CSD youth protection seminar

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Canyons School District held their first Youth Protection Seminar on May 6, 2019, at Jordan High School. The Seminar features several tables with representatives from different organizations in the community concerned with youth mental health. Among those were the Salt Lake County Library, representatives from four different mental health care facilities, the school’s Resource Officer, and the Salt Lake County Health Department.

The keynote speaker at the Seminar was Dr. Christy Kane, a licensed mental health care counselor here in Utah. She has her own practice in West Jordan and she gave a TEDxYouth talk in Park City, Utah in February.

Dr. Kane spoke largely about two neurotransmitters that our brains produce; Oxycontin and dopamine. Dopamine is what our brains produce in anticipation of something good happening. Some things that trigger dopamine are going out for your favorite food or hearing your phone go off. This is also the chemical that drugs like nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine trigger in your brain.

What a lot of people don’t know about dopamine is that it can be detrimental to your brain’s health. Getting too much dopamine too often, like when someone is always on their phone, can hinder the brain’s development.

She said, “Have the whole family get together and just ask the question, do you know what electronics are doing to your brain? And what do you think we can do as a family to decrease the amount of time we spend in the electronic world?”

One of the main themes of Dr. Kane’s talk was the importance of human interaction to our brain development and mental health. Human interaction releases oxytocin in your brain, which makes you happy in a real way, not just in a high or a rush kind of way.

In her presentation, Dr. Kane gave an evidence-based suggestion of making sure you get eight hugs, every day, for eight seconds each. The study she and her practice conducted showed that this was enough to increase oxytocin levels enough to make a big difference in the human brain. Dr. Christy Kane had everyone in the audience raise their right hand and say that they would do their best to give eight hugs every day for eight seconds.

The main message Dr. Christy Kane wants people to get out of the seminar is, “To put the phones down and spend time together that is not electronically based, so they are all growing their brains together.”