Blaming smartphones and social media for mental health issues in teens distracts from deeper problems

Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash

Much has been written about Palo Alto’s teen suicides, which is four or five times the national average. My daughter was 13 in 2009, attending Terman Middle School in Palo Alto, when her friend Natalie (name changed) ended her life. “Nat was gone forever,” my daughter wrote in an essay she shared with me recently. “She and I had been talking all summer. I had taken her emotions in our correspondence lightly. Too lightly.”

Depression and anxiety among youth are rising. A nationwide study found that adolescents reporting symptoms of clinical depression increased by 37% between 2005 and 2014, and…


Stories from California’s immigrant seniors clinging to the flavors of their past

Sarada Ramachandran, the author’s mother, stands in her kitchen contemplating options for lunch // Photo by Andrea Campos

“Do you have drumsticks?” my 85-year-old mother asks the cashier at the checkout counter at Madras Groceries in Sunnyvale, California. The woman points to a pile of long, narrow, cylindrical vegetables near the counter. A half-hour later, a quick inventory of my mother’s cart reveals drumsticks, taro roots, squash, long beans, okra, winter melons, pointed gourd, snake gourd, spices, snack packets of murukkus and a bag of brown basmati rice.

Jaya Padmanabhan

Journalist. Writer. Columnist for @SFExaminer. Previous editor @IndiaCurrents. Author of story collection “Transactions of Belonging.” Twitter @jayapadmanabhan

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