Brett.Ullman

Category - mental health

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

So much information in this article. I would challenge everyone to take a few minutes and walk through it.

Over the last decade, anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services. In its annual survey of students, the American College Health Association found a significant increase — to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011 — of undergraduates reporting “overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year.

Those numbers — combined with a doubling of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers over the last 10 years, with the highest rates occurring soon after they return to school each fall — come as little surprise to high school administrators across the country, who increasingly report a glut of anxious, overwhelmed students.

Teenagers raised in more affluent communities might seemingly have less to feel anxious about. But Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University who has studied distress and resilience in both well-off and disadvantaged teenagers, has found that privileged youths are among the most emotionally distressed young people in America. “These kids are incredibly anxious and perfectionistic,” she says, but there’s “contempt and scorn for the idea that kids who have it all might be hurting.”

For many of these young people, the biggest single stressor is that they “never get to the point where they can say, ‘I’ve done enough, and now I can stop,’ ” Luthar says. “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college. Kids have a sense that they’re not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.”

Anxious kids certainly existed before Instagram, but many of the parents I spoke to worried that their kids’ digital habits — round-the-clock responding to texts, posting to social media, obsessively following the filtered exploits of peers — were partly to blame for their children’s struggles. To my surprise, anxious teenagers tended to agree.

Click here for the entire article.

How the smartphone affected an entire generation of kids

As I continue my research into loneliness I find more and more articles talking about social media. We need to make sure we don’t have a knee-jerk reaction and just say all social media is bad. This article has a very balanced perspective.

However, that changed a few years ago, when I started to notice big shifts in teens’ behavior and attitudes in the yearly surveys of 11 million young people that I analyze for my research. Around 2010, teens started to spend their time much differently from the generations that preceded them. Then, around 2012, sudden shifts in their psychological well-being began to appear. Together, these changes pointed to a generational cutoff around 1995, which meant that the kids of this new, post-millennial generation were already in college.

These teens and young adults all have one thing in common: Their childhood or adolescence coincided with the rise of the smartphone.

Of course, correlation doesn’t prove causation: Maybe unhappy people use screen devices more.

To be clear, moderate smartphone and social media use – up to an hour a day – is not linked to mental health issues. However, most teens (and adults) are on their phones much more than that.

Click here for the entire article.

Have you ever wondering how checking your phone every 5 minutes, every day for 4-5 years might affect you physiologically?

Love to hear your thought on this.

Brett Ullman: Presentations -The Walking Wounded

As I enter my 20th year speaking I thought I would take some time over the next week to go over each of the talks that I have. My talks are heavily researched and I am updating my talks all the time.

Talk title: The Walking Wounded

Why would you bring me into your church, school or conference to speak this talk? – Of all the talks that I do this seems to be talk that people ask for the most. I find in our church world we do not have a good theology of suffering or even a decent practical application for how Christians should deal with mental health struggles. In this talk I answer a simple question. What do you do if someone walks up to you and says “I am struggling with anxiety or depression?” We must be prepared to have a Biblical yet practical response to this. In this talk, I will walk through what to do if you are struggling or if people you love are struggling.

Talk Description:

Life is good … until it’s not.

Dark clouds come in all shapes and sizes and leave us asking where do we turn? Some of us struggle with mental health: anxiety, depression etc. Some of our struggles come from coping with tough situations in life by Self Injuring: eating disorders, suicide, self-harm and drug and alcohol use.

When we are surrounded by these heightened emotions and feelings life becomes one that is isolated from others and we begin to be full of questions instead of answers and we do not know what will work, or where to turn.

How do we begin our journey towards hope, healing, redemption, rescue, and a restoration to wholeness?
Where and when does our journey back to life begin again?
As a Follower of the Way (A Christian) What about our faith? How does our faith fit into our healing journey?

This talk has no cliches, no Christianese and does not put forward promises of false hope.

Brett Ullman in The Walking Wounded begins to address how to walk back towards healing and away from our emotions, feelings and thoughts and that are keeping us paralyzed in life.

No shame, fear, or hiding is required as we are safe to journey towards healing together.
There is Hope for the Walking Wounded.

Promotional Trailer:

One of my favourite times to do this talk is a Sunday Morning church service. I call it “Care Sunday” I do my talk for the morning service and after the service one of the pastors talks about all the ways that your church “cares” Some churches put out booths in the foyer with counsellors, prayer teams, speciality groups like grief care, Celebration recovery and any other ways your church supports people who struggle with mental health.

You can make your church a relevant, accepting place for those who struggle with mental health, or who have a loved one who is mentally ill, by talking about it.” Leadership Journal

If you would like more information or would like to book me for a talk please email me at brett@brettullman.com.

