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Hip ‘Little Book’ gives teens the straight dope on important stuff

TeenHealthBooklet-5

The 62-page booklet is the product of the Indiana University School of Medicine Section of Adolescent Medicine, in conjunction with the Indiana Coalition to Improve Adolescent Health and the Indiana University Leadership Education in Adolescent Health. The creative design was the work of Attic Design Collective, two Herron School of Art graduates, who conducted focus groups with area youth to develop the template.

Targeting teens and mature tweens, the content covers topics such as substance abuse, vehicle safety, dating safety, eating disorders and mental health that can affect the lives and safety of young people.

The little book is 4 by 6 inches and purposely created to be small enough to fit in a pocket, a preference expressed by the focus group.

“The messages are fairly straight-forward, not judgmental, and the booklet includes references so readers can gather more information as wanted,” said Vaughn I. Rickert, Psy.D., director of adolescent medicine and the Donald P. Orr Professor of Adolescent Medicine. “We wanted the booklet to be a discreet, informative guide that teens would be comfortable carrying with them and using.”

The Little Book cautions teens about driving safety and includes helpful facts such as “Seat belts can reduce crash mortality by 50 percent.” Under “Eating Disorders,” the booklet discusses peer pressure, defines the various disorders and states that “most eating disorder patients are female but 10 percent are male.” Straight-forward information on binge drinking, fitness, suicide, pregnancy, drugs and other topics are addressed.

Supplementing the basic content is a Web page at http://www.justask-in.org. From there, the booklet can be downloaded and viewed electronically or printed. There is a section on frequently asked questions; other online resources and hotline phone numbers; and an opportunity for readers to confidentially ask questions.

Readers with questions about any of the topics can text txt@justask-in.org. Replies are provided within 72 hours by a health professional in IU School of Medicine Section of Adolescent Medicine.

The booklet was designed and written to be a resource for educators in the school system and other groups working with adolescents. Schools, youth groups, or teens may request copies by clicking on the “Get the Book” tab found at the top of the page on justask-in.org.

Those interested in more information may contact Jeren Miles at milesja@iupui.edu.