Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple

The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple shines light on the fact that mental health is anything but simple, while helping parents and caregivers to navigate some tough questions. Join co-hosts Dr. Gene Beresin and Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins as they explore and provide guidance on topics related to the mental health of children, teens, and young adults. From depression and learning disorders, to digital media and current events, Shrinking It Down covers it all. Tune in today!

About Us: The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital is a free, multi-media educational resource dedicated to promoting the mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being of young people through innovative education. Visit us online at mghclaycenter.org.

This podcast is for educational purposes only. The Clay Center does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any health-related questions you may have.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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May 13 2021
22 seconds
How Does Schizophrenia Affect a Young Person and Their Caregivers?How Do You Find Out If Your Teen Has Undiagnosed ASD?The Power of Peer Support ft. Valerie Grison-Alsop & Julia EspositoHow Do You Find a Therapist for School-Age Kids?How Do I Fall Asleep When I'm Anxious?A Teen's Take On the Pandemic
The COVID pandemic is like nothing most of us have ever lived through. This is especially true for kids and teens who are still developing mentally and physically. This week we talk with special guest, Annabel Reddick, a high school senior in Davidson, North Carolina about her experience living through the pandemic, and how things are going two years into it. Gene, Khadijah, and Annabel discuss the struggle of remote learning and maintaining relationships, readjusting to school more than a year later, how she and her sister coped, and what she thinks adults should know about teens and mental health. Tune in for a great conversation and to hear a perspective we don’t often get but have a lot to learn from. While Annabel’s experience is just that of one teen, we believe she discusses some universal truths from her story that highlight issues of mental health for many teens out there. Media ListBirdcage Memoirs: A Teen's Reflections on Living Through the Pandemic (MGH Clay Center) 7 Ways to Support Kids and Teens Through the Coronavirus Pandemic (MGH Clay Center) Pink Freud & The Transitional Objects - 2020 AACAP Virtual Meeting (YouTube)Woodchuck (imgflip.com)  The Problem of Social Anxiety Disorder (MGH Clay Center)What Is ADHD? (MGH Clay Center) What Is Resilience? (MGH Clay Center) Clay Center Conversation Starters (YouTube)  Why we're all getting to know ourselves a little better in quarantine (LA Times)How to Play the Ukulele (YouTube) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Apr 28 2022
40 mins
Young Athlete Mental Health, featuring Mai Uchida, MD
At what point are we pushing our young athletes too hard? We all watched 15-year-old Russian Olympic skater, Kamila Valieva, exit the ice in tears after a doping scandal. Where did the adults in her life fail her? What can be done to make sure situations like this don’t happen again?These are the questions Gene and Khadijah try to answer this week, with the help of former competitive skater turned child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Mai Uchida, MD.Dr. Uchida is passionate about supporting youth athlete mental health and has written about Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, and interviewed Mirai Nagasu. This week, she shares her perspective and ideas of how to move the athletic world in a healthier direction for our young people.Media List:Figure Skating's Identity Crisis: Supporting Our Young Athletes (MGH Clay Center)Naomi Osaka - Shining Light on Athlete Mental Health (MGH Clay Center)Simone Biles - Choosing Mental Health Over Defending Olympic Gold (MGH Clay Center)Chapter 1: Teen Champion (A Mental Health Conversation With Mirai Nagasu) (Youtube)What If My Child Is Prescribed an SSRI? (MGH Clay Center)Is age 27 the new 18? - Shrinking It Down (MGH Clay Center) Stop Asking Why America Doesn't Win Olympic Medals in Women's-Singles Skating (The Cut)How victims like the US gymnasts move forward after years of sexual abuse (ABC News)10 Important Steps for Parenting Young Athletes (MGH Clay Center)Ted Lasso Season 1 Trailer (Youtube) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Apr 14 2022
51 mins
Self-Esteem: How do we build our kids up?
