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!
Op-Ed: Changing Our Tune
Huffington Post – 2.19.15
Liza Long, author of the viral blog “I Am Adam Lanzas Mother”, wrote an Op-Ed for the Huffington Post this week about her experience with depression, parenthood, and raising a son who also struggles with mental illness. Long hopes to create a “choir” of mental health advocates to invoke “change from our legislators and from our fellow citizens”. Although Long acknowledges that some stakeholders “may respectfully disagree about the causes of and treatments for mental illness”, she believes that there are three fundamental truths that we can agree upon:
- “When we talk about stigma, we are really talking about discrimination”;
- “It is wrong to send people with mental illness to prison”; and
- “We need better community solutions for people with mental illness.”
Hospitals See Alarming Increase in Suicidal Children
MedPage Today – 2.20.15
According to a report published in American Pediatrics, children inpatient visits for suicide, suicide attempts and self-harm have increased by 104% between 2006 and 2011. Health care professionals hope the report “will be used to assess improvements related to components of the Affordable Care Act around children’s mental health.” Experts identify the potential causes for the spike in hospitalization as a lack of early prevention and screening methods, a tendency towards easily accessible intervention plans over appropriate ones, and the limits of mental health parity laws, among others. Kelly Kelleher, a pediatrician and researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, hopes that this report will spark action around mental health issues equal to that of physical ones: “if this ever happened in cancer or heart disease or even infectious disease, the country would stop. People would demand action immediately.”
San Francisco Develops Interagency Protocol to Serve CSEC
The Chronicle of Social Change – 2.24.15
Passed in June 2014, Senate Bill 855 “amended California’s Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) section 300 to clarify that under existing law, commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) whose parents or guardians are unable to protect them may be served by the juvenile dependency system.” This is a shift from previous policy, where CSEC were served by the juvenile justice system. The bill provided funds to be administered by the California Department of Social Services to counties that opt into the program. San Francisco county is now one of the first counties to state their intention to opt in.
The Child Sex Trafficking Subcommittee of San Francisco met on February 18 to discuss an action plan for how to serve CSEC youth in the county under the new program. Minouche Kandel, director of Women’s Policy, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, says, “having a uniform protocol developed by our child welfare agency will help create a response to CSEC that treats these youth as survivors of child abuse, not as criminals”. The CSEC program was sparked in part by a report released by the California Child Welfare Council in 2013, highlighting the need for interagency collaboration in the prevention and treatment of CSEC victims.
California Again Slams Kaiser For Delays in Mental Health Treatment
Los Angeles Times – 2.24.15
For the second time in two years, California regulators “slammed HMO giant Kaiser Permanente for causing mental health patients, including some who were severely depressed or suicidal, to endure long delays for treatment.” The Department of Managed Health Care’s latest report found that “some Kaiser patients continue to wait weeks to see therapists and psychiatrists.” The Department also criticized Kaiser for “giving patients misleading information about the extent of their mental health coverage.” Regulators said Kaiser had corrected two of the four areas highlighted in the initial 2013 survey, but that it “still fails to meet state standards for the others.” In a recent statement Kaiser said, “We are proud of the progress we have made. Since the follow-up review was conducted, we have made even more progress.”
California Senate Committee Investigates Use of Psychiatric Drugs for Foster Children
California Healthline – 2.25.15
California Healthline highlights three articles, published this week, covering a Senate Human Services Committee hearing focused on the issue of over-prescription of psychotropic drugs among foster youth. Sparked by the investigative report, Drugging Our Kids, authored by Karen de Sá of San Jose Mercury News, lawmakers at the hearing presented a “package of bills being introduced this month targeting the practice.”
California Mental Health Prevention Effort Is Showing Positive Early Results
HealthCanal – 2.25.15
A RAND corporation report shows evidence that statewide prevention efforts provided for by Proposition 63 or the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) were “launched successfully and are beginning to make a difference toward reducing stigma and empowering people to prevent mental health problems”. Passed in 2004, the MHSA increased taxes for high income California residents in order to expand mental health services. The report evaluated a range of programs including the “Walk in our Shoes” education initiative; the “Know the Signs” suicide-prevention campaign; and intervention trainings for staff, teachers and students.
Other news for this week:
Imitation Game’ Writer Graham Moore Wanted To ‘Say Something Meaningful’ During Oscars Speech
Huffington Post – 2.23.15
The Fantasy World That I Had To Give Up
International Bipolar Foundation – 2.23.15
Robin Williams’ daughter: Dad Made Us Feel ‘Less Alone’
Today – 2.26.15
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**News stories shared by Young Minds in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.