Tag Archives: stress levels

‘Mental Health First Aid’ helps schools reach out to troubled kids

22 Apr

Anna M. Phillips has wrote the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.
Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.
Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.
“This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”
In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nyregion/calming-schools-through-a-sociological-approach-to-troubled-students.html?hpw

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

How Common Is Depression In Children?

According to Mary H. Sarafolean, PhD, in the article, Depression In School Age Children and Adolescents:

In general, depression affects a person’s physical, cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational well-being, no matter their age. For example, a child with depression between the ages of 6 and 12 may exhibit fatigue, difficulty with schoolwork, apathy and/or a lack of motivation. An adolescent or teen may be oversleeping, socially isolated, acting out in self-destructive ways and/or have a sense of hopelessness.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
While only 2 percent of pre-teen school-age children and 3-5 percent of teenagers have clinical depression, it is the most common diagnosis of children in a clinical setting (40-50 percent of diagnoses). The lifetime risk of depression in females is 10-25 percent and in males, 5-12 percent. Children and teens who are considered at high risk for depression disorders include:
* children referred to a mental health provider for school problems
* children with medical problems
* gay and lesbian adolescents
* rural vs. urban adolescents
* incarcerated adolescents
* pregnant adolescents
* children with a family history of depression

If you or your child has one or more of the risk factors and your child is exhibiting symptoms of prolonged sadness, it might be wise to have your child evaluated for depression.

How to Recognize Depression In Your Child?

MedNet has an excellent article about Depression In Children and how to recognize signs of depression in your child.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:
* Irritability or anger
* Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness
* Social withdrawal
* Increased sensitivity to rejection
* Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
* Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
* Vocal outbursts or crying
* Difficulty concentrating
* Fatigue and low energy
* Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to
treatment
* Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
* Impaired thinking or concentration
* Thoughts of death or suicide
Not all children have all of these symptoms. In fact, most will display different symptoms at different times and in different settings. Although some children may continue to function reasonably well in structured environments, most kids with significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol,
especially if they are over the age of 12.

The best defense for parents is a good awareness of what is going on with their child. As a parent you need to know what is going on in your child’s world.

Ann Schimke posted at Chalkbeat Colorado in the article, A new tool in schools’ mental health tool box which describes Mental Health First Aid:

Called Youth Mental Health First Aid, the training originated in Australia and was unveiled in Colorado last year. There is also an adult version of the training, introduced here in 2008, called Mental Health First Aid or MHFA.
Both are gaining momentum in what mental health advocates say is a welcome development in a state saddled with one of the highest suicide rates in the country and more than its fair share of school tragedies, including a deadly shooting at Centennial’s Arapahoe High School in December and a self-immolation at Westminster’s Standley Lake High School in January.
Olga Gonzalez, a community outreach worker who participated in the recent Greeley training, said she regularly fields questions from parents who are worried about their children but don’ t know where to turn. She recounted how one family she’d worked with discovered their son had started using drugs. Another learned that their son had stolen credit card information from a customer while manning the cash register at the family’s store.
“He has money in a savings account, you know. He just did it,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what kind of support he needs.”
Youth Mental Health First Aid aims to answer such questions for people who are not mental health professionals but who work closely with young people and their families. The target audience includes lay-people like teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, school nurses and even bus drivers.
Advocates for MHFA say Colorado now has one of the largest contingents of certified instructors—around 230 so far. In addition, it’s among only a handful of states to dedicate public funds to the trainings, with $750,000 appropriated for the program next year.
“We have been at the forefront of this since the beginning,” said Brian Turner, director of Mental Health First Aid Colorado at the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council.
Preparing first responders
The concept behind both versions of MHFA, much like medical first-aid, is to equip first responders with the know-how to address emerging mental health or addiction problems. The youth version is also meant to help distinguish between true mental health issues and the normal mood swings and behavior changes that characterize the life of a teenager…
In fact, encouraging youth to seek professional help is one of five action steps—condensed in the acronym ALGEE–outlined in the training. The other four include “Assess for suicide/self harm,” “Listen non-judgmentally,” “Give assurance/information,” and “Encourage self-help/other support.”
Turner said having concrete action steps is important because “there’s a big difference between learning about mental health and substance abuse problems and being able to do something about it.”
During the Greeley training, participants were asked to come up with gestures that would convey each of the five action steps. Soon, in an effort to commit the steps to memory, Vaughn and co-trainer Noelle Hause were leading the group in miming actions like non-judgmental head-nodding and reassuring arm-patting.
Reaching out to schools
While Turner said Youth Mental Health First Aid is not yet widely offered by school districts, there is growing interest. Among the districts that have offered it for at least some staff are Douglas County, Aurora, Thompson, and Weld County District 6.
Barb Becker, division director for community programs at the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, said the one-day format make it a very doable training for educators.
“It just gives a really good overview,” she said, adding, “It takes away some of the stigma associated with mental health….” http://co.chalkbeat.org/2014/04/16/a-new-tool-in-schools-mental-health-tool-box/