Truth vs Fear – Please stop posting fear based content…

In the past year, I have seen a growing trend in the social media posts that I see … fear. I don’t really know where to go with this post as I write it. I could easily talk about all the fear that is in articles today talking about personal health

  • doctors say these 5 foods you should never eat
  • 2 exercises you must never do
  • don’t you dare exercise before bed
  • don’t you ever eat this food before bed
  • don’t ever eat this for breakfast

Or articles I see from parents:

  • these 5 apps you MUST delete from your kid’s phones
  • don’t have your kids on screens until they are at least 5
  • don’t you dare do this as a parent …

Or news articles

  • what really happened at …
  • the truth about …
  • The real story about …
  • Here are the Facts …
  • _____ destroys someone who believes in _______
  • The Eclipse on Aug 22nd was the date of the 2nd coming of Jesus. (I read 2 dozen Facebook messages and as you can tell they were all wrong)

Or the crazy stories that have come across my social media feeds recently (actual articles)

  • Justin Bieber: Pedophiles Run The ‘Evil’ Music Industry
  • Katy Perry Dragged off Stage as Monarch Mind Control Meltdown Goes Viral
  • Police: Chester Bennington Was Murdered

Is it just me or have we lost any basic critical reflection as a society? Many people seem to believe and share anything that comes to their social media feeds without doing any checking.

Let me say something that I would hope you already know:

Just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true.

I would also say that just because you want something to be true, or feel something is true does not make it true.

Something is true because it is true.

I also know that there are differing sides to any topic and that is where the good healthy debate comes in to play. We must be able to challenge the status quo in areas but it has to be done with facts and not fear.

There are some assumptions with the language in all of these articles:

  • We really don’t know what is happening but the person posting does
  • If we only “opened our eyes” we would see that is truly happening
  • For some articles, there is this vast conspiracy that if we only knew the facts we would believe
  • We are pretty stupid as people and need to “get with the program” and what is really going on

So how do we move from what all of these articles have in common – fear; and look towards teaching people how to learn what is true or not.

Let’s just take one online article and see if we can learn how to distinguish the difference between fake articles and real ones.

A few weeks ago Chester Beddington from the band Linken Park took his own life. As someone who struggles with anxiety/depression, these stories always hit close to home. Within days I saw people posting this article on social media talking about how he did not commit suicide but was murdered. This shifts all the conversation on mental health, suicide prevention, supporting friends and family etc (where the conversations should be) and moves it to a homicide investigation which by the way is just not true. So how do we know something is just not true.

I had some conversation with a few people related to this article and no matter what I said they could not think any other way other than this article was true. I had statements like “It might be true”, or “I think it is true”. We need to use some thought as we look online. I like the infographic below. It asks you to look at things from 8 perspectives.

So looking at this article about Chester being murdered.

  1. Consider the Source – the website YourNewsWire.com is not one I have ever heard of. A quick google search shows all kinds of people talking about how this site is a fake news site. Even the site itself has a tab for conspiracies. Not a site that I would trust for news.
  2. Check the author – The article says the author is Baxter Dmitry. A quick search and there is really no information on this guy. Not something a credible news source would be. Even their own website has basically no information.
  3. Check the date – There is a date for this article. It is not an older article being reposted which happens to often.
  4. Check your Biases – this is always a tough one. I do come from the bias that this article is false and fake news. We all come at the news with a bias. I just want there to be something in this article that is newsworthy and not all hearsay. For me to move to another direction there has to be something real to make me move in that direction.
  5. Read beyond – We need to go further than the headlines. I get it. The headline says Chester was murdered and then we have to look beyond that.
  6. Supporting Sources – this is where this article falls apart. From what I can see there are basically no sources. It says “police have reportedly launched a murder investigation? Did they or did they not? The title of the article says he WAS murdered. The police either did or did not launch an investigation. It says that “insiders beliving that it is extremely likely”. So which insiders? Who are” they”? The entire article is the same. No real evidence and lots of generalizations and no proof.
  7. Is it a joke – to be honest, I assumed it was when I first read it due to the shoddily written article with no sources but I think that there are people who actually believe this
  8. Ask the experts. Sites like Snopes say this is fake and if you read the comments in this article people then call Snopes fake. There are no experts arguing this. No real reporters or actual facts.

There is another great website that I would encourage people to go through. https://checkology.org They have a number of great videos to walk through 4 main steps to decide if something is real or fake. They talk about how anything posted could be made to entertain as opposed to inform. Great thoughts.

  1. Filtering News and Information
  2. Exercising Civic Freedoms
  3. Navigating Today’s Information Landscape
  4. How to know what to believe

I think that we have to be really careful what we post these days. We live in a world where anyone can post a blog or news article online. In our current culture we have a responsibiltiy to not be perpetuating any articles that are just not real. Before you post to take some time to think through what you are posting, sharing and “liking” online.

Love to hear any comments on this. How do you discern real news from fake or fear based news?
Thanks

Markham cyclist shares painful story of depression

Unionville man bikes 750 km to raise funds and awareness for mental health

Great story. Neil, thanks for sharing your journey. The more we share our stories the less stigma there is for those of us dealing with mental health struggles.

“You feel betrayed by life. Despite living a phenomenal life, you’re sad and it’s completely incongruous. You lose weight, don’t sleep, not driven, lose focus, irritated, anxious, panic attacks, self-critical, guilty, irrational belief systems … We are talking about chemically destabilized brains and it requires a lot of TLC.”

Sometimes it is environmentally triggered — by loss in the family, failure in some part of life, stress.

“Everything we feel is chemical, and sometimes those chemicals get triggered to go in the wrong direction and stay there,” he says.

“It is very treatable. But this is not a disease that can be treated by one person. It needs an orchestra. The psychiatrist may be the conductor but there are multiple musicians — family friends, work colleagues, support services all have a role. It’s a big, multifaceted intervention.

Click here for the entire article.