Although being moody and irritable is often normal for teenagers, depression is not simply a side effect of growing up. Depression is a serious medical condition that affects approximately one in five teens before they reach adulthood and is the leading cause of teen suicide. Parents often feel concerned and unsure of what to do when they think their teen may be depressed. Talking with your teens regularly, listening to what they have to say, and keeping up with their activities, go a long way to preventing and identifying any depression they may be experiencing. In this blog post, Meg Durbin, M.D., an Internal Medicine doctor and pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers some insights into depression, and answers parents’ commonly asked questions on teen depression and how to help.
“Wow!” – that’s the most common word patients and visitors utter as they enter Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Mountain View Center. At the center of the lobby is a spectacular 15-foot glass sculpture by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Made up of 442 individual hand-blown glass elements, the sculpture is an electrifying potpourri of colorful Persian-style flowers in shades of yellow, blue and red hanging in two parts from the 54-foot high atrium.
I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t want to be a doctor. When I graduated from nursery school at age five, on my old my diploma, which I still have, it says “I want to be a doctor.” So it’s up there with all my other diplomas.
I think it starts by recognizing that every patient is different. Every patient brings something to their situation that you have to understand – it’s not not just the disease, it’s really that person’s values, that person’s experiences, their perception.
I think back to when I was in medical school, one of the senior physicians sat down with four or five medical students and told us, “At, the end of the day when you leave the room with a patient, that patient should feel better because you were there.”
It doesn’t mean that you necessarily did something miraculous or cured them, or found an answer that everybody else missed; it could just be listening. It could just be sitting there and soaking it in and listening to the patient and communicating that you care.
For the last six years, doctors and staff at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz and Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC) have participated in an annual golf tournament to raise money for Healthy Kids of Santa Cruz County, a local organization that improves the health and well-being of low-income Santa Cruz County children by providing them with health insurance. This fall, the tournament raised $6,500, which our doctors and staff donated directly to Healthy Kids of Santa Cruz County. Since 2004, Healthy Kids has enrolled over 17,000 local children into coverage programs.
George Mendoza, an anesthesia technologist at SMSC, and the driving force and organizer of this fundraising effort, explained, “The event is not only an opportunity to get to know many of our colleagues, it also raises money for an excellent cause.”
Playing peek-a-boo, devouring the first Harry Potter book or scoring a goal for the team – good eye health and vision are critical so your child can learn, experience and enjoy the world around him or her to its fullest. From birth to the age of 10, the area of a child’s brain responsible for vision is still developing. That’s why it’s important to have your child’s eyes checked regularly, as many eye disorders and vision problems can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.