MetroFocus: May 31, 2021

Encore: October 15, 2021

SPECIAL REPORT: YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

Nearly one in every 25 New Yorkers live with a serious mental illness, with around 280,000 adults dealing with diagnoses like major depressive disorder or schizophrenia, according to city health officials reporting last month. For young people, this last year has been a pandemic within a pandemic, with mental health emergencies among children growing at an alarming rate. From adapting to virtual schooling, to missing important milestones like proms and graduations, to seeing loved ones getting sick, this has been an extremely challenging year to be a kid. Add to that social distancing, isolation, and the constant threat of illness and it’s not surprising that rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are all on the rise, compared to last year. So tonight we’re looking at how the pandemic has affected the mental health of young people, specifically and what we can do to help with social media influencer and Gen-Z activist, Amelie Zilber and two doctors from New York Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center- Dr. Anne Marie Albano who is a professor of medical psychology in psychiatry at Columbia University, and Dr. Francis Lee, chair of the department of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH AND TONIGHT WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT HOW THE PANDEMIC HAS AFFECTED THE MENTAL HEALTH OF YOUNG PEOPLE SPECIFICALLY.

FROM ADAPTING TO VIRTUAL SCHOOLING TO MISSING IMPORTANT MILESTONES LIKE PROM AND GRADUATION, TO SEEING LOVED ONES GETTING SICK, THIS HAS BEEN AN EXTREMELY CHALLENGING TIME TO BE A KID.

IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT SOCIAL DISTANCING, ISOLATION AND THE CONSTANT THREAT OF ILLNESS HAVE TAKEN ITS TOLL ON YOUNG PEOPLE WITH RATES OF ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE ALL ON THE RISE COMPARED TO LAST YEAR.

JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THIS ALARMING TREND AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP OUR KIDS ARE TWO DOCTORS FROM NEW YORK PE PRESB PRESBYTERIAN'S YOUTH ANXIETY CENTER.

FIRST DR. ALBANO, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

IT'S A PLEASURE.

UP NEXT, WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY DR. FRANCIS LEE, A PSYCHIATRIST IN CHIEF AT NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN, CORNELL MEDICAL CENTER AND YOUTH ANXIETY CENTER CODIRECTOR.

DR. LEE, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

FOR A UNIQUE, YET ALSO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVE, WE'RE JOINED BY A SPECIAL GUEST TONIGHT.

THAT IS DIGITAL CREATOR AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST AMILE ZELBER.

WE'RE SO EXCITED YOU WERE ABLE TO JOIN US.

I WANT TO START WITH YOU.

YOU KNOW, THROUGH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO VERY BRAVELY SHARE SOME OF THE STRUGGLES THAT YOU'VE HAD OVER THIS PAST YEAR.

I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SHARE WITH OUR VIEWERS JUST HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC TAKEN ITS TOLL ON YOU AS A YOUNG PERSON?

THAT'S A REALLY GREAT QUESTION.

I THINK A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE CAN AGREE WITH WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SAY.

MENTAL HEALTH HAS BECOME A HUGE TOPIC OF CONVERSATIONS IN CIRCLES AMONGST YOUNG PEOPLE.

SO MANY OF US HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT DEPRESSION IS VERY REAL AND NOT A CHOICE.

SO MANY OF US HAVE REALIZED THE SAME FOR RANG ANXIETY AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS.

I HAVE ALWAYS TENDED TO BE A BIT OF AN ANXIOUS PERSON BUT THE PANDEMIC HAS MULTIPLIED MY ANXIETY LEVELS HUNDREDS.

AS WE CAN GROW A LITTLE BIT MORE INTO NORMALCY, I FIND MYSELF SHAKING WHEN I LEAVE THE HOUSE AND STRUGGLING TO MAKE CONVERSATION WITH OTHERS WHO DON'T LIVE IN MY HOUSEHOLD AND REALLY JUST COMING TO TERMS WITH NORMALCY AGAIN.

THAT'S REALLY BEEN SOMETHING I'VE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH AND THAT MY ANXIETY HAS COLLIDED WITH.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

I REALLY JUST WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT WHILE THOSE ARE ALL ISSUES THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, OH, WELL I'VE BEEN DEALING WITH THAT TOO, THAT'S GOING TO BE UNIQUELY ACUTE IF YOU ARE A YOUNG PERSON WHO'S STILL DEVELOPING YOUR LIFE SKILLS, FOR LACK OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION.

