The Weekly MashUp is a recurring segment on Hear Me Out, the Young Minds’ Blog, highlighting the most pertinent local and national news for children’s mental health advocates. If you haven’t already, sign up to be on our email list to get the Weekly MashUp delivered to your inbox automatically, every Friday!
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Unveils Bureau of Children’s Justice
State of California Department of Justice – 2.12.2015
On Thursday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris unveiled the Bureau of Children’s Justice within the California Department of Justice (DOJ) “that will work to ensure all of California’s children are on track to meet their full potential.” Attorney General Harris also announced that the California DOJ was one of only three state agencies chosen to be a part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Defending Childhood Initiative. The new Bureau will “enforce criminal and civil laws to hold those who prey on children accountable; work with a range of local, state, and national stakeholders to increase support for vulnerable children to prevent bad outcomes; and identify and pursue improvements to policies impacting children.” The Bureau will focus on improving California’s foster care, adoption, and juvenile justice systems, as well as addressing other issues facing youth in the State.
OP-ED: Mental Health Professionals Should Be Key Leaders in Juvenile Justice Policy
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – 2.13.2015
Liz S. Alexander, an advocate for justice-involved youth, contends that juvenile justice policy should reflect new research regarding the affect trauma has on adolescent brain development. Of particular concern is trauma’s affect on the development of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that regulates impulsivity and judgment. As Alexander writes, “For adolescents, trauma coupled with their developmental growth period makes them extremely vulnerable and highly susceptible to delinquency, substance abuse and other mental health disorders.” A reported 70% of incarcerated youth have experienced trauma or live with mental illness, making this new research especially important for this population. In fact, Alexander argues that in light of this new research, mental health professionals should have the “final say” in creating juvenile justice policy. “Simply put, these children don’t need punitive policies that authorize harsh disciplinary action that further traumatize them, they need hugs,” she writes.
NHS Trust Develops ‘Silver Linings’ App to Help Young People Manage Mental Health
Tech World – 2.13.2015
NHS, The United Kingdom’s largest mental health foundation, hopes to revolutionize the way young people engage with their mental healthcare by introducing a smartphone app called “Silver Linings”. Targeting ages 16-24, the app allows users to track and monitor wellness while using algorithms to provide feedback, advice and incentives. Creators hope the app will not only be about “imparting information, but engaging young people in their recovery.”
The Duchess of Cambridge Records a Video Message for the UK’s First Children’s Mental Health Week
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – 2.16.2015
Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, gave a rare Public Service Announcement to speak out against the stigma of children with mental health issues. “No one would feel embarrassed about seeking help for a child if they broke their arm,” she says in the video message, “and we really should be equally ready to support a child coping with emotional difficulties.” The Duchess supports Place2Be, an UK provider of school-based mental health support.
Report: Healthy Young Minds: Transforming the Mental Health of Children
World Innovation Summit for Health 2015 – 02.17.2015
A new report released at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2015, Qatar, identifies children’s mental health as a global priority. It states that mental health problems “need to be recognized by parents, doctors and teachers, and our whole society needs to become much more open and matter-of-fact about what is a common part of life.” The report included ten suggestions for how countries should take action on mental health issues including community action, teacher trainings, and evidence-based healthcare for children and parents. The report was released on the first day of the Summit to health leaders from over 80 countries.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris Gets To the Heart of Children’s Stress
SF Gate – 2.17.2015
The San Francisco Chronicle has nominated Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, for the Visionary of the Year Award. Dr. Burke Harris developed a screening tool that allows healthcare professionals to identify children at high risk of disease and mental illness. It is based upon the findings of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study which suggests that a child’s “exposure to trauma was strongly and scientifically linked to all kinds of ailments” including depression and suicide. Dr. Burke Harris is among 12 other nominees.
For more information about her work, watch Dr. Burke Harris’s TED Talk.
Other news for this week:
Kids’ Drawings Speak Volumes About Home
NPR – 12.08.2014
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**News stories shared by Young Minds in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.