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Brain and Behavior

The Blue Whale Challenge is Real, Sad, & Frightening

A "game" played on social media called the Blue Whale Challenge tests teenagers' and young adults' ability to follow a set of steps that eventually leads to them dying by suicide. The #bluewhalechallenge has been questioned by some authorities as to whether it really exists, but it's clear that some teens are taking their own lives due to the game.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge and how can you stop your child or teen from taking part in it?

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Family

The Art of Talking

I met my husband, Steve, in 1994.

We went out to dinner on a blind date. Strangely enough, I had the feeling when I met him that I was going to marry him. We wed three years later. This year we’re celebrating our 20-year wedding anniversary.

Back in 2003, when we were trying to adopt a baby, a social worker told us that we needed to learn how to communicate better with each other. My husband was quiet by nature, and I didn’t want to make him talk if he didn’t want to speak; consequently, a lot went unsaid.
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General

Free Tool to Assess Mental Health Apps

Digital health tools like smartphone apps have been exploding in popularity, and there are now thousands available in the App Store and on Google Play.

Trouble is, most of them have been developed without research, and lack scientific evidence to prove they are effective.

It can be daunting to browse through available mobile apps to choose one that fits your needs and isn't made by an disreputable developer who maybe didn't use evidence, collaborate with clinicians, or co-design the app with people with lived experience. It's equally hard for a therapist or other clinician to recommend apps to clients, not knowing which are trustworthy and popular with users.
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Family

How to Handle the Clash Between Love and Politics


I regularly see posts on social media from people saying, “If you voted for_________ (fill in the blank), you can unfriend me,” or “never speak to me again,” or a variation on a division between people who once were friends or who loved each other. Our current political era has created a greater divide, or at least a louder one, than most of us have ever seen before.

This is not just happening in America. A couple from England explained to me how Brexit has not only created a division in Europe, but also in households and families. Those for or against can simply not understand the others, nor change their minds. I have heard similar sentiments from those in Canada, and now, France.

So what do we do when our political stand and our friendships clash?

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Habits

3 Triggers that Cause Us to Reach for Our Phone & Miss Out on Life Experiences

How often are you picking up your smartphone and checking your notifications every day? If you are like most users you say around forty times, maybe less. Which means you are probably underestimating your phone usage by as much as 50%. The real number, according to a survey done by Nottingham Trent University's School of Social Sciences, is closer to 85 times per day, and that is a conservative estimate.

Just think of how much time is being spent staring at that screen. How often are we distracting ourselves from more important things? How much additional time is spent getting back on task? What are we missing out on in our day to day lives, or in our important relationships, by ignoring real life? Probably a lot, and it isn’t just our time that is being impacted.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: June 17, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

My intention for this week's Psychology Around the Net wasn't to get straight to the point; rather, I had a story I wanted to share. However, given the topic of several of this week's stories (you'll see), I've decided to keep it short and sweet and turn off this computer as soon as I can and head out for a white water rafting trip I've been both anxious and excited about all week. I've never been white water rafting, so wish me luck!

This week's edition of Psychology Around the Net gets you up to speed on restaurants that are eliminating WiFi for social interaction purposes, how we can tap into more of our brains' potential, the potential connection between sleep apnea and treatment-resistant depression, and more.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: June 3, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

This week's edition of Psychology Around the Net has something for everyone including psychological tricks to avoid impulse shopping, research results on the moral judgment of terrorists, how virtual reality is helping foster better mental health, and more.

Enjoy!

Shopping Hungry? Psychology Trick Could Stifle Bad Food Choices: We've all heard grocery shopping on an empty stomach isn't the brightest idea, but sometimes we don't get to choose the ideal time to head to...
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Children and Teens

The Happiness You Want for Your Child May Not Be Real Happiness

At the slightest hint of unhappiness from a child, parents move to fix it -- it’s a mental act, and it’s natural, human, and typical.

Why would we rather watch our kids suffer when we can put a smile on their faces? Ask most parents what they desire for their children, they will say, “I want my kids to be happy.” While our intention is valid, it sometimes becomes our obsession and influences how we interact with them and every decision we make to see them happy.
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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: May 27, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

If you're here in the States, I hope you're enjoying your long holiday weekend; however, before you hit the outdoors take a moment to check out the latest in this week's mental health news! Learn about mindfulness-focused childbirth, why it's important for veterans to help other veterans with mental health, how one of the most well-known billionaires today achieves happiness, and more.

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General

Secret Documents: Facebook Appears to Put Features, Profit Above Users’ Safety

Facebook, the 13-year-old behemoth with 1.23 billion active users, generates over $8 billion per quarter in revenue -- $3 billion of that is net income (e.g., profit).

But with so many users, Facebook appears to have relegated user safety to a secondary concern. Until earlier this year, Facebook employed only 4,500 people to review content. Which sounds like a lot of people until you realize that those 1.23 billion active users are sharing billions of pieces of content every day, with millions of user complaints about Facebook content filed each and every day.

Does Facebook have a serious user safety problem on its hands? A just-published Guardian review of secret, internal documents suggests its problem is out of control.

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Celebrities

Is Suicide Contagion Real?

With the popularity of the Netflix hit teenage high school show, "13 Reasons Why," there's been debate among mental health care professionals and researchers as to whether an actual "suicide contagion" exists. Would such a contagion effect apply to something such as a fictional TV series?

Is suicide contagion a real thing? If so, is it really something we need to be concerned about as much in this day and age of instant entertainment and information available on the Internet, where people's graphic depictions of self-harm and suicide stories are always just a single click away for any teen to view as much as they'd like?

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