DR. ALEXABANO, HOW HAS THE IMPA OF THE PANDEMIC, HOW DO YOU SEE IT FROM A MEDICAL PERSPECTIVE, AGAIN, IMPACTING PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL VERY MUCH IN THEIR DEVELOPING PHASES?

THAT'S THE QUESTION OF THE DECADE NOW AND PROBABLY FOR MANY DECADES TO COME.

I JUST WANT TO SAY WHAT YOU HAVE JUST REPORTED IS WHAT WE'RE HEARING FROM THE YOUNG ADULTS AND ADOLESCENTS THAT WE WORK WITH AT OUR CLINICS.

THE THING HERE IS WE'RE TAKING FOR GRANTED AS ADULTS DEVELOPMENT, BUT IF EVERY ADULT LISTENING COULD JUST THINK BACK WHEN WE ASK OURSELVES WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT GROWING UP, WHAT DID YOU MOST ENJOY, IT'S THE PROM, THE FIRST DATES, THE NEW COLLEGE ADMISSIONS LETTER YOU GOT AND FINDING OUT WHO YOUR ROOMMATE IS GOING TO BE.

THESE ARE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM THE YOUNG ADULTS AND THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO ARE EMERGING.

YOU CAN'T MINIMIZE THE IMPACT OF LOSING OUT ON DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES, THINGS THAT ACTUALLY SHAPE THE SKILLS, THE COGNITIVE, I EMOTIONAL SKILLS, OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH SKILLS THAT ARE DEVELOPING ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE AGE OF 25-30, WHICH DR. LEE CAN ATTEST TO.

SO THEY'RE LOSING A LOT.

WHEN YOU PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE, TALK ABOUT LIVING 18, 20, 22 YEARS OF LIFE.

THAT'S NOT A LOT OF TIME ON THIS EARTH YET.

SO THESE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT, NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE DEVELOPMENTAL SKILLS, BUT BECAUSE THEY'RE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THINGS HAPPENING TO A YOUNG PERSON.

I'M 60.

I'VE HAD OTHER THINGS HAPPEN ALONG THE WAY AND I KNOW THIS IS GOING TO PASS.

IT'S NOT SHAKEN ME UP SO MUCH, BUT IT SURE AS HECK IS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.

DR. LEE, I'D LIKE TO BRING YOU IN ON THAT NOTION OF THIS SORT OF LOST YEAR AND JUST THE CRITICAL TIME THAT HAS BEEN LOST FOR SO MANY YOUNGER PEOPLE, I GUESS GEN Z MIGHT BE THE TERM.

YES.

WHAT BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH HAS SHOWN IS THIS PERIOD OF TIME DURING ADOLESCENCE AND YOUNG ADULTHOOD IS THE LAST CRITICAL PERIOD THE BRAIN GOES THROUGH IN DEVELOPMENT.

TO GO THROUGH AN ENTIRE YEAR OF CHRONIC STRESS IS A TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON THE BRAIN.

AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THE BRAIN IS STILL DEVELOPING UNTIL THE AGE OF 25.

YOU CAN IMAGINE THIS IS GOING TO HAVE AN ENORMOUS IMPACT.

THIS WAS NOT A ONE-OFF EVENT.

THIS WAS AN ENTIRE YEAR OF DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTY ABOUT ONE'S OWN HEALTH, ONE'S FAMILY'S HEALTH AS WELL AS ECONOMIC AND SOCIETAL STRESSES.

THE MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT WILLS PROBABLY OUTLIVE THE PANDEMIC ITSELF.

I JUST WANT TO SORT OF ECHO WHAT AMILE HAS SAID.

ONE OF THE FEW SILVER LININGS OF THE PANDEMIC IS PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MUCH MORE AWARE OF THEIR OWN MENTAL HEALTH SYMPTOMS AND THE NEED TO ACTUALLY GET TREATMENT SOONER THAN LATER.

AND THEY'VE BECOME MUCH MORE AWARE THIS SCAN HAVE A SNOWBALL EFFECT IF NOT TREATED IMMEDIATELY.

AWARENESS IS ONE THING WE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THIS, ESPECIALLY AMONG THIS GROUP OF ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS.

