rather than a valid state of being. Finally, the belief that allowing children to express their gender identity is harmful is similarly undermined by research showing the denial of a child’s true gender is the real source of harm and can lead to gender dysphoria and suicide.

Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens

In Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, social psychologist Adam Alter suggests reliance on digital devices is becoming harmful and potentially addictive. An addiction to digital devices can produce similar brain changes to those of a drug addiction, producing similarly negative effects—troubled relationships, distractions at work, and even financial woes.

The Dark Psychology of Dehumanization, Explained

Dehumanization allows people to see others as less than fully human, and therefore less worthy of decent treatment. As anti-Muslim rhetoric increases, so too does the tendency to dehumanize Muslims and other ethnic minorities. This emboldens those who wish to mistreat or oppress minority groups, and allows even those who oppose such mistreatment to look away.

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  • Verla

    Verla

    March 10th, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    These children have been exposed to so many terrible things during their short little lifetimes that it has to be tragic how they are having to live and cope. There are no medical supplies and I am sure that whatever care they would have access to at this point would be slim to none. How can we continue to allow tragedies to happen like this?

  • Max

    Max

    March 11th, 2017 at 7:08 AM

    I understand that you are citing several studies which have shown that violent video games do not make children violent.
    But I suspect that if you look hard enough there are just as many other studies out there that would say the exact opposite thing.’The bottom line is that you have to know your child and be willing to see when there are some changes going on.
    If you think that some of this could be attributed to the games they are playing, well then , maybe this is the time that you need to just take them away and make them stop.

  • alli

    alli

    March 13th, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Honestly, there are far more important and pressing issues that we ought to be concerned about instead of worrying so much about where someone goes to the bathroom. I know that things happen and that people are afraid of the things that they are not familiar with and don’t know, but I also think that the time is now when we have to be willing to open our minds as well as our hearts and see the world through the eyes of someone who may not have it quite as easy as we do. In the whole scheme of things, this is truly one of the most petty things ever to get hung up on.

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