Saturday, July 16, 2011

MSN tells us valuable things about our mental health!

Actually, that's not sarcasm. Here's an interesting point that was made by recent research that's striving to clarify youngsters' depressive symptoms: Kids' mental health paradigm

The most interesting thing to me about this article, though was the headline. You would think that the depressive symptoms are prompted by some genetic component related to maternal heredity; rather, almost the entire article addresses implications for new measurement of depressive symptoms in children.

Isn't it interesting how the media is able to frame things differently by simply changing a headline? Those of us who aren't willing to click to the actual article would be poorly informed in an important public health matter because some lazy copy editor didn't bother to read the text. (This is coming from personal experience ... I was a copy editor many moons before, and I would have been heavily punished for something like this).

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is this: We need to stop pinning kids' mental illness on their mothers, for genetic reasons or otherwise! I am so tired of mothers shouldering the blame for everything from anorexia to depression and bipolar disorder. The fact of the matter? Mental illness has behavioral and medical components, few of which can be attributed to (non-abusive) parents.

It's unfair for us, as health professionals, to buy into the baloney perpetuated in the media like this. A critical eye is a requirement in this business, and I would encourage all of us to dig deeper than just the headlines.

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