Monthly Archives: February 2012

WNBA star opens up about depression

Heather Rudow February 27, 2012

(Photo:Flickr/bryce_edwards)

In Chamique Holdsclaw’s soon-to-be-published autobiography, the WNBA star discusses the struggles she’s had in managing a sports career alongside mental illness.

As The New York Times reports, Holdsclaw had made a name for herself on high school and college teams before joining the WNBA in 1999. But little did her teammates or the rest of the world know that she had been suffering from depression since childhood.

“I didn’t want people to know I suffered from depression,” Holdsclaw told The Times. “I was supposed to be this strong athlete, and I didn’t want to seem weak in anyone’s eyes.”

But now, not only is she tackling her demons in her autobiography, The Times reports that this week Holdsclaw will become an ambassador for Active Minds, a mental health advocacy group that operates on college campuses.

“Basketball has given me a voice,” she said to The Times. “That may really be my talent.”

Read the rest of the article here

A recently published study revealed that young blacks with higher levels of education are significantly less likely to seek mental health services.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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Depressed dads can lead to mental health problems in children

Heather Rudow

(Photo:Flickr/babasteve)

Previous research has found that children’s brains can develop differently if their mother is depressed or stressed while pregnant, but a new study suggests there is a link between children with emotional or behavioral problems and the fact that their fathers are suffering from depression.

“While the finding of increased rates of mental health problems among children whose fathers had depressive symptoms was not surprising in our earlier study, the fact that no prior large scale studies had investigated this issue is truly remarkable, as is the finding that one out of every four children with both a mother and a father with symptoms of depression have mental health problems,” said lead author Michael Weitzman.

The researchers used a nationally representative sample of households comprised of 7,247 families with mothers, fathers and children. They found that of the children who showed evidence of emotional or behavioral problems, 6 percent did not have either a mother or a father with depressive symptoms; 15 percent had only a father with depressive symptoms; 20 percent had only a mother with depressive symptoms; and 25 percent had both parents with depressive symptoms.

“Using previously widely used measures of fathers’, mothers’ and children’s physical and mental health, as well as numerous other family and child characteristics, such as maternal and paternal age, race, marital status and educational attainment, as well as child age, these data demonstrate the following factors being independently associated with increased rates of fathers’ depressive symptoms: living in poverty (1.5 times as common as not living in poverty); living with a child with special health care needs (1.4 times as common); living with a mother with depressive symptoms (5.75 times as common); poor paternal physical health (3.31 times as common); and paternal unemployment (6.50 times as common). … While the findings of poverty, having a child with special health care needs and living with a mother with depressive symptoms are not unexpected, the fact that fathers’ unemployment is by far the strongest predictor of depressive symptoms is a brand new and unique finding with profound implications for the health and development of children in this time of extremely high rates of unemployment.”

The results reported that overall, 6 percent of all fathers had scores that suggested they were suffering from depressive symptoms.

Says Weitzman of the study, “The findings reported in the current paper demonstrate factors that could help identify fathers who might benefit from clinical screening for depression, and we believe the results are particularly salient given the current financial crisis and concurrent increase in unemployment in the USA. Also of serious concern is the fact that living with a mother who herself has depressive symptoms is almost associated with almost as large an increased rate of paternal depressive symptoms as is paternal unemployment. Fathers play profoundly important roles in the lives of children and families and are all too often forgotten in our efforts to help children. These new findings, we hope, will be useful to much needed efforts to develop strategies to identify and treat the very large number of fathers with depression.”

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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Fear of job loss affects more than just the workplace

Heather Rudow February 24, 2012

(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

It’s stressful enough to lose your job, but Spanish researchers have found that even the fear of being laid off can have an impact that stretches far beyond the workplace.

According to study co-author Amparo Caballer, as a worker’s fear of being laid off begins to increase, “the level of work insecurity rises, people are less satisfied with their personal, work and family lives, and they are less committed to their work.”

But the results of the study also indicated that what happens because of these fears will depend upon that individual and his or her occupational group.

For the study, researchers looked at blue-collar workers like supermarket shelf-fillers or hospital attendants, white-collar workers such as administration workers and supermarket check-out staff, and professionals, which included doctors, engineers and nurses.

Caballer said that when their employment is endanger, blue-collar workers are more likely to be “less satisfied with life, and they work less productively than the other groups studied.” The researchers found that of the groups, white-collar workers tended to have the most outward displays of dissatisfaction when their job situation is unstable.

Source: PsychCentral

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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Dark Facebook posts could act as early detection for depression

Heather Rudow

(Photo:Flickr/cambodia4kidsorg)

Some studies report that spending time on Facebook is detrimental to people with low self-esteem, while other experts contend that some dark posts can actually be signs of depression and that the social network can act as a source for early detection and intervention.

As The New York Times reports, last year researchers examined the Facebook profiles of 200 students from the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They found that roughly 30 percent of the participants posted updates that met the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for a symptom of depression. Some of these symptoms include posting about feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, insomnia or sleeping too much and having difficulties concentrating.

“You can identify adolescents and young adults on Facebook who are showing signs of being at risk, who would benefit from a clinical visit for screening,” principle investigator Megan A. Moreno told The Times.

Read the rest of the article here

Facebook recently announced plans to pair depressed users with a crisis counselor from National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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Smartphones could make psychological help available anywhere, anytime

Heather Rudow February 23, 2012

(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

Where the counseling profession will go in the future is anyone’s guess, but scientists and counselors alike agree that technology will play an important role. And as The New York Times reports, some are even hoping that there will soon be apps on smartphones that will make psychological help available to a person whenever, wherever.

“We are built as human beings to figure out our place in the world, to construct a narrative in the context of a relationship that gives meaning to our lives,” Andrew J. Gerber, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, told The Times. “I would be wary of treatments that don’t allow for that.

Despite skepticisms, The Times notes some of the positives of a potential app would be that it could reach people “who lack the means or interest to engage in traditional therapy and need more than the pop mysticism, soothing thoughts or confidence boosters now in use,” as well as those who face crippling social anxieties and are unable to leave the house.

“That is what makes the idea so promising,” said Richard McNally, a psychologist at Harvard. “But there are big questions about how it could work and how robust the effect really is.”

McNally’s lab recently completed a study of 338 people using a smartphone-accessible program.

Read the rest of the article

Read what some of ACA’s leaders believe the future holds for the counseling profession.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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