News & Announcements

NNED Partner of the Month

Posted: September 01, 2017

In order to highlight pockets of excellence across the country the NNED selects an organization to highlight once a month. Didi Hirsch has been selected as the Partner of the Month for September in honor of National Suicide Prevention Month.

Didi Hirsch transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse services in communities where stigma or poverty limit access. From 11 sites and in nearly 100 schools, the agency helps almost 100,000 adults and children throughout Southern California each year. Its Suicide Prevention Center - the first in the nation to provide 24/7 crisis counseling - receives over 80,000 calls on its Crisis Line annually and provides support groups for people who have lost loved ones to suicide or have attempted it.

The agency's Suicide Prevention Center's Crisis Line has language capabilities in Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Learn more about their Crisis Line services.

View a list of previous NNED Partners of the Month here.

Powerful Tool in Combating Suicide among Alaska Native Youth: Training Youths to Help Each Other

Posted: August 31, 2017

Last month, the University of Alaska Fairbanks announced a $4.25 million initiative to tackle youth suicide in Alaska Native communities, with a focus on resilience and solutions. But one program in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District has focused on this type of community-based prevention since its start in 2008, and it now has been showing results.

Promoting peer-to-peer mentoring, the school district's Youth Leaders Program engages students and their communities, challenging them to come up with solutions to bullying, isolation and suicidal tendencies. In the years since the program's start, the school district has seen a dramatic drop in student suicides. According to Michelle Woods, the program coordinator until she retired two years ago, nine students died by suicide in 2007. By 2009, it was five.

The premise of the Youth Leaders Program is simple: tap a number of student leaders in each school and give them the training to help their peers during times of distress. Anyone can be a Youth Leader — there are currently over 120 in the school district, which has around 2,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12th. Over 90 percent of the district's students are Alaska Native, spread out among 11 villages in Northwest Alaska that range in population between 150 and 3,200.

Students also nominate two of their peers who they think are approachable if students have an issue at school or home. These students are offered positions as captains, who help teach Youth Leaders at their schools. Both captains and Youth Leaders are trained in the TALK suicide prevention program — short for "Tell Somebody," "Ask," "Listen and Reflect" and "Keep Them Safe."


For Some Incarcerated People, Art Helps Lessen Emotional and Financial Burdens

Posted: August 29, 2017

Maintaining dignity and self-worth in the prison system isn’t easy. Arts education has helped incarcerated people emotionally deal with being in prison, and some incarcerated artists have taken to selling their work to financially supplement their families and themselves.

A disproportionate amount of the prison population is made up of people from low-income communities: A 2015 report by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative found that the average income of incarcerated people ages 27 to 42 prior to their incarceration was $13,320 less than that of non-incarcerated people in the same age group. This economic disparity means that prisoners and their families are often unable to post bail or hire a lawyer, and that day-to-day necessities inside prisons — shampoo, toothpaste and pads, for example — may be harder to come by.

While profits from prison art are not large, they can help to soften the blow of these expenses for those who are incarcerated and their families. The profits can also be used to create a fund for prisoners for when they are released — an essential part of starting over and reintegrating into a community. 

And prison art is hardly a means of livelihood. Making a profit is already rare for most artists, and it is even less likely for those in prison. “It’s not an easy sell,” Dennis Sobin, who was once incarcerated and is the current director of Safe Streets Arts Foundation, which sells and supports prison art, said in a phone interview. “A lot of people are attracted to prison art because of the sensationalistic aspect of it, but many more people are unattracted to it because of the same thing.”

Yet there is increasing evidence that rehabilitation is more effective than incarceration, and arts education has been shown to increase self-confidence, time management skills, emotional control and interest in pursuing other education programs — all of which help former inmates assimilate to life outside prison, decreasing recidivism rates. In Sobin’s words, when inmates become involved with the arts, “they become better and more content people in prison and they can make that adjustment on the outside.”


