ReachOutParents in Silicon Republic

silicon-finalThis article was published on Silicon Republic on Thursday, 25 September 2014., a new website to provide parents with information regarding their children’s mental health, has been launched at today’s Technology for Well-Being Conference in Dublin.

The online resource has been developed based on the results of a three-year research project that gathered information from parents across Ireland. The project found 70pc of parents seek help online when concerned about youth mental health issues.

The organisation that runs the website and organised today’s, collaborated with NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre to survey parents of young people from randomly selected secondary schools and to host a series of focus groups with parents and young people.

Along with basic information for helping parents understand their child’s mental health issues, will also explain certain aspects of technology, including current online trends and where they can seek help regarding mental health support for youths.

Speaking at the conference, which looks at the relationship between technology and peoples’ mental health, CEO Elaine Geraghty said, “ReachOutParents is an example of research translated into practice.

“We have listened to parents and young people and their insights have informed the resource we are launching today. ReachOutParents aims to ‘bridge the digital disconnect’ by demystifying both mental health and technology for parents.”

Stay in bed sleepy head

We all need a good night’s sleep and most of us like to lie-in from time-to-time. But, when it comes to sleep, teenagers take the biscuit right?

Pillows on a bedSleep patterns and needs vary at different times in a person’s life. Research shows that the changes during adolescence brings altered patterns of sleep.

Daily rhythms

We all have natural cycles of when we’re tired throughout a 24-hour period. These patterns, which can also affect things like eating habits, are known as circadian rhythms.

These rhythms are affected by external influences such as daylight. Internally, our bodies’ hormones have an affect, which is why sleep and appetite are altered during adolescence.


As discussed in an article by Dean Burnett, there’s much research around the unusual sleep habits of teenagers. In particular it’s thought adolescents get tired later and need to sleep in longer than we might otherwise think right.

There’s also an argument that we need more sleep during these years than at other stages of life. Which is why teenagers seem to sleep so much.

In fact, it’s generally recommended that adolescents get around nine to ten hours shut-eye per night.

Recipe for exhaustion

Thinking of an average teenager’s schedule and then their sleep requirements, it’s easy to see how their sleep could be affected.

Sleeping problems can then result in (among other things) lowered concentration and/or emotional and behavioural issues.

Is there a solution?

Some schools in the US are considering later starting times to adapt to the pupils’ circadian rhythms.

We may be some way off from that in Ireland. Though it may help to know your son or daughter isn’t necessarily staying up late or sleeping-in out of defiance or laziness.

Cut them some slack

Just understanding the problem might help in daily life. Improving communication between you and your son/daughter around issues such as bed-time might reduce potential for animosity.

Perhaps happily letting them lie-in every now and then might help to maintain a little harmony.

This blog has been adapted from an article in The Guardian by Dean Burnett.

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