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In a paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the researchers found children who are both victims and bullies (‘bully-victims’), are at highly increased risk of considering suicide, or have planned and engaged in suicidal or self-harming behaviour by 11-12 years of age.
These increased odds were not explained by other factors family circumstances or pre-existing emotional problems. The team looked at data from 6,043 children in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol to assess bullying between four and 10 years and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts at 11-12 years old. The study used information collected from parents and teachers, as well as the child, to see how common bullying or victim behaviour was. They found that, compared to children who were never bullied, ‘bully-victims’ were three times as likely to have suicidal thoughts, and that those who were bullied over a long period of time were six times more likely to consider suicide. Those who bully others but never become victims (pure bullies) were also at increased risk for suicide thoughts and suicidal or self-harming behaviour but the findings were not as consistent. One of the study’s authors Professor Dieter Wolke is based in the Department of Psychology and Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick. He said: “Our study findings suggest that suicide-related behaviour is a serious problem for pre-adolescent youth: 4.8% of this community population reported suicidal thoughts and 4.6% reported suicidal or self-injurious behaviour. Health practitioners should be aware of the relationship between bullying and suicide, and should recognise the very real risks that may be evident earlier in development than commonly thought. “Targeting intervention schemes from primary school onward is paramount, and could help to prevent chronic exposure to bullying, which is especially harmful.” More information: ‘Involvement in Bullying and Suicide-related Behaviour at 11 Years: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study’, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.Culture & Society, Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged bullies, children, emotional problems, self harm, suicide, victims | Leave a comment
New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol shows that girls whose fathers were absent during the first five years of life were more likely to develop depressive symptoms in adolescence than girls whose fathers left when they were aged five to ten years or than boys in both age groups (0-5 and 5-10), even after a range of factors was taken into account.Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged adolescent girls, Boys, childhood, children, depressive symptoms, fathers | Leave a comment
Up to 20 percent of children in the United States suffer from a mental disorder, and the number of kids diagnosed with one has been rising for more than a decade, according to a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the agency’s first-ever study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17, researchers found childhood mental illnesses affect up to one in five kids and cost $247 billion per year in medical bills, special education and juvenile justice.
Children with mental disorders – defined as “serious deviations from expected cognitive, social, and emotional development” – often have trouble learning in school, making friends, and building relationships later in life, the report said.
They are more likely to have other chronic health problems, such as asthma and diabetes, and are at risk for developing mental illnesses as adults.
“This is a deliberate effort by CDC to show mental health is a health issue. As with any health concern, the more attention we give to it, the better. It’s parents becoming aware of the facts and talking to a healthcare provider about how their child is learning, behaving, and playing with other kids,” Dr. Ruth Perou, the lead author of the study, said in an interview.
“What’s concerning is the number of families affected by these issues. But we can do something about this. Mental health problems are diagnosable, treatable and people can recover and lead full healthy lives,” Perou added.
The study cited data collected between 1994 and 2011 that showed the number of kids with mental disorders is growing. The study stopped short of concluding why, but suggested improvements in diagnoses as one possible explanation
“Changes in estimated prevalence over time might be associated with an actual change in prevalence, changes in case definition, changes in the public perception of mental disorders, or improvements in diagnosis, which might be associated with changes in policies and access to health care,” the study said.
Perou said more research was needed to determine the specific causes of mental disorders, and that greater awareness could lead to an uptick in diagnoses. A host of environmental factors, including chemical exposure and poverty, can also affect a child’s mental health, she said.
Lead, for example, is known to be “one of the biggest toxins to impact behavior and learning,” Perou said. Poor children are at a higher risk for developing certain conditions, according to the study.
The most prevalent mental health diagnosis, as reported by parents, was Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affects 6.8 percent of children. Also common were behavioral conduct problems (3.5 percent), anxiety, which consists mostly of fears and phobias (3 percent), depression (2.1 percent) and autism spectrum disorders (1.1 percent). Many of these disorders occur together, the report said.
Boys were found more likely to have most of the listed disorders except for depression and alcohol abuse, which affect more girls.
The study also noted that suicide, which can be precipitated by an untreated mental illness, was the second leading cause of death (after accidents) among children 12 to 17 years old.
The CDC report was based on multiple other studies that collected data and interviewed children and their guardians about their diagnoses, habits, behaviors and other factors.Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged adults, childhood, children, chronic health problems, cognitive development, Disease Control and Prevention, emotional development, mental disorder, mental illnesses, social development | 2 Comments
As every aspect of our daily lives has become hyper-connected, some people on the cutting edge of tech are trying their best to push it back a few feet. Keeping their phone in their pocket. Turning off their home Wi-Fi at night or on weekends. And reading books on paper, rather than pixels.Mental Health & Wellbeing, New Media | Tagged books, connectivity, cutting back on internet, lifestyle, technology, Wi-Fi | Leave a comment
“Probably the most widespread assumption about how the human brain evolved is that size increase was concentrated in the frontal lobes,” study lead author Robert Barton, from the anthropology department at Durham, explained in a university news release.
