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!
Cops, Group Homes and Criminalized Kids
The Chronicle of Social Change – 1.21.15
Often when a foster youth acts out, whether because of unmet mental health needs or for other reasons, group home staff, often undertrained and overwhelmed, will respond by calling the police. This practice can lead to many foster youth, who haven’t actually committed a crime, becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. The California Community Care Facilities Act, formally AB 388, is intended to change that. The law, passed in September, seeks to “minimize the presence of law enforcement in group homes, and curtail extended stays in juvenile hall for kids who are detained because they have nowhere else to go.” Advocates for the law believe it will decrease the over-criminalization of foster youth and keep group home staff from unnecessarily calling the police when a child is acting out. However, others believe it could have some negative results, including discouraging group home staff and others, from calling the police in situations when they are needed and increasing the difficulty for some foster youth to find placements.
Four Ways to Improve Student Mental Health Support
Education Week – 1.20.15
Last November, Connecticut’s office of the child advocate released a report about the mental health and educational history of Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012. The report concluded that Lanza’s history “paints a picture of repeated missed opportunities—by schools, relatives and mental health professionals—to intervene in a downward spiral of isolation, emotional instability, and mental illness.” In response this week, two school psychologists put forth four concrete recommendations for how to improve school and community mental health services for the almost 20% of American children who suffer from a mental health disorder. “While the findings are of special significance to Newtown, Conn…their broader value is in the attention they bring to the continued challenges in our mental-health system, a system in which schools and communities both play critical roles,” they wrote. Their recommendations include:
- Offer a continuum of school and community mental health supports;
- Broaden access to school mental health supports beyond special education;
- Improve school and community collaboration to provide integrated and coordinated mental healthcare; and
- Empower families to manage the myriad decisions and resources they need to meet their child’s mental health needs.
OP-ED: Redefining Mental Illness
The New York Times – 1.17.15
Many professionals within the mental health community are beginning to advocate for using a new framework to understand mental illness and the best ways to treat it. In this Op-Ed, the author reviews two recent reports that support moving away from rigid diagnosis categories (schizophrenia, depression, PTSD…) and medication treatments, towards a more flexible and open-minded approach–one that recognizes that social interventions are as important as pharmacological ones.
YMAP President Interviewed About Children’s Mental Health Policy in California
New America Media – 1.17.15
New America Media reporter Anna Challet recently interviewed Young Minds’ President, Patrick Gardner, about the state of children’s mental health policy in California. He discussed problems with the current system including waiting lists, access inequality, and a lack of focus on quality interventions. He also discussed some positive developments that could provide opportunities for significant improvements, including increased access to health insurance, increased awareness about mental health issues, and promising developments in science and quality assessment tools. “Our job now is to organize mental health stakeholders to pull these promising threads together into a coordinated system of care that provides high quality, effective mental health care to every child in need,” he said.
REPORT: Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America
Children’s Mental Health Network – 1.16.15
A new report from Mental Health America (MHA) analyzes the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the millions of Americans with mental health needs. The report concludes that despite the ACA’s parity clause, large disparities persist for many in access to quality mental healthcare. The report found that the largest gaps in services exist in the areas of early diagnosis and intervention.
Other news for this week:
Laura’s Law likely moving ahead in San Diego County
San Diego City Beat – 1.21.15
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**News stories shared by Young Minds in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.