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Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple

Next Week: Senator John Velis of Massachusetts

Season 7

Very special guest Senator John C. Velis of Massachusetts joins Gene and Khadijah to discuss legislative opportunities to address the youth mental health crisis. He says a big focus needs to be on schools, for both intervention and prevention.

Be sure to tune in next week on the THIRD Thursday of the month!

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  • 7. The Role of Roleplay in Therapy

    If you’re a regular listener, you’ll know we often reference the benefits of casual roleplay games - from dress up to Dungeons & Dragons - for healthy child development. It can help kids better understand themselves, gain a deeper understanding of others, and build confidence. Today, Gene and Khadijah explore roleplay through a more therapeutic lens. They are joined by special guests John Corbett, MD and Terrance Dolan, MD, two MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows (and lovers of roleplay games) to delve deeper into how it can be used in therapy and at home to support our kids’ mental health. Stay tuned to the end to hear everyone’s favorite games!Media ListFollow along with the conversation.John Corbett, MD (Harvard Catalyst Profiles)Terrance Dolan, MD (Harvard Catalyst Profiles)The Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Residence of MGH/McLean (YouTube - Mass General Brigham)Role-playing (Wikipedia)The use of clinical role-play and reflection in learning therapeutic communication skills in mental health education: an integrative review (Advances in Medical Education and Practices)What Is Family Therapy? (MGH Clay Center)The Positive Value of Conflict Resolution (MGH Clay Center)The Psychology of Video Game Avatars (The Psychology of Video Games)Why do kids love Roblox? (LinkedIn - Education Next)Helping Kids With Challenging Behavior, feat. Stuart Ablon, PhD (YouTube - MGH Clay Center)The Incredible Hulk, TV series (IMDB)Thanks for joining in this conversation. We’ll see you back on the THIRD Thursday of next month!Podcast music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
  • 6. Alcohol & Drugs - Why Do Teens Use?

    The teen years can be a time for experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. But a recent CDC study found the reason why teens use substances today isn’t just for experimentation, but also to stop worrying about problems, and even to help with depression or anxiety. Today, Gene and Khadijah discuss how to approach your teen if you’ve discovered they are using alcohol, marijuana, or a prescription or over-the-counter drug, and what health risks to know about for each of these.These are hard conversations to have. We hope that ours will help you to have yours.Media ListWhen to Worry, What to Do PDF Library (MGH Clay Center)CDC Report Indicates Teens are Seeking to Escape Worries and Stress Through Drug Use (HuffPost)Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health (US Dept of Health & Human Services)Alcohol & Adolescents, featuring John F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP (Podcast) Alcohol - Conversation Starters with Dr. Gene Beresin (YouTube)Asking Adolescents About Alcohol  with Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins (YouTube)Cannabis and the Teen Brain, featuring Jodi Gilman, PhD (Podcast)Once You Have Discovered Your Teen Is Using Pot, What’s the Next Step? (MGH Clay Center) Commonly Abused Prescription and OTC Drugs (WebMD)NARCAN’s Available Over the Counter, Should I Carry It? (MGH, Psychiatry)Addiction Recovery Management Services (MGH, ARMS)When to Worry, What to Do PDF Library (MGH Clay Center)Myths About the 12-Step Program (MGH Clay Center)Find a Treatment Facility (SAMHSA)If you have a question that we didn’t cover, please get in touch. Write to Gene or Khadijah at Music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan and Spenser Egnatz
  • 5. Equine Therapy. How Does It Work?

    Many of us have heard of dog therapy and pet therapy. But what exactly is equine therapy?Special guest Janice Gilman of BINA Farm Center joins Gene and Khadijah to help us learn about the many different kinds of equine therapy for kids. What make horses so unique when it comes to therapeutic treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, anxiety, and more? Plus, tune in until the end to hear everyone's favorite horse films and TV shows!Media ListFollow along with the conversation.Who We Are (BINA Farm Center)How Much Does a Horse Weigh? (PetMD)Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy: Facing Trauma With a horse by Their Side (McLean Hospital)Very fashionable Angel! (BINA Farm, Instagram)Hippotherapy (Nationwide Children’s Hospital)Effect of animal assisted interactions on activity and stress response in children in acute care settings (Comprehensive Psychoneuroendicrinology)How Horses Read Human Emotions (EQUUS)Therapeutic horseback riding for at-risk adolescents in residential care (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health)Effects of Therapeutic Hoseback-Riding Program on Social and Communication Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Int’l Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)Buck (IMDB)The Incredible Dr. Pol (National Geographic)The Black Stallion (1979) ORIGINAL TRAILER (YouTube)Find a Program – Equine Assisted Services (PATH International)New episodes on the THIRD Thursday of every month. Subscribe wherever you stream!Music by Gene BeresinResearch by Spenser EgnatzProduced by Sara Rattigan
  • 4. What Can States Do to Support Youth Mental Health? feat. Senator John C. Velis

