BCNY Updates

Hope for Depression Panel at BCNY: Learning the Building Blocks of Resilience

Wednesday, April 3rd


Members and staff sat down with panelists from the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) to discuss Resilience in Children: Teaching the Building Blocks of Mental Health. Moderated by HDRF Executive Director, Louisa Benton, doctors Jaqueline Nesi, Wei-Li Chang, and Christopher Anacker talked about social media’s effects on mental health symptoms, the brain science behind uncovering what depression really is, and the ways teens can foster their resilience to it. The panelists were joined by Teen Ambassadors for the Race of Hope, an event where teens and families come from New York City schools to unite as a community and raise awareness in the fight to defeat depression. Teen Ambassadors included Noelle Saldana, Sienna Vadi, and Youth Council members Bryan and Ethan, who discussed the value of sleep and community in building resilience against depression.  

Much of the panel and audience discussions centered around the mixed effects of social media on mental health. Dr. Nesi and Dr. Anacker shared that although we don’t know for sure the effects of social media on depression symptoms, we do know that social media impacts the brain’s reward system, making the mindful use of it extra important for adolescents whose brains are rapidly developing.  

Bryan furthered the conversation by discussing how social media can be used as a positive vehicle to spread awareness of mental health as well as spread places of community and belonging like BCNY that “help with depression and get kids to change their routines into something fun, interesting.” This helped spark further discussion around the science behind the protective aspects of community and belonging for depression. Dr. Chang provided background information from psychology research: “We are wired to find groups we belong to. Having a community really helps people build resilience.” Audience members and the teen ambassadors agreed, with Bryan sharing that “coming to BCNY definitely made me a more open person. I’ve attended more activities. I felt like I belonged somewhere.”  

As youth development programmers, we could not agree more. BCNY strives to always provide space and resources where members feel safe to grow, and we left feeling grateful to HDRF for sharing their knowledge surrounding depression research and to our members for their own knowledge and shedding light on our impact.  

HDRF is partnering with BCNY for their upcoming fundraising event, NYC Race of Hope, on May 19th at Pier 76. Abbe Clubhouse will be fundraising for the race, with the first 50 people to sign up getting a spot for free! 

See more photos from the event here.