Adolescent Development
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Adolescent Development
Issues related to adolescent development, education, and support.
Curated by Lisa Medoff
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SIGECAPS, SSRIs, and Silence — Life as a Depressed Med Student

SIGECAPS, SSRIs, and Silence — Life as a Depressed Med Student | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
SIGECAPS is the mnemonic we medical students memorize to learn the core symptoms of depression: sleep, interest, guilt, energy, concentration, appetite, psychomotor retardation, and suicidality. The practice questions we spend hours answering in preparation for Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam twist patient vignettes in tricky ways to fool us into misdiagnosing depression as insomnia in elderly women or attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder in inattentive adolescents. But despite their tricks, I would always nail those questions. The key was that if you looked hard enough, SIGECAPS was always hidden somewhere — an offhand mention of fatigue here, a seemingly unimportant reference to weight loss there. But despite my finely honed detective skills, I missed the diagnosis in a patient who was oversleeping alarms, couldn’t stop eating, had relentless fatigue, was always seeing the glass as half empty, and continually felt worthless. He even occasionally wished it would all end.
How did I miss it?
I missed the diagnosis because I was that patient.
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Opinion | I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends. - The New York Times

Opinion | I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends. - The New York Times | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
PARKLAND, Fla. — My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade. I was eating lunch with my friends, most likely discussing One Direction or Ed Sheeran, when I felt a sudden pain in my lower back. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking. I had never seen this boy before, but I would never forget his face. His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry.

The apple that he had thrown at my back rolled slowly along the tiled floor. A cafeteria aide rushed over to ask me if I was O.K. I don’t remember if Mr. Cruz was confronted over his actions, but in my 12-year-old naïveté, I trusted that the adults around me would take care of the situation.

Five years later, hiding in a dark closet inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I would discover just how wrong I was.
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Depressive adolescents at risk of social exclusion: The potentials of social-emotional learning in schools 

Depressive adolescents are a challenging and vulnerable group in schools. Specific developmental features such as irritability and comorbid behavioural disorders complicate the recognition of their emotional problems for peers, teachers and even parents. Our research shows that teachers tend to overlook depressive feelings in adolescents; however, even peers are not able to recognize depressive feelings appropriately. Emotional problems can result in underachievement, the inability to learn and problems building satisfactory interpersonal relationships. Our review of research findings detects a complex interplay between social dynamics of exclusion and depression. Educational intervention and prevention efforts with respect to evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programmes are summarized. It can be concluded that the implementation of systematic SEL concepts in schools has the potential to recognize depression-related problems early, to prevent exclusion and to reduce the burden of depressive disorders.
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The Lonely American Man | Hidden Brain : NPR

The Lonely American Man | Hidden Brain : NPR | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it

When Paul Kugelman was a kid, he had no shortage of friends. But as he grew older and entered middle age, his social world narrowed.

"It was a very lonely time. I did go to work and I did have interactions at work, and I cherished those," he says. "But you know, at the end of the day it was just me."

The Lonely American Man


Kugelman's story isn't unusual: researchers say it can be difficult for men to hold on to friendships as they age. And the problem may begin in adolescence.

New York University psychology professor Niobe Way, who has spent decades interviewing adolescent boys, points to the cultural messages boys get early on.

"These are human beings with unbelievable emotional and social capacity. And we as a culture just completely try to zip it out of them," she says.

This week on Hidden Brain, we look at what happens when half the population gets the message that needing others is a sign of weakness and that being vulnerable is unmanly.

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The Play’s the Thing: Experimentally Examining the Social and Cognitive Effects of School Field Trips to Live Theater Performances 

Field trips to see theater performances are a long-standing educational practice; however, there is little systematic evidence demonstrating educational benefits. This article describes the results of five random assignment experiments spanning 2 years where school groups were assigned by lottery to attend a live theater performance or, for some groups, watch a movie version of the same story. We find significant educational benefits from seeing live theater, including higher levels of tolerance, social perspective taking, and stronger command of the plot and vocabulary of those plays. Students randomly assigned to watch a movie did not experience these benefits. Our findings also suggest that theater field trips may cultivate the desire among students to frequent the theater in the future
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A New Documentary About Adults On Adderall — And Not Just For ADHD : NPR

A New Documentary About Adults On Adderall — And Not Just For ADHD : NPR | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it

Stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to kids with what's known as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But recently, adults became the biggest users of these drugs.



