These teens’ hobby is to lobby

Ever tried doing your kid’s homework for a week like this dad? It might be worth a try to get a sense of the stresses affecting students these days, and it could make you more sympathetic towards getting some mental health legislation on the books. If you don’t want to, well those dang kids might just get it done themselves. Three high school students recently successfully lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to require mental health instruction for 9th and 10th graders. It’s not about kids just being bratty about too much schoolwork; the CDC estimates 1 in 5 US kids experience mental disorders and $247B is spent on these disorders each year. At least they’ll have a break soon—it’s about that time of year when School’s Out for summer.

We’re rebranding to InsightCountry

OK, not really, but a study released in the Schizophrenia Bulletin has us thinking that getting away from city life may be good for a while. The study reports that kids growing up in urban environments are more likely to be exposed to violent crime and adverse neighborhood social conditions—which increases their chances of experiencing psychosis. These unfortunate kids are 40 percent more likely to have a psychotic experience by age 18 as compared to their rural peers. Candice Odgers—one of the senior study authors—noted that psychosis treatments are usually focused on the affected individual, but perhaps we should also look at improving the communities around these individuals to prevent the symptoms from showing up in the first place. Related FastPoll™ question below!

The road to America’s opioid epidemic is paved with good intentions

A study published in Pediatrics last week demonstrated that many teens who abuse opioids start out being prescribed them for legitimate medical use. The bad side of that is pretty obvious, but there’s a good side to this revelation as well—knowing that physicians are integral to an important piece of this problem means that we can go about designing effective solutions for it. Like those “careful prescribing practices” we keep hearing about. Some more good news, this study and another published last week both report a decline in opioid misuse among youth. Keep fighting the good fight docs, and one day we’ll celebrate that the kids are alright.