I WANT TO ASK BECAUSE THERE TENDS TO BE, AS WITH EVERY GENERATION, A BIT OF A FRICTION POINT.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS I SOMETIMES SEE WITH, SAY, DEFINITELY GEN X AND BOOMERS, ET CETERA THAT THEY MIGHT JUDGE GEN Z FOR IS, OH, THEY'RE SO FOCUSED ON THEIR MENTAL HEALTH OR THEY ALL HAVE ANXIETY AND THEY SORT OF DISMISS THESE EMOTIONAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS AS SORT OF FRIVOLOUS AND MAYBE SOME OF THEM HAVE CONSIDERED IT SPOILED.

BEFORE WE GO FORWARD, I JUST WANT THE TWO DOCTORS TO ADDRESS THE VERY REAL IMPACT THAT HIGH LEVELS OF ANXIETY AND THAT KIND OF STRESS CAN HAVE ON A DEVELOPING PERSONALITY AND A DEVELOPING BRAIN.

SO MAYBE I'LL START PRE-PANDEMIC THE RATES OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION AMONG ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS WAS AROUND 25-30%. FIRST OF ALL, THAT TELLS YOU THIS IS A SIGNIFICANTLY HIGH PREVALENCE RATE.

YOU CAN JUST IMAGINE AND THE DATA ARE NOT IN YET, BUT YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT THE RATES OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION HAVE INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY THIS PAST YEAR.

WHAT WE DO KNOW FROM THE DATA SO FAR FROM THE CDC AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS IS, FOR EXAMPLE, SUICIDE RATES, ESPECIALLY AMONG PEOPLE FROM COMMUNITIES OF COLOR HAVE INCREASED.

WE KNOW ALREADY THIS IS HAVING A VERY SIGNIFICANT IMPACT AND MAYBE AN UNEVEN IMPACT, BUT STILL AN IMPACT ON MANY PORTIONS OF OUR SOCIETY, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT DO NOT HAVE POSSIBLY ALL THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO WITHSTAND THIS ENTIRE YEAR.

DR. ALBANO?

THE OTHER THING WE HAVE TO BEAR IN MIND IS THAT THIS IS A TIME OF SELF-FOCUS, AND IT SHOULD BE, BECAUSE THIS IS THE FIRST PERIOD OF LIFE AND TIME IN LIFE WHERE YOU START MAKING DECISIONS FOR YOURSELF AND SHOULD BE MAKING DECISIONS FOR YOURSELF, WHERE YOU WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL, WHO YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME WITH, WHO YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH AND ALSO ASSERTING WHO YOU ARE AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

SO THIS HAS BEEN AFFECTING YOUTH.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS NORMALLY CAUSE ANXIETY.

ANXIETY IS NORMAL.

IT IS AN EMOTION THAT IS INBORN TO US AND HELPS US BE PREPARED TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES AND KEEP US FROM THINGS THAT ARE DANGEROUS WHEN IT WORKS IN OUR FAVOR.

BUT WHEN YOU HAVE SUCH A PROTRACTED PERIOD LIKE THIS OF HEIGHTENED ANXIETY AND AMILE, AS YOU SAID, THE REEMERGENCE ANXIETY THAT'S THERE, HOW DO I GET INTO THE WORLD NOW, WHAT IS THE NEW NORMAL GOING TO LOOK LIKE, THESE THINGS SHOULD BE CAUSING ANXIETY FOR EVERYONE TO A DEGREE BECAUSE THAT MOTIVATES US TO DO THINGS AND TAKE CARE OF THINGS.

ANXIETY DISORDERS ARE DIFFERENT, DEPRESSIVE DISORDERS, MOOD DISORDERS ARE DIFFERENT.

THAT INTERFERES WITH FUNCTIONING AND TAKES A YOUNG PERSON OFF THEIR DEVELOPMENTAL TRACK.

WHEN ADULTS LOOK AND SAY THEY'RE SO SELF-FOCUSED.

NO.

THEY'RE SO SELF-AWARE AND THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT IT IN A WAY THAT OUR GENERATIONS DIDN'T.

THEY'RE OWNING THIS STUFF AND DECREASING STIGMA.

THAT IS GIVING US HOPE THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND GET THE HELP THEY NEED THAT WE CAN OFFER TO THEM.

AMILE, ONE OF THE THINGS I ALWAYS TRY TO STRESS ON THIS PROGRAM IS NOTHING HAPPENS INSIDE OF A VACUUM.

