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!
Obamacare Repeal Seen As Weakening Mental Health Protections
Politico – 3.8.17
A part of the Obamacare repeal package, proposed by the GOP this week, would phase out Medicaid expansion, which covers 1.2 million people in the United States with serious mental illness and substance abuse concerns, as well as remove baseline coverage requirements. This change would mean that certain beneficiaries would no longer receive coverage for mental health and substance use services that are currently guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A spokesperson for the Treatment Advocacy Center issued a statement saying “we strongly encourage policymakers to recognize that all decisions about health reform must consider and provide for the needs of the most severely mentally ill…Failure to do so will forfeit the momentum towards reforming our broken mental health system at tremendous human and financial cost.” Advocates are also worried about “the way the bill would replace Medicaid’s funding structure with capped payments to states based on the number of people enrolled in their Medicaid programs.” This move would likely lead to federal spending cuts for essential programs. Stuart Gordon, policy director for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, noted that “States will be required to make hard choices on which benefits they want to continue and on enrollment numbers…We would hope that mental health and substance use disorder benefits and coverage…will not be eliminated under that scenario, but the decisions will be made on a state-by-state basis based on state budgets, and that very well could lead to significant variations in benefits and coverage by states.”
A study published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that heavy use of social media platforms among young adults was associated with feelings of social isolation. Co-author Brian Primack and his colleagues surveyed 1,787 young adults, ages 19 to 32, in the United States and asked about their usage of 11 social media platforms outside of work. Participants who reported spending more than two hours a day on these platforms had twice the odds of perceived social isolation than those who spent a half hour or less per day on those sites. The study does not infer causation, and researchers suggest the influence could go both ways — “isolation drives social media use and vice versa.” Primack suggests the results should not be interpreted to mean that young adults should close their social media accounts, and rather gives insight for future research opportunities that could focus on whether outcomes vary depending on active or passive social media use.
CDC Report: Youth Suicide Rates in Santa Clara County Highest in Palo Alto, Morgan Hill
The Mercury News – 3.3.17
According to a final report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), youth in Palo Alto and Morgan Hill, ages 10 to 24, have the highest suicide rates in Santa Clara County. The research finds that from 2003 to 2015, Palo Alto’s youth suicide rate per 100,000 people was 14.1 and Morgan Hill’s 12.7; Suicides are more common among males and youths 20 to 24 years old. Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody hopes the information will help reduce stigma and notes that “suicide is complex, but it is preventable and help is available…there is never just one reason why someone dies by suicide.” The report reaffirms the efforts of the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) in promoting attendance and engagement, which PAUSD Superintendent Max McGee notes is the product of collaboration “with many organizations and professionals including Project Safety Net (PSN), the City of Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD), Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD), mental health experts, and parent, student, and community groups to leverage resources and efforts that safeguard our students and support their families.” The preliminary report recommends outreach to male young people, who account for 75% of the deaths, and also suggests increasing efforts to address bullying. It also recommends close contact and positive relationships with parents and school adults, especially for young people who use substances, have experienced violence, or self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Experts, Advocates React to Youth Suicide Report
Palo Alto Online – 3.4.17
My Autistic Sister Has A Voice That Needs To Be Heard
Cleveland.com – 3.3.17
Local Teens Behind Bars Set Creativity Free
Ventura County Star – 3.3.17
In Trump Era, Foster Youth Plan to Fight for Medicaid, Other Policies
The Chronicle of Social Change – 3.2.17
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