News & Announcements

Open for Comment: Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Suicide Prevention Quality Measures

Posted: April 21, 2012

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is accepting public comment on a proposal to adopt as many as 12 suicide prevention-related quality measures that are part of the incentives program to encourage the adoption of electronic health records by health care providers and hospitals nationwide. The Action Alliance encourages those in the suicide prevention community to submit comment on these measures. 

One of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's priorities is the integration of suicide prevention into health care reform. The CMS is currently considering adopting as many as 12 suicide prevention-related quality measures that are part of the incentives program to encourage the adoption of electronic health records by health care providers and hospitals nationwide. CMS is currently accepting public comment on the proposal to incorporate these quality measures. To submit a comment, click on the "submit a comment" box on the link below. Comments may be typed into the web page or uploaded as files. Deadline for submission is May 7, 2012.

Read more. Submit comment.

Bullying is Not Native: Indian Health Service Releases Anti-Bullying Video

Posted: April 19, 2012

Indian Health Service has released an anti-bullying Public Service Announcement (PSA) with a strong message: "Bullying is not Native and does not honor our traditions or culture." 

An astonishing thirteen million kids face bullying each year according to government surveys, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the United States. American Indian and Alaska Native youth are no exception.

American Indian and Alaska Native youth experience bullying for a wide variety of reasons, including racism. A study released last year, "Focus on American Indians and Alaskan Natives: The Scourge of Suicides among American Indian and Alaska Native Youth," strongly indicates that bullying is one of the contributing factors in the high rate of suicides among American Indian and Alaskan Native. Tragically, the rate among Native youth is two to three times higher than the national average. Periodically, American Indian youth suicides are clustered in time and place. When this occurs, the suicide rate soars to 10 times the national average.

Read more on the Native News Network website. Read the full report (pdf).

Depression, Anxiety Top Reasons Older Adults Abuse Drugs or Alcohol

Posted: April 18, 2012

Depression and anxiety are the top reasons older adults abuse drugs or alcohol, according to a study conducted by the Hanley Center, a Florida drug and alcohol treatment and recovery center. The study found 63 percent of older adults blamed depression and anxiety for their substance use. Thirty percent said economic and financial stress was to blame, while 20 percent cited retirement as contributing factors to dependency. Almost half of survey respondents named both prescription drugs and alcohol as their substance of choice, according to a press release by Hanley Center.

“Older adults face a distinct set of changes and challenges as they enter their golden years,” said Dr. Barbara Krantz, Medical Director of Hanley Center. “This transitional period of life is challenging, and may lead to difficulty in dealing with stressful situations, such as an early retirement or new financial strains, which in turn may lead to serious anxiety and depression. Without the proper tools to manage their emotions, baby boomers and seniors may turn to quick fixes such as alcohol and drugs, creating the perfect storm for dependency.”

Treatment admissions doubled in adults age 50 and over between 1992 and 2008, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Miami Herald reports that senior adult admissions in centers such as Hanley for prescription drug abuse have jumped 450 percent since 2000. Unintentional overdose is the second leading injury-related cause of death among seniors, the article notes.

Read more on The Partnership at DrugFree.Org website. Read the press release.

The Kids Are Not Alright: The Plight of African American LGBT Youth in America’s Schools

Posted: April 17, 2012

For some children the beginning of a new school year is marked with anticipation and excitement. But if you’re a student who is (or is perceived to be) gay or gender nonconforming, that excitement turns to fear and anxiety because of the bullying you will endure day in and day out for the next nine months.

In the past year or so, media attention rose surrounding the suicides of youth who were or were perceived to be gay or transgender, many of the youth who died were bullied and harassed in their schools. The media attention peaked about a year ago, when within a three-week period, five gay or gender-nonconforming teens died by suicide, each case adding to a sense of urgency around the problem of bullying in our nation’s schools. What was just as disconcerting, however, was whom the media was primarily covering: white youth. In fact, several African American students took their lives around the highly publicized time—most notably Carl Hoover Walker, who was only 11 years old. Unfortunately, the stories of African American youth didn’t make the news cycle despite the fact that research shows it is African American gay or gender-nonconforming youth who face some of the most hostile treatment in our nation’s schools.

According to new research conducted by the American Sociology Association, being consistently bullied also significantly lowers academic performance for high-achieving black and Latino students. The study found that black students—who had 3.5 GPAs in 9th grade and were bullied in 10th grade—experienced a .3 point decrease in their GPAs by senior year. This achievement gap is even wider for LGBT youth of color who are bullied. One report found that they have GPAs a half (.5) point lower than students who do not experience harassment in school.

Schools are supposed to be environments where students feel safe and gain the skills necessary for success. But for black gay and gender-nonconforming youth, this is frequently not the case. These students often choose to miss school to avoid the harassment and violence they face on a nearly daily basis. In fact, about a quarter of black LGBT students have missed at least one full day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, compared to just 6.3 percent of all black youth and 3.5 percent of all white youth. 

The school climate is a top predictor for academic performance and the health and wellness of students. But black LGBT students, particularly those in schools where the student population is predominantly black, are less likely to attend schools that have affirming policies and programs such as Gay-Straight Alliances, or GSAs, which provide safe havens and buffers to antigay and antitransgender bias and bullying. 

Read more on the Center for American Progress website.

Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthening Child Welfare-Juvenile Justice Connection

Posted: April 16, 2012

Georgetown Public Policy Institute's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) and Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps (RFK) have released Addressing the Needs of Multi-System Youth: Strengthening the Connection between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice, a resource that offers a better understanding of the issues faced by youth who are involved in both child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The paper was released at a symposium held at Georgetown University on March 1, 2012.

Youth known to both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems--commonly referred to as crossover or dually-involved youth--tend to go undetected, following a stealth-like pathway between these two systems. As a group of children and youth who suffer from the effects of childhood trauma, they are often underserved as they move from one system to another, experiencing the negative consequences of infrequent cross system coordination related to case planning and the delivery of needed services. Little was known about this population, especially the factors that impacted their system experience. Fortunately, researchers have been working to better understand the trajectory many crossover youth follow between systems and into adulthood. As a result, we now know much more about their characteristics as a population and the factors associated with their crossing over.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for jurisdictions to utilize in their efforts to better serve crossover youth. In this regard, the authors' hope that the content presented will help develop a better understanding of how to prevent youth from crossing over between systems and ensure that all youth who are served by both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems experience them in a manner that provides for their safety, well being and permanence, while also ensuring public safety.

Read more on the CJJR website. Download the paper (pdf).

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