Eva, 14, has been suffering from OCD since she was a little girl.
Since Eva Tomassini was 4 years old, she remembers her life being controlled by rules. Not from her parents, or school, but rules she created in her head, like having to arrange things in a certain way or run away in order to prevent terrible things from happening. As Eva grew older, her compulsions and obsessions got worse. She thought if she didn’t follow the rules, someone close to her would be harmed or die.
Eva has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a disorder that literally ruled her life throughout her childhood.
“It was like she was controlled by an evil puppet master,” said Earlyn Tomassini, Eva’s mother. “She had spontaneous rules she had to follow or she’d run away at night because her OCD would tell her something bad would happen to somebody if she didn’t. It was really difficult for her and for our family.” Read full post »
Researchers have identified a cost-effective way to treat depression in teens with a collaborative care approach.
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues a teenager can face. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 2.8 million adolescents ages 12 to 17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in 2014, or 11.4% of adolescents that age.
Depression can create a huge cost burden on patients and institutions, and for teenagers that includes issues like missed school and the costs of healthcare for families. A new study in JAMA Pediatrics, led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Group Health Cooperative, identifies a cost-effective treatment that yields promising results for depressed teens.
“We used a collaborative care approach to treat teen depression, which included having a depression care manager who worked with the patient, family and doctors to develop a plan and support the teen in implementing that plan,” said Dr. Laura Richardson, an adolescent medicine physician and researcher at Seattle Children’s and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. “We were pleased to find that this collaborative approach was significantly more effective in treating depression than standard care with only a small increase in costs.” Read full post »
Dr. Eileen Klein, attending physician and co-director of Emergency Medicine Research, will speak about the challenges families and children with autism face in navigating the emergency department.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are becoming a larger proportion of Seattle Children’s patients, challenging providers to develop new tactics to meet their unique needs.
This year’s Pediatric Bioethics Conference, “Autism Re-examined: Ethical Challenges in Care, Support, Research and Inclusion,” will focus on the challenges and special requirements of treating these patients.
Dr. Eileen Klein, attending physician and co-director of Emergency Medicine Research at Seattle Children’s Hospital, is a featured speaker at this year’s conference. She gave On the Pulse a sneak preview of her presentation plans, what she’s most looking forward to and what she hopes to learn. Read full post »
I love this picture of me and Chad on a dinner cruise in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Laura Crooks, director of Rehabilitation Medicine, shares how losing her son, Chad, sent Laura and her husband on a mission to eliminate the stigma around mental illness.
My son had mental illness.
It seems so strange to write those words. Instead, I want to write that he was creative and loving and gentle. I want people to know him as a big brother and a son who lived in a large and loving family. I want him to be famous for his dream of inventing bold new means of space travel. But today, the part of Chad’s life I am compelled to share is that he had mental illness.
Chad was diagnosed with schizophrenia in April 2015. One evening, not long after telling his father and me that he had been hearing voices, he became suicidal.
I remember that night like it was yesterday. I remember taking him in the car, his dad holding him in a blanket at 21 years old, just so he wouldn’t jump out of the car as we made the trip up Interstate 5 to the University of Washington Emergency Department.
I remember coaching Chad on what to say once we got there: to tell them he wouldn’t make it through the night if they let him go. I remember how hard it was as a mom to tell my son to say these things. But I also know the truth about limited resources for mental health, and that this was the only way for him to truly get help and to keep him safe.
Read full post »
A group of seventh-grade girls formed the Island Friends Junior Guild.
In March 2015, a group of seventh-grade girls from Mercer Island came up with the idea of starting a guild to support Seattle Children’s, the Island Friends Junior Guild. They banded together and picked a cause they rarely hear their peers talk about, but believe could use a little more support: mental health.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, members of the Island Friends Junior Guild are sharing their story to help inspire others to end the stigma around mental health and raise awareness for Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU).
“The PBMU doesn’t get much attention,” said Tara Manhas, an Island Friends Junior Guild member. “Mental health isn’t really seen as a positive thing. There’s a negative stigma around it. We want to change that.”
Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the nation. In total, there are 450 different guilds that raise money for the hospital, and out of all 450 guilds, one exclusively supports the PBMU. Read full post »
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 »
The 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »