Archive for the 'Bi-polar' Category

Students with EBD Hit Hardest by Texas Cap in Special Ed Enrollment

According to reports Brian M. Rosenthal published in the Houston (TX, US) Chronicle, since the early 2000s when the Texas Education Agency (TEA) essentially limited enrollment in special education to 8.5% of the school population, the category of students with disabilities that saw the largest decline in enrollment was emotional disturbance.

Mr. Rosenthal published a series of articles reporting his investigation of systematic denial of services to students with disabilities in Texas beginning in September 2016. The TEA created a system for rating local education agencies’ special education programs that included a benchmark for how many students should be be enrolled. In an installment published 19 November 2016 and entitled “Mentally ill lose out as special ed declines,” he begins the report with the story of Alston Jeffus, an adolescent who is on his way home after spending months in a state hospital. Here are a few paragraphs from Mr. Rosenthal’s article:

The Texas Education Agency’s decision to set an 8.5 percent target for special education enrollment has led schools to cut services for children with all types of disabilities, but mentally ill students like Alston have been disproportionately affected, the Houston Chronicle has found.

Federal law requires schools to provide counseling, therapy, protection from discipline and other support to children with “emotional disturbances,” including severe anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, however, Texas schools serve 42 percent fewer of those students, relative to overall enrollment, than when the TEA set the benchmark in 2004.

It is a bigger drop than has occurred in almost any other disability category.

In all, an estimated 500,000 school-age children in Texas have a serious mental illness that interferes with their functioning in family, school or community activities, according to the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Only 30,034 receive special education services.

There is a lot more to this story (subscription may be required). I recommend it to readers. Also, I encourage readers haven’t been following Mr. Rosenthal’s excellent reporting on this matter to catch up; the Chronicle published a guide to the series.

Metta World Peace Spreads Himself Around

In his article entitled “Metta World Peace’s mental health advocacy helps his own growth,” Mark Medina of the Los Angeles (CA) Times reports about recent examples of the on-going advocacy activities of professional basketball player Metta World Peace. Regular readers will remember that Mr. World Peace, previously known as Ron Artest, has publically disclosed his personal mental health issues and used his celebrity to raise funds for children, youths, and adults who have similar problems. Apparently Mr. Medina tagged along on a couple of Mr. World Peace’s visits with groups recently.

Staring intently at his audience, Metta World Peace talked. And talked. And talked.
Continue reading ‘Metta World Peace Spreads Himself Around’

Teaching about mental health

Teachers who are concerned about helping students understand mental health issues have at least one sensible places where they can go for teaching resources: Breaking the Silence, a Web resource offered by a local National Alliance on Mental Illness group. BTS, as it calls itself, provides a combination of neighborhood (NY, US) and widely available services (including a downloadable teacher’s “toolkit” with lesson plans, posters, and more).
The BTS folks make the case for teaching about mental health in this way:
Continue reading ‘Teaching about mental health’

Another photo for fun

I was moving some materials from one office to another when I came across this photo of some friends. Believe it or not, I took this with a film camera. Yes, it is from the 1990s, even before 1997 or so, I think.

I suspect it was at one of the annual meetings in Tempe (AZ, US) of the Teacher Educators of Children with Behavior Disorders, as these are some of the usual suspects who attended those meetings. A casual search on any of these folks’ names will reveal that they are prominent contributors to the literature about improving the lives of children and youths with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, the families of those children and youths, other students who do and do not have disabilities, their teachers and administrators, and on and on. Students who studied just these people’s writing in detail would get quite a valuable education.

Bipolar or temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria?

Under the headline “Time to reexamine bipolar diagnosis in children,” Brendan Borrell reports on proposed changes in the American Psychiatric Association
s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for the identification of bipolar disorder. In addition to presenting the basic information, Mr. Borrell has alternative views by Dr. Gabrielle Carlson and Dr. David Axelson.

Psychiatrists in favor of a new label, temper dysregulation disorder, cite a spike in bipolar diagnoses. But others worry it will add uncertainty to the treatment of an already confusing condition.

I wonder which side the psychiatrists who were concerned about the change from “manic depressive” to “bipolar” are on with this newest change. Will I have to change the category label in EBD Blog?

Link to Mr. Borrell’s story. Use the short link for this entry:

Virginia Campaign for Children’s Mental Health

Twelve key children’s services for community services boards
  1. specialized children’s emergency services;
  2. crisis stabilization;
  3. evaluations for Comprehensive Services Act services;
  4. psychiatric/medication;
  5. office-based mental health therapy;
  6. office-based substance abuse therapy;
  7. mental health case management;
  8. intellectual disabilities case management;
  9. substance abuse case management;
  10. home-based behavioral treatment and support for families;
  11. school-based day treatment; and
  12. local residential services.

Right here in my home commonwealth of Virginia last week, Mira Signe, Vicki Hardy-Murrell, John Morgan, and Margaret Nimmo Crowe explained why it is important that government and private organizations attend to and address issues in children’s mental health. By explaining that Virginia has inadequate services and that one in every five children or youths experience mental health problems at some time during their lives, they made the point that that there is a tremendous need for public focus on these issues. This was the kick-off event for the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health.

The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is a 3-year sustained effort to make mental health services more available and accessible to Virginia children in need. It will strongly endorse Governor-elect McDonnell’s call for system improvements; urge the General Assembly and state and local government to work collaboratively with the administration to address system deficiencies; and conduct a high-profile three-year advocacy and education drive to build public and political support for improved mental health services for children.

Only about one in 20 of Virginia’s children have access to the key services listed in the accompanying box. So, four out of five children who need these services do not have access to them.

No, Virginia, this is not an acceptable way to treat our children. Let’s do better.

Following Danny Watt’s story

Tom Jackman’s article about Danny Watt to which I referred a few days ago (see this post) is generating a lot of discussion on the Post’s Web site. The comments on Mr. Jackman’s story are informative. For example, at least a half dozen mention having a family member with mental illness. Link to the comments.

Media matters

The recent posts about news coverage of mental illness (e.g., “Danny Watt’s Story” and “Jani Illustrates Troubles“) has had me thinking about how popular media portray these problems. Over on Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky has an article entitled “Media’s Damaging Depictions of Mental Illness” that I recommend to readers of EBD Blog. In addition to discussing myths that are too commonly perpetuated by media such as television and film, she recommends ways to help distinguish between accurate and inaccurate portrayals of mental illness.

Link to Ms. Tartakovsky’s article.