WHILE ALL OF THESE STRESSORS AND THE IMPACT OF JUST THE COVID-19 AND HAS BEEN EXPONENTIAL FOR EVERYONE, THERE ARE OTHER COMPETING ISSUES THAT I THINK JUDGE YOUNGER GENERATIONS ARE GOING TO ALSO FEEL STRESSED ABOUT.

A LOT OF THAT CAME TO SURFACE LAST YEAR.

WE HAD, OF COURSE, A LOT OF PROTESTS AROUND RACIAL INEQUITY AND RACIAL JUSTICE.

THERE IS STILL THE CLIMATE CRISIS WE'RE STILL DEALING WITH.

THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER ISSUES.

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, AND AGAIN, I REALIZE YOU'RE NOT A SPOKESPERSON FOR EVERYONE UNDER 20, BUT FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, DO THOSE OTHER ISSUES ALSO FACTOR INTO JUST THE GENERAL LIKE WHAT IS THIS WORLD THAT WE'RE COMING INTO?

100%. I CANNOT SPEAK FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

I HAVE HEARD EXPERIENCES FROM FRIENDS WHO HAVE FELT A HEAVINESS SINCE THE PROTESTS AND SINCE ALL OF THE POLICE BRUTALITY CONVERSATIONS HAVE BECOME SO DOMINANT IN MAINSTREAM MEDIA, WHICH IS AMAZING.

IT HAS LEFT A LOT OF SOME OF MY GOOD FRIENDS UNDER THE AGE OF 20 FEELING EMOTIONALLY I WOULD SAY DRAINED.

I THINK THAT EVERYTHING THAT'S BEEN GOING ON ON TOP OF THE PANDEMIC MAKES YOUNG PEOPLE FEEL A SENSE OF HOPELESSNESS A LITTLE BIT, BUT ALSO A SENSE OF HOPE THAT HOPEFULLY YOUNG PEOPLE, BECAUSE THEY HAVE THIS GREATER AWARENESS, CAN MAKE CONCRETE CHANGE.

SPEAKING TO ANXIETY, ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS HAS REALLY IN THIS TIME PERIOD TRIED TO DISCOVER HERSELF AND CREATE HER OWN IDENTITY DURING THIS TIME PERIOD AND IT'S PUT HER UNDER A LOT OF EMOTIONAL DURESS AND ANXIETY.

AS BEAUTIFUL AS SELF-IDENTITY IS AND FINDING YOUR SELF-EXPRESSION IS, IT'S ALSO BEEN INCREDIBLY DRAINING FOR HER.

SO I THINK ON THAT NOTE I CAN SPEAK A LITTLE BIT TO WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE SHARED WITH ME.

OF COURSE.

TO THE DOCTORS, AGAIN, WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT WASN'T JUST COVID-19.

I MEAN, EVEN PRIOR TO, AS I BELIEVE DR. LEE MENTIONED, THERE WERE ALREADY ELEVATED RATES OF ANXIETY AND STRESSORS.

WHAT ARE YOUR CONCERNS, I GUESS, FOR THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF THIS NEXT GENERATION THAT WILL BE EVENTUALLY TAKING OVER THE COUNTRY?

DR. ALBANO.

YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT US TO UNDERSTAND, THOUGH, IS IN PRIOR TRAUMATIC PERIODS OF TIME HERE IN THE U.S. AND ALSO ABROAD IN VARIOUS CULTURES, RESILIENCE ACTUALLY COMES INTO PLAY AND ACTUALLY WE EXPECT THE GREAT MAJORITY OF PEOPLE OF ALL AGES TO DO WELL.

THE THING THAT WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF IS DOING WELL DURING THIS TIME MEANS BEING ABLE TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS, GET SUPPORT FROM OTHERS, BEING ABLE TO BE FLEXIBLE IN THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT THINGS, A LITTLE MORE CREATIVE OR WORK OUT OF THE BOX FROM USUAL IN THE WAY YOU'RE THINKING AND THINGS THAT YOU DO FOR YOURSELF AND SUCH.

SO THAT'S SOMETHING TO KNOW.

WITH THAT IN MIND, I THINK WHAT WE LOOK AND SEE IS THAT KIDS OF COLOR, LGBTQ KIDS, IMMIGRANT KIDS AND THOSE WHO COME FROM DISADVANTAGED SITUATIONS, WHETHER THERE'S ABUSE IN THE HOME, FINANCIAL DISADVANTAGE, WHAT HAVE YOU, THESE ARE KIDS AT RISK.

