Psychiatry

Raising a reader in digital days: Comics galore!

Following up on his blog post about summer reading, Dr. Craigan Usher extols the benefits of reading comic books and makes some recommendations for families looking to dive into the world of comics. Connecting with (and through) comics For reluctant readers, comics (also called sequential art) can be read in bite-size pieces, rather than whole chapter meals. Because they’re less text dense, comics can be read in one sitting or over the course of a … Read More

Five ways to bring books back into your family’s summer

The benefits of early exposure to reading, of parents reading to their children, and kids being surrounded by books have been well-studied. Researchers emphasize that early reading stimulates important language centers and emotion recognition areas of the brain, specifically in the left temporal lobe. They also note that reading enhances academic performance, increases children’s confidence and inspires the life-long skill of curiosity. Hence, if your child is puzzled by a phrase you read together and … Read More

“13 Reasons Why” poses risks to Oregon youth

Although a fictional story, the television series “13 Reasons Why” focuses on very real issues that affect youth and young adults. The show’s graphic depiction of the traumatic life events that led to the suicide of a young woman may have already adversely affected Oregon’s youth. Since its Netflix release in March 2017, multiple young people in Portland area hospitals have reported they watched the series prior to their own suicide attempt. While the series … Read More

Tips for supporting one another

Those of us working in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at OHSU believe that the path to meeting the challenges of a complex world begins with the experience of being loved and loving others, in our homes and in our communities. Our education and experience with children and families help us to recognize that while science evolves rapidly, the basic nature of the human experience remains the same. We are daily awed and … Read More

Let’s talk about gender

This article was written by Katie Vaughan and illustrated by Sol Linero. It originally appeared in the Portland Monthly 2016 Kids’ Health Annual magazine.  When kids are bombarded with messages about how girls and boys should act, families can help cut through the noise with a conversation. With gender in the headlines – toy aisles ditching their pink and blue labels, the shocking pay gap for our Women’s World Cup champions, the evolution of Caitlyn Jenner … Read More

“Inside Out:” A mindful movie for family film night

Pixar’s “Inside Out” provides an amazing look inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Training Program Director, Dr. Craigan Usher and Gabe Edwards, a fourth-year OHSU medical student planning to go into psychiatry, sat down to talk about the film. They enjoyed “Inside Out” so much, they decided to document their conversation. We hope it sparks some thoughts for you and your family at your next movie night! Animator Walt Disney … Read More

How to talk to your kids about tragedy

How can parents and guardians best help kids understand and process tragedy? What does a “normal” reaction look like? Below, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Child Psychiatrist Ajit Jetmalani, M.D., provides guidance for families in the days and weeks following a high-profile disaster or tragedy. Parents should be aware of their own reactions to these tragedies and attempt to refrain from alarming their children through verbal or non-verbal cues. Children often become concerned about their own safety … Read More

An alliterative journey: on mental health, multidisciplinary management, medications, mindfulness and more

In this week’s entry, I am proud to introduce readers to a novel research project here at OHSU called Meals, Mindfulness and Moving Forward (M3). Before doing so, however, it’s important to talk about mental health, psychosis, and Oregon’s Early Assessment and Support Alliance – an essential partner in the M3 Pilot Study. Mental health, the capacity to meet emotional and intellectual challenges at different developmental stages, is among parents’ greatest concerns. Thus, when a … Read More

When is my child old enough to use an iPad or tablet?

In general, consider any child younger than 2 years old too young. Tablets may prevent infants and toddlers from engaging in the give-and-take of everyday exchanges with family as well as the “real” world of playing with physical objects that require and develop sensory and motor skills. iPads do offer some terrific “edutainment” apps to help young children learn, especially in spelling, reading and math. Tablets can also promote self-control. Before you use one for … Read More

When mental illness pushes kids out of control, Doernbecher psychiatrists help restore peace

Twin sisters Kate and Kira Smith often talk in an excited duet, finishing each other’s sentences to share an idea or observation. Playful and affectionate, they readily hug and say, “I love you.” They are best friends. Four years ago the twins were fighting constantly, sometimes cruelly, destroying each other’s treasured possessions. Competition and comparison ruled their relationship. Each felt an uncontrollable compulsion to do exactly what the other was doing. One would not sit … Read More

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