However much I despair at the Australian media’s coverage of mental health – frequently bombastic, reactive and known to repeat common stereotypes and stigma – articles that are well researched, interesting and thought-provoking do occasionally slip through the net. Over the last week, there have been three such articles:
As Jane Austen probably wanted to say, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good Black Sabbath CD must be in want of a shotgun.
We are so encultured to believe that heavy metal music induces teenage suicides that my father once gave me $100 to buy clothes that weren’t black: I bought sunglasses and survived. Nonetheless, countless rock stars and record stores have been sued by parents and protesters who claim that METAL HURTS KIDS.
Psychology is caricatured as the science of the mad, the sad, and the bad, and research on self-harming among metal fans illustrates this perfectly.
Puberty has long been recognised as a transition point in which many emotional and behavioural problems emerge. These include depression and anxiety, substance use and abuse, self-harm and eating disorders.
We previously thought that children who entered puberty earlier than their peers were at greater risk of these problems because they were less equipped to cope with the transition. This may be part of the story.
But we’re increasingly realising that social and emotional disadvantages and stresses in childhood may trigger early puberty. This possibility was explored in a study published today in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which found children who go through puberty early showed signs of poorer mental health in early childhood.
Most people know that anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric illness associated with the maintenance of low weight and fear of weight gain. But we know very little about what causes this destructive disease, which is associated with the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness.
Anorexia affects about 2% of women in their lifetime, although one in every ten sufferers is male. Between the ages of 15 and 24, suffering from anorexia nervosa means you’re 12 times more likely to die. It’s clearly a serious illness, but there are many myths about what causes it.
~ These articles originally appeared on The Conversation; academic rigour, journalistic flair ~