Tag Archives: collaboration

Share our posts!

If you are someone who likes to share blog articles you enjoy with your social network, feel free to look through our articles on sova.pitt.edu (intervention site for adolescents) and wisesova.pitt.edu (intervention site for parents).  We were excited to share with you a couple weeks ago the reasons we opened up our blogs so that anyone can read the articles. If they would like to comment, then they have to log-in and enter the study.  The current phase of the study is to get feedback on the sites to continue to improve them, and to build our user community.

We’ve added easy to use share buttons at the bottom of each blog article, so feel free to share away even if you are not in the study! Thanks for your continued support!

“After School” App

We recently learned about the new App for smart phones called “After School.” It’s an app that allows students to anonymously post about sensitive issues. However, many fear that the app may be used for bullying. This article from the Washington Post is how we found out about the app.

After reviewing the new update posted by the developers, we think they have taken a lot of steps to make the app safer. Some of these include 24/7 moderating, an emergency notification system, community guidelines, and the ability for students to remove harmful content. To join your school’s anonymous community, the app uses Facebook and your friends on Facebook to identify that you are friends with other students who belong to your school. If you want to see any sexual or profane content, you have to prove you are over 17 and scan your driver’s license. Still, adolescents are smart, and there are likely ways to hack the system.

What do you think about these updates?  Does it make the app safe? Do you know people who use the app? Tell us about it!

Crisis Text Line

A year ago we posted about the development of the Crisis Text Line and how it’s a transformative tool for people to be able to text someone when they are in crisis. Since the Crisis Text Line’s inception, they have had 16,185,952 messages exchanged since August 1, 2013.

Which, as Nancy Lublin notes in her TED talk:

“That’s the volume, velocity and variety to provide a really juicy corpus. We can do things like predictive work. We can do all kinds of conclusions and learnings from that data set.So we can be better, and the world can be better.” 

Furthermore, CrisisTrends.org has been launched to share ALL THIS DATA with us! Crisis Trends aims to empower journalists, researchers, and citizens to understand the crises Americans face so we can work together to prevent future crises from happening. From the TED talk:

“This data is also making the world better because I’m sitting on the world’s first map of real-time crises.Think about it: those 6.5 million messages, auto-tagging through natural language processes, all of these data points — I can tell you that the worst day of the week for eating disorders: Monday. The worst time of day for substance abuse: 5am. And that Montana is a beautiful place to visit but you do not want to live there, because it is the number one state for suicidal ideation.”

From: CrisisTrends.org
From: CrisisTrends.org

With this information, we can know when people are most affected by certain mental health issues, and we can create better interventions.

Project Uplift

Last week when we attended the  NAMI Southwestern PA Annual Education Conference. One of the speakers was Zach Valenti. Zach is a filmmaker, Voice Actor, and Mental Health Activist who believes that the power of communication and mindfulness are life changing.

While an undergraduate, Zach studied film and what makes people “care” in a film setting. He used these skills and tools to interact with his fellow students at organized events and created a carnival around mental health awareness. He found that adding an element of fun, meeting people where they are and engaging naturally was the best way to reframe conversations around mental health.

He started Project Uplift in 2013 as a way to “gamify” stress reduction through a neurofeedback installation piece. He wanted to make mental health fun, and not a chore. Here’s his TEDx talk about how he came up with the idea for Project Uplift.

One thing Zach announced at the NAMI conference was that Project Uplift is Open Source – free for anyone to get the plans to make their own Uplift Tower. By wearing a headset and being guided through a simple breathing exercise, when the wearer relaxes, the brainwaves trigger the fan to lift up a globe themed beach ball. By going within and uplifting themselves, they are lifting up the world.

Zach’s speech reminded us that burnout is a real issue and that leadership starts with self-care.  We think that Project Uplift is a great initiative and we’re excited to share it with you!

NAMI Conference

This past Saturday a few people from our team went to the NAMI Southwestern PA Annual Education Conference! We took the SOVA FullSizeRenderproject with us! We had a table where we shared materials, talked about our project and made a lot of connections with other groups and individuals in Southwestern Pennsylvania. We hope that by spreading the word about our research study that we can get more youth and parents involved in developing this supportive online community!

At the conference we heard from many different speakers and IMG_0011panels about early onset psychosis, mental health and self care, and doing advocacy work! Be on the lookout over the next few weeks as we give you an update about what we learned!

 

 

What Parents think about Mental Health?

Recently the JED Foundation published research on parent knowledge and attitudes in regards to their children’s mental health. We were interested in this article because it directly relates to our work with the SOVA studies.

14000933079_28165ff03bThey asked parents about their knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about stigma of accessing mental health care; they also asked their opinion about the role of colleges in mental health care. This is an important research topic we know little about and which can inform parents how to help their children, especially those with mental health problems, transition to college. It can be difficult for parents to understand what is normative in college transition versus not.  One example is many college students experience lack of sleep – how do you know if its just a fact of life in college? or a symptom of a mental illness? It’s important to know how to pick up on early signs of emotional distress that can sometimes come out during this transition.

