New York, May 26 (IANS) Can TV shows like '13 Reasons Why' help teens navigate bullying, suicidal thoughts, depression and other mental health issues? Yes, say researchers, but only when these issues are depicted with empathy.The study indicates that these kinds of challenging and realistic stories inspire youth to talk about and learn more about mental health"Our research found that when teens watch TV shows that portray mental health issues, they actually talk about it with their peers, parents and partners," said researcher Yalda Uhls from the University of California -- Los Angeles.For the study, to be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the center conducted several studies examining Netflix's controversial series "13 Reasons Why".It is a teen drama that first aired in 2017 and drew both worldwide acclaim and condemnation for its graphic depictions of suicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, bullying, homelessness and school shootings. The team wanted to learn how the programme impacted the mental health of teens who viewed it.In a study of 157 children between the ages of 13 and 17 from across the country, 68 watched Season 3 of "13 Reasons Why," while the others did not. All participants completed a survey at the beginning of the study about mental health, depression, bullying, sexual assault and related topics and another at the end that asked, among other questions, whether they had sought out information about these issues.Nearly all the teens -- 62 of 68 -- who watched the programme reported having looked for information on mental health topics related to what they saw. A vast majority of them also reported discussing the issues it raised with others -- especially suicide, mental health and bullying.The report recommends that, like the producers of "13 Reasons Why," studios create and provide credible, engaging resources with accurate information to accompany TV shows and films designed for teens that address mental health and related issues.--IANSvc/na
New York, April 22 (IANS) Pregnant and postpartum women reported high levels of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and post-traumatic stress during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a worldwide survey.Such high levels of distress may have potential implications for women and for foetal and child health and development, said researchers from Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US."We expected to see an increase in the proportion of pregnant and postpartum women reporting mental health distress, as they are likely to be worried or have questions about their babies' health and development, in addition to their own or their family's health," said Karestan Koenen, Professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the varsity."However, the number of women who had significantly elevated symptoms was much larger than what had previously been published during the pandemic," Koenen added.The study is published online in the journal PLOS ONE.To gauge the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women during the pandemic, the team conducted an anonymous, online, cross-sectional survey of women in 64 countries between May 26, 2020 and June 13, 2020.Of the 6,894 participants, substantial proportions of women scored at or above the cutoffs in widely-used psychological screening tools for elevated levels of anxiety/depression (31 per cent), loneliness (53 per cent), and post-traumatic stress in relation to Covid-19 (43 per cent), despite the fact that only 117 women (2 per cent) had been diagnosed with Covid-19 and 510 (7 per cent) had been in contact with someone with Covid-19.The levels of psychiatric distress were significantly higher than previously published data on such distress in the general population during the pandemic and among pregnant and postpartum women before the pandemic.Seeking information about the pandemic five or more times a day from any source (e.g., social media, news, or word-of-mouth) was associated with more than twice the odds of elevated post-traumatic stress in relation to Covid-19 and anxiety/depression.Worries about children and childcare and economic worries were also important factors in women's mental health.--IANSrvt/vd
New York, April 13 (IANS) The onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, which resulted in the sudden isolation of families together at home, gave rise to depression and anxiety at levels high enough that professional help is needed now, a new study has warned.In the initial months of the pandemic, parents reported that their children were experiencing much higher levels of "internalising" problems like depression and anxiety, and "externalising" problems such as disruptive and aggressive behaviour, than before the pandemic.The issues have now gone out of control as the second wave of the pandemic is now surging.According to researchers from the Pennsylvania State University in the US, the children were 2.5 times and 4 times more likely to report externalising and internalising problems, respectively.Parents were 2.4 times more likely to report "clinically significant" high levels of depression after the pandemic hit than before.They also experienced lower levels of co-parenting quality with their partners."The size of these changes are considered very large in our field and are rarely seen," said Mark Feinberg, research professor of health and human development at Penn State."We saw not just overall shifts, but greater numbers of parents and children who were in the clinical range for depression and behaviour problems, which means they were likely struggling with a diagnosable disorder and would benefit from treatment," Feinberg noted in the paper published in the journal Family Process.For the study, the team used data from 129 families, which included 122 mothers and 84 fathers, with an average of 2.3 children per family.The research gave insight into just how devastating periods of family and social stress can be for parents and children, and how important a good co-parenting relationship can be for the family well-being."Stress in general -- whether daily hassles or acute, crisis-driven stress -- typically leads to greater conflict and hostility in family relationships," Feinberg said."If parents can support each other in these situations, the evidence from past research indicates that they will be able to be more patient and more supportive with their children, rather than becoming harsher and angrier," he added.--IANSrvt/dpb
