Dr. Martinsen enjoys working with a wide range of ages and diagnoses. His practice is largely focused on complex clients with multiple health challenges. He diagnoses psychiatric and behavioral health conditions, makes recommendations for treatment, and prescribes/manages medications for clients of all ages. Much of his work focuses on maximizing health, treating illness, and promoting healthy longevity through lifestyle medicine.
Welcome to Mind Your Mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services, an outpatient Behavioral health Clinic, located in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo, North Dakota. In this podcast, I will talk with our experts about understanding and nurturing our mental health and wellness. I'm your host, Tim Unsinn. Join me each episode as we explore the intricacies of our minds, decrease the stigma of mental illness, learn practical tips for managing our mental health and wellbeing, and recognize when it's time to ask for help. Join me now to mind your mind. Welcome to this episode of Mind Your Mind. I'll be talking with Dr. Wayne Martinsen. Dr. Martinsen is the medical director and psychiatrist in Fargo and Minot. Dr. Martinsen diagnoses psychiatric and behavioral health conditions, makes treatment recommendations, and provides medication management for clients of all ages. It's always great to have you on mind your mind, and our topic today is depression in children and adolescents. However, before we get to the topic, I always ask that first question, and that is, why do you do what you do?
Mostly because I really like working with people. I've worked with people now over 40 years, even before I went to medical school as a therapist and a social worker. And I just love the response. I love the connection. I like the agency and the people I work with
Think it's all about helping people. It comes through loud and clear. Our topic now is depression in children and adolescents. How common is depression in children?
It happens in about 15% of children. It's been much higher since the pandemic, Tim.
That seems like the pandemic has done a lot to everybody's mental health, if you will. So now how serious is depression in kids?
Depression can run from relatively mild where somebody is, well, we used to call dystonic and just chronically it's harder for them to be happy, harder for them to enjoy things. Maybe they don't go out or play as much. They're not as active, they're not as engaged with their peers all the way to suicidal children, as well as adolescents can become suicidal. And although children oftentimes won't act on that, adolescents will, children will, however, think about wishing that they were dead when they become depressed.
Now, as we talk about depression in kids, now as a parent, I'm looking at my child. Maybe kids don't know they're depressed. How do I, as a parent, how can I identify, or what are, what are some of the things I need to look for as a parent?
It's a good point because children don't walk around and say to their parents, I'm depressed. In fact, depression tends to come on quite slowly and they feel more miserable inside. What parents often see is a child who's just more irritable, more owly, their sleep tends to be worse. They have difficulty especially falling asleep. They have, they're more antagonistic about doing homework or other chores. They may actually have more temper tantrums. They're less likely to want to play with children. They're less likely to want to do active activities. They're also less likely to be happy. Now, a child with depression can be happy if it's a big enough event. So if they're going out on some special occasion, they're gonna be happy about that. But day-to-day, these are children who don't enjoy the same level of things that they once did. Their grades can also fall because attention and concentration tends to decrease. Tim, when children get depressed.
As a parent, I'm thinking about the different, the different things. Okay, so kids, as they change age, sometimes those things happen. So as a parent, when do I become concerned or reach out for help when my child is going through some of those changes? When do I think it could be depression or is it just an age thing? When do I reach out for help?
Well, what you look at is diagnostically, you look for at least a two week period, and you'd wanna look for a two week period of changes in mood, behavior, sleep, where there isn't a really good explanation. So if somebody, they loved a grandparent had died, that gives you a reason that they would be down or negative. But if there's no clear reason and you see them consistently being different than they once had been, it'd be time to talk with them, to ask them the questions, asking them a question about what their mood is like, what they're feeling, how they, how they feel about their friends, is not going to put bad ideas into their head. Children as young as six or seven will talk about feeling like they wish they were dead sometimes, and asking them that question is not going to put the idea into their head if it's not already there.
Well, I think growing up, if my favorite three Stooges episode wasn't on, I felt like I should be dead. But that's not what we're really talking about. So as a parent, what are the treatment approaches used for kids?
There's really quite a wide variety of treatment approaches, all the way from lifestyle changes. So just making sure that they get enough activity, making sure that they're eating a healthy diet, making sure that they're connecting with friends. Those things really matter, especially as we've gone through the pandemic recently where kids were really disconnected from the rhythms of their life, like going to school, connecting to their teacher, connecting to grandparents, connecting to peers. Therapy is probably the treatment of choice, especially for children in grade school age children. And it's as effective as medication and it works better for the children who are more verbal, who are more able to express their emotions and talk about things. There's also family therapy approaches where the therapist works with the family, with the parents to help the child experience life differently. But there are also medications. There are a number of medications that are FDA approved for depression down to age six or seven.