That's partially because more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD for the first time. But the new Netflix documentary Take Your Pills focuses on the use of these drugs to boost cognitive performance in college classrooms and the workplace.

"What the film really looks at is really: What do these pills promise, and what do people desire?" says director Alison Klayman. "And these drugs are associated with keeping better focus — it's better attention, it's better productivity — in this moment when people are all really feeling squeezed, feeling pressure to perform."

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This shamefully ignored school shooting is why kids should walk out for 18 minutes, not 17 

This shamefully ignored school shooting is why kids should walk out for 18 minutes, not 17  | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it

It was a moment of sheer terror that surely none of the hundreds of kids flooding the corridors for the end of the school day will ever forget. One moment, 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington — already accepted to college for the fall, with dreams of becoming a nurse — was seen with another teen student, a wide receiver on the football team. Then came a loud pop as a bullet went right through Courtlin’s heart, ending her life way too short of adulthood.



School responses to walkout range from support to suspension threats
What students are saying on social media about the National School Walkout
National school walkout: Scenes from student protests in and around Philly
To protest gun violence, students in Philly-area schools will walk out Wednesday
“The last thing I told them was ‘I love you’ and have a blessed day at school,” Courtlin’s mom, Tynesha Tatum, who has another son and daughter in the same high school, told the Birmingham News. “That was at 7:45 a.m…At 3:45 p.m., I got a call that my baby got shot.”

On Wednesday, Courtlin’s schoolmates — her murder still ringing in their ears — are planning to walk out of school and protest the lack of safety for teenagers trying to grow up in the most gun-crazed nation on the planet. If you follow the news, it’s almost certain that you’ve already heard about the National School Walkout Day, which has become — rightfully so — a huge story from coast to coast. But it’s almost a lock that you haven’t heard at all about the loss of Courtlin Arrington.

This isn’t Parkland, Florida, where the mass shooting of 17 kids in the upscale Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School upended the world of students who’d been raised to expect the best things in life — and thus triggered a social revolution that is only starting to grow. No, Courtlin Arrington was killed by a handgun inside Huffman High School in Birmingham, Ala., in the kind of struggling urban district where kids have grown all too accustomed to hardship, even to violence.

Even so, it was somewhat shocking that a shooting inside a school classroom received virtually no national coverage — the only detailed reporting I could find about Courtlin, her family and her lost aspirations were in the local Birmingham media — since it took place so shortly after Parkland, in a moment where President Trump’s random flip-flops on school safety and guns, the machinations of the NRA, and rising student activism were the lead story on cable news.

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Black Children Will Be the Victims of Armed Teachers

Black Children Will Be the Victims of Armed Teachers | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
And make no mistake: Although the perpetrators of mass school shootings have been almost exclusively white, there’s little doubt that arming teachers will lead disproportionately to the killing — by teachers — of children of color.

The school-to-prison pipeline has been, without question, built on the foundation of racially discriminatory school discipline practices. Every study that has examined harsh school disciplinary policies has revealed that such policies are visited with greater frequency on children of color. In 2013, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint challenging the practice of the Bryan Independent School District in Brazos County, Texas, of issuing Class C misdemeanor tickets to high school students for disrupting class or swearing; although black students constituted only 21% of the school population, 46% of the misdemeanor tickets were issued to African-American students. Similarly, the Department of Justice challenged the school discipline practices in Meridian, Mississippi, where the majority African-American high school sent its own kids to a juvenile detention facility over minor disciplinary incidents.
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80 percent of mass shooters showed no interest in video games, researcher says - CBS News

80 percent of mass shooters showed no interest in video games, researcher says - CBS News | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
NEW YORK -- President Trump met with video game industry representatives Thursday, after saying last month violent video games may play a role in mass shootings. The president met with parents like Melissa Henson.

"The kind of messages and images that they are putting in their minds, I think they're nightly dress rehearsals for huge acts of violence," she said.