Low self-esteem gets all of us down at one point or another. For kids, the goal is to help build them back up. Lots of things can lower our kids’ self-esteem like body image, cyberbullying, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and surprisingly, guilt (along with lots of other things!).This week, Gene and Khadijah break down the ways that we can help our kids elevate their self-esteem and their sense of worth. From giving positive feedback to creating a sense of competency, there are plenty of things parents – and other caring adults – can do to help their kids. If this is something you think your child might be struggling with, tune in below. Media List‘Snow potentially in April’: Massachusetts spring forecast predicts winter setbacks (Boston Herald)‘They draw bombs, tanks and wishes for peach’: Ukraine’s child mental health crisis (The Guardian)Low Self-Esteem: Where does it come from and what can adults do to help? (MGH Clay Center)Trauma: What Parents Should Know (MGH Clay Center)Ways to emotionally support your teen in responding to racism  (MGH Clay Center)Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) (CDC) Digital Media and Body Image (MGH Clay Center)R *** REFRAME (Instagram – MGH Clay Center)What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (MGH Clay Center)Learning + Attention Issues  (MGH Clay Center)Random Acts of Kindness (Instagram – MGH Clay Center) Why gardening is good for your mental wellbeing (Thrive)How long do betta fish live as pets? (Pets WebMD)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Mar 31 2022
36 mins
Ukraine: What Do We Tell Our Kids?
The crisis in Ukraine feels to many like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Between the COVID pandemic, police brutality, the climate crisis, and now the war in Ukraine, the world may feel increasingly unsafe. Very young children, though, actually respond more to their adults’ distress than to the tragic events themselves. That said, repeated media exposure of horrific events can sometimes lead to PTSD in kids who do not experience the tragedies themselves.This week, Gene and Khadijah discuss the important work of protecting our young people from the very real conflict they are witnessing in the media, and hearing about at school and at home. Whether you have friends and family in Ukraine, know someone who does, or are simply a concerned global citizen, this week’s episode covers how to help kids of all ages manage the devastation, while taking care of yourself, too.Tune in for this pressing episode. We hope that our conversation will help you to have yours.Have more questions about how to handle your young people and military conflict? Write to us!Media ListHow to talk to kids about Ukraine (AP News)CODA - Trailer (Youtube)The Power of the Dog - Trailer (Youtube)DOG - Trailer (Youtube)Prioritizing Parent Mental Health (MGH Clay Center – YouTube)Helping Your Kids in the Face of Terrorism or War (MGH Clay Center)Should the TV Be On or Off During Times of Breaking News? (MGH Clay Center)Media exposure and sympathetic nervous system reactivity predict PTSD symptoms after the Boston Marathon bombings (Depression and Anxiety)Self-Care for Resilience – Resources (MGH Clay Center)Turning to Gratitude – Conversation Starters (MGH Clay Center – YouTube)What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? (MGH Clay Center)Should kids get a snow day? (The Weather Channel – YouTube)The Art of Civil Conversations: 9 Parent Strategies (MGH Clay Center)‘I have family there’: What Americans with loved ones in Ukraine want you to know (Today)Episode Produced by Bianca DempseyEdited by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Mar 17 2022
38 mins
Body Image and Young People, featuring Holly Peek, MD, MPH
Turning on TV, opening a magazine, or going on our phones these days, kids are overwhelmed with images showing us what we should look like. Even on “reality” TV, none of the people look like your average person. With all of these images circulating in our everyday lives, it is easy for any of us to get caught up and judge our own bodies, but especially young people who soak these images in and can internalize these “ideals”.Today, Gene and Khadijah are joined by special guest Dr. Holly Peek, Assistant Medical Director of the Klarman Eating Disorders Center at McLean Hospital, and former Miss New Orleans, to talk about body image and the ways in which it can affect self-esteem. They also touch on how boys are often left out of this conversation, how media and Hollywood impacts body image, the importance of nutrition, and how parents can help young people cultivate a positive body image for themselves.Tune in for this timely episode. We hope that our conversation will help you to have yours. Media List:·      Dr. Holly Peek, MD, MPH (McLean Hospital) ·      Paw House Inn (Paw House Inn) ·      National Love