Alright. And as we talk about depression, we talk about the pandemic and different things, and it seems like there's not a new normal. There is a new normal, and it isn't what we used to be experienced, if you will. So as a parent, and you talked about this a little while ago, difference between kids and adolescents and those red flags, those things we should be looking for. Maybe in a child, a child, it's a little bit different. Adolescent may be more apt to act on what they're saying. So what are those red flags that we should look for?
There you look for increased anger, problems with sleep, just a chronic owliness, hypersensitivity. Adolescents tend to be very sensitive to the things that their friends, their teacher, their parents says, but if they're not recovering from that, so they have a conflict with a peer, a conflict with somebody they're dating, and then days later they're still really withdrawn or they hold a grudge to parents or others that they didn't use to hold a grudge to. If they are making statements of hopelessness, those are all things that you would really want to look at. Basically a change that happens for at least two weeks over time from who they were before.
Our guest on Mind your Mind is Dr. Wayne Martinsen and Dr. Martinsen, as you've been talking about a lot of different things, the one thing that pops into my head during this whole conversation is, as a parent, am I listening? Am I paying attention to my child? Am I, am I looking for signs and things like that? Because, and I don't want to sound judgmental, but it seems like today we're busy. We're very, very busy, and I think it's really important as parents to really pay attention to what our kids are going through, especially considering the last three years.
Absolutely. And when you look at who's more likely to get depressed, it's the children and families that are already stressed. So the the single parent family where the parent is stretched thin already, maybe has financial struggles, needs to work two different jobs, doesn't have the kind of connection or time that children need it's important to either carve that out or bring in others who can, like a grandparent and aunt and uncle, somebody that's trusted, a mentor to have that time with a child.
I think that's a great point too, if you are a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, a grandparent just paying attention to our family. You know? Absolutely. And be the person there that can help them. Awesome. Great stuff, great information. I always, always have to go back and dissect more of this information because you just give us a wealth of information. Dr. Martinsen, thank you for being on Mind Your Mind. Before we go though, I always have that final question. What do you do personally to mind your mind?
What I have taken up lately is I have a have an upcoming talk with Pastor Rick Jones that I find invigorating. We're actually going to do a talk looking at spirituality and values and their impact on day-to-day life and happiness and trying to, trying to define this as spirituality that transcends our different religious perspectives.
Great stuff as always. It seems like when I ask you that question, it's always about learning. Always learning and growing. Thank you. Always appreciate you on Mind Your Mind. Thank you for sharing your time and your talent.
Thank you Tim.
Thank you for joining us for Mind Your Mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services. For more information, links to additional resources, contact information, and much more, go to Dakota family services.org.
People tend to perceive risk as being inherently negative. But for teenagers, risk-taking is a healthy, normal, and important part of growing up. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Host Tim Unsinn talks to Vanessa Lien, Nurse Practitioner, about creating a safe environment for your teenager to take risks—and knowing when to step in when they start taking risks that could result in serious and long-term negative consequences.;
15-25% of American students have experienced bullying. And cyberbullying is on the rise. Children who experience bullying suffer from long-lasting effects including depression, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, low academic achievement, and more. Children engaging in bullying behavior are impacted as well. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Dakota Family Services therapist, April Morris, LCSW, talks about the impact of bullying and what parents can do to help.;
2020 was the year for living with chaos. Everything—at home, at work, and at school—is out of sync and changing from day to day. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Dakota Family Services psychologist, Dr. Megan Spencer, shares simple tips for building routine and structure into your life. She also provides an excellent, yet simple, way to ground yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious.;
Children experience grief over many things—the loss of a loved one, moving away from their friends, the death of a pet. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Lucas Mitzel, a therapist at Dakota Family Services, talks about the stages of grief, and how to walk your child through the grieving process. He will also talk about ways to determine if your child needs to see a professional who can help them untangle the many emotions of grief.;
In today's episode of Mind Your Mind, your host Tim Unsinn talks with Christy Wilkie about suicide warning signs and things you can do to make a difference. Christy, a therapist at Dakota Family Services, wants to normalize conversations about suicide so people don't feel like they are suffering alone. She says, "There is never a reason to not ask the question, 'Hey, are you OK?' Asking the question can save a life.";
