Tag Archive for 'Mental health'

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VA ‘Making Kids Count’ award reception announced

Virginia’s Voices for Children announced an event 15 October 2013 to honor the recipients of its Carol S. Fox Making Kids Count awards. The event, which is to be held at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond in Richmond (VA, US), begins at 6:00 PM with the program commencing at 6:30 PM. Bruce Lesley, a public policy expert with extensive experience related to improving services for children and families, is slated to make the featured speech. Learn more about the awards from the Voices for Virginia’s Children web site and register for the reception (or make a donation) on line; there’s a discount for early-bird—prior to 2 October—registration.

US report: Up to 1 in 5 children experience a mental disorder

In a report released 16 May 2013, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 2013) indicated that as many as 13-20% of US children experience a mental disorder annually. The CDC based it’s estimate on the familiar report of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2009) as well as other data gathered more recently. These are broad-scope data that incorporate a wide array of mental disorders, but they help to capture the range of issues that confront mental health services.

According to the CDC estimates,

Data collected from a variety of data sources between the years 2005-2011 show:
Children aged 3-17 years currently had:

  • ADHD (6.8%)
  • Behavioral or conduct problems (3.5%)
  • Anxiety (3.0%)
  • Depression (2.1%)
  • Autism spectrum disorders (1.1%)
  • Tourette syndrome (0.2%) (among children aged 6–17 years)

Adolescents aged 12–17 years had:

  • Illicit drug use disorder in the past year (4.7%)
  • Alcohol use disorder in the past year (4.2%)
  • Cigarette dependence in the past month (2.8%)

There is much that can be done to help. It can’t be done without the help of concerned adults who lobby, vote, and work hard otherwise on behalf of our children.

References

National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press; 2009.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Mental health surveillance among children – United States, 2005—2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62(Suppl; May 16, 2013), 1-35.

Are famous role models helpful?

Do you ever wonder whether those references to famous people with disabilities really are helpful? Do they actually inspire people with disabilities to achieve more? As I’ve often noted on LD Blog, it’s really common in the world of learning disabilities to tell children about the high-flying people with dyslexia for example. It also happens in the world of EBD.

Well, Mark Brown, who knows a thing or two about mental health issues, published a provocative question in the BBC Website’s Ouch blog 13 May 2013: “Do famous role models help or hinder?” Here are his first paragraphs to whet your appetite:

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week – cue the annual round of lists of “inspirational” public figures. But do famous role models actually make a difference?

If you’re a person who experiences mental health difficulties, as I do, you’ll be familiar with an oft-quoted list of inspirational fellow travellers, such as Winston Churchill and his famous “black dog” or national treasure Stephen Fry and his bipolar disorder.
Continue reading ‘Are famous role models helpful?’

Mothers agree on helping children with mental illness and their families

Liza Long is the author of the post, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” that has gone viral in the few days following the mass murder that Mr. Lanza apparently committed at Sandy Hook Elementary School 14 December 2012. In it, Ms. Long—who obviously is not the deceased mother of Mr. Lanza—makes an important, impassioned, and strong case for focusing on mental health issues among children and youth. Here’s the beginning of that post.

In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
Continue reading ‘Mothers agree on helping children with mental illness and their families’

Swedish population study puts prevalence of Autism at 1.15%

By studying the entire population of children in Stockholm (SW) during the time period 2001-2007, Selma Idring and colleagues at the Department of Public Health Sciences of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm were able to ascertain that the prevalence of Autism for the year 2007 was about 11.5 per 1000 or 1.15%. In addition, they found that about 43% of those with Autism also had co-morbid intellectual disabilities.

Reporting in PLoS ONE, Professor Idring’s research group reported the results of their study that examined records for virtually all of the children (n=444,154) in a geographic area (for example, they tracked 99.8% of all preschool children) and matched those against multiple national and regional registers that showed which children had received services for Autism disorders (provided free of charge in Stockholm). They validated their case ascertainment with a subsample, too.

graph showing change in prevelance of autism by age and by comorbid ID

In addition to reporting the overall prevalence and the differences in comorbidity, the researchers reported variations in prevalence by gender and age group. The figure at the right shows one of those relationships. For details, please see the full article, available online for free. It’s linked in the following reference.

These data fit well with other carefully conducted studies about prevalence, but they are not as high as the widely discussed estimates that are based on softer ascertainment methods (e.g., studies that ask parents if anyone has discussed “autism” in relation to their child). Different methods will lead to different estimates. Compare the Idring group’s results and methods, for example, with the 2012 US Centers for Disease Control ADDM report (Community Report From the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network).

Idring, S., Rai, D., Dal, H., Dalman, C., Sturm, H., Zander, E., … & Magnnusson, C. (2012) Autism spectrum disorders in the Stockholm Youth Cohort: Design, prevalence and validity. PLoS ONE 7(7): e41280. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041280

First Step supported by WWC

The US What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviewed research about First Step to Success, an early intervention program for K-3 children who are at risk of developing antisocial behavior, and identified it as having positive effects on ratings of student behavior and potentially positive effects on ratings of emotions, social skills, and academic outcomes. The WWC based its review on two studies by the developers of First Step, Hill Walker and colleagues—alert readers of EBD Blog will recognize one of them (see “First Step Takes Off“).

What Works—which some folks have taken to calling “what doesn’t work,” because they say it rarely identifies practices that are effective—gave the research undergirding First Step a strong review:

The WWC review of interventions for Children Classified as Having an Emotional Disturbance addresses student outcomes in seven domains: external behavior, emotional/internal behavior, social outcomes, reading achievement/ literacy, math achievement, school attendance, and other academic performance. The two studies that contribute to the effectiveness rating in this report cover five domains: external behavior, emotional/internal behavior, social outcomes, reading achievement/literacy, and other academic performance. The findings below present the authors’ estimates and WWC-calculated estimates of the size and statistical significance of the effects of First Step to Success on children classified as having an emotional disturbance….

Two studies reported findings in the external behavior domain.

Walker et al. (1998) found, and the WWC confirmed, four positive and statistically significant differences between treatment and comparison groups on academic engaged time, the Child Behavior Checklist–Teacher Report Forms (CBCL-TRF) Aggression Subscale, the Early Screening Project (ESP) Adaptive Behavior Subscale, and the ESP Maladaptive Behavior Subscale.

Walker et al. (2009) found, and the WWC confirmed, four positive and statistically significant differences between treatment and comparison groups on academic engaged time, the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) Problem Behavior Subscale for Parents, the SSRS Problem Behavior Subscale for Teachers, and the SSBD Maladaptive Behavior Index. Although the overall design of the Walker et al. (2009) study meets evidence standards, there was high attrition on one outcome: the SSRS Problem Behavior Subscale for Parents outcome. The authors established equivalence for the analytic sample for this outcome; thus, this finding meets evidence standards with reservations.

The mean effect size from the four outcomes in Walker et al. (1998) and the mean effect size from the four out- comes in Walker et al. (2009) were both statistically significant. Thus, for the external behavior domain, two studies with strong designs showed statistically significant positive effects. This results in an intervention rating of positive effects for the domain, with a small extent of evidence.

Walker, H. M., Kavanagh, K., Stiller, B., Golly, A., Severson, H., & Feil, E. (1998). First Step to Success. An early intervention approach for preventing school antisocial behavior. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 6, 66–80.

Walker, H. M., Seeley, J. R., Small, J., Severson, H. H, Graham, B. A., Feil, E. G., . . . Forness, S. R. (2009). A randomized controlled trial of the First Step to Success early intervention: Demonstration of program efficacy outcomes in a diverse, urban school district. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 17, 197–212.

CEC pre-conf session on MH and PBIS

The Council for Exceptional Children will host an “Institute on School-based Mental Health and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” prior to its annual convention in Denver in April 2012. Readers of EBD Blog understand the importance of MH and its connections with schools for many students. This session, chaired by Krista Kutash and George Sugai, promises to help educators make and strengthen appropriate connections. Learn more about building positive bridges between mental health and positive school environments.

Virginia mental health needs

In a statement entitled “A proposal that would assist troubled youths in Virginia” the Washington Post editorial board lent its support to efforts to fund mental health services for children and youth. The editorial, published 11 January 2012, recounted a history of rueful cost cutting and encouraging advocacy in my commonwealth.

A YEAR AGO, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) proposed slashing millions of dollars from the state’s already badly fragmented and underfunded programs for at-risk children and teenagers. The cuts targeted funding for specially trained foster families and other services for children, including some who posed a danger of violence to themselves and others. The cuts were rejected, and funding restored, thanks to a bipartisan group of lawmakers responding to an outcry from advocacy groups and local governments, which would have borne the brunt of the governor’s proposal. In the end, the debate turned a useful spotlight on a critical hole in the state’s social services safety net.

The Post editorial team explained that the current budget does not contain such cost-cutting measures, but that difficulties for mental health services persist because of other problems (e.g., local government fiscal shortages). In the end, the need for services is great and, as the editorial shows, the need for serious discussion about funding of them is clear. Read the full editorial on the Post’s Web site.

If you’re in Virginia and you can make it to Richmond, join Voices for Virginia’s Campaign for Children’s Mental Health for “Advocacy Day at the General Assembly” Thursday 26 January 2012. If you live somewhere else, scout about for ways you can help support mental health services in your local or regional government.