“When we look at the mental health of American girls today, one thing becomes clear: We as a society are failing pretty miserably….One out of four adolescent girls reports suffering from symptoms of major depression compared with fewer than one in ten boys.” —Donna Jackson Nakazawa, Girls on the Brink
The rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among girls have skyrocketed over the last 15 years. The influences of social media, over sexualization of girls, environmental and societal stresses, school pressures, sexual harassment, gender inequalities, and other stressors have caused a crisis that needs to be understood and addressed.
My guest, Donna Jackson Nakazawa provides the science of why our girls are struggling and 15 antidotes for our consideration to support girls on their journey to live meaningful and independent lives.
Guest: Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning science journalist, author of seven books, and an internationally-recognized speaker whose work explores the intersection of neuroscience, immunology, and human emotion. Her latest book is, Girls on the Brink: Helping Our Daughters Thrive in an Era of Increased Anxiety, Depression, and Social Media. Donna’s other books include The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine, Childhood Disrupted, and The Last Best Cure. Her writing has appeared in Wired, The Boston Globe, Stat, The Washington Post and Health Affairs. For her writing on health and science, she received the AESKU lifetime achievement award and the National Health Information Award. She has appeared on The Today Show and NPR and is a regular speaker at universities, including the Harvard Division of Science Library Series, Rutgers University, Johns Hopkins, Learning and the Brain, and the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Donna is also the creator and founder of the narrative writing-to-heal program, Your Healing Narrative, which uses a process called Neural Re-Narrating™to help participants recognize and override their brain’s old thought patterns and internalized stories, and create a new, powerful, inner healing narrative that calms the body, brain, and nervous system. You can learn more here: https://donnajacksonnakazawa.com
There is collective trauma in our nation, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the horrific gun violence epidemic. With the recent shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa, people are once again dealing with the deep pain of loss, grief, anger, and fear. The trauma of gun violence impacts all of us, but our children are suffering in ways that are so hard to witness. What can teachers, parents, and all adults do to lessen the burden?
What you are doing to help the children in your life during this painful time?
Julie Kurtz is a child and family therapist and national speaker consulting and training on trauma and resilience. She is the Founder and CEO for the Center for Optimal Brain Integration® which promotes the concept of optimal brain integration to maximize human growth potential.
Julie is the co-author of—Trauma-Informed Practices for Early Childhood Educators: Relationship-Based Approaches that Support Healing and Build Resilience in Young Children, Culturally Responsive Self-Care Practices for Early Childhood Educators, Trauma Informed Practices for Early Childhood Leaders: Creating and Sustaining Healing and Engaged Organizations, and Trauma-Responsive Family Engagement in Early Childhood: Practices for Equity and Resilience. She is also the author of the award winning children’s books, Understanding My Brain: Becoming Human(E)! (Ages 4-8 and 5-10). Julie is the creator of the phone/tablet Application (APP) Trigger Stop: Sensory and Emotional Check-in designed specifically for children ages 3-8 years to promote sensory and emotional literacy and to support self-regulation. To learn more go to https://www.optimalbrainintegration.com/.
The ACE’s study is one of the largest investigations conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.
How have the adverse experiences of your childhood impacted your physical and emotional health as an adult? Some steps in healing is understanding and untangling what happened, talking about the trauma, and learning resiliency skills. When a child is acting out in school, or an adult is abusing drugs or alcohol we can ask, “What happened to her, instead of what’s wrong with her.”
Lisa Frederiksen is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including “If You Loved Me, You’d Stop!,” “Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn’t,” and “Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions.” She is a national keynote speaker with over 30 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of BreakingTheCycles.com. She has spent more than 15 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on a range of brain-related topics, including: ACEs, toxic stress, trauma, substance use disorders, secondhand drinking, mental illness, brain development, and addiction treatment and recovery. Some of her consulting has been overseas in countries such as Kenya, Slovenia, and Mexico. Lisa is an active member of the ACEs Connection~Resilient Sac Community.
Wendie Skala, BSN, MS. When she first became a nurse she specialized in intensive care and emergency nursing.Wendie flew for Stanford Life Flight for 10 years and honed her skills in prehospital transport of critically injured patients. She joined the Air Force Reserve in 1999 and achieved the rank of Lt. Col. while serving 7 deployments overseas in support of OPERATION IRAQI AND ENDURING FREEDOM. Along with transporting wounded warriors, she assumed command and control roles and functioned as the Chief Nurse for air operations in Afghanistan, and she earned her Masters’ Degree in Military Science. In 2009, she took on the role as the Injury Prevention Coordinator for Kaiser Permanente’s first trauma center in South Sacramento. There she implemented the Sacramento Violence Intervention Program that provided services for shot, stabbed, and almost assaulted to death victims of violence along with her other work preventing motor vehicle crashes and older adult falls. Some of the programs she championed in the community included the Alternatives to Violence Program and Standing Up Resilient Sac, an ACEs Connection Collaborative. In her role at Kaiser Permanente, Wendie worked with law enforcement, schools, non-profits, and government agencies to educate about ACEs and Trauma Informed Care. She has presented nationally on the subject and is a contributing author and educator of the American Trauma Society’s Injury Prevention Course. Currently, Wendie is Adjunct Faculty at Samuel Merritt’s School of Nursing in Sacramento and continues to work with ACEs Connection and Resilient Sac.