Here is a description of Mental Health First Aid:

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
History

Tony Jorm and Betty Kitchener.
Mental Health First Aid was created in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. Kitchener and Jorm run Mental Health First Aid™ Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research. More information on the history of the course is available at Mental Health First Aid Australia.
The United States is just one of the many countries that have adapted the program from Australia. Check out the countries at Mental Health First Aid International.
Who We Are
Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. In 2008, we worked with the program’s founders to adapt Mental Health First Aid for the U.S. We ensure the quality and standardization of the program nationwide, certify instructors to teach Mental Health First Aid in local communities, and support program growth. http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/about/

Here is The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) review of Mental Health First Aid.

Intervention Summary
Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is an adult public education program designed to improve participants’ knowledge and modify their attitudes and perceptions about mental health and related issues, including how to respond to individuals who are experiencing one or more acute mental health crises (i.e., suicidal thoughts and/or behavior, acute stress reaction, panic attacks, and/or acute psychotic behavior) or are in the early stages of one or more chronic mental health problems (i.e., depressive, anxiety, and/or psychotic disorders, which may occur with substance abuse).
The intervention is delivered by a trained, certified instructor through an interactive 12-hour course, which can be completed in two 6-hour sessions or four 3-hour sessions. The course introduces participants to risk factors, warning signs, and symptoms for a range of mental health problems, including comorbidity with substance use disorders; builds participants’ understanding of the impact and prevalence of mental health problems; and provides an overview of common support and treatment resources for those with a mental health problem. Participants also are taught a five-step action plan, known as ALGEE, for use when providing Mental Health First Aid to an individual in crisis:
• A–Assess for risk of suicide or harm
• L–Listen nonjudgmentally
• G–Give reassurance and information
• E–Encourage appropriate professional help
• E–Encourage self-help and other support strategies
In addition, the course helps participants to not only gain confidence in their capacity to approach and offer assistance to others, but also to improve their personal mental health. After completing the course and passing an examination, participants are certified for 3 years as a Mental Health First Aider.
In the studies reviewed for this summary, Mental Health First Aid was delivered as a 9-hour course, through three weekly sessions of 3 hours each. Participants were recruited from community and workplace settings in Australia or were members of the general public who responded to recruitment efforts. Some of the participants (7%-60% across the three studies reviewed) had experienced mental health problems.

Descriptive Information
Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: May 2012
1: Recognition of schizophrenia and depression symptoms
2: Knowledge of mental health support and treatment resources
3: Attitudes about social distance from individuals with mental health problems
4: Confidence in providing help, and provision of help, to an individual with mental health problems
5: Mental health
Outcome Categories Mental health
Social functioning
Ages 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Non-U.S. population
Settings Workplace
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History Mental Health First Aid was developed in 2001 at the Australian National University. The program was first used in the United States in 2007, and since then, the program has trained over 1,500 instructors in 45 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These instructors have taught the course to more than 38,000 people in a variety of communities. The program has been implemented internationally in Australia, Cambodia, China, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, and Wales.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations Mental Health First Aid has been adapted for youth participants (i.e., those under age 18), using age-appropriate examples and format. The program has been translated into Vietnamese for use in Vietnamese communities in Australia.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal
Selective
Indicated
Learn More – Click on each category bar below or the buttons at the right to expand or collapse the sections.
http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=321