    To address the youth mental health crisis, we need to approach it from different angles – including access, education, and legislation. So, what are states doing to make a difference?Today, Gene and Khadijah are joined by special guest Senator John C. Velis of Massachusetts. Senator Velis shines light on current efforts in Massachusetts to better utilize schools for prevention and early intervention, to help increase the behavioral health workforce, and more. He also generously shares some of his personal mental health journey.Read the episode transcript.Media ListFollow along with the conversation.Senator John C. Velis ( Good Day on Beacon Hill (Instagram, MGH Clay Center)Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery ( John Velis faces alcoholism one day at a time (CommonWealth Beacon)Could your Honor Student Have an Addiction? feat. Marty Walsh (YouTube, MGH Clay Center)Regional roadmap seeks to address youth mental health ‘crisis’ (Daily Hampshire Gazette)D.A.R.E didn’t work. How can school programs actually keep kids off drugs? (Yahoo! News)MCPAP (MA Child Psychiatry Access Program)Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (The University of Texas System)When to Worry, What to Do – PDF Library (MGH Clay Center)State commission releases recommendations to bolster behavioral health (East Boston Times)Peer Programs Helping Schools Tackle Student Depression, Anxiety (National Education Association)Happy Birthday, Carson! (Instagram, State Senator John Velis)We’ll see you back the THIRD Thursday of every month. Subscribe wherever you stream.Music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
  • 3. Stimulants! feat. Anthony Rostain, MD, MA

    What role should prescription stimulant medication play in a child’s ADHD treatment plan? Today, Gene and Khadijah are joined by Tony Rostain, MD, MA, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Cooper University Health Care, to discuss this and more.How do you talk to your child about stimulants? What side effects should you watch out for? How do you manage after-school rebound? If you’re a parent trying to navigate the stimulant shortage, Dr. Rostain has advice on that, too. PLUS, some cool info on the history of stimulants.Read the episode transcript here.Media ListFollow along with the conversationAnthony Rostain, MD, MA (Cooper University Health Care)What’s behind the ADHD drug shortage? (WBUR On Point)Stimulant Abuse: Pharmacology, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Treatment, Attempts at Pharmacotherapy (Primary Care via PubMed Central)Ask Ellen: How to Help Your Child Develop Executive Function Skills (MGH Clay Center on YouTube)Is It Safe to Use Stimulants to Treat ADHD? (MGH Clay Center)Understanding the Effects of Stimulant Medications on Cognition in Individuals with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Decade of Progress – Figure 4 (Nature)Adverse Effects of Stimulant Interventions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Comprehensive Systematic Review (Cureus via PubMed Central)ADHD Medications for Children: 8 Questions from Parents (ADDitude)How stimulant treatment prevents serious outcomes of ADHD (Science Daily)Review: ADHD Stigma Is Prevalent Globally (ADDitude)What’s causing the unusually high number of drug shortages in the U.S. (PBS News Weekend)AACAP Comments on DEA Production Quota Notice for 2024 (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)Thanks for joining in this conversation. We’ll see you back here the THIRD Thursday of every month. Subscribe wherever you stream.Music by Gene BeresinEpisode research by Spenser EgnatzEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan
  • Tune in Dec. 21! Ritalin, Adderall & ADHD

    Special guest Anthony Rostain, MD, MA joins us this month to discuss all things stimulants - myths, misconceptions, and managing the shortage. If you have a young person in your life with ADHD, or have ADHD yourself, you don't want to miss this episode!See you back here on December 21st - the THIRD Thursday of the month.
  • 2. Lonely College Students

    Recent 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, PhD

    All 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