2016 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report

Posted: August 28, 2017

For the 14th year in a row, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is reporting on health care quality and disparities. The annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) is mandated by Congress to provide a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial and socioeconomic groups. The report assesses the performance of our health care system and identifies areas of strengths and weaknesses, as well as disparities, for access to health care and quality of health care. Quality is described in terms of the National Quality Strategy priorities, which include patient safety, person-centered care, care coordination, effective treatment, healthy living, and care affordability. The report is based on more than 250 measures of quality and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings. Selected findings in each priority area are shown in this report, as are examples of large disparities, disparities worsening over time, and disparities showing improvement. The report is produced with the help of an Interagency Workgroup led by AHRQ.

The following are the key findings from the report:

  • Access: While most access measures (65%) tracked in this report did not demonstrate significant improvement (2000-2014), uninsurance rates (measured as uninsured at the time of interview) decreased from 2010 to 2016.
  • Quality: Quality of health care improved overall from 2000 through 2014-2015 but the pace of improvement varied by priority area:
    • Person-Centered Care: About 80% of person-centered care measures improved overall.
    • Patient Safety: Almost two-thirds of patient safety measures improved overall.
    • Healthy Living: About 60% of healthy living measures improved overall.
    • Effective Treatment: More than half of effective treatment measures improved overall.
    • Care Coordination: About half of care coordination measures improved overall.
    • Care Affordability: About 70% of care affordability measures did not change overall.
  • Disparities: Overall, some disparities were getting smaller from 2000 through 2014-2015, but disparities persist, especially for poor and uninsured populations in all priority areas:
    • While 20% of measures show disparities getting smaller for Blacks and Hispanics, most disparities have not changed significantly for any racial and ethnic groups.
    • More than half of measures show that poor and low-income households have worse care than high-income households; for middle-income households, more than 40% of measures show worse care than high-income households.
    • Nearly two-thirds of measures show that uninsured people had worse care than privately insured people.

Read more and download the full report on

What Being Stuck between Two Cultures Can Do to a Person’s Psyche

Posted: August 27, 2017

What is the recipe for long-term happiness? One crucial ingredient cited by many people is closeness in their social relationships. Very happy people have strong and fulfilling relationships. But if we feel rejected by those who are closest to us – our family and friends – it can sour our attempts to master the recipe for happiness.

Bi-cultural people, who identify with two cultures simultaneously, are particularly vulnerable to this kind of rejection. A person can become bi-cultural by moving from one country to another, or if they are born and raised in one country by parents who came from elsewhere. For example, for a child born and raised in London by Russian parents, Russian will be what’s called their “heritage culture”.

Research has shown that being bi-cultural is a tremendously beneficial trait because it makes us more flexible and creative in our thinking. But bi-cultural people may experience their upbringing as the collision of multiple worlds. They sometimes face criticism for stepping outside the bounds of what’s normally acceptable in their heritage culture. This experience of rejection from one’s heritage culture is referred to as “intragroup marginalisation”. People experience this when they adapt to a new culture in ways that are deemed to be a threat to their cultural origins.

In the author's ongoing research, they are looking at ways that people can cope and overcome experiences of rejection from their heritage culture. To understand this painful experience, other research has looked at whether personality traits, such as attachment style, can make a person more likely to feel intragroup marginalisation. Attachment style shapes how we interact with others in our relationships. A securely attached person sees themselves as worthy of love and others as trustworthy, while somebody who is insecurely attached can be anxious and sensitive to threats of rejection. They can also avoid and feel uncomfortable with closeness and intimacy.

Insecurely attached bi-cultural people tend to report greater marginalisation from their friends and family. This may be because they are sensitive to rejection and perceive themselves as failing to uphold the traditions expected of them by their heritage culture. For example, a second-generation Bangladeshi in Britain may feel ashamed at not being able to speak Bengali very well, or a Hungarian who moved to Britain may feel that their values have changed. Another key personality trait reflects how individuals perceive their sense of self in relation to others. We can see our self as being independent and unique from others, and as having a high sense of agency. Alternatively, we can see ourselves as being interdependent with others and fluid, changing based on the situation.

Research has found that people who have a more fluid sense of self are less likely to feel rejected from their heritage culture, compared to those who have an independent sense of self. This is because they are better able to reconcile both their cultural identities without experiencing conflict.


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