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!
The National Alliance for Caregiving, in collaboration with Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has released a new study entitled On Pins & Needles: Caregivers of Adults with Mental Illness. Researchers found that at least 8.4 million Americans are providing care to an adult with an emotional or mental health need, with 58% of those receiving care between the ages of 18 and 39. Nearly 75% of caregivers reported that their responsibilities cause high emotional stress, part of which stems from the challenge in finding an accurate diagnosis and adequate treatment for their loved ones. Gail Gibson Hunt, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving, explains that “these findings illustrate that gaps in the healthcare system can impact a family caregiver as well. Caregivers noted that they felt isolated by the stigma of mental illness. They reported high levels of emotional stress and worried that their loved one would self-harm. It’s time to bring these families out of the darkness and get them help.”
California Former Foster Youth to Take Charge As Statewide Ombudsman
San Jose Mercury – 2.23.16
Earlier this week, Rochelle Trochtenberg was appointed to act as statewide ombudswoman, an influential position that investigates complaints and identifies system failures in California’s child welfare system. Trochtenberg, 33, is the first former foster youth to hold the office representing 62,600 abused and neglected youth. When asked to comment on her new position, Trochtenberg expressed that “if 10 years ago somebody said you’re going to be the foster care ombudswoman, I would have laughed in their face. I’m really just humbled by the opportunity.” The ombuds office is responsible for educating foster youth about their rights and how to report offenses, as well as investigating and resolving individual complaints, and summarizing them in reports to the Legislature. Attorney Jennifer Rodriguez, executive director of the San Francisco-based Youth Law Center, gives her support by noting “the reason Rochelle will be extraordinary is she’s such a good listener…Her values have always been first and foremost that young people hold the key to how the system needs to be changed — and that’s the kind of person we want in the ombudsperson’s office.”
Trauma Should Be Recognized as Disability by Schools, Lawsuit Says
California Health Report – 2.22.16
A group of middle and high school students in Compton, California have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Compton Unified School District has failed to recognize and address their trauma-induced disabilities, brought on by violence in their homes and communities, and therefore has denied their legal right to an equal education. The lawsuit seeks regular mental health support for students, as well as training for teachers around understanding and responding to trauma. The plaintiffs seek to abolish harsh disciplinary actions, such as suspensions and expulsions, which they argue pushes traumatized youth out of school and into the criminal justice system. They also demand that the district create trauma-informed policies for all 26,000 students, since so many of them are affected by violence. Lead plaintiff Peter P., whose name has been changed, suggests that “if you’re surrounded in an area that’s gang-affiliated, you go to school having to watch your back all the time…You’re already scared senseless. That’s what affects studying.” Anne Hudson-Price, attorney with Public Counsel who represents the students, reinforces this by saying “you have to address trauma in order to do anything about the achievement gap.” Last September, District Judge Michael Fitzgerald allowed the case to move forward, ruling that the students could be entitled to accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, similar to students with learning challenges. The lawsuit is set for a hearing next January.
New Resource: What Are Katie A. Services And Why Are They Critical?
Young Minds Advocacy – 2.25.16
Communities Come Together to ‘Change Minds’ About Child Trauma
Chronicle of Social Change – 2.23.16
Two More Bills Aim to Protect California Foster Youth From Dangerous Psychiatric Drugs
Contra Costa Times – 2.19.16
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**News stories shared in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of Young Minds Advocacy.