In today's episode of Mind Your Mind, your host Tim Unsinn talks with Dr. Wayne Martinsen. Dr. Martinsen, Medical Director and Psychiatrist at Dakota Family Services, defines wellness as more than just the absence of disease, but as a state of well-being. In this episode he will share current wellness research, questions to ask to determine your own well-being, and steps you can take to achieve and maintain wellness.;
When someone in our life has cancer, it's difficult to know what to say or how to help. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Host Tim Unsinn talks to April Morris about how you can best support a friend or loved one who has cancer. Morris, an outpatient therapist at Dakota Family Services, shares tips for knowing what/what not to say, and actions that speak louder than words.;
Sleep is just as important for mental health as it is physical health. During sleep, our brains process our memories, emotions, and other information. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," April Morris tells us why sleep is so important for overall well-being and encourages us to prioritize sleep. April, a therapist at Dakota Family Services, provides practical tips for improving sleep hygiene so you can live your best life.;
Stress does not discriminate, and it comes in many shapes and forms. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Dr. Megan Spencer talks about ways to identify and listen to the stress in our bodies. Learn relaxation techniques for managing stress over time, self-care routines that decrease negative stress, and things you can do to bring calm into your life.;
Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our well-being. Exercise increases our mental alertness, energy, and positive mood. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Christy Wilkie, therapist at Dakota Family Services, talks about how movement, even for five minutes, can promote changes in the brain that lead to neural growth, reduced inflammation, and feelings of calm and well-being. Listen now to learn more about how moving your body can improve your mental health.;
Diagnosing children with a mental health-related condition can be controversial. Many worry this gives children a label that is set in stone and will follow them around their entire lives. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Dr. Wayne Martinsen talks about the role of diagnosis in getting children the help they need. Martinsen encourages us to think about mental health diagnoses the same as we do any health diagnosis. If you go the doctor and they diagnose you with strep throat, that doesn’t mean you’ll have strep throat forever, or that you are a strep throat victim. It just means that you have a collection of symptoms that point to strep throat, and the doctor will use that diagnose to provide the appropriate treatment.;
ADHD is diagnosed and treated at a much higher rate than in the past, especially in the United States. Why? In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Dr. Wayne Martinsen, Psychiatrist/Medical Director at Dakota Family Services, explains how the changing world has made it harder for people with shorter attention spans to be successful. In the past, if school was hard for you, you could get a job, work your way up, and live a middle-class lifestyle. Not so in today’s world. Learn more about this fascinating take on ADHD.;
In today's episode of Mind Your Mind, your host Tim Unsinn talks with Christy Wilkie about the Feelings Wheel*. Christy, a therapist at Dakota Family Services, says humans experience 34,000 different feelings! She demonstrates how to use the Feelings Wheel to help you identify your emotions so you can control the behaviors associated with them. *Adapted by classtools.net from the Emotional Wheel. The Emotional Wheel was developed by American psychologist, Dr. Robert Plutchik.;
In today's episode of "Mind Your Mind," Vanessa Lien, Nurse Practitioner, talks about the many changes occurring in the teen brain. The teenage brain is highly susceptible to stress, but it is also very resilient. Learn coping strategies you can teach your teen to protect their brains and help them cope with stress and emotional struggles.;
Going back to school after summer vacation can be a stressful time for both kids and parents. The transition from the unstructured summer to a more regimented routine can lead to stress and anxiety. Worries about fitting in, bullying, homework, getting to school on time, and dealing with peer pressure are all additional stressors that may weigh on children when it's time to go back to school. In this episode of “Mind Your Mind,” Tim Unsinn speaks with Therapist Falan Johnson. Falan helps us understand why back to school anxiety is common, provides strategies for managing the added stress, and shares resources parents can use to prepare their children for the new school year.;
The grief of losing a friend or loved one to suicide is complicated and can be especially difficult. In addition to the grief, sadness, and loneliness of any loss, people might experience guilt, confusion, rejection, anger, and shame. The stigma of suicide complicates it even more, often preventing survivors talking about their loss or getting the help they need. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Tim Unsinn visits with Dakota Family Services' therapist, Christy Wilkie. Christy helps listeners understand the complicated nature of suicide grief and how to move through it with compassion and self-acceptance.;
You will be shocked at the seemingly safe places predators can connect with your children online. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Lucas Mitzel, a therapist at Dakota Family Services, talks about the things you need to know to keep your children safe. Learn the many websites and platforms used to target children, how to monitor their internet usage, and how to talk to your children about the dangers.;