Your Pet Day (Instagram)·      How To Talk To Children About the Russian Invasion of Ukraine (AP News)·      Digital Media and Body Image (MGH Clay Center)·      Relationship Woes: Helping Your Child Break Up With Junk Food Without Harming Their Mental Health (MGH Clay Center)·      The Impact of Reality TV On Our Teens: What Can Parents Do? (MGH Clay Center)·      Super Bowl Halftime Show 2022 (YouTube)·      Media and Eating Disorders in Fiji: Interview with Anne E. Becker, MD (WebsEdgeMedicine – YouTube) (MGH Clay Center) - https://www.mghclaycenter.org/parenting-concerns/digital-media-eating-disorders/·      How to Make a Vision Board That Works in 9 Simple Steps (Artful Parent) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Mar 3 2022
39 mins
Bonus: Alcohol Conversation StartersAlcohol & Adolescents, featuring John F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP
Did you know that 3 out of 4 addiction cases in the U.S. are alcohol addictions, and that kids who start drinking before age 15 are significantly more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder than those who wait? Alcohol causes more deaths each year than all other drugs combined, including around 5,000 deaths to children under age 21. Yet, culturally, we don’t tend to think of alcohol as a serious psychoactive drug that causes intoxication, toxicity, and addiction.Today, Gene and Khadijah talk about alcohol, adolescents, and what parents should know. To help make sense of it all, they are joined by very special guest, Dr. John Kelly, program director for Mass General’s Recovery Research Institute. Dr. Kelly walks us through how alcohol exposure affects the developing teen brain, how it can lead to other negative health outcomes, including cancer, substance use trends during Covid, and signs to look for you in your child if you’re concerned.Please tune in for this special episode. We hope that our conversation will help you to have yours.Have a question about alcohol and adolescents? Write to us!Media ListJohn Kelly, PhD, ABPP (Recovery Research Institute)Tell Me No Lies (Anything But The Truth)In The News (MGH Clay Center)Impact: What is the impact of Addiction? (Recovery Research Institute)Five things you may not know about alcohol, the most commonly used drug in the world (Recovery Research Institute)Cannabis and the Teen Brain, featuring Jodi Gilman, PhD (MGH Clay Center)Percentage of adolescents reporting drug use decreased significantly in 2021 as Covid pandemic endured (Mirage.News)Alcohol use by college students falls during pandemic, but marijuana use increases (The Nation’s Health)Media Literacy and Mental Health, featuring Common Sense Media (MGH Clay Center)Another COVID-19 Fallout: Teens’ Happy Hour With Parents (Journal of the American Medical Association)There is life after addiction. Most people recover (NPR)Should My Child See a Therapist? (YouTube – MGH Clay Center)Pathways to Recovery (Recovery Research Institute)Episode produced by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Feb 17 2022
47 mins
COVID-19 Risk, Fear, and Anger
COVID-19. We can’t seem to escape it no matter where we turn, even in our own homes. All of us – caregivers and young people, alike – are experiencing feelings of fear, frustration, and anger as we balance trying to stay safe and trying to move on with our lives. It’s mentally and emotionally draining.How do we keep going? That’s what Dr. Gene Beresin and Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins talk about today. Ways to manage our strong emotions in a healthy, sustainable way. They explore why emotions like anger and fear arise, and share concrete tips for responding to the COVID-19 challenges families are facing – including ever-changing news and protocols, and internal family conflict.Thanks for tuning in! We hope our conversation will help you to have yours. Media ListFollow along with the conversation.Prioritizing Parent Mental Health (JED Foundation / MGH Clay Center)Yes, All this COVID-Related News Is Incredibly Exhausting—25 Therapists Explain How They're Coping (Parade)The Power of Music: To Feel, Heal, and Connect (MGH Clay Center)COVID Parenting Has Passed the Point of Absurdity (The Atlantic)7 Ways to Support Kids and Teens Through the Coronavirus Pandemic (MGH Clay Center)The science of anger. (How It Works)Is Age 27 the New 18? – Shrinking It Down (MGH Clay Center)Anger Management: How to Help You and Your Kids Stay in Control (MGH Clay Center)Belushi Demands Cold Open – (YouTube – Saturday Night Live)Teens, on how they use humor (BeMe on Twitter)The Positive Value of Conflict: There’s Great Power in Resolution (MGH Clay Center)Happy Birthday, Gene! (Instagram – MGH Clay Center)Episode produced by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Feb 3 2022
34 mins
Bonus: School Refusal Conversation StartersIs Your Child Struggling With School Refusal?