Emotional disorders are very common in college: The health status of emerging young adults (age 18 to 26) is a major concern facing our nation. These “new adolescents”:

  • face greater behavioral and non-behavioral health risks than either adolescents aged 12-17 or young adults aged 26-34. Overall, emerging young adults have the highest rates of motor vehicle injury and death, homicide, mental health problems, sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse
  • compared to those two age groups, emerging young adults often have the lowest perception of risk and
  • this age group has the least access to care and has the highest uninsured rate in the United States (from: usc.edu)

Orange Desk 2.12.15Although most parents feel that they are able to identify signs of depression in their college-age children, they actually have deficits in knowledge when asked to identify symptoms of depression without prompting. “Only 3.4% of parents identified suicidal thoughts as a sign of depression and only 15% of parents were able to name more than one or two signs” (JED foundation, 2008).  Parents were least comfortable discussing mental health, especially suicidal thoughts and other health topics.

SOVA and wiseSOVA aim to increase knowledge, improve parent-adolescent communication around mental health, and connect families with available resources, including the JED foundation to promote healthy transitions!

 

Team Spotlight: Kripa Venkatakrishnan

Meet Kripa Venkatakrishnan, our new Research Assistant. Kripa is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Molecular Biology with a focus on cell and developmental biology. With an interest in making healthcare more accessible to the under-served populations of the world. We interviewed Kripa to find out a little more about her as well as gain some insight about our project.

kripa

 

What are your educational aspirations? 

I’m currently in between two career paths (although they’re closely related in some aspects). For the longest time I’ve always thought and had the desire to go to medical school and become a doctor (in pediatrics or oncology), however, I’ve recently been exposed to a lot of public health issues/cases and it’s really been peaking my interest. I believe that I would also be very happy to pursue a Master’s in Public Health as well. 

Where do you see yourself in your career 10 years from now?

I can see myself either getting through med school or continuing with clinical public health research. I could also see myself travelling around the world or trying to do something spontaneous like that. 

What personal goals are you working toward right now?

Academically, I really wanted to get involved in some psychological and behavioral research projects (which SOVA is clearly perfect for) and witness as many types of research as I can.  Also, my mom and my dad speak 4 different languages and I’m trying to catch up to them and learn as many more as I can. 

What do you like about the SOVA project?

I think the tie that SOVA makes with social media and depression/anxiety is very interesting and unique in comparison to research studies that I have previously been exposed to. It is more than well known that social media is playing a greater part in our lives by the day, and I think creating a forum where users and moderators can channel social media in a way that’s productive and healthy is very progressive and clever, especially when this forum can eventually be proven to drive positive results. But in addition to just that, the SOVA project hits very close to home for me as I once was an adolescent who also faced depression and anxiety. Helping others to not feel the same way I felt or lessen the duration of their struggles is the one of most driving feelings for me and is what makes me like the SOVA project so much.

What do you think are some of the barriers to the project gaining speed?

I definitely think that the biggest barrier would be the marketing of the project to the participants, but on that same note it’s definitely far from impossible. What I believe to be the biggest hurdle for participants is the initial decision to try it out especially at a time in their lives when motivation may be low. However, I think that once that is overcome, participants will realize how much SOVA has to offer to the quality of their life. It’s always just that initial pitch. 

What do you think are some of the strengths the project already has?

The first time I first went onto the SOVA website, I could immediately tell that it was already very established, organized, and up to date which is great from a usability standpoint. But in addition to that, coming into my first day of work, meeting everyone and seeing how supportive, motivated, and committed everyone was, really made the biggest positive impact on me (at least from an outsider’s perspective). I think that the passion that everyone exudes will always be one of the biggest strengths that SOVA will have especially with the nature of the research it’s exploring and I think everyone has so much to offer! 

 

 

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Collaboration Projects Coming Soon…

Hi everyone!

Pretty soon we will be unrolling some projects on the collaboration page. Expect to see a wiki-style space for working together on various activities. We plan to keep this fairly private in that those who are interested in participating will need to use the password sent in our weekly emails to access to the collaborative aspects of our site.  If you don’t already receive weekly emails, please email
socialmediastudy@chp.edu and let us know. We also plan to keep all related posts private and only visible to the collaborators. We are super excited to take this next step, as the success of our work is extremely dependent upon your support and feedback.

Stay tuned and we look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Lights

We Are Going Live!

After months of hard work and research, we are thrilled to announce that we are finally going live!

Orange Desk 2.12.15

We will be using this site to post updates on our project, share the latest findings in mental health research, distribute relevant articles we find compelling, and keep you abreast of any upcoming events we hear about. Coming soon, we will be posting various projects to the site that we would love your help with.  All of our collaboration can be done right through the site.  For quick updates on what we are working on, follow us on Twitter @sova_project.  If you’d like to be on our mailing list, please email us.