Pregnancy and the birth of a child can be a joyous and exciting time, but some women struggle with their mental health as they transition to motherhood. Depression, anxiety, and other pregnancy-related mental health conditions may surface during or after pregnancy. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Tim Unsinn speaks with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Megan Spencer. Dr. Spencer helps us understand the common symptoms and causes of postpartum depression, as well as what to do if you think you may be experiencing it.;
Did you know that in addition to calming and focusing our minds, meditation can improve our physical health? In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Host Tim Unsinn visits with Dr. Wayne Martinsen, Psychiatrist, Dakota Family Services, about the surprising health benefits of meditation. A regular meditation practice can increase longevity, reduce the risk of dementia, reduce inflammation, and play a significant role in the treatment of high blood pressure and immune disorders. Learn about the many forms of meditation and how you can start your own meditation practice today.;
Anxiety and depression are invisible illnesses—meaning they don't have outward symptoms visible to others. Because they are invisible, they are often hard for people to explain. In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Host Tim Unsinn visits with April Morris, LCSW, Therapist, Dakota Family Services. April references the spoon theory of chronic illness created by Christine Miserandino, an award-winning writer, blogger, speaker, and lupus patient advocate. Listen now to learn more about spoons as a metaphor for energy and how you can use them to understand and explain anxiety and depression.;
While we hear a lot about autism in the news, many of us still have misconceptions about its causes and symptoms. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, therapist Falan Johnson dispels some of these misconceptions and explains the three levels of autism. Johnson then focuses on the least understood level—high functioning autism. Learn how to identify symptoms of high functioning autism in your child, the importance of early intervention, and ways you can support them.;
In this episode of Mind Your Mind, therapist April Morris talks about boundaries. April will define boundaries, explain their importance, and help you set boundaries that match your values and strengthen your relationships. Learn how healthy boundaries can improve your mental and physical health, and how you can say “no” respectfully.;
Going through infertility tests and treatments can be an extremely difficult and lonely time for couples. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Lucas Mitzel talks about his own experience. He also shares tips for couples struggling with infertility, and for friends and family members who want to be supportive but don’t know what to say or do.;
In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Host Tim Unsinn talks to Therapist Falan Johnson about panic attacks. What do they feel like? What causes them? How can you prevent or manage them? Listen now to learn more and discover techniques that might work for you or your loved one.;
Are you concerned about your child's mental health but aren't sure what to do? Join Host Tim Unsinn and his guest, Therapist Jesse Lamm, as they discuss ways you can support your child through a difficult time.;
Are the stresses of college (constant worry, fitting in, lack of sleep, etc.) affecting your ability to function? Join Host Tim Unsinn and his guest, April Morris, LCSW, as they discuss ways to manage or eliminate the stressors that are impacting your well-being.;
Are you struggling to get enough sleep each night? Maybe you have difficulty falling and staying asleep. You can't get comfortable. You feel anxious and your brain just won't shut off. According to the Sleep Foundation, over one-third of adults in the U.S. sleep for less than seven hours a night. Join Host Tim Unsinn and his guest, April Morris, LCSW, in this episode of "Mind Your Mind," as they discuss how insomnia can affect many other areas of your life, as well as practical tips to improve your sleep hygiene.;
It's not unusual for children to have temper tantrums or for adolescents to be angry. But when they become out of proportion to the situation in intensity and duration, your child might be suffering from a mood disorder. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Host Tim Unsinn visits with Dr. Megan Spencer, a psychologist at Dakota Family Services. Listen now to learn how to distinguish between normal mood changes and mood disorders, and some steps you can take to help your child.;
Resilience is not a personality trait or characteristic. Resilience isn't ignoring or emotional numbing or pretending that a problem doesn't exist. And being resilient doesn’t mean we won’t face adversity. Rather, resilience is our ability to bounce back from adversity. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, Dr. Megan Spencer, psychologist at Dakota Family Services, shares ten ways to build resilience so you are ready when adversity strikes.;
You can probably think of a dozen things that make you feel sad. Sadness is a normal human emotion that helps us process the events in our lives. But what is "normal" sadness? When does sadness move from "normal" to something you may need help processing? In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Falan Johnson, a therapist at Dakota Family Services, will answer these questions and more. Learn the importance of allowing yourself to feel sad so you can move past it, and, when it might be time to seek professional help.;
In today's world, we are constantly bombarded by messages about who we should be, how we should look, what we should do or wear, and more. With the increased accessibility and prevalence of social media, kids and adolescents are hearing and seeing these messages at younger and younger ages. How do we help ourselves and our teens combat these messages and find our true selves? In this episode of "Mind Your Mind," Therapist Jenika Rufer helps us wade through the unimportant things to find what we truly value so we can become our best selves.;