But psychologist Patrick Markey's research shows 80 percent of mass shooters did not show an interest in violent video games
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Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years

Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
Do Better is an op-ed column by writer Lincoln Anthony Blades that debunks fallacies regarding the politics of race, culture, and society — because if we all knew better, we'd do better.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, in Parkland, Florida, which claimed 17 lives, is symptomatic of the plague of mass gun violence in the United States.
Students from Stoneman Douglas responded powerfully to the loss of life in displays of courage that exemplified what kids are capable of. These teens started a campaign online and off — #NeverAgain — after witnessing the slaughter of their friends and faculty, amid funerals, and while reckoning with their own mental, physical, and emotional wounds. In the days following the shooting, student-led, anti-gun rallies were organized and successfully carried out around the country. On February 17, Stoneman Douglas survivors held a rally in Fort Lauderdale. On February 20, over 100 teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School traveled to Tallahassee to rally and meet with lawmakers who — just prior to the students arriving — voted down a bill that would have banned semiautomatic guns and large-capacity magazines in the state. And on February 21, students from high schools in Broward and Miami-Dade counties walked out of their classrooms in protest to advocate for effective gun-law proposals. Some even participated in President Donald Trump's "listening session", during which survivors of the shooting told their stories and offered their ideas on policies that could prevent further tragedies. The #NeverAgain students have also planned a rally called March for Our Lives, which is scheduled for March 24 in Washington D.C., and in sister cities around the country.
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Everyone Is Going Through Something | By Kevin Love

Everyone Is Going Through Something | By Kevin Love | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
On November 5th, right after halftime against the Hawks, I had a panic attack.

It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before. I didn’t even know if they were real. But it was real — as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle. Since that day, almost everything about the way I think about my mental health has changed.
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Gun Law Proposed In Florida Would Earmark Money For Mental Health Services 

Gun Law Proposed In Florida Would Earmark Money For Mental Health Services  | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it

A piece of legislation under consideration in Florida this week has received a lot of attention because of a controversial provision that would allow some teachers to have guns in schools. But the proposed law would also designate an influx of cash for mental health services.

The state has seen three mass shootings in 20 months — at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the Fort Lauderdale airport and now at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. And the need for more mental health funding has come up twice before — with no cash forthcoming.


Florida Senate Approves Gun Control Package, OKs Arming Some School Personnel
In today's dollars, Florida is spending 40 percent less on mental health than it did in 2000, notes Melanie Brown-Woofter, president of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health.

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Trump’s proposal to arm teachers would endanger students of color.

Trump’s proposal to arm teachers would endanger students of color. | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
The larger problem with arming school faculty—or turning even more schools into something akin to prisons, with armed guards and heavy security—is that it is a grossly outsize reaction to a relatively rare phenomenon that, given racial bias in the education system, will harm far more students than it ever saves.

As it stands, black, Latino, and Native American students are most likely to face harsh in-school discipline. From 1972–2010, the school-suspension rate for whites in middle and high school climbed from 6–7.1 percent. For Latinos, it climbed from 6.1–12 percent. For blacks it more than doubled from 11.8–24.3 percent. In 2007, 70 percent of all in-school arrests were of black and Latino students. This increase came despite few racial differences in their offenses. Students of color aren’t more likely to misbehave, but teachers and school officials are more likely to impose harsh punishment on offenses by students of color. For example, one 2011 study found that 32 percent of black students were suspended for first-time offenses of cellphone use at school, compared with just 15 percent of white students.
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The Parkland Rebels Are Model Children

The Parkland Rebels Are Model Children | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
Anyone used to worrying about coddled young people, their backbone eroded by oversolicitous elders and smartphone addiction, was in for a surprisingly mature show of spine at last weekend’s March for Our Lives. The Parkland, Florida, survivors-turned-prodigy-activists and their followers—along with Dreamers and other youthful protesters lately—couldn’t possibly be denounced as out-of-control “bums,” President Nixon’s epithet for (older) student protesters half a century ago.

Quite the contrary. These young people do grit and gumption with star-pupil poise and politeness. “Sorry for the inconvenience,” read one teenager’s sign at the Washington, D.C., rally. “We’re trying to change the world.” Nearby, a kid proudly waved a neon-orange poster that proclaimed, in big letters, “GPA > NRA.” The call-and-response chant that carried the day, under the direction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter, conveyed the same overachiever zeal: “Spread the word all across the nation, we are going to be a great generation.” The Parkland student Emma González’s feat of silence at the podium, as the writer Nathan Heller tweeted, defied category: “the fact that it was conceived—and dared—by a high-schooler is breathtaking.” The adults on hand didn’t presume to boss off-the-charts performers like these around.  “If you don’t listen to them now,” read one woman’s poster, ”they won’t listen to you later.”
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A Plan to Prevent Gun Suicides

