This month, the “Take Charge of Your Health Today” page focuses on mental health and how it affects young adults. Erricka Hager and Bee Schindler, community engagement coordinators, University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, spoke about this topic.
EH: Happy New Year, Ms. Bush! I hope you had a great holiday season. I love the beginning of the year because it’s a great time to set new goals for the year. It’s also a great time to start taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Thank you for taking some time to talk with us about a growing public health concern.
EB: Happy New Year to you, too, Erricka and Bee. Not only is it a new year but it is a new decade. I’m excited about this new year and decade, as well as discussing this topic with the both of you. As you both know, we have multiple leadership programs for young adults at the Urban League. The topic of mental health and young adults is not only timely, but it is necessary.
BS: Yes, depression rates appear to be on the rise for teenagers and young adults in the United States. Dr. Cecile Ladouceur, associate professor of psychiatry and of psychology, and director of the Cognitive-Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, agrees that depression rates are on the rise. But she also mentions that simply speaking with a health care professional won’t capture everyone who is experiencing mental illness.
EB: Wow. Thank you for that information, Bee. I didn’t realize so many young folks were being diagnosed with depression. I also didn’t know adolescent girls were twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as adolescent boys. It is unfortunate that the needs of young adults aren’t being met. We often encourage our readers to have conversations with their health care providers. However, if they aren’t fully being treated, how can we ensure they are getting the care they need?
EH: Yes, Ms. Bush. Interestingly, Dr. Ladouceur’s work focuses on addressing some of those gaps in care. They hope that findings from the Mood and Brain Circuitry in Adolescence (MBA) study will help identify new intervention strategies. These strategies will educate health care professionals on how to best identify depression in adolescents before symptoms appear.
EB: What is one way we can partner with Dr. Ladouceur’s team to help educate our readers about this growing concern?
BS: To sign up for the research study, you can search the Pitt+Me registry for the MBA study or call 1-866-438-8230. But, if you are in need of support now, I really like how local crisis interventions—like Resolve Crisis Center—want folks to understand that people should be able to name their own crises; there are no set boxes for mental health. If you feel like you are in need of immediate services, reach out. Resolve’s child and adolescent crisis team also helps young folks and family members with coping skills and teaches ways to prevent a crisis by looking for triggers. Resolve can be reached by calling 1-888-796-8226.
EB: What a great way for us to kick off this New Year, Erricka and Bee. I’m so glad we are talking about this at the start of 2020. I encourage each reader to review and access the resources listed on this page. If you have any questions, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh has a Health Education Office where you can get answers to your questions and be connected to these resources as well.
EH: Thank you for your time, Ms. Bush. I wish you and all of our readers a happy and healthy 2020. Next month, we continue talking about the importance of naming racism and how it contributes to poor health outcomes in the United States.
by Esther Bush, For New Pittsburgh Courier