Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple
A Teen's Take On the Pandemic
The COVID pandemic is like nothing most of us have ever lived through. This is especially true for kids and teens who are still developing mentally and physically. This week we talk with special guest, Annabel Reddick, a high school senior in Davidson, North Carolina about her experience living through the pandemic, and how things are going two years into it.
Gene, Khadijah, and Annabel discuss the struggle of remote learning and maintaining relationships, readjusting to school more than a year later, how she and her sister coped, and what she thinks adults should know about teens and mental health. Tune in for a great conversation and to hear a perspective we don’t often get but have a lot to learn from.
While Annabel’s experience is just that of one teen, we believe she discusses some universal truths from her story that highlight issues of mental health for many teens out there.
Birdcage Memoirs: A Teen's Reflections on Living Through the Pandemic (MGH Clay Center)
7 Ways to Support Kids and Teens Through the Coronavirus Pandemic (MGH Clay Center)
The Problem of Social Anxiety Disorder (MGH Clay Center)
What Is ADHD? (MGH Clay Center)
What Is Resilience? (MGH Clay Center)
Clay Center Conversation Starters (YouTube)
How to Play the Ukulele (YouTube)
View all episodes
2. Lonely College Students27:33Recent national surveys show that a significant proportion of college students report having felt overwhelmed, anxious, and lonely during college. If college is supposed to be the “best years of your life” then why are so many students lonely? That’s what Dr. Gene Beresin and Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins dive into today: what’s contributing to feelings of loneliness, when should we worry about it, and what can we do to help? They share tips for parents and caregivers, and college students themselves.Media ListFollow along with the conversation.New Surgeon General Raises Alarm About the Devastating Impact of the Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the United States (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)Our Epidemic of Loneliness: Implementing the Surgeon General’s recommendations for parents and caregivers (Psychology Today)’22-’23 Student Lifestyle Survey (Sodexo)Publications and Reports: ACHA-NCHA III (Spring 2023) (American College Health Association)Why Is College So Lonely? (The Sophian)The Challenges of First-Generation College Students (MGH Clay Center)Social Media is Killing Your Friendships (Healthline)Your College Student – Conversation Starters (YouTube)Peer Programs in College Student Mental Health (The Mary Christie Institute & The Ruderman Foundation)Roy Orbison – Only the Lonely (YouTube)Thanks for joining in this conversation. We'll see you back the Third Thursday of every month. Subscribe wherever you stream & leave us a review!Music credit: ‘Only the Lonely’ by Roy Orbison; Publication date, 1961; Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 InternationalOriginal music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
1. Fears and Phobias in Kids and Teens, feat. Susan Sprich, PhD36:48All of us have fears – kids and adults alike. Many of us even enjoy a good scare now and again (there’s a reason why horror movies do so well). Most fears – real or imagined – eventually respond to reassurance, emotional calming, or distraction. But when a fear persists, resisting rational or emotional soothing and creating obstacles in daily life, it becomes a phobia.Just in time for Halloween, we’re kicking off our new season with a look at specific phobias in kids. We’re joined by special guest Susan Sprich, PhD of Massachusetts General Hospital to learn more about fears and phobias, and to discuss what treatments work best and what parents can do to help.Media ListSusan Sprich, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital)Cognitive Behavior Therapy, featuring Susan Sprich, PhD (Spotify)Could You Have Samhainophobia or the Fear of Halloween? (VeryWell)Types of Specific Phobia (Perlman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania)Fear of the Dark? 16 Ways to Help Your Child (MGH Clay Center)Nature Vs. Nurture, featuring Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD (Acast)Treatment – Phobias (NHS)How Do You Treat Specific Phobias in Kids? (MGH Clay Center)Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale – Revised (CTRS-R) (Beck Institute)Involving family members in exposure therapy for children and adolescents (American Psychological Association)Thanks for joining in this conversation. We hope to see you back the Third Thursday of every month! Subscribe wherever you stream. Episode produced by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin
Shrinking It Down returns on October 19!00:28Transcript:Hi, this is Gene Beresin, co-host of Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple. We’ll have all new episodes for you beginning next month – on the THIRD THURSDAY of every month. We’ve got some great topics lined up for this season: the stimulant shortage, phobias in kids and teens, the benefits on animal therapy, and so much more. Do stay tuned, and we'll see you soon. Subscribe wherever you stream - new episodes every THIRD THURSDAY of the month. Like what you hear? Leave us a review!