Does your child get stomach aches at the thought of going to school? Does your younger child throw temper tantrums? Does your teenager spend all day in the school counselor’s office, or even refuse to leave the home? When kids struggle to go to school, it can be a really challenging situation. And since the pandemic, child psychiatrists Dr. Gene Beresin and Dr. Khadijah Booth Watkins are hearing more concerns about this kind of behavior from the parents they work with.Today, Gene and Khadijah talk through school refusal: what it is, how to recognize signs in your child, and how to help. School refusal is very treatable! But getting to the root cause and responding quickly is key. Tune in for more!Plus, Gene shares the Clay Center’s 2022 word of the year…We hope that our conversation will help you to have yours. Have a question or comment? Write to us!Media ListFollow along with the conversation. School Refusal: When Back-to-School Is a Struggle (MGH Clay Center)Our Word of the Year (Instagram - MGH Clay Center)Building Mental Wellness in Children: What Parents Can Do (MGH Clay Center)What to say when your child doesn’t want to go to school (Understood.org)What If My Child Has an Anxiety Disorder? (MGH Clay Center)How to Understand Your Child’s “Anxiety Monster” (MGH Clay Center) Helping Kids Through New School Transitions (MGH Clay Center)How to Help Young People Cope With Grief and Loss During COVID-19 (MGH Clay Center)Learning + Attention Issues, Topic Page (MGH Clay Center)The Impact of Divorce (MGH Clay Center)Creating Meaningful Conversation (The Family Dinner Project)Your Child’s Mental Health: What to Discuss During a Doctor Visit (Project TEACH)Music by Gene BeresinEpisode produced by Sara Rattigan See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Jan 20 2022
30 mins
Take a Cup of Kindness (musical interlude)These Are a Few of Our Favorite ThingsStrategies for Managing Holiday Stress
Families have felt tremendous stress over the past two years due to the pandemic. But for many, this is a special time of year that we fantasize about and look forward to, and it’s not healthy to go into the holiday season at this heightened state of stress and duress.Perhaps you're anxious about spending time with loved ones in a safe way, or fighting about house rules with your college student who is home. The season may be challenging because it awakens traumas from your past. Or maybe you just want to give your child the emotional break and fun they need, but it’s hard when you can’t unwind yourself.Today, Gene and Khadijah share strategies to help you feel less overwhelmed this season, and wind down a bit leading up to the new year. Plus, they share favorite songs they’ve been sharing with each other.Thank you for joining in this conversation. If you have questions or comments, please write to us!Media List(follow along with the conversation)Coping With Holiday Stress: 11 Parenting Tips (MGH Clay Center)AAP, AACAP, CHA declare national emergency in children’s mental health (American Academy of Pediatrics)Surgeon General Advisory Raises Alarm on Youth Mental Health (U.S. News)Getting to the Finish Line: Will You Choose Endurance or Resilience? (MGH Clay Center)12 Responsibilities For Kids That Make Them Feel Special, According to Experts (Romper)4 ways to create and share music playlists with friends and family (Kim Komando)How to Preserve and Share Grandma’s Recipes (WIRED)Turning to Gratitude: Conversation Starters – “What song…?” clip (YouTube – MGH Clay Center)Supporting Your Child In the Face of Trauma (Project TEACH)What we know about the victims of the Michigan school shooting (CBS News)Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory (U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesA Parent & Caregiver Resource – Shining Light on Mental Health Through Education (YouTube – MGH Clay Center)Episode produced by Sara RattiganMusic by Gene Beresin See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Dec 16 2021
31 mins
Quick Tip: Can Kids Make Up Lost Sleep?Bonus: ADHD Conversation Starters