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Social media linked to higher risk of depression in teen girls

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, January 5th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A gallery assistant poses for a photograph during a press day to promote the upcoming exhibition ‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’ at the Saatchi Gallery in London, Britain March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) – Teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to show depressive symptoms linked to social media use – mainly due to online harassment and disturbed sleep, as well as poor body image and lower self-esteem, researchers said on Friday.

In a study analyzing data from nearly 11,000 young people in Britain, researchers found that 14-year-old girls were heavier users of social media, with two-fifths of them using it for more than three hours a day, compared with a fifth of boys.

The study also found that 12 percent of light social media users and 38 percent of heavy social media users (five-plus hours a day) showed signs of having more severe depression.

When the researchers looked at underlying processes that might be linked with social media use and depression, they found 40 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys had experience of online harassment or cyberbullying. Disrupted sleep was reported by 40 percent of girls compared with 28 percent of boys. Anxiety and poor sleep are both linked to depression.

Girls were also more affected when it came to social media use and concerns about body image, self-esteem and appearance, the researchers found, but here the gap with boys was smaller.

Yvonne Kelly, a professor at University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care who co-led the research, urged parents and policymakers to note its results.

“These findings are highly relevant to current policy development on guidelines for the safe use of social media and calls on industry to more tightly regulate hours of social media use for young people,” she said in a statement.

She said families may also “want to reflect on when and where it’s ok to be on social media” and consider restrictions on teenagers having mobile devices in their bedrooms.

The study, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), was published online in the journal EClinicalMedicine on Friday.

Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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Comelec to limit candidates’ social media spending

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is working on rules that will limit the campaign expenditures of candidates on social media.

The poll body targets to issue the guidelines before the start of the campaign period on February 12.

According to Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez, they will monitor the campaign expenditures on social media of candidates with advertisements.

“We will make sure that whatever draft regulation that we have will respect the individual’s right of expression,” he said.

“Ang babantayan natin ay kung paano nagagamit iyong social media sa kontexto ng gastusin. Magkano ang ginagastos ng mga kampanya para dito para hindi siya maging paraan para magtago ng maraming pera na nagiging unfair kasi nga may spending limit tayo,” Jimenez noted.

Comelec clarified that candidates are free to post on social media when the campaign period starts as long as they will follow the rules in accordance with Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act setting a clean and fair elections. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Sexual harassment, abuse tied to real health effects

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2018

A woman holds her head in a file photo. REUTERS/File

(Reuters Health) – Sexual harassment and sexual abuse occur frequently and can harm physical and mental health, according to two studies from the U.S. and Europe published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

In one study, roughly 1 in 5 Pittsburgh-area women said they had been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted. These women were two to three times more likely to have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, poor sleep, depression or anxiety.

In the other study, 70 percent of male and female physicians in Berlin, Germany, said they had experienced sexual harassment or misconduct at work.

“Experiences of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, unfortunately, are not uncommon,” said Rebecca Thurston, director of the women’s behavioral health laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “And these experiences have implications for not only job performance and quality of life, but also for mental and physical health.”

Among the 304 women aged 40 to 60 who participated in Thurston’s study, 19 percent said they had been sexually harassed at work and 23 percent said they had been sexually assaulted.

These percentages are lower than what’s been reported nationally, possibly because some women in the study did not work outside the home, Thurston said. The women were originally recruited for a study of hot flashes and atherosclerosis.

Thurston’s team found that compared to women who had not been sexually harassed, women who had were 2.36 times more likely to have high blood pressure and 89 percent more likely to have poor sleep. In newer findings presented this week at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in San Diego, Thurston and colleagues reported that the likelihood of having high triglycerides was three times higher in sexually harassed women.

Thurston suspects that being harassed kicks off changes in stress hormone levels, which ultimately impact blood pressure, triglycerides and sleep patterns.

Similar results were seen among women who said they’d been sexually assaulted. They were 2.86 times more likely to have clinical depression, 2.26 times more likely to have clinical anxiety and 2.15 times more likely to have poor sleep.

Dr. Mayumi Okuda, a psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, isn’t surprised by the findings. Research in children “shows that adverse childhood experiences are connected to so many things, such as high blood pressure, cancer, obesity,” said Okuda. “This shows that even adults will experience negative health consequences.”

The German survey of 737 physicians found 62 percent of men and 76 percent of women had experienced some sort of sexual harassment in the workplace. While the idea of men being harassed may be surprising, certain types of conversations can make men very uncomfortable, said senior researcher Dr. Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, a professor and chair of Gender in Primary and Transmural Care at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

For men, “the vulgar talk has to be specifically addressed towards you or an immediate bystander,” Oertelt-Prigione said in an email. “The question in the questionnaire explicitly addressed this directionality. We are not talking about somebody telling a general vulgar joke to a group of colleagues.”

Sexual harassment “is an issue for anyone in the workplace,” Oertelt-Prigione said. It flourishes in workplaces where there is a strong formal hierarchy, “where orders are generally given top-down with little opportunity for participation from employees,” Oertelt-Prigione explained.

Lori Post, who wasn’t involved in either study, suspects that if the questionnaire had been worded differently, Oertelt-Prigione’s study would have found an even higher prevalence of sexual harassment. “I believe the rate is closer to 100 percent,” said Post, who is director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “The difference is in how often and how bad it is.”

Post also believes Thurston’s harassment numbers might have been higher if the Pittsburgh team had not excluded women with heart disease from the study, since heart disease could be correlated with harassment.

The solution to health problems related to harassment and abuse is to prevent these behaviors from happening in the first place, Okuda said. “There has to be a cultural shift away from condoning this kind of behavior.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2xYHM9Q and bit.ly/2y6KQA6 JAMA Internal Medicine, online October 3, 2018.

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DOH calls for depression awareness to help save lives

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Depression photo (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao)

 

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos should extend support to their friends and loved ones with suicidal tendencies and avoid trivializing mental disorders.

According to the Department of Health (DOH,) suicide is preventable as long as one does not dismiss a person’s depression. The agency explained that depression is a period of sadness that lasts for two weeks and more which causes a person to lose interest in activities once enjoyed.

Health Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle said a depressed person would also prefer to be left alone and have thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

“Almost 90+ percent, may warning signs iyan (have warning signs)…If people start to withdraw from the usual activity or always isolating themselves or even expressing the thought. So it is very important na iyong (that the) companion or family member be aware na ito (that these are) warning signs ng (of) suicide ito,” said Valle

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 800,000 people die yearly from suicide worldwide. It is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 years old.

In the Philippines, more than 2,500 suicide deaths were recorded in 2012 and the DOH is working to prevent this from increasing by opening a hope or suicide hotline.

Since its launch in 2016, they received more than 7,000 calls from depressed persons and 44% of them belong to the age group 13 to 29 years old.

DOH also advised the public to seek help and intervention for people who have signs of depression and history of suicide attempts.

The appeal comes after the high-profile deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom have battled depression prior to their deaths.

“It’s a complex issue but it is preventable…It’s really a sad thing, you think people have everything but if you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss the warning signs,” said Valle.

As of now, the agency continues to monitor “Hopeline” to check the callers’ condition and prevent any suicide attempts. – Aiko Miguel

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