9. Coping With Gun Violence, Together - feat. Gretchen Felopulos, PhD41:16With increasing gun violence and constant media coverage, many kids are scared to go to concerts, to malls, to school. Many adults are feeling the same. Today, special guest Gretchen Felopulos, PhD, the education and training lead for the Center for Gun Violence Prevention at MGH, joins Gene and Khadijah to help us learn more about gun safety, youth suicide, best practices for lockdown drills, talking about guns to those with opposing views, and so much more. Be sure to see the resources, below.Media ListFollow along with the conversation.Gretchen Felopulos, PhD (LinkedIn)Center for Gun Violence Prevention (Massachusetts General Hospital)Twitter, TikTok, and Siloization (The Medium)Firearm suicide among America’s youth has hit its highest rate in 20 years, report finds (CBS News)Talking to Kids About Fear and Violence (Mental Health America)Can Community Programs Help Slow the Rise in Violence? (ProPublica)Are active shooter drills worth it? (Vox)Active Shooter Situations: Threat Assessment Teams (TAT) (REMS TA Center)School shooting false alarms, swatting calls put teachers, students and parents on edge (PBS News Hour)Nine Ways to Help Students Discuss Gun Violence (Greater Good Magazine)How to Have a Productive Conversation About Guns with Someone Who Holds Different Views? (The Trace)Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) or “Red Flag” Laws (American Academy of Pediatrics)Activism Is Good for Our Teens (MGH Clay Center)Keep the Peace Contract (Boys Town)About Wear Orange (wearorange.org)Thanks for tuning in. We hope our conversation will help you to have yours. If you like what you hear, please leave us a review! Music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
8. ASD: Making the Transition to College, feat. Chris Keary, MD40:47The transition to college can be huge for all kids, but for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) there's even more to consider in making it a smooth transition. As parents, how do we best support them? How involved should we be? Special guest Dr. Chris Keary of the MGH Lurie Center for Autism Center joins Gene and Khadijah with helpful advice and answers to these questions and more. Media ListFollow along with the conversation.Christopher Keary, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital)MGH Fellowship Program in Autism Spectrum Disorder (Lurie Center for Autism)What is Autism Spectrum? (MGH Clay Center)Transition Planning Requirements of IDEA 2004 (Learning Disabilities Association of America)Autism Resource Central (HMEA)**What are a public or private college-university’s responsibilities to students with disabilities? (ADA National Network)First-of-its-kind law improves college access for students with autism, intellectual disabilities (The Boston Globe)Autism Disclosure and College (Asperger/Autism Network)Not Every Autistic Person is a ‘Savant.’ (The Swaddle)Autism goes to College: Understanding the Needs of a Student Population on the Rise (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders)Anxiety and Depression in Autistic College Students (Cureus)Autism Goes to College, The Podcast Series The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Official Trailer (YouTube)**similar services may be available in other statesMusic by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
7. Digital Vigilance and Our Kids38:48We’ve reached a point in time where most of our kids have grown up with digital media as a way of life. Social media, instant viral news, e-learning, digital surveillance – it’s all here to stay. And it’s not all bad. But there are some legitimate concerns about how it’s impacting the mental health and safety of young people.In this episode of Shrinking It Down, we revisit some of the most helpful conversations we’ve had about digital media’s impact on our kids and teens. From issues related to body image and gaming disorder, to ways we can help our young digital natives become more digitally vigilant, Gene, Khadijah, and other experts share practical advice for every caring adult. To hear to any of the previous episodes in full or see the resources shared in their write ups, check out our media list, below. Media ListUnsettled About Instagram?Body Image and Young People, feat. Holly Peek, MD, MPHGaming Disorder, with Steven Schlozman, MDMedia Literacy and Mental Health, feat. Michael Robb, PhDKids Under Surveillance! with Steve Schlozman, MDBONUS: Asking About Social MediaThanks for joining in this conversation. Like what you hear? Leave us a review! And be sure to subscribe for new episodes every Third Thursday of the month. Music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
