Recent Studies Find Factors that Improve Outcomes for Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse
12/9/2011 9:57:43 AM
Tags: Adolescence, Health, Mental Health, Religion
Sentencing Reform Bill Changes Youth Sentencing Laws
7/18/2011 9:04:55 PM
On June 29, 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 86 into law. In addition to sentencing changes for adult offenders, the bill contains changes for sentencing juvenile offenders.
Schubert Center Child Policy Director Gabriella Celeste played a key role in authoring the juvenile justice sections of the bill and supporting its passage. In April 2011, she provided testimony to Ohio’s House Finance Transportation Sub-Committee on the positive community and fiscal implications of reducing the number of youth in correctional facilities on the one hand, and increasing treatment- and community-based programs for delinquent youth on the other. In June 2011, Ms. Celeste provided further testimony to the Ohio Senate Judiciary/Criminal Justice Committee, in which she argued in support of the new sentencing reform bill. According to her testimony, HB 86 1) Promotes research-supported, outcome-based programs and practices that maximize results and provide greater public safety per dollar spent, 2) revises ineffective and costly sentencing schemes by permitting greater judicial discretion and addressing court procedural issues such as competency, and 3) reflects an overall recognition that being “smart on juvenile crime” requires developmentally-appropriate treatment and accountability measures.
The following is a summary of the juvenile justice provisions of Amended House Bill 86:
1. HB 86 promotes research-informed practices. Specifically, in reference to how RECLAIM dollars should be spent, it adds new language that states: “Research-supported, outcome-based programs and services, to the extent available, shall be encouraged.”
2. HB 86 extends juvenile court authority to allow for judicial release throughout a youth’s term of commitment. Currently, judges can only grant an early release during a youth’s minimum sentence time period, after which any release decision rests solely with the Department of Youth Services (DYS). Under this reform, judges maintain jurisdiction to consider early release opportunities throughout a youth’s commitment, including instances in which juveniles are serving mandatory sentences.
3. HB 86 revises sentencing specifications to allow for judicial discretion in instances involving a gun where the youth was not the main actor. Specifically, juvenile judges have more discretion in sentencing for youth accomplices under certain conditions where the youth did not possess, dispose of, or otherwise use the weapon.
4. HB 86 adopts a uniform juvenile competency code that applies to all delinquency proceedings using a juvenile-specific standard. A juvenile is incompetent if, “due to mental illness, intellectual disability, or developmental disability, or otherwise due to or a lack of mental capacity, the child is presently incapable of understanding the nature and objective of proceedings against the child or of assisting in the child’s defense.” A child who is 14 or older who is not otherwise found to be mentally ill, intellectually disabled, or developmentally disabled, is presumed to “not have a lack of mental capacity”.
5. HB 86 creates a reverse waiver provision for youth automatically transferred to adult court (mandatory bindover) that would permit transfer back to juvenile court. This reverse waiver procedure would only apply in those circumstances where a youth is convicted of an offense that would not have originally qualified as a mandatory bindover offense. In this instance, the case would go back to juvenile court for juvenile sentencing or an amenability hearing to determine whether the adult sentence should be invoked.
6. HB 86 creates an Interagency Mental Health Juvenile Justice Task Force to address the challenges of delinquent youth who “suffer from serious mentally illness or emotional and behavioral disorders.” The six month Task Force has representation from the state Supreme Court, the Governors office, the House, the Senate, ODYS, ODMH, juvenile judges, public defenders, prosecutors, academic institutions, and numerous other experts, such as NAMI. It must submit a report with findings and recommendations to the legislature by March 31, 2012.
Tags: Juvenile Justice, Mental Health
Three Recent Studies on Eating Disorders Show New Trends and Concerns
6/22/2011 8:46:49 AM
Three recent studies on eating disorders show new trends in prevalence of eating disorders internationally and new comorbidities of eating disorders in the United States.
A study from Taiwan published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that 16% of boys and 10% of girls ages 10 to 18 had vomited in order to lose weight. Younger children were more likely to report inducing vomiting to lose weight, as 16% of 10 to 12 years olds vomited to lose weight compared to 15% of 13 to 15 year olds and 8% of 16-18 year olds. Self-induced vomiting was more common in adolescents with a sedentary lifestyle, who slept less and who ate unhealthily. Using a computer screen for more than two hours a day, eating fried food everyday and having nighttime snacks increased the odds of vomiting.
Another recent study from the University of North Texas found that pressure from peers to be thin accounts for a significant amount of lost sleep for white female adolescents. Author Katherine Marczyk said “There is a significant amount of research on other areas regarding pressure on adolescent females to minimize body weight, but this pressure as it relates to sleep health is a less-explored topic and its consequences are mostly unknown.”