SO I WANT EVERYONE TO THINK ABOUT THOSE ARE THE FOCUSES WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON AND KEEP AN EYE ON.

IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS WHO FALL INTO THESE CATEGORIES OR THOSE WHO LIVE ALONE AND MIGHT BE MORE QUIET AND SHY, REACH OUT TO THEM.

THE HELP THAT YOU EXTEND OF JUST A HELLO, HOW YOU DOING BY ZOOM CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE OVER THE LONG-TERM.

SOMETIMES THE PUSHBACK THAT YOU HEAR FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE MORE LIFE EXPERIENCE IS THAT, WELL, I LIVED THROUGH, YOU KNOW, WAR OR SOMETHING ELSE THAT WAS INCREDIBLY TRAUMATIC AND WE WERE ABLE TO COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE AND BE OKAY.

SO IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO LOOK TO, OR IS THERE PERHAPS A DISCONNECT IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE STRESSORS ARE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE NOW AS OPPOSED TO WHAT THEY HAD BEEN IN THE PAST?

DR. LEE?

THIS MIGHT BE TOO EARLY TO SAY THIS, BUT COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND OTHER SORT OF SOCIETAL ISSUES THAT CAME UP DURING THIS PERIOD OF TIME, I THINK THE ONLY OTHER GENERATION THAT'S FACED THIS IS PROBABLY YOUNG PEOPLE WHO LIVED THROUGH WORLD WAR II.

NOTHING HAS BEEN THIS LEVEL OF DISASTER AND EPIDEMIC THAT'S AFFECTED SO MANY PEOPLE.

I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST RESILIENCE TEST.

AGAIN, I JUST WANT TO ECHO THAT DEFINITELY REACHING OUT AND PROVIDING SUPPORT IS GREAT FOR THE PERSON YOU'RE HELPING, BUT ALSO THE SHEER ACT OF HELPING OTHERS IS PROBABLY THE BEST COPING MECHANISM YOU CAN HAVE BECAUSE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE GIVING TOWARDS A GREATER GOOD AND PARTICIPATING IN THE RECOVERY THAT WE ALL NEED TO GO THROUGH.

IT'S A RECIPROCAL BENEFIT.

YOU'RE HELPING OTHERS AND PROVIDING SOME PURPOSE AND FRAMEWORK TO TRANSITION OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC.

I THINK THAT'S SO IMPORTANT.

BUT I THINK WE NEED TO KNOW THIS WAS A BIG DEAL.

WE HAVEN'T GONE THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THIS BEFORE.

THERE'S NO PRIOR PRECEDENCE TO THIS LEVEL.

TO BE HONEST, WHAT'S INTERESTING IS IT'S ACTUALLY NOT OVER YET.

IN MANY WAYS WE'RE TRYING TO TURN THE CORNER AND WE WANT TO START PLANNING IN A VERY HOPEFUL WAY.

THERE'S STILL GREAT UNCERTAINTY THERE.

THOSE OF US THAT HAVE BEEN ON THE PLANET MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY HAVE DEVELOPED MANY TOOLS IN OUR TOOL KITS TO COPE WITH WHAT THE DAILY LIFE STRESSES BRING US.

IF YOU'RE 15-25-YEAR-OLDS, YOU MIGHT HAVE USED ALL YOUR TOOLS ALREADY AT THIS POINT.

YOU HAVE TO RECHARGE IN SOME WAY.

SO MANY OF THESE CONVERSATIONS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO ISSUES SURROUNDING YOUNG PEOPLE, IT'S A BUNCH OF OLDER PEOPLE TALKING AROUND OR ABOUT RATHER THAN DIRECTLY TO.

SO FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, ARE THERE ISSUES THAT ARE BEING MISSED OR MAYBE NOT ADDRESSED IN THE MOST TANGIBLE WAY TO YOUNGER PEOPLE THAT ARE JUST BEING MISSED BECAUSE NOT ALL OF US ARE DIGITAL NATIVES?

YEAH.

I MEAN, I THINK PART OF THIS CONVERSATION IS OPENING UP MY EYES TO A LOT OF THINGS.

THIS CONVERSATION IS VERY WELCOMING AND WARMING.

I THINK THAT'S BEAUTIFUL, BECAUSE WE'RE ALL OF DIFFERENT AGES AND BACKGROUNDS.

