News & Announcements

Hip-Hop Therapy is New Route to Mental Wellbeing, Say Psychiatrists

Posted: October 17, 2014

From its roots in rap, graffiti, DJing and breakdancing in the Bronx borough of New York in the 1970s, hip-hop has grown to become a global cultural and commercial powerhouse. But now UK researchers believe they have found a new use for it: as a treatment for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.

The group says that hip-hop provides individuals with a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge that could be exploited to help people tackle their own psychological problems. There is an intrinsic awareness of issues connected with mental health in many forms of hip-hop art, it is argued.

To help promote the idea, neuroscientist Becky Inkster, of Cambridge University department of psychiatry, and consultant psychiatrist Akeem Sule, of the South Essex Partnership Trust, have formed Hip Hop Psych – which they describe as a social venture – to promote the use of hip-hop as an aid to the treatment of mental illness.

Uses of hip-hop envisaged by Inkster and Sule include having patients write and rap their own lyrics as part of their therapy. It is also proposed that hip-hop could be used in teaching medical students about psychiatric illnesses.

“One technique we want to explore is to get individuals who are seeking therapy to write out where they see themselves in a year or two and to use rap lyrics to outline their future histories,” said Inkster.

“Many key rappers and hip-hop artists come from deprived urban areas which are often hotbeds for problems such as drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty, which are in turn linked to increased occurrences of psychiatric illnesses,” she added. “These problems are rooted in their language and in their songs.”

Read more on TheGuardian.com.



Take the Challenge! My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge

Posted: October 16, 2014

In February, President Obama launched the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) initiative to ensure that all youth, including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success.

And now, the Administration is taking this effort local, by engaging mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives who are stepping up to lead in their communities.

The My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge will encourage communities (cities, counties, suburbs, rural municipalities, and tribal nations) to implement coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategies aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people.

The stakes couldn't be higher for our young people, or our country, which is why we're seeing such eagerness from local officials and community leaders. Already, 135 mayors, county officials, tribal leaders, Democrats, and Republicans have signed on. And we're going to keep welcoming them aboard in the coming weeks and months.

But even with leadership from the top in these communities, this must be an all-hands-on-deck effort. No child in this country should feel like they need to "beat the odds" in order to get ahead, and certainly shouldn't feel like they are on their own as they try. Our young people deserve better than that, and as a country, we can't afford to let so many of our children, our future workers, and our future leaders slip through the cracks.

When we work together to help all young people reach their full potential, we will be that much closer to reaching our full potential as a nation. The My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge is a call to action, and we all have a role to play.

Learn more about the Challenge, and visit MBKchallenge.org to accept the President's challenge.



NNED Partner Ser Familia Announces New and Expanded Services for Latino Communities in Georgia

Posted: October 15, 2014

Ser Familia, Inc., a NNED Partner organization, announced new and expanded services beginning October 1st, 2014 in Cobb County, Georgia. Thanks to a grant from the "Promoting Safe and Stable Families" program and the support of United Way, Dow Chemicals and Cobb EMC, Ser Familia has opened a new office located in Marietta, Georgia. From this office the organization will start offering bilingual mental health services, a very needed service in this county. With a population of more than 89,000 Latinos, Cobb County has only 4 bilingual mental health professionals.

The other project that will benefit from this new funding is the Strengthening Families Program (SFP 10-14). SFP 10-14 is an evidence-based family skills training program found to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children and to improve social competencies and school performance. Ser Familia, Inc. was a participant in the NNEDLearn 2012 track -- Strengthening Families Program for Youth 10-14 and Their Families and has been successfully implementing this program in Spanish for the past three (3) years in the state of Georgia, and has graduated more than 250 families from it. 

To learn more about Ser Familia, Inc. call 678-363-3079 or visit their website: www.ser-familia.org.

Learn more about becoming a NNED Partner.



A Benefit For Rural Vets: Getting Health Care Close To Home

Posted: October 14, 2014

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment. Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem. He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

Even in the summer, the trip for Michaud — and other vets like him — meant a day, or sometimes two, of missed work, with a night in a motel, plus the cost of gas. The VA reimburses those costs, but this is not a rich area, and people don't always have the cash upfront. Michaud says the worst part is an empty, 100-mile strip of Interstate 95 north of Bangor.

To make it easier for vets to get care, the VA started a program called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH. A trial program began three years ago in five states. This summer, Congress extended the program for two years, as part of a law aimed at reforming the VA. It will allow veterans to use private doctors if they live far from a VA hospital or can't get a VA appointment within 30 days.

It means Michaud can make appointments only 10 miles up the road, at the 65-bed Cary Medical Center in the town of Caribou. Kris Doody, a registered nurse, and the center's CEO, says getting care near home and family is healthier for vets, and helps them avoid that 400-mile round trip.

"We actually keep track for the VA the number of patients who are seen every month and what their distance would have been. And the savings — and that's just savings in mileage — was $600,000," Doody says.

Read more on NPR.org.



October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Posted: October 14, 2014

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). The 2014 theme is 'To End AIDS, Commit to Act' - 'Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprometete a Actuar.'

The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA), the Hispanic Federation and many other organizations organize this day. The NLAAD campaign works annually at building capacity for non-profit organizations and health departments in order to reach Latino/Hispanic communities, promote HIV testing, and provide HIV prevention information and access to care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanics/Latinos, despite representing only 16% of the U.S. population, accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 2010. CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 50 Hispanics/Latinos will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. 

For further information, statistics, social media toolkits, and other resources, please see National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), Greater than AIDS, AIDSinfo, AIDS.gov, the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the CDC.



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