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!
Despite Bipartisan Support, Mental Health Reform Bill Could Be Derailed
Los Angeles Times – 4.6.16
An estimated 1 in 5 Americans suffered from a mental health concern in the last year, according to federal data. One estimate suggests that over 50% of adults in the U.S. with a mental illness do not receive treatment. Mental health advocates are urging Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill not to abandon an effort to reform the nation’s mental health system, which picked up bipartisan support in the Senate and stimulated action by patients and physicians, as well as state and local leaders. The Obama administration supported calls for reform by proposing over $500 million in federal spending to grow mental health services across the country, but election-year politics and funding concerns may bring these efforts to a halt. Advocates press for more money to fund community-based services, such as mental health clinics, housing and crisis response teams. Inadequate community mental health services and few psychiatric hospitals are often seen as major contributors to epidemic levels of homeless and incarceration of those with mental health needs. Jennifer Mathis, program director at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, notes that “these are the services that enable people to have better lives.”
Medi-Cal Expands To Immigrant Children. Here’s How It Works.
Kaiser Health News – 4.4.16
California will soon begin to provide full Medi-Cal coverage to all low-income children, including the 170,000 to 250,000 undocumented kids living in the state. Currently, undocumented children and adults qualify for limited Medi-Cal coverage, which covers emergency and pregnancy-related services. State officials predict coverage to begin May 16, but due to programming changes to state and county systems, implementation may be delayed. Even if a delay occurs, eligible kids will gain coverage retroactive to the first day of the month it launches. Rachel Vizcarra, program assistant with the UFW Foundation in Bakersfield, urges those who may become newly eligible to “sign up today…if you do, your kids will be automatically enrolled into the program.” Full Medi-Cal coverage will increase undocumented youth’s access to critical physical and mental health care. Advocates and state officials highlight that enrolling undocumented children should not lead to negative immigration outcomes for parents and family members who may not have legal status.
Broken Foster Care System May Be Contributing to Homelessness Crisis
San Francisco Examiner – 3.27.16
Recent statistics show there were more than 56,000 young people in California living in foster care in 2014. Of these youth, more than 14,000 were waiting to be adopted. While over 5,000 children were adopted from California’s child welfare system in 2014, many more young people still need permanent homes. Youth who age out of the foster care system are more likely to struggle in society, with higher rates of homelessness and unemployment, compared to their adopted counterparts. This can have serious impacts on their physical and mental health. The author and chief executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI), argues that critical changes are necessary so no young person is alone at a time in their life when guidance is integral. She asserts that society “must engage in a new dialogue about adoption, foster care adoption and what it means to be family.” Research conducted by varying sources over the past 10 years finds housing instability is a significant concern for many emancipated youth, with some studies indicating that by their mid 20s, more than 30% of this population will have experienced homelessness. DAI’s Let’s Adopt Reform initiative aims to drive new conversations about adoption and foster care adoption, actively listening to community voices, and understanding the interplay with other systems and leveraging these connections to develop innovative solutions.
NEW RESOURCE: Getting and Keeping Health Coverage for Low-Income Californians: A Guide for Advocates
Western Center on Law & Poverty – March 2016
What’s Hardest in the Aftermath of a Mental Health Crisis
The Mighty – 4.4.16
21 Ways to be a Good Friend for Someone With a Mental Illness
The Mighty – 3.19.16
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**News stories shared in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of Young Minds Advocacy.