24 January 2024

Teen mental health and social media

If you have a teen who seems attached to a screen all day, you’re not alone. Social media is a big part of daily life for many teens. While there are so many benefits to being online and connected, a lot of parents struggle with how to navigate some of the risks and worry about how their children’s well-being can be affected. We spoke with three…, 1. What have been your main worries about your teenager using social media?, PAM: I think my biggest concern is my children’s belief that they are immune to digital distraction – that somehow they can study, reply to a girlfriend’s text and watch a movie, all while handing in a good essay on Napoleon. The endless pings and dings that follow them drive me to distraction, so I know it is affecting them too!  I also worry…, 2. What benefits of social media have you seen?, ANDREW: Probably the main benefit I see is connection. We are connected a lot more to people – connected to family, to friends, to people in other states and overseas. That's massive because these are people that we wouldn't connect with at all otherwise.  Exposure to lots of other information is another positive, although it can be a negative as…, 3. How have you talked about social media use and mental health concerns with your teen?, LISA: I’ve talked with my teens about making sure that, on balance, social media makes their lives better, not worse. I encourage them to reflect on why they turn to social media when they do and how they feel while using it. I’ve also talked with my teens about the strong connection between sleep and mental health and, accordingly, the critical…, 4. How do you approach social media use in your family?  , ANDREW: I try to limit wherever I can. I actually try with the older ones to get them to limit the amount of time they spend on devices themselves, rather than it just coming from me, because my 16-year-old is not necessarily going to listen to a great degree. As a parent, you can put a whole lot of different barriers and things in place, but I…, 5. What has worked well for your family?, LISA: As parents, it has worked for us to hold ourselves to the same rules we make for our teens. When our teens have asked to have their phones in their rooms, we’ve been able to say, “Having tech in the bedroom – even during the day – undermines the quality of sleep you get in that room. We keep our tech out of the bedroom to protect our sleep…, 6. What would you do differently?, LISA: I wish I had talked earlier with our older teen about the algorithms that drive what shows up in social media feeds. Teens need to understand that everything they do when online – what they look at, what they like, what they comment on, what they scroll past – loads into a powerful database that determines what they’ll see next. The…, 7. What advice do you give parents of teens who aren’t on social media yet?, ANDREW: It does depend on the actual platform, but by far the biggest thing that I tell parents of kids who aren't on social media yet is to be aware that whatever you post or put online is there for everyone to see. Yes, you can have different security settings, but people can access these things. Just be really aware of that and obviously that's…, 8. What do you tell parents who struggle to get their teens to disconnect from social media?, ANDREW: A lot of kids these days put their hands up and say: “Well, if I'm not on a screen, then what do I do?” They are so used to going to a device as a default. So rather than just saying “get off” or “stop”, I think it’s important parents engage with them and teach them what they can do when they're not on a device. Give them some ideas, play…
23 June 2023

Beyond Conventional Care: Supporting adolescents diagnosed with depression through rTMS treatment

Addressing the growing mental health needs of children and adolescents in Romania, the “Dr. Constantin Gorgos” Psychiatric Hospital for Children in Bucharest has taken a significant stride forward with the support of UNICEF, through their partnership with the Bucharest Administration of Hospitals and Medical Services (ASSMB).   The hospital has…, How rTMS Works, The rTMS treatment is beneficial for adolescents struggling with depression and a range of other psychiatric and neurological conditions. This non-invasive procedure directly targets specific areas of the brain using magnetic fields, similar to technology used by MRIs, helping regulate neural activity and restoring balance. The targeted…, Accessing the treatment , Access to rTMS treatment at the Gorgos Hospital follows a clear process. Dr. Chiru explains that “The journey begins with a referral from a psychiatrist already involved in the patient's correct classic course of anti-depression care, including therapy and medication, as rTMS is not a first intention treatment”. This referral aids Dr. Chiru in…, Improving mental health care and treatment options for children and adolescents in Romania , The inclusion of rTMS therapy as a complementary treatment at Gorgos Hospital signifies a positive shift in the landscape of mental health care for adolescents in Romania. The Bucharest Administration of Hospitals and Medical Services (ASSMB) played a pivotal role in facilitating the implementation of this initiative through accessing funding as…