Unsure of whether your therapy is working for you? In this episode of “Mind Your Mind,” our host Tim Unsinn talks with Dakota Family Services therapist Lucas Mitzel about how to make your therapy sessions more productive. Making progress in therapy can often come down to simply having an open mind and a plan for discussion. Although each session can evoke a wide range of emotions, you should always leave feeling that some sort of movement has happened.;
In this episode of Mind Your Mind, host Tim Unsinn and Dakota Family Services therapist Christy Wilkie talk about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and its effectiveness in battling unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. Utilizing cognitive restructuring, CBT helps change inaccurate and damaging self-perceptions and perceptions of others, leading to healthier day-to-day thought patterns. Christy also touches on multiple CBT exercises to try at home, as well as some of her own tactics for promoting helpful thoughts.;
Are your worries and fears about the future getting in the way of daily life? If so, you may be one of the many people who suffer from anxiety. In this special Community Chat episode of Mind Your Mind, Christy Wilkie and Lucas Mitzel talk about the many types of anxiety and what they can look like in both children and adults. They also touch on ways to combat anxiety attacks, including using grounding techniques, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, and more.;
In this episode of Mind Your Mind, host Tim Unsinn and psychiatrist Dr. Wayne Martinson discuss autism and signs of it in children, touching on the different levels of the autism spectrum and where people fall. Learn about how autism often affects children's social skills, communication, and behavior, as well as its connections to other disorders and how to handle it.;
Many people find themselves dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety in their daily lives. However, there are plenty of simple strategies to help regulate these emotions. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, host Tim Unsinn talks with therapist Sandy Richter about various coping exercises to help you regulate and calm yourself, including breathing and movement exercises for both children and adults.;
Medication can affect people in many different ways. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, host Tim Unsinn and psychiatric nurse practitioner Amanda Daggett talk about genetic testing and its use in discerning how different individuals might react to various medications. Tim and Amanda also touch on some of the facts and myths surrounding genetic testing, including what testing can and can’t indicate and where the science is currently at.;
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems people face. However, there are many ways to manage and understand it. On this episode of Mind Your Mind, host Tim Unsinn and therapist Lucas Mitzel discuss what causes anxiety and how it can affect people’s day-to-day lives, as well as the difference between anxiety and fear and how to combat chronic anxiety with grounding techniques.;
In this special Community Chat episode of Mind Your Mind, Psychologist Megan Spencer and Psychiatrist Wayne Martinsen discuss how loneliness and social isolation are increasing in our country, as well as what that means for individuals’ health in the long term. They also give advice on how to get yourself or your loved ones more connected with others, including how to connect both in-person and online.;
Does it seem like your child is “stuck” in therapy, or engaging in dangerous behaviors like self-harm and suicidality? In this special Community Chat episode of Mind Your Mind, Psychologist Hannah Baczynski and therapist April Morris discuss Dialectical Behavior Therapy and its effectiveness in treating patients who have found traditional therapy unsuccessful. Learn about the 4 core skills of DBT and what makes DBT unique from other forms of therapeutic treatment.;
When our children are struggling with their mental health, it can be hard knowing how to help them. However, in addition to therapy, medication can be a viable and effective option for improving your child’s mental health. In this episode of Mind Your Mind, our host Tim Unsinn talks with psychiatric mental health nurse Amanda Daggett about how to know if your child needs medication, what the process is for a prescription, and how to tell if their medication is right for them.;
It can be difficult knowing how to recognize and treat depression in children and adolescents. In this special community chat episode of Mind Your Mind, Psychologist Megan Spencer and Therapist April Morris discuss signs of depression to look out for, including both behavioral and physical signs that your child may be depressed. They also touch on the influence of environment, physical illnesses or diagnoses, and genetics on children’s mental health.;
While often perceived as only relating to those who’ve experienced warfare, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect anyone. In this special Community Chat episode of Mind Your Mind, Psychologist Dr. Hannah Baczynski and therapist Lucas Mitzel explain what trauma is, how it affects each person differently, and when to seek treatment for trauma-related symptoms. They also discuss different treatment options for PTSD, touching on the pros and cons of each.;
Though autism is one of the most commonly discussed mental health diagnoses in the community, it is often one of the most misunderstood. In this special Community Chat episode of Mind Your Mind, therapists Lucas Mitzel and Falan Johnson discuss what autism is, how it appears in children and adolescents, and how it may look different between individuals. They also touch on how autism can show up differently in boys than in girls and offer intervention tips for parents and caregivers.;