Mental Health

All Articles in the Category ‘Mental Health’

Team Provides Outpatient Mental Health Therapy for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Patients

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Bedolla (left), 18, has been seeing therapist Julia Petersen from time to time since she was 8 years old.

Yajaira Bedolla was 11 months old when her parents learned she was deaf.

Living in Uruapan, Mexico, Bedolla’s parents searched their town for resources to help with the unknowns of raising a deaf child. The limited resources they found focused on teaching deaf children just to speak, rather than also learn sign language.

They expanded their search and, in doing so, briefly moved to California and back to Mexico before landing in Seattle when Bedolla was 8. Here, they found Seattle Children’s and Petersen, a mental health therapist who provides outpatient therapy and support for deaf patients and their families. Read full post »

Helping Kids Cope With Holiday Blues

Holiday DangersThe holidays can be a particularly blue time of the year for people, including children and teenagers. The darker days of winter can bring about a gloomy mood and the hype of the holidays can set unrealistic expectations for children. There are many reasons children may feel sad or anxious around the holidays, including added stress around having to be with one or the other parent (not both), in cases of divorced families, or coping with the loss of a loved one who recently passed away.

To help kids cope with sadness around the holidays, Dr. Elizabeth McCauley, associate director of Seattle Children’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, offers some advice on how to keep those blues at bay. Read full post »

Study: Teens Use Covert Self-harm Hashtags on Instagram That Escape Content Advisory Filters

Dr. Megan Moreno found that teens posting about self-harm, which includes behavior such as intentional cuts or burns on the wrists, arms, legs or belly, were able to outmaneuver Instagram warning labels.

Teens on social media post about their comings and goings—pictures, videos, music and news. But according to a new study from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, some teens are using stealthy hashtags and secret languages on Instagram, a popular picture-sharing app, to create online self-harm communities and trends that encourage dangerous behavior. By doing so, they circumvent Instagram safeguards for self-harm and other dangerous material.

The new research illustrates what content is present on Instagram and details how parents or concerned adults can decipher the meaning of unclear terms they see on their teens’ profiles.

Dr. Megan Moreno, an adolescent medicine physician who studies social media and adolescent health at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, found that teens posting about self-harm, which includes behavior such as intentional cuts or burns on the wrists, arms, legs or belly, were able to outmaneuver Instagram warning labels. Despite the social media app’s attempts to discourage the posts by providing warnings and blocking certain hashtags, adolescent users continued the conversations by developing new hashtags.

“We found that only one third of self-harm hashtags on Instagram generated warning labels,” Moreno said. “Adolescents’ use of unusual terms, such as ‘blithe’ and odd spellings such as ‘self-harmmm,’ allowed them to subvert detection and warning labels.” Read full post »

Research Linking Antidepressants and Autism: What Parents Need to Know

Dr. Bryan King

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is on the rise, but researchers are still searching for explanations as to why. A new study out today in JAMA Pediatrics , linking the use of antidepressants during pregnancy to an increased risk of autism in children, is just another brick in a path toward understanding risk factors associated with autism in general, said Dr. Bryan King, program director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, but it’s not the answer.

King sat down with On the Pulse to answer questions about the study. Read full post »

How 10 Days at Seattle Children’s Changed My Life

When I was 16, I spent 10 days at Seattle Children’s in the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit (now called the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit, or PBMU).

I fought it. I hated it. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Looking back three years later, I can tell you that those were the most important 10 days of my life. If not for my time at Seattle Children’s, I’d probably be in jail now, or dead.

Everyone on the unit met my resistance with compassion – and somehow, they got through to me. Even though I fought being in their care, they cared for me. They cared about me.

I left Seattle Children’s with medications that helped me and coping skills I still use today. Read full post »

Family Genetics Study Reveals New Clues to Autism Risk

Dr. Raphael Bernier

Dr. Raphael Bernier

Dr. Raphael Bernier, clinical director of the Autism Center and investigator in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute has continued his quest to identify genetic mutations that are linked to autism. In a new paper published in Nature Genetics, Bernier and his collaborators at the University of Washington discovered evidence that some children with autism were more likely to have inherited gene mutations most often occurring from mothers to sons.

On the Pulse sat down with Bernier to learn more about these exciting findings. Read full post »

Research Continues to Disprove Link Between Autism and Vaccines

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Dr. Bryan King worries that each time the media includes the MMR vaccine and autism in the same sentence, even if reporting the lack of association, the false idea of a linkage between the two is perpetuated.

A significant body of validated research over the last 15 years has found no link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders, yet the false myth that this vaccine may cause or intensify the disorder continues to circulate among some families of children with autism. As a result, some parents delay or forgo the life-saving MMR vaccine for their children.

A new study, led by The Lewin Group and titled “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among U.S. Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism,” has been published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This study further refuted the concern that children who are at higher risk of developing autism could be negatively impacted by the MMR vaccine. The study included approximately 95,000 children with older siblings and found that receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with an increased risk of autism, regardless of whether older siblings had autism.

Dr. Bryan King, director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, has written an editorial published in the same JAMA issue addressing this research and the controversies that surround it. On the Pulse sat down with King to learn more about these important issues. Read full post »

My Little Brother, My Greatest Inspiration: Celebrating the 1-Year Anniversary of Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Center

Mikey

Mikey at high school graduation

April marks the 1-year anniversary of the grand opening of Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center. The Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center hosts year-round classes for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities. And though it’s only been a year, the Alyssa Burnett Center has already seen great success. Tammy Mitchel, program manager, recounts below her hopes and fears from day one and shares some of her favorite milestones from the past year.

Nearly one year ago, as I was driving to the grand opening of the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, my head swirled with thoughts, hopes, dreams and – admittedly – fears for this journey to open a center for adults with autism. Would it be possible to thoughtfully offer classes to adults with autism and serve a wide spectrum of ability levels? Could we teach adults who had never been in a kitchen how to cook for themselves? Would we be equipped to handle even the most challenging behaviors? And most importantly, could we create a community where all of this could happen under one roof?

I’m so happy to say one year later that yes, we could. And we did. Read full post »

Clinical Trials Aim to Determine Best ADHD Treatments

Dr. Mark Stein is leading several ongoing research studies to improve ADHD treatments.

Dr. Mark Stein is leading several ongoing research studies to improve ADHD treatments.

Seattle Children’s Program to Evaluate and Enhance Attention, Regulation and Learning (PEARL) clinic aims to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and associated problems using the newest and most effective treatments available. To determine which of those treatments is most appropriate for each patient, Dr. Mark Stein, director of the PEARL Clinic and investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, is leading several ongoing research studies that are currently enrolling patients. Read full post »

Researchers Use Social Media to Gauge Suicide Risk

social mediaA Seattle Children’s researcher is chasing an elusive goal: finding a way to know when adolescents and young adults who contemplate suicide might actually try to harm themselves.

“Suicide risk rises and falls but it’s really hard to tell when it’s rising, even when you’re regularly seeing a patient,” said Dr. Molly Adrian, a psychologist at Seattle Children’s and investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development.

Now, Adrian is pursuing an innovative solution – a computerized system that would search adolescents’ social media posts for signs of crisis and alert a medical specialist or family member when someone needs immediate help. Read full post »