“It has been thought that frontal lobe expansion was particularly crucial to the development of modern human behavior, thought and language, and that it is our bulging frontal lobes that truly make us human,” he said. “We show that this is untrue: Human frontal lobes are exactly the size expected for a non-human brain scaled up to human size.”Science | Tagged anthropology, Brain Power, frontal lobe, human behavior, human brain, language, thought | Leave a comment
Close to half of U.S high school students text while driving, a habit that dramatically increases their risk of getting into a potentially fatal car crash, a new study shows.
Teens who reported texting while driving were more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors such as driving under the influence of alcohol or not wearing a seat belt, the study also found.
The research was published online May 13 and in the June print issue of the journal Pediatrics.Culture & Society | Tagged alcohol, fatal car crash, risky driving behaviors, school students, study, text driving | Leave a comment
I’ve written before about the importance of teacher wellbeing.
Yes I know this is the Generation Next not the Generation Was Blog, but I think it is essential to appreciate that if we want our kids to flourish, then it is essential that the adults in their lives are doing likewise.
A great deal of time is spent addressing student wellbeing at conferences and in school policy documents, but other than a cursory nod in the Workplace Occupational Health and Safety policy, teacher wellbeing is something that seems to be over-looked.
Maybe it’s because many workplaces seem to neglect their staff wellbeing to focus on their clients. Why would schools be any different? After all, school is mostly about kids.
However, did you know that research indicates that approximately 40-50% of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years in the job?
Did you know that research also shows that this is rarely due to classroom pressures, but more to do with the politics, or lack of support in the staffroom.
Did you know that according to Safe Work Australia 2013 report into Workers Compensation Claims for Mental Stress, the education sector is second on the list for mental health claims across all industries?
It’s clear that teacher wellbeing is something that needs to be addressed.
How is it addressed in your school?
Why not comment below, as perhaps your ideas could help others.
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaeslerPosted in Culture & Society, Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged advice, Safe Work Australia, staff wellbeing, student wellbeing, teacher wellbeing, teachers, workers, Workplace Occupational Health and Safety policy | 16 Comments
Children who read on an iPad or Kindle are falling behind in the classroom as figures showed for the first time the majority of youngsters now prefer ebooks to printed versions.
The advance of technology means that young people who read on a screen have weaker literacy skills and fewer children now enjoy reading, experts have said.
A survey, conducted by The National Literacy Trust, found that 52 per cent of children preferred to read on an electronic device – including e-readers, computers and smartphones – while only 32 per cent said they would rather read a physical book.
Worryingly, only 12 per cent of those who read using new technology said they really enjoyed reading, compared with 51 per cent of those who favoured books.
Pupils who get free school meals, generally a sign they are from poorer backgrounds, are the least likely group to pick up a traditional book, the research found.
The poll of 34,910 young people aged between eight and 16 across the UK found that those who read printed texts were almost twice as likely to have above-average reading skills as those who read on screens every day.Culture & Society, New Media | Tagged children, ebooks, electronic device, iPad, Kindle, literacy skills, physical book, technology, traditional book | 5 Comments
As we muddle through our days, the quest for happiness looms large. In the U.S., citizens are granted three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In the kingdom of Bhutan, there’s a national index to measure happiness. But what if searching for happiness actually prevents us from finding it? There’s reason to believe that the quest for happiness might be a recipe for misery. In a series of new studies led by the psychologist Iris Mauss, the more value people placed on happiness, the less happy they became.Culture & Society | Tagged Happiness, Iris Mauss, liberty, Life, misery, the pursuit of happiness | Leave a comment
Researchers found a sharp rise in the deaths from dementia and other neurological disease in under-74s, and believe that the figures cannot be explained away by the fact we live longer.
Instead the “epidemic” is down to the environmental and social changes in the modern world, the authors claim.
Of the 10 biggest Western countries the US had the highest increase in all neurological deaths between 1979 and 2010.
The UK hadthe fourth largest increase, according to World Health Organisation statistics, with men up 32 per cent and women up 48 per cent – representing a rise from 4,500 deaths to 6,500.
Within the figures there is an alarming “hidden epidemic” of deaths in adults under 74, especially the UK, according to the study published in Public Health Journal.
Total neurological deaths in both men and women rose significantly in 16 of the countries covered by the research, which is in sharp contrast to the major reductions in deaths from all other causes.
Women’s neurological deaths rose faster in most countries.
Professor Colin Pritchard, from Bournemouth University, said: “These statistics are about real people and families, and we need to recognise that there is an ‘epidemic’ that clearly is influenced by environmental and societal changes.”
That people suffer more brain diseases, and from younger ages, is illustrated the creation of two new charities – The Young Parkinson’s Society and Young Dementia UK – which would have been inconceivable 30 years ago, he said.
“Considering the changes over the last 30 years – the explosion in electronic devices, rises in background non-ionising radiation – PCs, microwaves, TVs, mobile phones; road and air transport up four-fold increasing background petro-chemical pollution; chemical additives to food, etcetera,” Professor Pritchard said.
“There is no one factor rather the likely interaction between all these environmental triggers, reflecting changes in other conditions.”