A Plan to Prevent Gun Suicides | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
“There's a fair amount of research showing that the suicide crisis is time-limited,” says John Mann, a professor of translational neuroscience at Columbia University who studies suicide. Two thirds of those who survived a suicide attempt, according to one 1991 study, had started planning their course of action less than an hour beforehand. Another study notes that almost half of the 82 people who attempted suicide said they had started thinking about their current attempt less than 10 minutes earlier. Moreover, in the case of guns especially, an investigation by the New Hampshire medical examiner's office showed that nearly one in 10 suicides by firearm from 2007 to 2009 involved a weapon that was purchased or rented the preceding week—often within just a few hours.
National data speak to the other half of this deadly combination. Although guns are not the most popular way that people try to take their life (this dubious distinction belongs to pills), they are the most deadly. Statistics show that 85 percent of attempts with a gun are fatal, compared with 69 percent for hanging and 2 percent for self-poisoning. Mass shootings and murders dominate the news, but 21,334—or nearly two thirds—of the 33,599 gun deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2014 were suicides. Another 10,945 were homicides.
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African-American And Latino Children Often Diagnosed With Autism (ASD) Later Than Their White Peers 

African-American And Latino Children Often Diagnosed With Autism (ASD) Later Than Their White Peers  | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
By her son's second birthday, Sherry says she was getting desperate. She didn't know why he wasn't talking yet or showing affection like other kids. At 2 1/2, he was referred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

There, after four hours of tests, Sherry says the doctor handed her a 20-page report explaining his autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, among others. She says she was paralyzed by emotion.

ASD is a disease that affects people of all races and ethnicities, but research shows that African-American and Latino children with autism are diagnosed at older ages than white children, giving them less of an opportunity for proper intervention and treatment.

This is especially true of minimally verbal kids like Sherry's son and there are many possible reasons for a late diagnosis. Some families face healthcare access issues and prohibitive costs for treatment, and some families just don't know how important it is to get diagnosed to move on to the treatment phase. The dialog between doctors and minority families during the diagnosis process is critical.
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Few Effective Treatments For Hair Picking (Trichotillomania) Or Skin Pulling (Dermatillomania) 

Few Effective Treatments For Hair Picking (Trichotillomania) Or Skin Pulling (Dermatillomania)  | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
I feel the urge again. My fingertips run along my face, feeling for imperfections, and I slip into the bathroom to be alone. After a glance in the mirror, I stalk back out, my nails digging into my palms. Not today.

Since my adolescence, I've had a tumultuous relationship with my reflection. That's because I suffered from trichotillomania, or hair pulling, and currently struggle with its cousin excoriation disorder, dermatillomania, or skin picking.

Trichotillomania and skin-picking disorder are referred to as body-focused repetitive behaviors, an umbrella term for self-grooming behaviors that result in damage to the body.

But the difference between everyday fidgeting — say, occasionally playing with a hangnail when you're antsy — and BFRBs, is that the behaviors cause clinically significant distress or interfere with daily functioning. A day at the spa, or on the beach, for instance, would only lead me to wonder how I'd hide my scarring.
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Emotional Competencies Relate to Co-Rumination: Implications for Emotion Socialization within Adolescent Friendships 

Emotional Competencies Relate to Co-Rumination: Implications for Emotion Socialization within Adolescent Friendships  | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
Despite the acknowledged importance of friendships in emotional development during adolescence, little research has empirically examined emotion socialization processes within friendships. Co-rumination is one such process that may involve many emotion-related skills due to its negative emotional focus and links to emotional distress. The current study examines whether adolescent friends' emotional competencies (i.e., emotional awareness, emotion regulation) relate to co-rumination. Adolescents (N = 192; 53% girls; Mage = 12.67; 76% European American, 17.7% African American) participated with a reciprocated same-sex best friend. Adolescents reported on their own and their friends' emotional competencies and participated in observed video-taped problem discussion task that was coded for co-rumination. Results indicated that indices of poor emotional competence related to greater co-rumination for girls. For boys, stronger emotional competence related to greater co-rumination. There were more significant links to co-rumination from adolescents' perceptions of their friends' emotion regulation than self-reports of their own emotion regulation. Results are discussed with a focus on implications for emotion socialization within the best friend context during early adolescence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Opinion | Go Ahead, Millennials, Destroy Us - The New York Times

Opinion | Go Ahead, Millennials, Destroy Us - The New York Times | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
As with all historic tipping points, it seems inevitable in retrospect: Of course it was the young people, the actual victims of the slaughter, who have finally begun to turn the tide against guns in this country. Kids don’t have money and can’t vote, and until now burying a few dozen a year has apparently been a price that lots of Americans were willing to pay to hold onto the props of their pathetic role-playing fantasies. But they forgot what adults always forget: that our children grow up, and remember everything, and forgive nothing.

