News & Announcements
Anti-Gay Bullying Tied to Teen Depression: Bully-Prevention Programs must Address Sexual Orientation
Posted: May 20, 2013
Students targeted because they're believed to be gay -- as many as one in seven young teens -- are much more likely than others to be suicidal and depressed, a new survey finds. More than 10 percent of eighth-grade boys and girls reported that they're victimized because of perceived sexual orientation, according to a large survey of students in Washington state. The survey results, published online May 16 in the American Journal of Public Health, don't offer insight into whether bullying contributes to depression and suicidal thoughts in its victims. It's possible that kids with existing mental illnesses may be more likely to be bullied and perceived as gay. Based on the new findings, bully-prevention programs must address kids picked on because of their sexual orientation, the study authors said. The study is titled Bullying and Quality of Life in Youths Perceived as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual in Washington State, 2010.
The study is based on a 2010 survey of nearly 28,000 students in grades eight, 10 and 12. Among boys, 14 percent of eighth-graders, 11 percent of 10th-graders and 9 percent of 12th-graders reported being bullied within the previous month because they were thought to be gay. The numbers were 11 percent, 10 percent and 6 percent, respectively, for girls. The survey defined bullying based on sexual orientation as being "bullied, harassed or intimidated at school" because they were thought to be gay or bisexual. It defined other types of bullying as when one or more students "say or do nasty or unpleasant things" to another person or tease someone "repeatedly in a way he or she finds offensive." In most cases, more students reported being bullied for other reasons.
Compared to kids bullied for other reasons or not bullied at all, those targeted because they were perceived to be gay were much more likely to have considered suicide in the past year, to have been depressed in the past year and to say they don't feel good about themselves. For example, 26 percent of male 12th-graders targeted for being perceived as gay said they had been suicidal within the past year, compared to 8 percent of those not bullied. The rate also was more than three times greater for female seniors.
Drug Courts’ Positive Effects on Families and Society
Posted: May 19, 2013
Jails and prisons in America are overflowing with people who suffer from substance use disorders. In fact, more than three quarters of inmates have either been arrested for a drug- or alcohol-related crime, have been intoxicated at the time of their arrest, have a history of regular drug or alcohol use, or have previously received drug or alcohol treatment.
Despite what most people think, the association between drugs and criminal behavior is not solely due to people committing crimes to further their drug habit. Drug use is actually a factor in many crimes that have nothing to do with obtaining money for drugs. In fact, drug use is implicated in 50 percent of violent crimes, 50 percent of instances of domestic violence and 80 percent of child abuse and neglect cases. Historically, policies addressing substance abuse and crime have shifted back and forth between either using treatment or using criminal sanctions. But research indicates that a more balanced approach that incorporates both treatment and criminal justice supervision is more effective.
This is where drug courts come in. Drug courts are specialized courts that offer people arrested for drug-related crimes an opportunity to obtain community-based treatment coupled with close judicial supervision as a way of avoiding sentencing and potential incarceration. By successfully completing this voluntary program, individuals have the potential to avoid criminal penalties and even have the arrest erased from their permanent record. Drug courts represent a criminal justice approach that takes into account the need to ensure public safety through close supervision, and public health through the delivery of community-based treatment. They are among the most effective ways to address the problem of substance abuse and crime.
Read more on The Partnership at DrugFree.org.
Raising Awareness about Mental Health in the Asian American & Pacific Islander Community
Posted: May 17, 2013
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted a briefing today on mental health issues and suicide prevention for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. As May is both AAPI Heritage Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month, it was a timely occasion to bring these issues to the forefront. The event convened government officials, community leaders, students and health care advocates for a discussion about the Obama Administration’s efforts to prevent suicide and address mental health issues within the AAPI community.
Mental health concerns are not prominently or routinely addressed in AAPI communities, however, these issues are primary contributors to overall health and well-being. National studies show that the prevalence rates for mental health conditions are generally the same or slightly less for AAPIs compared to the general population. However, the burden of mental health conditions for AAPI families and communities is often greater due to limited access and engagement in mental health services, lower rates of treatment and poorer quality care leading to worse outcomes. AAPI families are often reluctant to seek care due to the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions, difficulties in finding appropriate services and lack of understanding of both the mental health condition and the complex service system. Higher rates of uninsurance also impede attempts to access mental health treatment.
Read more on WhiteHouse.gov. Read the report Suicidal Thoughts among Asians, Native Hawaiians, or Other Pacific Islanders (pdf).
Recording Available: Planning and Preparing for National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted: May 16, 2013
This webinar was held on May 15, 2013. The webinar provides customizable resources and concrete examples of activities from previous years and equips you with tools and suggestions for a successful endeavor. Presenters encouraged participants to share their ideas and events on the facebook page: www.facebook.com/minoritymentalhealth
“Talk. They Hear You” Campaign Encourages Parents to Talk with Children about Alcohol Early
Posted: May 15, 2013
Parents should start talking with their children about the dangers of drinking as early as age 9, according to a new government campaign. Children start to think more positively about alcohol between ages 9 and 13, research shows. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which launched the campaign, says about 10 percent of 12-year-olds have tried alcohol, and half of 15-year-olds have done so. Many teens listen to their parents’ advice on drinking. In one study, 80 percent of teens said their parents were the largest influence on their decision whether or not to drink, NPR reports.
The “Talk. They Hear You” campaign includes a toolkit with templates for a parent-child pledge, and scripts for talking with children about sensitive subjects, such as why it’s permissible for parents to drink. Parents are provided with suggested texts they can send, such as, “Have fun tonight. Remember, alcohol can lead you 2 say things and do things u wish u hadn’t.” The campaign gives parents advice on topics including never serving alcohol to teens at home, and telling teens they shouldn’t drink at parties or get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
“These young people are our future leaders—our future teachers, mayors, doctors, parents, and entertainers,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “As our youth and young adults face challenges, we as a community, need to effectively communicate with them in every way possible about the risks of underage drinking so that they have the necessary tools to make healthy and informed choices.”