by Kevin Schofield
This weekend’s “long read” is a study by Massachusetts General Hospital and 10 academic partners trying to determine if there is a link between social media use and depression. Spoiler: The researchers found some specific correlations, but they raise many more questions than they answer.
The researchers recruited 8,000 people on the internet to participate in the study. They surveyed the study participants on which of eight social media sites and apps they used and also asked participants to complete a commonly used assessment of whether someone is showing signs of depression, called the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (or PHQ-9). The assessment asks nine questions about specific symptoms and assigns 0–3 points per question, depending on how often the patient exhibits each symptom. The higher the PHQ-9 score, the more severe the signs of depression.
Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Link Between Social Media and Depression
by Sarah Stuteville
I have experienced mental health challenges for most of my life. My first panic attack was when I was 11 years old, and I found myself paralyzed and hyperventilating in a public restroom on a family outing. Some periods, like the ones when I have been in talk therapy, have been better than others. But anxiety, and its shadow-twin depression, have always been there.
As a new mother, my experience with postpartum depression sent me to psychopharmaceuticals. And my first year on antidepressants was a gift. They gave me enough relief and space for the talk therapy to work. For me to begin to look around and see some joy in my life as a parent.
But 18 months in, the days that opened with panic and ended in tears were increasing. My vision of my future was again a darkening tunnel. A close friend mentioned that relief might come from an unexpected source: magic mushrooms.
Continue reading OPINION: Magic Mushrooms for Mental Health — The Complex Future of Psychedelic Therapies
by Dr. Stephan Blanford and Misha Werschkul
Since the pandemic’s onset, Washington families have experienced a rolling crisis in jobs, hunger, health, and education. The prospect of eviction hangs over far too many. Food insecurity has skyrocketed. Child care facilities have closed, many of them permanently. And a rocky transition to remote learning is now impeding students’ educational progress. The acute stress on children and families may harm kids’ health, their education, and their ability to earn a living.
Continue reading OPINION: Washington’s Children Shouldn’t Have to Relive Our Past Mistakes