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Press Releases

News from the field of Child and Youth Care

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12 OCTOBER

CANADA

BC Minister’s statement on World Mental Health Day 2018

Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, issued the following statement regarding World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, 2018:

“Today marks World Mental Health Day – an opportunity for people around the globe to shed light on the importance of positive mental health.

“It is incredibly fitting that this year’s theme is Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. As the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, child and youth mental health and wellness is a top priority as we build a strategy for seamless and integrated mental-health care in this province.

“There are too many young people around B.C. who are struggling to get the mental health and addictions support they desperately need. Parents and their children are trying to navigate a mental-health system that is disconnected and unco-ordinated, and that has to change.

“We know that almost 70% of serious mental-health issues start before the age of 25, and that mental health and addiction can often go hand in hand. We know that an estimated 84,000 young people between the ages of 4 and 17 are experiencing mental-health challenges in B.C. and that only one in three gets the support they need. And we know that Indigenous youth are over-represented and face greater challenges.

“I am truly compelled by the stories young people have shared with me about their struggles in the face of mental-health challenges. It is their stories, and their resiliency and courage, that have inspired thousands of people, organizations and communities throughout B.C. to stand up and speak out about the importance of positive mental health.

“It is these courageous conversations that mean so much when it comes to removing the shame that surrounds people living with mental-health challenges. Shame that looks different in different cultures. New Canadians can face additional challenges of isolation and too often suffer alone. Shame traps people and keeps them from reaching out. It is conversation tied to action that can change someone’s future – and someone’s life – for the better.

“Here in B.C., we are supporting Foundry Wellness Centres. It is a model that is making a world of difference in the lives of thousands of young people – people like Jenni. Growing up, Jenni struggled with mental-health challenges and watched her loved ones struggle as well. When she and her family needed help the most, it wasn’t easy to find and it wasn’t easy to access. But then, she discovered Foundry, a place with professional, compassionate people who listened and helped her along her healing journey. Now, Jenni is a peer support worker at Foundry Abbotsford and she said, ‘Foundry Abbotsford is what I needed when I was growing up. I have now gained a sense of purpose. I am truly a part of something bigger than just me.’

“It is because of vibrant people like Jenni that we are working so hard to create a network of integrated mental health and addiction services that work for everyone — where you ask once and you get help fast, and where every door is the right door. Where young people and their families can get help early — before small challenges become big ones.

“This World Mental Health Day, and every day, I ask all British Columbians to find the courage to connect with their loved ones, friends, classmates and co-workers, and to open their hearts and minds so we can create a province where mental health is recognized as an important part of wellness for everyone, and a province that supports everyone along their healing journey.”

Source: BC Government News 

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10 OCTOBER

NEW ZEALAND

More than half of mental disorders begin in teenage years

Youth mental health has been recognised as a priority in New Zealand, but more needs to be done to enhance the wellbeing of young people and reverse escalating suicide rates, according to Professor Max Abbott at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Professor Abbott says prevention programmes need to be far more widespread and address the major risk factors, including inequality, discrimination, bullying and family violence. Measures that promote mental wellbeing and resilience need to be strengthened. Teaching young people mindfulness and mental health first aid are two things that could make a huge difference.

The New Zealand Mental Health Survey found that almost 30 percent of people in New Zealand aged 16-24 years had suffered a mental disorder within the past 12 months. This is nearly twice the rate of 45-64-year olds and four times that of people aged 65 years and older.

New Zealand’s suicide rate is around the OECD average, but the country has the highest youth suicide rate and numbers have continued to rise in recent years.

More than half of mental disorders begin by the mid-teens and often go undetected and untreated. Depression, anxiety and harmful use of alcohol and other drugs are most common.

Professor Abbott says the formative years have always been challenging, but never more so.

“A lot of changes take place during those teenage and early-adult years – moving schools, leaving home and starting university or a new job. For many, these changes are positive, but they are also associated with stress and mental health problems,” he says

“Young people are growing-up against a constant backdrop of instability – traumatic world events, disasters and violence. All of this is amplified by digital technologies that present additional risks, such as bullying and gaming addiction.”

He says teens who grow up exposed to sexual abuse, family violence, bullying and discrimination, based on ethnicity, gender or sexual preference, are more likely to develop mental health issues. And, these problems are often long-lasting.

Professor Abbot was previously President of the World Federation for Mental Health. Together, with the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, he co-chaired the first World Mental Health Day in 1992. The annual awareness day has since been celebrated worldwide on October 10.

5 October 2018

Press Release: Auckland University of Technology

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8 OCTOBER

USA

Rethinking lethality in youth suicide attempts

First suicide attempts are more lethal than previously realized, reports a study of children and adolescents published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).

Seventy-one percent of youth dying by suicide did so on their first attempt, also known as the "index" attempt; the authors also found that firearms are implicated in 85 percent of youth dying on first-attempt.

"Suicide is a major public health problem affecting American youth and is the second most common cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 24 years old," said lead author Alastair McKean, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. "Our findings show the high lethality of index attempt suicides in youth and their close relationship to firearms. This combined with the fact that index suicide attempts are often the first intersection with mental health care is very concerning. Future prevention efforts need to focus on youth before they make their first attempt."