Hyderabad, April 11 (IANS) Depression and anxiety could be the symptoms leading to Parkinson's disease, says doctors on the occasion of World Parkinson's Day on Sunday.Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects the movement of the human body. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.While proper diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is difficult, particularly in the early stages, it may take years before the ailment is accurately diagnosed. The fact that symptoms and progression of symptoms vary between individuals adds to the complexity of diagnosing Parkinson's disease."Though Parkinson's disease causes slowing of overall body movements, mental health issues are quite common (70-80 per cent) in such patients. Not often the disease manifests with mental disorders (anxiety, depression) rather than physical slowing. These mental disorders have a greater impact on the overall quality of life than the physical disability. Depression is the commonest mental disorder presenting as reduced interest and motivation along with fear of socialising among Parkinson's disease victims," said Abhinay M. Huchche, Consultant Neuro-Physician, Sree Lakshmi Gayatri (SLG) Hospitals.According to him, various types of sleep disturbances, visual hallucinations, thoughts filled with paranoia are also noticed in the patients.Screening for mental health issues in the first visit to the neurologist is a must. In the busy clinics, the caretaker must proactively bring up issues pertaining to mental health so that they could be addressed. Usually a multidisciplinary approach is needed to tackle mental health issues."An exercise programme for victims of Parkinson's disease helps boost their motivation and support groups help them overcome the depression. Appropriate medicines are added as per the need. Psychosis (hallucinations and delusions) wherein Parkinson's disease individuals lose touch with reality has to be dealt with sensitively. Caregivers and society need to be told that it is their faulty mind and not the original person that is behaving abnormally. Psychology, therapy and drugs form the core of therapy," added Abhinay Huchche.Commenting on the ailment's frequency, Kailas Mirche, Consultant Neurologist, Continental Hospitals, pointed Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer's disease. The ailment is witnessed more commonly in men than in women. "The prevalence of Parkinson's increases with age and only 4 per cent of Parkinson's cases are diagnosed before the age of 50. While approximately 1 per cent of the population above 60 years suffers from Parkinson's, its instance increases to 5 per cent among those above 86 years.""Parkinson's disease is already the fastest-growing neurological disorder in the world; and some international studies suggest that the number of people with Parkinson's has increased by over 35 per cent in the last 10 years. Although Parkinson's disease can't be cured, it is important its victims know about the condition at an early stage which could be managed using medications. Occasionally, doctors may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of brain to improve the symptoms," Ketan Chaturvedi, Senior Consultant, Neurology, Wockhardt Hospital at Nagpur."Mental health issues are underrated, stigmatised and unaddressed in our society; and such conditions could be linked to more serious complications like Parkinson's disease. It is important we take a sympathetic approach to the victims of Parkinson's disease, and the social circle around such individuals promptly identifies these symptoms and provides help in improving the overall quality of life of these individuals," added Praveen Changala, Consultant -- Neuro Physician, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital, LB Nagar.--IANSms/khz
New York, April 6 (IANS) Emergency medical service (EMS) workers are three times more at risk of mental health problems such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to the general population, according to a new study.The findings showed that each day EMS workers experience a diverse array of occupational stressors -- routine work demands, critical incidents involving serious harm or death, and social conflicts."Each additional work demand or critical event that an EMS worker encountered on a given workday was associated with a 5 per cent increase in their PTSD symptom severity levels that day, while each social conflict was associated with a 12 per cent increase in their depression symptom severity levels," said lead researcher Bryce Hruska, Assistant Professor of public health at the Syracuse University in New York, US."Together, these occupational stressors negatively impacted mental health each day that they occurred," Hruska added.Exercising, socialising with other people, and finding meaning in a given day's challenges can help reduce mental health symptoms for EMS workers, revealed the study published by the Journal of Affective Disorders. "These activities had a beneficial impact on mental health; each additional recovery activity in which a worker engaged was associated with a 5 per cent decrease in their depression symptom severity levels that day," Hruska said. The researchers surveyed EMS workers at American Medical Response in Syracuse, for eight consecutive days in 2019 to better understand their mental health symptoms related to daily occupational stressors. EMS workers who looked for lessons to learn from the day's challenges had a 3 per cent decrease in their daily depression symptoms, the results showed.The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the significant mental health burden experienced by EMS workers. Increasing interaction with family, friends and co-workers, recognising conflicts as an opportunity for learning, relaxing after a particularly demanding shift may help in alleviating the stress, the researchers said.--IANSrvt/bg
London - A team of researchers has found that the processing of visual information is altered in depressed people, a phenomenon most likely linked with the processing of information in the cerebral cortex.
In the study, published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, the processing of visual information by patients with depression was compared to that of a control group by utilising two visual tests.
In the perception tests, the study subjects compared the brightness and contrast of simple patterns.
"What came as a surprise was that depressed patients perceived the contrast of the images shown differently from non-depressed individuals," said researcher Viljami Salmela from the University of Helsinki.
Patients suffering from depression perceived the visual illusion presented in the patterns as weaker and, consequently, the contrast as somewhat stronger, than those who had not been diagnosed with depression.
"The contrast was suppressed by roughly 20 percent among non-depressed subjects, while the corresponding figure for depressed patients was roughly 5 percent," Salmela explains.
Identifying the changes in brain function underlying mental disorders is important in order to increase understanding of the onset of these disorders and of how to develop effective therapies for them, the team said.
The researchers consider it necessary to carry out further research on altered processing of visual information by the brain caused by depression.
"It would be beneficial to assess and further develop the usability of perception tests, as both research methods and potential ways of identifying disturbances of information processing in patients," Salmela said.
Perception tests could, for example, serve as an additional tool when assessing the effect of various therapies as the treatment progresses.
"However, depression cannot be identified by testing visual perception, since the observed differences are small and manifested specifically when comparing groups," Salmela noted. (IANS)
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