IT'S VERY COMFORTING.

BUT I THINK A LARGE PART OF CONVERSATION THAT GOES AMISON SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE NECESSITY OF THERAPY FOR ME.

IN MY OPINION, I FEEL LIKE THERAPY IS GLAMORIZED ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN LUXURY AND I THINK THAT THERE ARE NOT AS MANY OPPORTUNITIES AS THERE SHOULD BE TO YOUNG PEOPLE FOR GETTING PROFESSIONAL HELP.

I KNOW THAT A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ARE TOO SCARED TO ASK THEIR PARENTS OR THEY FINANCIALLY CAN'T AFFORD SOMETHING LIKE THAT OR JUST SAYING I GO TO THERAPY HAS A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION.

I'M VERY OPEN ABOUT THE FACT THAT I THINK THERAPY IS WONDERFUL AND AMAZING.

IT IS A TANGIBLE WAY TO BETTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.

YOU BRING UP A VERY IMPORTANT POINT THAT I WANT TO ALSO GET TO.

THAT IS THE ROLE THAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS ALSO PLAYING IN THE ANXIETY LEVELS OF YOUNG PEOPLE.

FOR LACK OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION, WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT, IT HAS BECOME THE NEW PUBLIC SQUARE.

THAT IS HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY IF YOU'RE YOUNGER, THAT'S HOW YOU'RE MEETING PEOPLE AND ENGAGING WITH THEM UNTIL YOU MEET IRL, IN REAL LIFE.

I'M WONDERING FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE DIGITAL SPACES, WERE THOSE ABLE TO SORT OF STEP IN AND CREATE A LITTLE BIT MORE OF THE COMMUNITY THAT WE WEREN'T HAVING IN REAL LIFE THAT SORT OF PERHAPS PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO MAKE IT EXIST DIGITALLY?

DEFINITELY.

I THINK THAT SOCIAL MEDIA HARBORS FEELINGS OF COMMUNITY AND IDENTITY.

I TRULY THINK THAT IN ITSELF IS BEAUTIFUL.

THESE APPS ALLOW US TO TAP INTO A SPACE WHERE WE CAN CONNECT WITH PEOPLE OF SIMILAR BACKGROUNDS, EXPERIENCES, IDENTITIES AS WE DO.

I THINK THAT DURING THE PANDEMIC IT'S BECOME AN INCREDIBLY VEHICLE TOWARDS POSITIVE SELF-EXPRESSION.

I THINK THAT IN ITSELF HAS BEEN AMAZING.

I KNOW THAT IF I WERE TO NOT HAVE SOCIAL MEDIA WITH ME THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE PERIOD, I WOULD PROBABLY LOSE MY MIND.

AT THE SAME TIME, HOWEVER, I THINK THAT BOUNDARIES ARE REALLY IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA.

THERE IS SOMETHING GENUINELY SWEET ABOUT CAPTURING SPECIAL LIFE MOMENTS AND SHARING THEM AND MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH PEOPLE ONLINE, BUT THERE REALLY HAS TO BE A BALANCE BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF NEGATIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND A LOT OF COMPARISON AND A LOT THAT CAN INVADE YOUR PERSONAL ENERGY.

YOU HAVE TO TAKE NOTICE AND SET BOUNDARIES OF WHAT INVADES YOUR ENERGY AND WHAT PUTS YOU IN A NEGATIVE HEAD SPACE.

FOR ME THAT'S THE WAY I PERCEIVE SOCIAL MEDIA AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO REALIZE THERE'S A REALLY TWO-SIDED EFFECT ON AN INDIVIDUAL.

DR. ALBANO, I SAW YOU NODDING YOUR HEAD A LOT AS SHE WAS SPEAKING.

AMILE, I'M SO GRATEFUL.

YOU PUT IT SO ELOQUENTLY AND REALLY TO THE POINT OF WHAT WE TRY TO HELP OUR YOUNG CLIENTS TO UNDERSTAND IS THE BALANCE AND THAT, OF COURSE, YOU'RE LOOKING AT WHAT PEOPLE WANT YOU TO SEE OF THEM AND THAT SOCIAL COMPARISON, ESPECIALLY FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE PRONE TO BE MORE DEPRESSED OR HAVE MORE NEGATIVE IDEAS OR SOCIALLY ANXIOUS, THEY COULD GET INTO A RABBIT HOLE THERE.

