Tag Archives: Media

SOVA Spring Updates

SOVA wishes you all a happy spring and would like to share some updates since we last posted.

We have begun recruiting for the Stress and Worry pilot randomized controlled trial and soon hope to get some preliminary information on the SOVA intervention.

We published the usability studies of SOVA in Journal of Medical Internet Research-Mental Health. Because JMIR-MH is open source, this means anyone can read the article online for free!

Our article on Depressed adolescents’ positive and negative use of social media is one of the most downloaded articles from Journal of Adolescence!

Recently, Dr. Radovic and colleague Dr. Megan Moreno co-edited a book on Technology and Adolescent Mental Health. This book features multiple leading minds in the field, summarizing the latest data and offering a balanced view on issues such as social media use in depressed teens, technology use among special populations, cyberbullying, multitasking, internet gaming disorder, and games and mental health. Each chapter finishes with a case-based example meant to help clinicians seeing adolescents for mental health concerns inquire and consider their technology use.

Dr. Radovic was also interviewed for a Washington Post article about screening for teen depression, specifically the difficulties primary care providers run into when implementing screening with teens and discussing depression with their parents.

Lastly, we are grateful to the hard work of Cassandra Long, MSW, LSW who has moved on from her role as the main SOVA research assistant to pursue her clinical career goals at the University of Pittsburgh counseling center. Also, Congrats to our graduating psychology student seniors, Lindsay Bloomingdale and Maeve Clair! Thank you to Julia Bickerstaff, Veronica Zhang, and Jennifer Matesa. Jen will be staying on as the SOVA Peer Ambassador Leader!

We hope to share more updates with you all in the summer.









“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

A cause worth fighting for

Recently the New York Times highlighted a study from the National Center for Health Statistics that suicide rates for all age groups are increasing in the US. NPR reported that in particular, the rates of suicide for young adolescent girls aged 10-14 tripled, which some think may be due to trends in earlier puberty. In young people, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 65, No. 2, February 16, 2016
National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 65, No. 2, February 16, 2016








There are many explanations for this, and yet more research to do, especially in mental health services to best understand how to help young people with suicidal thoughts have access to life-saving treatment. We agree with Dr. Borenstein, president of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, who wrote a follow-up editorial that these numbers should be a wake-up call for the U.S. to declare a war on mental illness and increase funding for life-saving research.

I had an opportunity to hear Dr. David Brent, a renowned researcher of adolescent suicide prevention, speak at the Annual STAR (Services for Teens at Risk) Center conference. Dr. Brent spoke about preventable predictors of suicide such as child maltreatment for which several evidence-based parenting programs exist but which are not yet widely implemented. He also talked about evidence-based school programs which target impulsive aggression, treating insomnia which increases the risk of suicide 2-5 fold, and decreasing access to lethal agents such as gun control and safety. He highlighted a program at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan which provides support that implementing evidence-based interventions can decrease rates of suicide. In the case of Henry Ford, suicide rates dropped dramatically by 75% and then down to 0. 

Some key elements of their program include:

  • a stakeholder advisory panel
  • all psychotherapists being competent to provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • a protocol for suicidal patients to remove weapons from the home
  • increasing access to care through: same-day access and e-mail visits
  • an educational website
  • educating staff in suicide prevention
  • frequent check-ins by phone
  • and providing families and support people with mental health education

At SOVAproject, we hope to help fight these increasing rates of suicide by designing an intervention with the goal of increasing adolescent and parent engagement in treatment. We are encouraged that implementation of evidence-based methods at centers like Henry Ford, do lead to real-word decreases in suicide rates, and are encouraged to advocate for continued suicide prevention.

Read more about advocating for suicide prevention at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Capture3Today, SOVAproject joins more than 1,100 communities across the country in celebrating the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day to highlight the importance of children’s mental health. About a fifth of young people experience mental illness in a given year, but few get treatment. This year, organizations like the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health are focusing on mental health being a family affair. Here at SOVAproject, we could not agree more, which is why we focus our interventions on adolescents AND parents. Our work has found that primary care providers feel parents are very important players in accessing mental health for adolescents.  We hope that our work in developing moderated online communities for parents and for adolescents to share their experiences regarding diagnosis and treatment will be part of the solution in helping them access the vital services they need to be healthy.


Show your support for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by sharing this post or others:

National webcast tonight at 7 pm on Children’s Mental Health

Childcare aware of america

with your social media community.


National Suicide Prevention Week



Did you know?

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24
  • Every day there is an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by adolescents in grades 7-12
  • It has been found that four out of five people had shown  warning signs before committing suicide

National Suicide Prevention Week was formed to raise awareness and advocate for these alarming statistics, and corresponds with a global effort.  This year the national dates are September 6th- 12th.

Here are some national campaigns you can take part in to show support for preventing:

Sources: AFSP,  Jason Foundation

Using Crowdsourcing in Online Social Networks to Combat Depression

Greetings, Friends!

WIRED Magazine recently published an article that discusses MIT’s Robert Morris and his unique and exciting research on crowdsourcing  a peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal platform.  Similar to SOVA, Morris’s project is aimed at improving the mental health of those struggling with depression by using a web-based intervention.  The intervention, Panoply, is an interactive platform that relies on evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy as a means to reframe and reassess negative thoughts.  Panoply provides an electronic platform for posting content, responding to others, and receiving responses.  On the front end, users can use this as a tool in their cognitive behavioral therapy.  On the back end, Mechanical Turk provides sincere, human-based interactions.  Looking ahead, Morris and his start-up team at Koko are currently working toward developing Panoply into a consumer app.

Do any of you already know of research using Mechanical Turk or other crowdsourcing measures to reach end users?  What do you think about Robert Morris’s research?  Is there anything you think the SOVA team can learn from what he has done?

We want to know your thoughts!

Texting as a Tool: Creative Interventions

Hi Everyone!

We wanted to follow up on one of our posts last month, Texting That Saves Lives.  Just to recap, Nancy Lublin did a fabulous job at showcasing texting as a powerful tool to reach adolescents struggling with depression.  Recently, NPR published a related article that discusses using texting as a public health intervention.  The article below provides insight on how a pilot program, NYC Teen Text, will use texting as a tool to design a creative intervention to implement at 10 New York public high schools.  Let us know your thoughts!  Are any of you currently using texting to reach adolescents with depression?  Are the methods similar or different?  We want to hear from you!

2015 White House Student Film Festival

Happy Spring, Folks!

We wanted to tell you about an awesome project that came out of the White House earlier this month.  Last week, President Obama and his staff unrolled the Student Film Festival to showcase videos illustrating the impact  of giving back through the eyes of teens around the nation.  Students around the country have used this opportunity as a venue to exercise their creative energy and inspire those around them.  Please tune in to witness a truly moving glimpse into the overlooked reality of students living in this country today.