Anxiety Epidemic

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Kind of a crappy week…

Last Wednesday, the NY Times ran very comprehensive story about the epidemic of anxiety among American teenagers – definitely worth a read =

Unfortunately, the Times article made no mention at all of the very close link between the microbiome or gut-brain-axis and depression/anxiety – a glaring omission, especially given the cutting-edge science in the area and the dramatic improvements in anxiety and depression that are possible with proper microbiome balance and gut-brain-axis communication.

This past Sunday, a 14-year-old Freshman at my son’s high school passed away – having taken his own life.

This coming Saturday, I’ll be helping to dedicate a new rowing shell to my college crew team in memory of our boat-mate who took his own life earlier this year.

Like a lot of people (too many people), this weekend will be a balance of the emotional “highs” of sharing memories with some of my closest friends, with the “lows” of many of those memories involving people who are no longer with us.

Mental Wellness is perhaps THE health challenge of our time – and I’m so privileged to be part of a movement that is DOING something to help others.

If you know anyone who is struggling with any form of mental wellness challenge, please do me 2 favors:

  1. Check out what we’re up to at Amare Global
  2. Check out the tips about suicide that my son’s school sent out (below) – and share them with others

Teen suicide is one of the most challenging topics for people to discuss, but it can’t be ignored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that incidences of teen suicide have been increasing in recent years. Teens have a lot of pressure on them, with everyone from parents to teachers and coaches placing higher and higher expectations on their academic and extracurricular pursuits.

Many of you have asked for resources to help your children through this very difficult time. Below are some general guidelines to help you through this process.

Communication is very important:

  • be open and honest; use the words ‘dead’ or ‘death’
  • be honest and open with children about the suicide. Use language    the child understands and that you are comfortable with
  • to avoid stigma use the word ‘suicided’ or took their life rather than committed suicide. This avoids reference to a crime
  • answer facts in short simple sentences without unnecessary detail
  • respect their views with non-judgemental responses.

Emotions and Actions

  • give comfort, hugs, and reassurance as needed by your child
  • stick to day to day routine and schedules as much as possible
  • reduce change to a minimum
  • allow your child to express all emotions in a safe way, e.g. find healthy ways to vent anger, it is okay to cry; emotional storms only last a short time.
  • make time for just being together, take time out to just be together.

Some Important Ideas to Share with a Child About Grief Are:

  • there are no right or wrong ways to experience grief
  • there is no secret method that will take your grief instantly away
  • there are no rules about grief; everyone grieves differently in their own way and in their own time
  • there is no timetable for grief
  • though it might seem hard to believe, it does gradually get easier to handle
  • take all the time and space you need to grieve in your own way for as long as it takes
  • invite peers over, encourage friends to spend time with them and offer support

You may also find the following document on Teen Suicide a valuable resource:



About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

  • I know this to be true. My 24 yr old daughter is on anti anxiety meds as are most of her friends. She’s at University in S Korea and doing well but has always been riddled with anxiety. She won’t take Protandim or anything I suggest despite the science. She’ll be home for Christmas and I will attempt to assess how she is. She will eat kimchi but that’s about it. Typical student diet.

    Two students at her university in Austin died suddenly at the beginning of term. No mention of suicide but I do wonder. Several friends kids have serious anxiety issues but follow along with doctors recommendations and think I’m way out there when I mention gut brain health. Even last night at bible study I mentioned it because so many of our friends are battling cancer. No one wants to know an alternative. And here I am age 66 and run circles around them all. No arthritis like they have, no colds and flu regularly, look younger than most of them ten years younger than me. Crackers, isn’t it?

    Thank you for all you do!!!!!

    Grace & Peace, Patricia


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