HJNO Sep/Oct 2019
48 SEP / OCT 2019 I Healthcare Journal of NEW ORLEANS column CHILDREN’S HEALTH Back to School blues: Three trends in teen mental health to look out for this school year Social Media There are as many pro-social media research articles out there as there are articles against it. Some of the claimed benefits of social media include connec- tivity, knowledge, and creativity sharing amongst peers. Teen pregnancies are at an all-time low, as well as teen substance use. In addition, some teens use social media apps as a real time journal, and will reach out to peers when in need of help. In fact, Facebook launched a suicide prevention campaign in 2016, using artificial intelli- gence to identify certain trigger words or phrases and subsequently pointing users toward helpful resources. However, there are also many pitfalls to social media. One of the most important effects on physical health is sleep depri- vation. Teens are not getting the vital, restorative sleep they need to be able to focus and pay attention in school. In addi- tion, social media can have very negative effects on self-esteem and emotional well- being. Cyberbullying can lead to depres- sion, feelings of loneliness, and isolation from peers. What can parents do? Parents should monitor its use, befriend their children on all accounts, and make it a rule that they must share their passwords. Parents should have media free zones in the home to be better able to monitor just howmuch time is being spent on devices. Caregivers should designate media-free times each day, such as during family meals and after bedtime. There are also many online re- sources that can assist parents in creating a media plan for the whole family. Substance Use Just as teen drinking, illicit drug use, and cigarette use hit an all-time low, Juul hit the market. It happened so fast. With- in a year of its launch, over 30 percent of high schoolers have started using it. Juul is a formof vaping, but unique in the fact that the delivery device does not need a heating element. This results in nearly pure vapor- ized nicotine with very little puff cloud. The device looks just like a USB jump drive, and because of this, teens can use it any- where and everywhere. They use it in the back of class, in the back of the school bus, in the bathroom, and at sporting events. There are YouTube videos that teach teens “how to Juul anywhere”. The dilemma public officials are grap- pling with is that vaping devices such as Juul are helpingmillions ofAmericans quit It is a well-known fact that school and the social pres- sures that come with it stress kids out. Starting in late Au- gust, Children’s Hospital’s Be- havioral Health team prepares for clinic visits to spike and the inpatient unit to remain full for thedurationof the school year. Nationwide the rate of suicide and mental health diagnoses in kids are on the rise. Here are three of the biggest concerns leading into the school year.
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