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McLean County Behavioral Health Forum Aims To Engage Youth

McLean County Health Department
Eric Stock
The McLean County Health Department is partnering with the City of Bloomington and Town of Normal on a behavioral health community forum on Oct. 8.

A psychologist who has studied social media is coming to McLean County to help adolescents better manage the technology that's taken over much of the lives.

Suzana Flores, author of “Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships and Lives,” said anxiety and depression cases are at an all-time high, and social media has a way of manipulating our emotions.

Suzana Flores
Suzana Flores is author of "Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Relationships and Lives."

“We are only receiving information through 140 characters on Twitter, for example, and we are making interpretations and assumptions based on that,” Flores said. “The way we are treating ourselves and the way we are treating others has systematically shifted, which is leading to these symptoms.”

Flores will be the keynote speaker at a behavioral health forum on Monday at the Normal Theater and the Uptown Marriott.

Flores said young people can become addicted to the release of dopamine every time they get "likes" on a post and the fear that going offline might cause them to miss something.

“Psychologists are seeing a record number of anxiety reports and depression reports mostly due to the expression and interpretation of information, especially lately with everything going on in the news,” Flores said.

Trisha Malott from the McLean County Behavioral Health Coordinating Council said the forum will engage in a range of topics, including suicide prevention, bullying, understanding emotions, mindfulness and relaxation.

The behavioral health forum is scheduled for Columbus Day so youths can attend.

The event is free. Registration is recommended. For more information, go to

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