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Brief – State-Level Policy Advocacy for Children Affected by Parental Substance Use

September 18, 2014 Comments off

Brief – State-Level Policy Advocacy for Children Affected by Parental Substance Use
Source: State Policy and Advocacy Reform Center (SPARC)

More than 8.3 million children, or 11 percent of all children in the United States, live in homes where at least one parent or caretaker has a substance use disorder involving alcohol and other drugs. Parental substance abuse places the family at an increased risk of child abuse, neglect, and trauma. Most of these children are not identified by child-serving agencies.

This SPARC brief, authored by Sid Gardner from Children and Family Futures, provides compelling data to demonstrate that alcohol and drug use is a key factor in a high percentage of child welfare involved families, outlines eight barriers to taking substance abuse seriously in the child welfare system, summarizes five levers for advocates aiming at going beyond pilot projects to systems change and highlights policy and practice innovations that advocates can promote.

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Screening Youth for Suicide Risk in Medical Settings: Time to Ask Questions

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Screening Youth for Suicide Risk in Medical Settings: Time to Ask Questions (PDF)
Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

This paper focuses on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force’s Aspirational Goal 2 (screening for suicide risk) as it pertains specifically to children, adolescents, and young adults. Two assumptions are forwarded: (1) strategies for screening youth for suicide risk need to be tailored developmentally; and (2) we must use instruments that were created and tested specifically for suicide risk detection and developed specifically for youth. Recommendations for shifting the current paradigm include universal suicide screening for youth in medical settings with validated instruments.

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Published

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Published
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Family & Youth Services Bureau)

The Family & Youth Services Bureau is pleased to announce the release of the Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The report documents FYSB’s commitment to the national goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. For 40 years, the Bureau has worked closely with its non-profit partners across the country to make sure young people have somewhere to turn when their homes no longer offer safety or support.

In FY 2012 and 2013:

  • Each Street Outreach Program grantee got an average of 151 youth off the streets and into shelter for at least one night.
  • Each Basic Center Program grantee provided emergency care and counseling to an average of 114 youth.
  • Each Transitional Living Program grantee provided intensive, long-term support to an average of 18 transition-aged young people.
  • The National Runaway Safeline handled an average of more than 263 calls a day from youth, parents, and allies.

Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females
Source: Journal of Women’s Health

Background:
No prior study has empirically characterized the association between health risks and reading popular fiction depicting violence against women. Fifty Shades—a blockbuster fiction series—depicts pervasive violence against women, perpetuating a broader social narrative that normalizes these types of risks and behaviors in women’s lives. The present study characterized the association between health risks in women who read and did not read Fifty Shades; while our cross-sectional study design precluded causal determinations, an empirical representation of the health risks in women consuming the problematic messages in Fifty Shades is made.

Methods:
Females ages 18 to 24 (n=715), who were enrolled in a large Midwestern university, completed a cross-sectional online survey about their health behaviors and Fifty Shades’ readership. The analysis included 655 females (219 who read at least the first Fifty Shades novel and 436 who did not read any part of Fifty Shades). Age- and race-adjusted multivariable models characterized Fifty Shades’ readers and nonreaders on intimate partner violence victimization (experiencing physical, sexual and psychological abuse, including cyber-abuse, at some point during their lifetime); binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic beverages on six or more days in the last month); sexual practices (having five or more intercourse partners and/or one or more anal sex partner during their lifetime); and using diet aids or fasting for 24 or more hours at some point during their lifetime.

Results:
One-third of subjects read Fifty Shades (18.6%, or 122/655, read all three novels, and 14.8%, or 97/655, read at least the first novel but not all three). In age- and race-adjusted models, compared with nonreaders, females who read at least the first novel (but not all three) were more likely than nonreaders to have had, during their lifetime, a partner who shouted, yelled, or swore at them (relative risk [RR]=1.25) and who delivered unwanted calls/text messages (RR=1.34); they were also more likely to report fasting (RR=1.80) and using diet aids (RR=1.77) at some point during their lifetime. Compared with nonreaders, females who read all three novels were more likely to report binge drinking in the last month (RR=1.65) and to report using diet aids (RR=1.65) and having five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime (RR=1.63).

Conclusions:
Problematic depictions of violence against women in popular culture—such as in film, novels, music, or pornography—create a broader social narrative that normalizes these risks and behaviors in women’s lives. Our study showed strong correlations between health risks in women’s lives—including violence victimization—and consumption of Fifty Shades, a fiction series that portrays violence against women. While our cross-sectional study cannot determine temporality, the order of the relationship may be inconsequential; for example, if women experienced adverse health behaviors first (e.g., disordered eating), reading Fifty Shades might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma. Likewise, if women read Fifty Shades before experiencing the health behaviors assessed in our study, it is possible that the book influenced the onset of these behaviors by creating an underlying context for the behaviors.

Department of Defense Releases First Quarter Suicide Information

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Department of Defense Releases First Quarter Suicide Information
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The Department of Defense released the quarterly suicide report (QSR), today, for the first quarter of calendar year 2014. The report summarizes suicide counts for all services and components. During the months of January through March of this year, there were 74 suicides among service members in the active component, 24 suicides among service members in the reserves, and 22 suicides among service members in the National Guard.

The report also shows 2013 annual counts and annual rates as published last month in the 2013 4th Quarter DoD QSR, as well as 2012 annual counts and annual rates as published in the DoD Suicide Event Report (DoDSER) Calendar Year 2012 Annual Report. The QSR is intended to communicate the department’s suicide data on a routine and frequent basis.

WHO — Preventing suicide: A global imperative

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Preventing suicide: A global imperative
Source: World Health Organization

Every 40 seconds a person dies by suicide somewhere in the world. “Preventing suicide: a global imperative” is the first WHO report of its kind. It aims to increase awareness of the public health significance of suicide and suicide attempts, to make suicide prevention a higher priority on the global public health agenda, and to encourage and support countries to develop or strengthen comprehensive suicide prevention strategies in a multisectoral public health approach.

The report provides a global knowledge base on suicide and suicide attempts as well as actionable steps for countries based on their current resources and context to move forward in suicide prevention.

Report reveals the scope of substance use and mental illness affecting the nation

September 9, 2014 Comments off

Report reveals the scope of substance use and mental illness affecting the nation
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides insight into the nature and scope of substance use and mental illness issues affecting America. Today, 2013 national survey data as well as information on the efforts and resources being taken to address these problems is being released in conjunction with the 25th annual observance of National Recovery Month.

The report shows that 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users – 9.4 percent of this age group.

Marijuana was by far the most commonly used illicit drug with approximately 19.8 million current users aged 12 and older.

In terms of other illicit drugs, the report indicates that among those aged 12 and older, there were 4.5 million current nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers (1.7 percent), 1.5 million current cocaine users (0.6 percent), 595,000 methamphetamine users (0.2 percent), and 289,000 current heroin users (0.1 percent). Although an estimated 22.7 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, only 2.5 million persons received treatment at a specialty facility.

The SAMHSA report also shows that 34.6 million adults aged 18 or older (14.6 percent of the population aged 18 or older) received mental health treatment or counseling during the past 12 months. Nearly one in five American adults (18.5 percent), or 43.8 million adults, had a mental illness in 2013. Ten million adults (4.2 percent of the adult population) had a serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness is defined as mental illness that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with, or limited, one or more major life activities.

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