The Journal of Women’s Health published a study this month on the relationship between pregnancy related depression and eating disorders. A survey of women receiving treatment in a perinatal psychology clinic found that one third of patients reported a history of eating disorders. Postpartum depression has serious consequences for both mothers and their children. Author Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody stated “Children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop mental health problems, and children of mothers with an active eating disorder may also be more likely to develop an eating disorder themselves.” The authors also note that pregnancy is a key time for mental health screenings and for helping women get access to mental health treatment services.
Dr. Lucene Wisniewski of the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders recently gave a talk on current best practices for girls with eating disorders as a part of the Schubert Center’s Girlhood Series. A policy brief on her talk can be downloaded here. Schubert Center Faculty Associate Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye joined discussants from the Cleveland Clinic and the University School to talk about her work studying eating disorders in adolescent girls in Belize.
To read the study from Taiwan, click here. A press article on the study is also available here.
To read an article on the study on eating disorders and sleep loss, click here.
To read the article on pregnancy-related depression and eating disorders, click here. A popular article on the study can be found here.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Healthy Eating, Girls, Mental Health, Parenthood
Nursing School Researcher Studies Mental Illness Stigma Among Adolescents
6/10/2011 1:43:48 PM
“About one in five Americans has a mental illness, with half of these individuals first experiencing symptoms of mental illness in their teen years, “ says Dr. Melissa Pinto-Foltz of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. She recently published a study in Social Science and Medicine on educational programs for adolescents aimed to reduce the stigma of mental illness and improve mental health literacy. Click here to read Dr. Pinto-Foltz's study.
The study followed the reactions of 156 girls in 9th and 10th grade, half of whom had seen an educational program called In Our Own Voice and half of whom had not. The program invites people who have experienced mental illness to tell their stories. At four and eight weeks after the program, Dr. Pinto-Foltz conducted follow-up interviews. In these interviews, she found that participants enjoyed the program and that those who had seen the program scored significantly better on a test of mental health literacy at 4 and 8 weeks. However, the intervention was too short to change some girls stigmas about mental illness.
Many Schubert Center Faculty Associates study mental health in children and adolescents.
Click here to read an article summarizing the study.
Click here to learn more about In Our Own Voice, the program studied by Dr. Pinto-Foltz.
Tags: Adolescence, Education, Mental Health
Recent Killings Draw Attention to Mothers Who Kill Their Children
4/21/2011 12:49:27 PM
Last week, a shocking case of a mother who drover her car filled with her four children into the Hudson River made national headlines. However, a series of articles following this event note that parents and particularly mothers are far more common than the public perceives them to be. One such article notes that parents kill their children at least 100 times a year and that mothers are more likely than fathers to kill children under the age of 5.
Schubert Center Director Dr. Jill Korbin has studied women who fatally maltreat their children for over 35 years. In a recent Associated Press article, she noted that, unlike reducing auto fatalities, finding means of preventing these deaths has proved difficult. She does state that society’s desire to be supportive of a “good mother” may result in hesitancy to intervene even when friends and family members may see a mother struggling.
Case Western Medical School professor Dr. Phillip Resnick is a forensic psychologist who has testified in a number of prominent cases, including the 2001 Andrea Yates case. He spoke with NPR about a variety of circumstances in which parents kill their children, including what he calls an “altruistic killing” which occurs when a depressed parent decides to kill his or her children to spare them from the cruelty of the world. In a previous study, he found one in every 33 mothers in the United States is a parent killing his or her child.
To read the Associated Press article that Dr. Korbin contributed to, click here.
To listen to an NPR conversation with Dr. Resnick and two mothers, click here.
Tags: Children, Family, Mental Health, Parenthood, Violence, Welfare
Eating Disorders Rise Among Young Children
11/30/2010 2:08:19 PM
Eating disorders, which include anorexia, bulimia, and other behavior patterns marked by extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food, continue to be a pervasive problem affecting children and youth. An estimated 0.5 percent of American women suffer from anorexia, and between one to two percent from bulimia, resulting in 0.8 to 14 percent of Americans generally having at least some of the physical and psychological symptoms of an eating disorder. These disorders can have significant and long-term effects on the physical, mental and emotional health of both the affected individual and his or her family and friends. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and anorexia is particularly deadly. The mortality rate associated with anorexia is 12 times higher than the death rate for all causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
A recent report published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that not only are eating disorder rates continuing to rise, these disorders are spreading into new populations. Of particular concern is the significant increase in eating disorders for children under the age of 12; hospitalizations for eating disorders for this age group have jumped by 119 percent in recent years. Also of concern are the increasing rates of eating disorder among boys, minority populations and individuals from a lower socioeconomic background, all groups that have previously had low rates of eating disorders. These data suggest the need for more intensive research into both the etiology and treatment of eating disorders.