Those kids have suddenly understood how little their lives were ever worth to the people in power. And they’ll soon begin to realize how efficient and endless are the mechanisms of governance intended to deflect their appeals, exhaust their energy, deplete their passion and defeat them. But anyone who has ever tried to argue with adolescents knows that in the end they will have a thousand times more energy for that fight than you and a bottomless reservoir of moral rage that you burned out long ago.

Lisa Medoff's insight:
Thanks, Kyle!
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MHP on the School Walkout: We Sanction Rage Along Racial Lines

MHP on the School Walkout: We Sanction Rage Along Racial Lines | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it

And as a media professional I can’t help but look askance at my industry: we are covering these students’ rage, but are we telling the whole story? This is not the first group of enraged teens to try to turn the tide in this country. But this time, we listen. What’s changed?

Mainstream broadcast media outlets have acknowledged the righteousness of post-Parkland anger; they have seriously sought to understand the goals of student organizers; they’ve devoted significant time to covering the protests, and even without agreeing to policy prescriptions, have largely applauded the the participatory actions of these young people.


This seems right to me. It should makes us angry. Indeed, Elle.com was conducting our national survey of American anger as the news of the shooting deaths in Parkland, Florida first began to dominate the airwaves. The adults who responded to our survey were angry too. Gun violence was one of the top issues they cited as a cause of their daily anger.
The question for media and for the wider public is whether we validate expressions of political of anger only from some and not others. Parkland, Florida is a predominately white, affluent, suburban community. In recent years we have been more reticent to acknowledge the grievances of black, Latinx, poor, and urban families, and of communities whose impatience with inequality and grief in the face of violent loss is expressed as anger. We sanction rage along racial lines.

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We need new ways of treating depression - Vox

We need new ways of treating depression - Vox | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
Summerfield to explain them. When he finished, they explained that they didn’t need these new chemicals — because they already had antidepressants. Puzzled, Summerfield asked them to explain, expecting that they were going to tell him about some local herbal remedy. Instead, they told him about something quite different.

The doctors told Summerfield a story about a farmer they had treated. He worked in the water-logged rice fields, and one day he stepped on a land mine and his leg was blasted off. He was fitted with an artificial limb, and in time he went back to work. But it’s very painful to work when your artificial limb is underwater, and returning to the scene of his trauma must have made him highly anxious. The farmer became deeply depressed.

So the doctors and his neighbors sat with this man and talked through his life and his troubles. They realized that even with his new artificial limb, his old job — working in the paddies — was just too difficult, that he was constantly stressed and in physical pain, and that these things combined to make him want to just stop living. His interlocutors had an idea.


They suggested that he work as a dairy farmer, a job that would place less painful stress on his false leg and produce fewer disturbing memories. They believed he was perfectly capable of making the switch. So they bought him a cow. In the months and years that followed, his life changed. His depression, once profound, lifted. The Cambodian doctors told Summerfield: “You see, doctor, the cow was an analgesic, and antidepressant.”

In time, I came to believe that this little scene in Southeast Asia, which at first sounds just idiosyncratic, deeply “foreign,” in fact represents in a distilled form a shift in perspective that many of us need to make if we are going to make progress in tackling the epidemic of depression, anxiety, and despair spreading like a thick tar across our culture.
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Severe Shortage Of Psychiatrists Exacerbated By Lack Of Federal Funding : NPR

Severe Shortage Of Psychiatrists Exacerbated By Lack Of Federal Funding : NPR | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
A growing shortage of psychiatrists across the U.S. is making it harder for people who struggle with mental illness to get the care they need — and the lack of federal funding for mental health services may be to blame.

Following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month, President Trump promised to "tackle the difficult issue of mental health." But his 2019 budget proposal doesn't devote much funding to mental health care.

