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!
California foster care: New Laws Signed to Restrict Psychiatric Drugs
Contra Costa Times – October 2015
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation’s most comprehensive set of laws to curb the overprescription of psychotropic drugs within the foster care system. Reporter Karen de Sa asserts that approximately 1 in 4 California foster youth are prescribed psych medications to address behavioral concerns, rather than the mental health conditions these drugs were manufactured to treat. The use of the psychotropic medications can lead to debilitating side effects, such as lethargy and morbid obesity. De Sa writes that this reform “will train caregivers and court officials on the hazards of psychotropic drugs, scour medicated children’s health records for alarming prescriptions and step up scrutiny of residential facilities that rely too heavily on the medications to control kids’ behavior.” Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California, suggests that the implementation of these bills will ensure that foster youth have access to “high quality mental health treatment and that their well-being is closely monitored.”
Children in Crisis Wait For Days in Local ERs For Transfer to Mental Health Facilities
The Modesto Bee – 10.4.15
According to the California Hospital Association, the number of psychiatric beds in the state has reduced by 40% since 1995, leaving the state 4,000 beds short in 2015. Given the shortage, emergency rooms have become a “way station” for psychiatric patients in need of care. Children and youth, who are put on involuntary holds because they are considered a danger to themselves or others, often end up in the ER before being sent to psychiatric hospitals. Most of these young people are 12 to 17 years old, and sometimes wait days for an available bed. Madelyn Schlaepfer, director of Stanislaus county’s mental health program, highlights how youths and their families can be traumatized by out-of-county hospitalizations and long ambulance trips. Schlaepfer suggests that “the increased stress further aggravates an already difficult situation, making recovery less likely to occur quickly.”
Social Emotional Learning — A Practice Gaining Popularity in Bay Area Schools
San Jose Mercury News – 10.3.15
A more rigorous Common Core State Standard was enacted in California’s public schools this year, emphasizing college and career building for children. In an effort to meet these new standards, schools across the state are implementing more challenging curriculums. However, according to the San Jose Mercury, “experts want to make sure that student emotional health and development, as well as social skills, aren’t left behind.” Joan Duffell, executive director of Committee for Children, argues that competitive testing environments in classrooms lead schools to overlook the importance of emotional health and development in the academic success of children. To address this issue some Bay Area schools are beginning to prioritize the mental health of students through social emotional learning (SEL) programs. Maurice Elias, a psychology professor at Rutgers University, believes SEL in pre-school and middle school classrooms provides an integral balance, given the emphasis on testing in the United States’ education system. SEL teaches students how to work in a group and manage negative emotions. The curriculum also uses positive reinforcement by allowing kids to identify their personal strengths and set goals. Furthermore, teaching students to regulate their emotions in early life can benefit their mental health later on. Experts like Elias believe that SEL can also be a tool for suicide prevention and can help prevent depression in adulthood.
Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented in Children
Philly.com – 10.7.15
Idaho, U.S. Rank Poorly For Mental Health Services
The Mighty – 10.6.15
5 Things I Didn’t Know About Depression Until It Happened to Me
The Mighty – 10.5.15
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mental Health (HBO)
Youtube – 10.4.15
California Moves Toward Mental Health Equality for Kids
The Chronicle of Social Change – 10.2.15
What do you think of the Weekly MashUp?
Thank you for reading our Weekly MashUp each and every week! Our goal is to continue to expand our coverage on issues that matter to children’s mental health advocates like YOU! Do you have suggestions for how we could improve the Weekly MashUp? Please send us your feedback! We look forward to hearing from you!
**News stories shared in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of Young Minds Advocacy Project.