The findings are based on a study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which drew upon the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP), a database of medical records and autopsy reports that stretches back to the 1960s. Results from the REP have been shown to be generalizable to the United States as a whole. The total cohort for this analysis included 1,490 subjects, of whom 813 were youth aged 10-24 years.

In the subsample of youth, 3.6 percent of youth died by suicide during the study period. Though males only comprised 31.7 percent of index attempts in youth, they accounted for almost 80 percent of the suicide completions. Firearms were heavily implicated in suicide completions accounting for 85 percent of index attempt deaths. Prior mental health concerns were absent from the records in 41.2 percent of youth index attempters. Comparison between the youth and overall cohort found that a higher percentage of youth had a lethal index attempt.

This study may have significant implications for efforts to reduce suicide in youth, highlighting the limitations of current approaches that seek to provide interventions following an initial episode of unsafe behavior. Given that most successful suicide attempts will occur without a prior attempt having occurred, a substantial portion of youth will have had no prior contact with mental health services at all.

4 October 2018

Source: JAACAP

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4 OCTOBER

UK

Government launches new collaboration with Barnardo's to support care leavers into work

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Barnardo’s are entering into a new partnership to support care leavers into work.

The collaboration will provide care leavers with opportunities to gain high quality work experience placements in Barnardo’s high street shops, to help them get the necessary skills to move into employment.

The placements will help young people learn practical skills in the workplace, whilst also allowing them to develop their ‘soft skills’ – all within a supportive Barnardo’s real working environment, alongside trained staff and volunteers.

Just over 12,000 young people aged 16 to 18 leave care in England each year and the number is rising. Many care leavers have complex needs and are at risk of long-term unemployment.

That’s why, in addition to the support already provided in line with the cross-government strategy for care leavers, children’s charity Barnardo’s will be providing work experience opportunities in their high street shops.

This work will help build people’s confidence and employability skills, while making them more attractive to potential employers.

DWP and Barnardo’s are also exploring options for a longer-term partnership, which would deliver a broader range of support for care leavers to help them thrive in the workplace.

Barnardo’s has worked with children and young people for over 150 years. They run over 1,000 services across the UK, working with over 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers each year. This includes employment and skills training for young people and care leavers.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, said:

"Barnado’s are a wonderful charity and we are very proud to be working with them on this important initiative. We want to ensure that whatever your background you are able to fulfil your ambition and develop a career. I hope this will be a long-term partnership helping care leavers on their career path."

Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said:

"Barnardo’s is really proud to be at the forefront of this innovative scheme. Sadly too many young people leaving the care system miss out on the opportunities they deserve, and face a future without hope."

"This new partnership gives care leavers valuable experience in Barnardo’s innovative high street shops, and helps them get ready to move into paid employment or further training. We are also exploring how we can work with jobcentres and employers to improve care leavers’ access to a wider range of support, aimed at developing their practical skills and resilience."

"As well as the direct benefits to care leavers, working in our stores will also help generate income to boost the charity’s frontline – so we can continue to transform the lives of vulnerable children and families across the UK. It’s a win-win situation."

People involved with the pilot will be able to gain a variety of employability skills that are transferable into any workplace. Successful completion will provide the care leaver with concrete work experience that could be included on their CV.

Many people struggle with the transition from care into employment, with those first steps onto the career ladder often being the hardest. This scheme will help boost people’s chances of securing fulfilling employment, enabling them to access the benefits that work can bring.

1 October 2018

Source: Department for Work and Pensions

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2 OCTOBER

CANADA

Learning together to bring Indigenous children home

It’s been nearly one year since the children’s aid societies of Ontario acknowledged and apologized for the harmful role child welfare has played historically, and continues to play, in the lives of Ontario Indigenous children, families, and communities. Children’s Aid Societies have spent the past year working with local Indigenous communities to strengthen relationships and continue the work set out in our nine Reconciliation commitments. Our approach emphasizes the importance of each local children’s aid society working directly with local Indigenous community, and the Indigenous families they serve, to determine how to achieve the best outcomes.

Earlier this month OACAS and local Children’s Aid Societies met with Indigenous leaders, elders and community members from Ontario to discuss the work that’s been done over the past year, and what next steps are appropriate for local agencies. The theme of the event was “Learning Together to Bring Indigenous Children Home.”

At the event, OACAS presented an update on the progress for each Reconciliation commitment. Although the data doesn’t yet provide the full picture, one the most significant learnings has been that Children’s Aid Societies have not been properly identifying all the Indigenous children and families being served. The actual numbers for many agencies is much greater than originally thought. For the first time, all Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario are actively working on Reconciliation with Indigenous communities. However, we recognize agencies are at different places in their journey, with some further along than others.

Most significantly, child welfare leaders heard from Indigenous partners and leaders about both past and present trauma, as well as some instances where changes have been seen and some progress has been made.

In the coming months, we will profile different aspects of the Reconciliation journey from across the province. Our hope is these stories will serve to illustrate the complexity of this journey – not only the forward progress, but instances where we need to be better. The Reconciliation journey is not a straight path toward a set end destination, but one of continuous humble learning.  

28 September 2018

Source: OACAS 

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