. . . the right care at the right time


Blog posts with a category of Teens.

Two brave teens shine a light on depression



By David Harris, MD and New Oakland Medical Director

Don’t be disillusioned: It’s tough out there. And that goes for everybody, even those who seem to have it all. I go back to the opening page of M. Scott Peck’s self-help classic, The Road Less Traveled:

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”  M. Scott Peck

Unfortunately, for those with untreated depression, the road becomes much bumpier and dangerous.

I bring this up to applaud two brave teenagers from Community High School in Ann Arbor, Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld. Both young ladies are aspiring Tdep3
journalists and suffer from depression, and after one saw a bottle of Prozac in the other one’s purse at journalism conference, they openly discussed their feelings and use of antidepressants. But when they interviewed fellow students and wanted to bring their discovery into the open, they ran into a roadblock. The two then wrote about it in a op ed article in the New York Times.

As editors at our high school newspaper we decided to fight against the stigma and proposed devoting a whole edition to personal stories from our peers who were suffering from mental illness. We wanted honesty with no anonymity.

We knew that discussing mental health in this way would be edgy, even for our progressive community in Michigan. We interviewed teenagers from around our school district who shared stories of depression, eating disorders, homelessness, prescription abuse, insomnia and anxiety. All agreed to attach their full name — no anonymity or pseudonyms.

But we were shocked when the school administration would not allow us to publish the articles.” Continue reading

IMG_1342By Martha Adair, Therapist, Director, New Oakland

Are Facebook and other social media sites immensely popular because of society’s growing inability to communicate well face-to-face, or, do they fill a void because peoplesm1 have fewer opportunities to communicate face-to-face?

This is the old, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg” argument played out in the wildly pervasive social media explosion.

We need answers and solutions, because, at worst, our children are getting bullied, and at best, are still wasting huge chunks of time caught up in the fascination, addiction and dangers of social media.

At a recent meeting New Oakland had the Warren Consolidated School System, middle school Principal Shaun Greene-Beebee said, “80% of the problems we have with our students stem directly from social media.”

Think of that: 80% of problems in our schools are attributed to something that didn’t even exist less than a decade ago!

Many students become hopelessly distracted by the constant flow of text messages, Facebook posts and Instagram photos. In fact, Greene-Beebee told of two seventh grade girls, straight-A students in fact, who were suspended for “sexting” naked pictures of themselves.

I’ll take a wild leap that the boys on the receiving end may have lost their teacher’s train of thought on the root causes of World War II.

So, we know we have a problem, but who is to blame? Mark Zuckerberg? The kids themselves? Or, is it us, the parents? Continue reading

Kids must learn to embrace anxiety

By Lisa Kalinski, New Oakland Therapist

Anxiety is the most common mental health concern for children, and the reason we all get a bit of a break in the summer is because nothing creates more anxiety in kids than the myriad of worrisome situations that take place in school.

  • What if my Mom doesn’t come to pick me up after school?
  • What if the other kids make fun of my outfit?
  • What if I get lots of mistakes in my spelling test?
  • What if I throw up at school?

As parents, we have to be keen observers of excessive anxiety in our children. Ironically, the biggest obstacle to doing that is that anxiety is as critical and fundamental to living a full life as it is to crushing our very spirit for life.

I enjoyed a recent New York Times online article by Daniel Smith called, “Nothing to Do but Embrace the Dread.” Smith has been plagued by intense anxiety his entire life, and writes that like all anxiety ridden people, he spent his life looking for the right set of conditions that would make anxiety disappear. Continue reading