Also of note, the report suggests an increase in eating disorders both among immigrant populations in the United States and in other non-Western countries. Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at CWRU and a Schubert Center Faculty Associate, conducts research examining the phenomenon of eating disorders in other cultural contexts. Her work focuses on the role of culture in mediating notions of body image and norms around food and eating, specifically in Belize. Dr. Anderson-Fye’s work also addresses how body image and eating may change in the context of globalization, a process which is itself associated with increased rates of eating disorders. Click here to learn more about Dr. Anderson-Fye’s work.
To learn more about recent trends in eating disorder rates, access the original article in Pediatrics by clicking here.
To read a summary of the journal article, click here.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Healthy Eating, Mental Health
Family-Based Treatment for Anorexia
10/13/2010 7:41:28 AM
New research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry this month suggests that family-based treatment may be an effective long-term strategy for treating anorexia-nervosa in adolescents. As featured in the New York Times (Oct. 5th, 2010), these results are based on a longitudinal, randomized control trial involving 120 adolescents.
The adolescents involved received either traditional individual-based therapy for anorexia or family-based treatment. Family-based treatment is designed to give parents the tools to first help their child gain weight and then to address other mental health issues that may be associated with anorexia. This is different than traditional therapy both in the emphasis on the role of the family and in addressing weight gain as the first step in treatment.
In the study, both individual and family-based treatment strategies were effective in treating patients with anorexia in the short-term. However, adolescents receiving family-based therapy were far less likely to relapse. After one year of treatment, only 10 percent of patients receiving family-based treatment had experienced a relapse of anorexia, compared to 40 percent of those receiving traditional individual treatment. These results suggest that family-based treatment may be a more effective strategy for treating adolescents suffering from anorexia.
To read the New York Times article, click here.
To access the original article published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, .
Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at CWRU and a Schubert Center Faculty Associate, also conducts research on adolescent mental health, and has specifically examined the phenomenon of eating disorders in other cultural context. Click here to learn more about Dr. Anderson-Fye’s work.
Dr. Arin Connell, Assistant Professor of Psychology at CWRU and a Schubert Center Faculty Associate, also conducts research on adolescent mental health, and has specifically examined the role of family in treatment of adolescent mental health disorders. Click here to learn more about Dr. Connell’s work
Tags: Adolescence, Family, Girls, Health, Mental Health
Antipsychotic Drugs for Children
9/13/2010 12:31:58 PM
The New York Times has published a story describing one young child’s experience with psychotic drugs and the potential dangers these drugs may pose for children. Kyle Warren, now age six, was first prescribed antipsychotic drugs when he was only 18 months old. His mother, overwhelmed by the child’s severe temper tantrums, sought help from her pediatrician. This was the beginning of a string of diagnoses with various mental illnesses from different physicians who prescribed a range of drugs, often at one time. Though Kyle has since been weaned off these drugs and is now receiving coordinated care, his case represents a dangerous trend in the treatment of children’s mental health.
As Dr. Robert Findling, professor of psychiatry at CWRU’s School of Medicine notes in a recent interview posted on Medscape, the number of antipsychotics prescribed to children has been increasing in recent years. This trend is alarming because many antipsychotic drugs have not been tested on children, and therefore their effects are unknown. Furthermore, the scarcity of child psychiatrists in the medical system means that treating children with symptoms of mental illness is often left to primary care physicians, who may not have the expertise needed to precisely assess and treat their young patient’s mental illness.
The question of whether children should be prescribed antipsychotics – and by whom – must be answered using systematic research assessing the effects of these drugs on children. Unfortunately, this research is still ongoing and answers are not yet available for children and families currently in need of mental health services.
Tags: Children, Mental Health
Celebrity International Adoptions
7/6/2010 11:14:23 AM
A recent article in the New York Daily News highlights the potential impact of celebrities who choose to adopt overseas rather than domestically. Dr. Victor Groza, a faculty associate with the Schubert Center for Child Studies, commented on this recent trend among celebrities to adopt internationally. Dr. Groza makes an important argument in the article, stating that “While there are tremendous economic advantages for internationally adopted kids, they miss out on the cultural identity they would have enjoyed had they stayed in their home country.”
Read this article in the New York Daily News
where you'll find some of his articles available for download.
Tags: Development, Early Childhood, Mental Health