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!
Thousands of Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth in California May Be Eligible for Community-Based Mental Health Treatment
The Chronicle of Social Change – 12.17.15
As many as 70% of young people involved in the juvenile justice system may have a serious mental health condition. Yet only 8% of these youth received treatment within 6 months of entering detention. High rates of mental illness in the juvenile justice system are due, in part, to the failure of other child-serving systems to provide appropriate and timely mental healthcare. Far too many youth are detained and remain in secure facilities because no appropriate community-based mental health services are available. The result: juvenile detention centers across California and around the country have become de facto mental institutions.
Recognizing this critical gap in California’s existing service array for juvenile justice-involved youth, Young Minds Advocacy, with the support of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, set out to evaluate what it would take to extend access to intensive home and community-based mental health services to this population of youth. The resulting report, Fulfilling Medi-Cal’s Promise: Extending Home and Community-Based Mental Health Services to Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth in California, finds that about 4,500 juvenile justice-involved youth in California are likely eligible for intensive services. Providing home and community-based care to this population of youth could reduce youth incarceration, improve our communities, and save money.
Drugging Our Kids: California Courts Step Up Scrutiny of Foster Care Use of Psychiatric Drugs
San Jose Mercury – 12.16.15
Almost 1 in 4 teenagers in foster care receives psychiatric medications (psych meds), many of which are antipsychotics prescribed to manage the youth’s behavior. These drugs can leave young people suffering from obesity, diabetes, uncontrollable tremors and severe lethargy. As a result of new legislation, California’s courts are calling for health professionals to provide more justification for prescribing medications before judges approve their recommendations. The proposed new rules aim to enhance probing of prescribers, social workers, foster parents, and legal advocates. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jerilyn Borack, who presides in juvenile court and helped craft the new rules, notes that current forms comprise of “a lot of checkboxes, and a lot of teeny-tiny lines that doctors may or may not write on, and we didn’t feel that met the requirements of the new law…If we just give them a checkbox we are telling them we don’t need much more than a yes or no.” The court is also placing an emphasis on the child’s input, regardless of their age. Under the new rules, children would no longer have to fill out extensive paperwork, but could draw a picture, speak with an advocate, or even speak directly with the judge about their experience on psych meds, and whether side effects could overshadow possible therapeutic gain.
Psychiatric Drugs Are Being Prescribed to Infants
New York Times – 12.10.15
Recent data by IMS Health shows a rise in the prescription of psychotropic medications to children age 2 or younger who exhibit alarmingly violent or withdrawn behavior. In 2014, nearly 20,000 prescriptions were written for drugs typically used by adults–such as Risperdal, Seroquel, and other antipsychotics medications. Dr. Gleason, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at Tulane University School of Medicine, notes “people are doing their very best with the tools available to them…There’s a sense of desperation with families of children who are suffering, and the tool that most providers have is the prescription pad.” However, this can be dangerous for children who are only months old, since their brains and neurological systems are developing too quickly and unexpectedly, and medications can greatly influence this growth. Furthermore, experts believe that the increased use of psychotropics in children of all ages stems from the scarcity of child psychiatrists — only 8,350 practice in the United States.
After A Disaster, Kids Don’t Want To Talk About The Disaster
NPR – 12.17.15
Children Growing Up in Poverty More Likely To Develop Neurological Problems
Medical Daily – 12.15.15
California Foster Care System Prepares to Phase Out Group Homes
KQED Radio – 12.14.15
5 Tips From A Therapist For Doing Therapy On Yourself
Buzzfeed – 12.10.15
This Guy Jumped Off The Golden Gate Bridge And Survived To Tell His Story
Buzzfeed – 12.9.15
Share the Spirit: Beyond Emancipation Helps Former Foster Youths Take Control of Their Lives
Contra Costa Times – 12.915
Childhood Bullying Tied to Later Mental Health Problems
Reuters – 12.9.15
Smarter, Cheaper, More Effective Approaches to Juvenile Justice
The News & Observer – 12.9.15
Here’s What YouTubers Have To Say About Mental Health
Buzzfeed – 12.8.15
A Child-Centered View of Foster Parenting by Same-Sex Couples
Jurist – 12.8.15
Love the Weekly MashUp? In 2015, we posted a total of 45 MashUps! That means (almost) every week this year we pulled together and summarized the most important news about youth mental health in order to make it as easy as possible for you to be ‘in the know.’ Please consider supporting our efforts to keep you informed by donating to Young Minds Advocacy today.
**News stories shared in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of Young Minds Advocacy.