WITHIN THE COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, WE TEACH OUR CLIENTS HOW TO BEST USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THEMSELVES AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN TERMS OF CONNECTIONS AND GROUPS TO JOIN AND SUCH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING YOU JUST SAID.

ALSO, I'D LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR HELPING THIS GREAT TASK OF TRYING TO DESTIGMATIZE REACHING OUT AND GETTING HELP.

ONE OF THE BEST AND MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IS COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY.

I THINK IT'S A MANUALIZED VERSION THAT CAN BE DONE IN A VERY TIME LIMITED MANNER.

WE'RE DOING RESEARCH RIGHT NOW AT THE YOUTH ANXIETY CENTER TO MAKE DIGITAL VERSIONS OF IT SO WE COULD ACTUALLY NOT ONLY PROVIDE IT TO THOSE WHO WANT TO COME INTO THE OFFICE BUT SO WE CAN EXPAND ACCESS.

IT'S SOMETHING WE'RE STILL WORKING ON, BUT THIS IS SORT OF THE GOAL THAT WE DO WANT TO TRY TO EXPAND THE ACCESS OF THIS.

I THINK RAISING AWARENESS IS GREAT BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE TREATMENT ONCE YOU BECOME AWARE YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS TO BE ADDRESSED.

THE KIND OF WORK THAT IT IS THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO DO WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, BECAUSE WHILE YOUR TITLES ARE VERY IMPRESSIVE, THEY AREN'T NECESSARILY INTUITIVE IF YOU DON'T FULLY UNDERSTAND MEDICAL TITLES.

YES.

SO I WOULD HAVE TO SAY I'M AN ADULT PSYCHIATRIST, BUT THERE'S A GROUP OF PSYCHIATRISTS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS.

THERE ARE ONLY 8,000 OF THEM IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, WHICH TELLS YOU SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

IF YOU HAVE 25% OF ADDLESS LESO AND YOUNG ADULTS THAT HAVE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION, WE DO NOT HAVE THE WORKFORCE FOR THAT.

WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY FOR SORT OF INTEGRATED MODELS OF HEALTH CARE IN SOME WAY TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SERVICE AND TREATMENT.

THE BEST EXAMPLE I WOULD GIVE IS THAT IF YOU CAME INTO THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE OR BORDERLINE DIABETES, YOU WOULD GET TREATMENT IMMEDIATELY AND BEGIN A REGIMEN OF LIFESTYLE CHANGES AS WELL AS MAYBE BEING ON A MEDICATION.

IF YOU WAIT TEN YEARS BEFORE YOU GET YOUR FIRST TREATMENT, IT WILL BE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO TREAT.

THIS IS EXACTLY THE SAME WAY TO THINK ABOUT ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

YOU WANT TO TREAT IT EXACTLY AT THIS TIME WHEN THE BRAIN IS MOST PLASTIC AND WHEN THE SYMPTOMS ARE MHOPEFULLY MILD AND EASILY OVERCOMABLE.

YOU WILL LEARN THE TOOLS YOU NEED TO HELP YOURSELF AND BASICALLY BE ABLE TO SORT OF TAKE CARE OF THE MILD SYMPTOMS AND NOT DEAL WITH MODERATE TO SEVERE SYMPTOMS IF YOU WAIT AND HOPE THEY GO AWAY.

THEY DON'T GO AWAY.

YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY GET THEM TREATED JUST THE SAME WAY ALL OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS DON'T GO AWAY IF YOU DON'T GET TREATMENT.

DR. ALBANO, WE HAVE ABOUT 20 SECONDS LEFT.

WE'VE GOT TO BRING THE TREATMENTS TO WHERE THE YOUTH ARE, COLLEGE COUNSELLING CENTERS, CAMPUSES, DORMITORIES, SORORITIES AND FRATERNITIES, YOU NAME IT.

WE NEED TO MEET YOU THERE AND THAT'S SOMETHING ELSE WE'RE WORKING ON.

I'D LIKE TO THANK MY ENTIRE PANEL OF GUESTS.

AMILE ZELBER, DR. FRANCIS LEE AND DR. ANN MARIE ALBANO.

THANK YOU ALL.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU, GUYS.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE.

KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

REACHING OUT IS THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING HELP.

PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE AT 1-800-273-8255.

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT THE AMERICAN AMERICANFOUNDATIONFORSUICIDE PREVENTION AT AFSP.ORG.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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