Update: AI is handy, Instagram is hurting kids, watching videos and tv shows is sometimes good
Glad we sorted that out
Prompt: 100 words on why people should donate to the podcast Depresh Mode
Depresh Mode is a podcast that aims to provide support and resources for individuals dealing with depression and mental health issues. By donating to the podcast, you are helping to fund the production of valuable content that can reach and support a wide range of people. Additionally, your donation can help cover costs such as equipment, hosting, and editing, allowing the podcast to continue to provide quality content. Furthermore, the podcast is dedicated to breaking the stigma around mental health, and by supporting it, you are also helping to raise awareness and break the silence surrounding mental health issues. With your donation, Depresh Mode can continue to provide important support for those dealing with depression, and help to reduce the stigma around mental health.
Shit. No notes.
Autism and mental health on the podcast this week
I had to step carefully on this week’s podcast episode. Depresh Mode is a show about mental health and mental disorders, for the most part, and the subject was autism. Or the subject was autism spectrum disorder. And that last word, “disorder,” is more than just tacked on. Whether you choose to use it or not reveals a lot about your perspective on the autism spectrum.
I talk with Lauren Ober, who I’ve known for a while and who only recently, in her forties, was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. This followed a particularly rough pandemic period where several factors in Lauren’s life led her to finally get tested and receive the results. Lauren explains that autism is a neurological issue and she details the ways that it manifests in her own life, a life that has included a lot of therapy over the years for conditions that do fit the profile of mental disorders.
Something that I was interested in was the fact that Lauren had been going to therapy for many years by the time she was diagnosed and when she found out that she was autistic, she switched to a therapist who specialized in neurodivergent clients. Substack just put a little red line under the term “neurodivergent”, which means either they don’t recognize the concept of neurodivergence or I should have hyphenated it. Then again, they also put that line under Substack so I’m not going to get into their style guide too deeply or draw too many conclusions from it.
I also speak with Finn Gratton, a therapist who is on the spectrum and who works with a lot of patients who are as well. Finn does not think testing and clinical diagnosis is always the way to go and says there are pros and cons to the idea. They compare it to gender identity - also an issue among a lot of their clients - in that if you know what’s going on with yourself, it’s not always so important to have some doctor declare it for you.
Finn explained that they don’t use the term “disorder” for autism because of the implication that there is something wrong or broken about having an autistic brain. They say autism is just a way of being human.
AI tech for those who prefer avoiding eye contact
Eye contact is tough for a lot of people and not just folks with autism. Well, there’s help. Or at least there’s technology. And that same old unsettling feeling that AI generally engenders.
The mental health threat in the back pocket of young girls
The Seattle Times’ Naomi Ishisaka writes about the increase in awareness about the increasing evidence that Instagram is at the center of a lot of mental health problems among girls. The rise of the ‘gram tracks pretty neatly with the rise of a bunch of issues:
In an interview last week, San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, the author of “iGen,” which focused on Gen Z and the impact of social media on young people, said there is much reason for concern.
She said beginning in the early 2010s, we began to see some alarming trends in mental health for teen girls, in particular. Hospital admissions for self harm in 10- to 14-year-old girls tripled over the following decade and suicide rates among that age group doubled. Twenge’s research showed major depressive episodes among 12- to 17-year-old girls increased 52% as well. There was not a correlating increase in other age groups.
Correlation is not causation, but Twenge said of the rise of social media, “It’s tough to think of any other events or occurrences that happened in the early 2010s, and kept going in the same direction for more than a decade.”
Twenge said academic research has found links between Instagram use and negative social comparison and disordered eating and body image issues, particularly for teen girls. Parent company Facebook’s own research, leaked by a whistleblower, affirmed them as well.
As I wrote about a while back, the Seattle School District is suing social media companies over the mental health damage it says the companies are causing. Now another district located nearby Seattle in the city of Kent is filing similar lawsuits.
Here’s an instance where DOING YOUR OWN RESEARCH might actually be productive
It’s a list from Collider about ten shows that are good and accurate on the subject of teen mental health. Not being a teen, I haven’t watched most of them so I would encourage you and whatever teen you know to take a look and evaluate for yourself. That horrible 13 Reasons Why isn’t on here so that’s good. And Steven Universe, which I have seen and adore, is on here too so that’s even better.
Change your life and your habits
The Kurzgesagt channel has all sorts of well-made sensible videos about self-improvement and life improvement. Without the bullshit that “self-improvement” often signals.