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

University of Cambridge study: Saliva test may detect depression in kids https://drwilda.com/2014/02/23/university-of-cambridge-study-saliva-test-may-detect-depression-in-kids/

Study: Some of the effects of adverse stress do not go away https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/study-some-of-the-effects-of-adverse-stress-do-not-go-away/

American Psychological Association: Kids too stressed out to be healthy https://drwilda.com/2014/02/12/american-psychological-association-kids-too-stressed-out-to-be-healthy/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

American Psychological Association: Kids too stressed out to be healthy

12 Feb

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Anna M. Phillips wrote the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.
Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.
Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.
“This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”
In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nyregion/calming-schools-through-a-sociological-approach-to-troubled-students.html?hpw

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Carolyne Gregoire reported in the Huffington Post article, American Teens Are Even More Stressed Than Adults:

Last year, the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey found that Millennials, aged 18-33, were the country’s most-stressed generation. Now, the title belongs to an even younger demographic: American teenagers.
Even before the pressures of work and adulthood set in, for most young Americans, stress has already become a fact of daily life. And this sets the stage early for unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices that may increase the risk of developing stress-related health problems down the road.
American teenagers are now the most stressed-out age group in the U.S., according to APA’s 2013 Stress In America survey. While adults rate their stress at a 5.1 on a 10-point scale, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8.
This year’s report, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of APA, consisted of 1,950 adults and 1,018 teens in the U.S. in August 2013. Here are some of the survey’s biggest findings about teens and stress:
• Teens report that their stress level during the school year (5.8/10) far exceeds what they believe to be a healthy level of stress (3.9/10).
• 31 percent of teens report feeling overwhelmed as a result of stress, 30 percent say that they feel sad or depressed as a result of stress, and 36 percent report feeling tired or fatigued because of stress.
• Only 16 percent of teens say their stress levels have declined in the past year, while 31 percent say their stress has increased in the past year.
• Yet teens are more likely than adults to report that stress has no effect on their physical health (54 percent) or their mental health (52 percent).
• 42 percent of teens say that they’re either not doing enough to manage their stress or they’re not sure if they’re doing enough.
“It is alarming that the teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults. It is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health,” APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson, PhD, said in a statement. “In order to break this cycle of stress and unhealthy behaviors as a nation, we need to provide teens with better support and health education at school and home, at the community level and in their interactions with health care professionals.”
Teens’ habits around sleep, exercise and technology (the average teen consumes an average of 7.5 hours of media per day) may play a role in contributing to higher stress levels. More than one in three teens says that stress has kept him up at night in the past month. But most teens aren’t sleeping enough to begin with: The average teen sleeps 7.4 hours on a school night (far less than the 9-10 hours recommended by the CDC), the APA survey found. The survey also found that one in five teens reports exercising less than once a week or not at all, despite the proven stress-relieving benefits of physical activity.
The negative health effects of lack of sleep and too much screen time for teens could be significant. Teens who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely as well-rested teens to develop major depressive disorder, according to a recent University of Texas study, while teens who are already depressed are more likely to lose sleep. Teens who spend a lot of time on the Internet are also as likely to exhibit depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts as teens who misuse drugs and skip school, according to a recent Swedish study…… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/11/american-teens-are-even-m_n_4768204.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Here is the press release from the American Psychological Association:

Stress in America™ 2013 Highlights: Are Teens Adopting Adults’ Stress Habits?
While no one can avoid all stressful situations, this year’s Stress in America™ survey portrays a picture of high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms that appear to be ingrained in our culture, perpetuating unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors for future generations. While the news about American stress levels is not new, what’s troubling is the stress outlook for teens in the United States. In many cases, American teens report experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern to those of adults.
Teens and Stress
They report stress at levels far higher than what they believe is healthy and their average reported stress level is higher during the school year. Meanwhile, teens report that stress is having an impact on their life.
• Teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 vs. 3.9 on a 10-point scale) and tops adults’ average reported stress level in the past month (5.8 for teens vs. 5.1 for adults).
• Thirty-one percent of teens say that their stress level has increased in the past year and 34 percent believe their stress levels will increase in the coming year.
• Eighty-three percent report that school is a somewhat or significant source of stress, and 10 percent of teens report receiving lowers grades than they are capable of because of stress.
• Teens are more likely than adults to report that their stress level has a slight or no impact on their body or physical health (54 percent of teens vs. 39 percent of adults) or their mental health (52 percent of teens vs. 43 percent of adults). Yet teens report experiencing both emotional and physical symptoms of stress in similar proportions to adults, including feeling irritable or angry, nervous, anxious or and tired.
• Forty-two percent of teens say they either are not doing enough to manage their stress or they are not sure if they are doing enough to manage it.
• Thirty-seven percent of teen girls report feeling depressed or sad in the past month due to stress compared to 23 percent of teen boys.
• Although teens do not appear to recognize the potential impact of stress on their physical and mental health, they often struggle to cope. Only 50 percent report feeling confident about their ability to handle their personal problems, and 46 percent say they feel that they are on top of things fairly or very often.
More on teens and stress
Stress and Sleep
This year’s Stress in America survey shows that stress may be interfering with Americans’ sleep, keeping many adults and teens from getting the sleep they need to be healthy.
• Forty-three percent of American adults report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month.
• Forty-five percent of adults with higher reported stress levels (eight, nine or 10 on a 10-point scale) feel even more stressed if they do not get enough sleep.
• Thirty-five percent of teens report that stress caused them to lie awake at night in the past month. And for teens who sleep fewer than eight hours per school night, 42 percent say their stress level has increased over the past year.
More on stress and sleep
Stress and Exercise
Although many respondents to the Stress in America survey report that they experience positive benefits from exercise, few say they make the time to exercise every day. In fact, the survey found that 37 percent of adults report exercising less than once a week or not at all.
• Forty-three percent of adults say they exercise to manage stress, and 39 percent say they have skipped exercise or physical activity in the past month when they were feeling stressed.
• Fifty percent say that being physically active or fit is extremely or very important to them, yet only 27 percent report doing an excellent or very good job of achieving this.
• Fifty-three percent of teens say they feel good about themselves after exercising, 40 percent say it puts them in a good mood and 32 percent say they feel less stressed after exercising. Regardless, 20 percent of teens report exercising less than once a week or not at all.
More on stress and exercise
Stress and Eating
While many factors contribute to the nation’s weight challenges, the Stress in America survey suggests that stress influences our eating habits. Many adults report engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress.
• Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.
• Twenty-seven percent of adults say they eat to manage stress, and 34 percent of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say this behavior is a habit.
• Among teens who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress (26 percent), 33 percent say they did so because it helps distract them from what was causing them stress.
• Sixty-seven percent of teens who report skipping meals due to stress say it was because of a lack of appetite, and 25 percent say it was because they did not have time to eat.
More on stress and eating
A Stress Snapshot
Survey results show that adults are living with stress that is higher than what they believe to be healthy and that they are not having much success at managing or reducing their stress.
• Forty-two percent of adults report that their stress level has increased, and 36 percent say their stress level has stayed the same over the past five years.
• Sixty-one percent of adults say that managing stress is extremely or very important, but only 35 percent say they are doing an excellent or very good job at it.
• Forty-four percent of adults say they are not doing enough or are not sure whether they are doing enough to manage their stress, but 19 percent say they never engage in stress management activities.
• Money (71 percent), work (69 percent) and the economy (59 percent) continue to be the most commonly reported sources of stress.
More on stress survey highlights
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/snapshot.aspx

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:
1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

5. WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed? http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/