6. How Should We Respond to Anxiety in Our Kids? feat. Kevin Simon, MD40:40Anxiety. It's rising in our kids and teens. What can we do to help? Today, Gene and Khadijah are joined by very special guest Dr. Kevin Simon, Chief Behavioral Health Officer for the City of Boston. Dr. Simon draws on his experience in child & adolescent psychiatry, addiction medicine, health policy, and more, to help us talk through childhood anxiety. What’s the right way to respond to a child with anxiety? Why can parental accommodation make things worse? How do we reassure kids whose anxiety stems from legitimate concerns, like community violence or discrimination? What’s the role of mental health education in supporting families?Tune in and share with a friend. And be sure to check out the additional resources below.Media List Kevin M. Simon, MD, LLCDr. Kevin Simon Appointed First Chief Behavioral Health Officer (City of Boston)St. Peter Claver RC Church (Place Matters)YRBS Data Summary & Trends Report, 2011-2021 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)What If My Child Has Anxiety? (PDF – MGH Clay Center)Anxiety to Agency: Empowering Kids to Address Climate Change (MGH Clay Center)Building Mental Wellness in Children: What Parents Can Do (MGH Clay Center)School Refusal: When Back to School Is a Nightmare (MGH Clay Center)Collaborative Problem Solving for Parents (Think:Kids)Anxiety: Support Your Child at Home (PDF – MGH Clay Center)What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (MGH Clay Center)Disparities in Pediatric Mental and Behavioral Health Conditions (Pediatrics)Child Psychiatrist on How to Address Suicide Among Black Youth (NowThis News)Calling 988 Can Get You Help During a Mental Health or Substance Abuse Emergency (NECN)Tune in Third Thursdays for new episodes. Like what you hear? Leave us a review!Episode produced by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin
5. Understanding Obesity Stigma, feat. Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA45:40We often hear about how stigma can prevent treatment for mental disorders and promote feelings of shame or low self-worth among those struggling. Did you know the same is true for obesity? Obesity is a complex disease, and stigma stems from a misunderstanding of what it is, what contributes, and how it can be treated.Today, we're joined by Angela Fitch, MD, a leader in the field of obesity medicine, to help us learn more about what we can all do to support kids who are struggling with obesity and shift the culture around weight bias. We discuss personal biases, effective treatment, and the mental health toll obesity stigma can take on our kids who need us to step up on this issue.Tune in & share with someone you know.Media ListAngela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA (Obesity Medicine Association)More About Knownwell (Knownwell.co)Consensus Statement on Obesity (The Obesity Society)What Is Body Composition? (WebMD)BMI ≠ Obesity = Excess Adiposity (ConscienHealth)Adipose Tissue (Body Fat) (Cleveland Clinic)Study: BMI Measurements Should Be Tailored to Race and Ethnicity (Verywell Health)Most Food in America is Hyper-Palatable and ‘Difficult to Stop Eating,’ Scientists Say (Newsweek)CBT Is Effective for Childhood Obesity (Beck Institute)Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, featuring Susan Sprich, PhD (MGH Clay Center)Is Your ADHD Brain Hard-Wired for Weight Gain? (ADDitude Magazine)Headless, Hungry, and Unhealthy: A Video Content Analysis of [Persons With Obesity] Portrayed in Online News (Journal of Health Communication)New guidelines for treating childhood obesity include medications and surgery for first time (NBC News)Weight Bias: People-First Language (Obesity Action Coalition)Digital Media and Body Image (MGH Clay Center)Episode produced by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin
4. Dr. Gene and Dr. Khadijah Answer Your Questions30:14From challenges with hair pulling to supporting a child through a regression in toilet training, Dr. Gene Beresin and Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins answer real parent questions in this episode. For each question, they offer clinical insight to help parents better understand what might be going on, and suggestions for next steps and ways to support the child. We think all caring adults will be interested in this discussion. Be sure to tune in.Follow along with the media list below, and if this episode sparks another question, write to us! We’ll include it in a future episode. Like what you hear? Leave us a review!Media ListDr. J. Stuart Ablon: Kids Lack Skills, Not Will to Do Well (YouTube-AccuTrain)Question #1: How to Help With Hair Pulling (01:40)Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania) (AACAP)What If My Child Has Obsessive Compuslive Disorder (OCD)? (MGH Clay Center)Cognitive Behavior Therapy: A Closer Look (MGH Clay Center)What If My Child Is Prescribed an SSRI? (MGH Clay Center)Question #2: How to Help My Teenager with Avoidance Behaviors at Home and at School (06:15)Anxiety in Our Children: The Role of Avoidance Behavior (National Association for Child Development)School Refusal: When Back-to-School Is a Struggle (MGH Clay Center)CBT Snapshot: Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Phobias (MGH Clay Center)Question #3: Child Can’t Stop Touching Things When They Walk Around the House (13:05)Overview: Tics (National Health Service)What If My Child Has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? (MGH Clay Center)Question #4: How to Help 5-Year-Old with Potty Training Regression (18:05)Potty Training Regression: What To Do About It (Cleveland Clinic)What Is Collaborative Problem Solving? (Think:Kids)Tips for Dealing with Potty Training Regression (Healthline) Welcome Back (Theme from Welcome Back, Kotter) (YouTube-John Sebastian)