Saskatoon teen creates mental health app for victims of bullying

A Saskatoon teen who was bullied in school starting in Grade 2 has developed an app to help other kids address and cope with mental health and bullying. 

Kelli Lemstra says the bullying began in Grade 2.

“I was struggling with the relationships with a lot of my friends,” she said. “It got really hard when everyone started getting cell phones which was in Grade 7 and 8.” That’s when the 16-year-old said things became unbearable.

“(People) were texting me awful things, commenting on all of my social media, making rude accounts about me, calling me on my phone on unknown caller telling me to kill myself,” she said.

With what Kelli thought was a lack of support from her school, and no way to make the bullying stop, the teen and her parents didn’t know where to turn.  more

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Teen anxiety and depression more likely in kids who don’t trust or communicate with parents

When children are small, their faces light up at the sight of mom and dad. But fast forward a few years, and the same parents eventually get eye-rolls.

Adolescence is a time to navigate self-identity and peer pressure from every angle, but what causes some teens to thrive while others struggle with anxiety and depression?

While previous reports have credited environmental risk factors, such as poverty and racism, for anxiety and depression in teens, a new study adds another one: a fracture in the parent-child bond.  more

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The Negative Voices in Your Teenager’s Head (7 ways to quiet them)

 

This is what a teen might say to you about his or her self-talk:

“I’m mad. I don’t know why. Sometimes I wake up mad; other days it creeps up on me. I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good. I wish I wasn’t so mad, but I am. I can’t help it.

“Every day is a prison, trapped inside this changing body, repeating the same day over and over. My whole life is made up of things I have to do, not things I want to do. Tests, quizzes, reading assignments, papers, group projects — I spend the entire day with people I am forced to be with: teenagers who feel just as messed up as me.

“Sometimes my feelings get hurt at school — by teachers, deans, counselors, but mostly by other students. I don’t tell you this, because I’m ashamed to feel hurt. I don’t want you to know how hurt I feel all the time.

“My whole life has become ‘I don’t want to…’ I don’t want to wake up. I don’t want to go to bed. I don’t want to go to school. I don’t want to…I don’t want to…I don’t want to.

“I can’t think of a single thing that I want to do — except sleep. It’s the only time I’m not stressing, the only time I’m not worried, the only time I’m not upset.

“Sometimes I hide in my room and binge watch Netflix, YouTube, or mindless videos over and over, because I can’t stand to be with my own thoughts. I’m distracting myself from me. Does that sound crazy?

“And, yes, I know that my room is a mess. I like it that way: It looks how I feel inside. And please don’t ask me what’s wrong, because I don’t know. I don’t know where these feelings came from.  more

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SUICIDE IS PREVENTABLE, AND ‘EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS’

“Suicide is very, very complex,” said Itasca County Public Health Division Manager Kelly Chandler during a presentation to the Itasca County Board of Commissioners. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Chandler provided the board with an exploration of suicide in Itasca County.

Tuesday’s presentation helped identify patterns in suicides, “with the goal of providing some upstream preventative work and early identification and treatment approaches to persons contemplating suicide or struggling with mental health in general,” said Chandler.

“There usually is not one single event that causes a suicide, and no single path leads someone to that place,” she explained. However, there can be some patterns or series of events that contribute to someone contemplating and completing a suicide.

“We often hear this narrative surrounding bullying, for example,” said Chandler. “Can bullying be a contributing factor? Yes, absolutely. Especially if the victim feels like they can’t escape what’s happening to them or they don’t feel like they’re receiving the help they need.”  more

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Teen Xanax abuse is surging

Teen drug use during the summer often goes unnoticed. It’s when school starts and students nod off in class, exchange pills in the hallways and fail tests that the truth becomes apparent.

This school year, addiction specialists say they’re expecting an onslaught of teens addicted to Xanax and other sedatives in a class of anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines, or “benzos.” Many teens view Xanax as a safer and more plentiful alternative to prescription opioids and heroin — with similar euphoric effects.

But addiction experts warn that the pills kids are taking, often found in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets, can be just as deadly as opioids, especially when taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol. And it’s much harder to kick the habit.  more

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Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright

The first time Faith-Ann Bishop cut herself, she was in eighth grade. It was 2 in the morning, and as her parents slept, she sat on the edge of the tub at her home outside Bangor, Maine, with a metal clip from a pen in her hand. Then she sliced into the soft skin near her ribs. There was blood–and a sense of deep relief. “It makes the world very quiet for a few seconds,” says Faith-Ann. “For a while I didn’t want to stop, because it was my only coping mechanism. I hadn’t learned any other way.”

The pain of the superficial wound was a momentary escape from the anxiety she was fighting constantly, about grades, about her future, about relationships, about everything. Many days she felt ill before school. Sometimes she’d throw up, other times she’d stay home. “It was like asking me to climb Mount Everest in high heels,” she says.  more

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