While the shortage of primary care physicians has been linked to recruitment, the deficit of psychiatrists is not because medical students lack interest in the field. In recent years, nearly every available training position in psychiatry has been filled, says Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, who is also a psychiatrist and neuroscientist.

"The thing that's really driving the shortage is the baby boom," he tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson. "Every day we have 10,000 baby boomers turning 65. The population is growing, but this segment of the population growing the most are those over 65, and they have the highest health care needs and that includes mental disorders."
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Mass Shootings and Toxic Masculinity — Why Men Are Almost Always Behind Mass Shootings

Mass Shootings and Toxic Masculinity — Why Men Are Almost Always Behind Mass Shootings | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
Shootings, whether they’re in Parkland, Orlando, Las Vegas or Sutherland Springs, all tend have one thing in common. It’s not that they’re done by mentally ill people (there is no true connection between people with a mental health diagnosis and mass shootings, according to experts), or that they’re radicalized minorities we should place travel bans on (white men have committed more mass shootings than any other group), or any of the other rhetoric we often hear from leaders.

It’s that they’re almost always perpetrated by men.

Of all the mass shootings since 1982, only three have been committed by women. While women comprise about 50 percent of the victims of mass shootings, female mass killers are “so rare that it just hasn’t been studied,” according to James Garbarino, a psychologist at Loyola University Chicago.

If basically all mass shooters were women, I can assure you we’d be talking about that.

So let’s start talking about the culture of toxic masculinity that makes men believe they should get a gun and shoot people with it.
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Exposure to childhood adversity and deficits in emotion recognition: results from a large, population-based sample - Dunn - 2018 - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry - Wiley Online Library

Exposure to childhood adversity and deficits in emotion recognition: results from a large, population-based sample - Dunn - 2018 - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry - Wiley Online Library | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
Emotion recognition skills are essential for social communication. Deficits in these skills have been implicated in mental disorders. Prior studies of clinical and high-risk samples have consistently shown that children exposed to adversity are more likely than their unexposed peers to have emotion recognition skills deficits. However, only one population-based study has examined this association.
Methods

We analyzed data from children participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a prospective birth cohort (n = 6,506). We examined the association between eight adversities, assessed repeatedly from birth to age 8 (caregiver physical or emotional abuse; sexual or physical abuse; maternal psychopathology; one adult in the household; family instability; financial stress; parent legal problems; neighborhood disadvantage) and the ability to recognize facial displays of emotion measured using the faces subtest of the Diagnostic Assessment of Non-Verbal Accuracy (DANVA) at age 8.5 years. In addition to examining the role of exposure (vs. nonexposure) to each type of adversity, we also evaluated the role of the timing, duration, and recency of each adversity using a Least Angle Regression variable selection procedure.
Results

Over three-quarters of the sample experienced at least one adversity. We found no evidence to support an association between emotion recognition deficits and previous exposure to adversity, either in terms of total lifetime exposure, timing, duration, or recency, or when stratifying by sex.
Conclusions

Results from the largest population-based sample suggest that even extreme forms of adversity are unrelated to emotion recognition deficits as measured by the DANVA, suggesting the possible immutability of emotion recognition in the general population. These findings emphasize the importance of population-based studies to generate generalizable results.
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I thought my bully deserved an awful life. But then he had one. 

I thought my bully deserved an awful life. But then he had one.  | Adolescent Development | Scoop.it
As a child, I was an easy mark for playground torments: smart, insufferably rule-abiding, decidedly unpretty. The tormenter I remember most distinctly was not my first bully, nor my last, but his attacks would turn the others into footnotes.

He was in my class for years; his mom was my softball coach, driving me to and from practice when my single mother could not. In class photos his face is round and almost cherubic, but I remember it contorted in anger as he spat insults at me, telling me to shut the hell up, flailing his hands against his chest and moaning — an approximation of what he said I sounded like. We were seated next to each other in class, year after year, and when I finally complained about this arrangement, one of my teachers said that maybe I’d be “a good influence on him.”

My proximity to his mother did nothing to protect me. Sitting in the back of her van after my team lost a softball game, he snapped: “It smells in here. Close your legs.” Reflexively, I did as he instructed. When his mother climbed into the driver’s seat a few moments later, oblivious to what had happened, he was still doubled over with laughter. I was 10.
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