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June is World Refugee Awareness Month
The NCTSN invites you to join us in observing World Refugee Awareness Month and, on June 20, World Refugee Awareness Day. We focus on the millions of refugees who live around the globe, recognizing their plight as well as their valuable contributions to our communities.
Refugee children and their families must deal with their past traumatic experiences while integrating into a new and unfamiliar society. They must look for safety in an alien culture, and ask for help in a nonnative language. Children and their families who have experienced war-related trauma and disruption also suffer the burdens of resettlement: poverty, unemployment, stigmatization, and bias.
Click here for a listing of helpful resources related to the needs of refugee children and families for refugees, educators, mental health and medical professionals, social service providers, and community agencies.
LGBT Pride Month
In June 2011 President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month and said, "I call upon the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people."
According to the 2013 National School Climate Survey, LGBT youth are routinely harassed because of their sexual orientation. Conducted by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), the study of 7,898 middle and high school students found that 74.1% LGBT students experienced verbal harassment at school in the previous year, 55.5% felt unsafe at school, and 30.3% skipped a day of school in the past month because of safety concerns. This survey is "the culmination of 10 years of pioneering research" and is the only national survey that documents the experiences of students who identify as LGBT in US secondary schools.
In support of the goals of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, NCTSN has compiled a list of helpful links for educators, mental health and child welfare professionals, parents and caregivers, and youth.
National PTSD Awareness Day
To make us more conscious of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) has designated June as PTSD Awareness Month.
PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for additional danger.
The mission of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is to raise awareness of child traumatic stress, and so we join the effort to raise awareness about PTSD. We offer resources to educate individuals, families, professionals, policy makers, and communities about the significant impact that PTSD has on men, women, and children. Effective psychological interventions and drug treatments are available to assist those who suffer with PTSD to heal from their traumas and to lead healthy, productive lives.
To learn more about PTSD and Awareness Month,
To find out more about military children and families
Focal Point: Youth, Young Adults & Mental Health: Trauma-Informed Care
Jane Halladay Goldman, Director of Service Systems at the NCCTS, is the author of Creating Organizations that Address the Needs of Youth, Families, and Staff Who Have Experienced Trauma in the current issue of Focal Point (Volume 29, 2015). Ms. Halladay Goldman presents questions for organizations to consider in their own movement to become trauma informed. She say that, while there is no one-size-fits-all approach, "with careful assessment of an organization’s existing resources and needs, the selection and implementation of the right evidence-informed strategies is a less overwhelming and worthwhile task." Several NCTSN members contributed to this volume of eleven articles on various aspects of trauma-informed care. Focal Point is a publication of the Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; United States Department of Education; and the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (NIDRR grant H133B090019).
Publications by Network Members and Colleagues
Network Colleagues Jordan Greenbaum, MD, and James Crawford-Jakubiak, MD, have authored Child Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Health Care Needs of Victims, published in the Pediatrics (Volume 135, Number 3). Child sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) are major public health problems in the United States and throughout the world. Despite large numbers of youth affected by a plethora of serious physical and mental health problems associated with CSEC, pediatricians have limited information on the nature and scope of human trafficking and ways they may help protect children. Knowledge of risk factors, recruitment practices, possible indicators of CSEC, and common medical and behavioral health problems experienced by victims will help pediatricians recognize potential victims and respond appropriately. As health care providers, educators, and leaders in child advocacy, pediatricians play an essential role in addressing the public health issues faced by child victims of CSEC: (a) working to increase recognition of CSEC; (b) providing direct care and anticipatory guidance related to CSEC; (c) engaging in collaborative efforts with medical and nonmedical colleagues.
Network Member Christopher Blodgett, PhD has written the report No School Alone: How community risks and assets contribute to school and youth (March 2015) for the Washington State Office of Financial Management, a review of community factors that may influence academic and youth well-being. Three factors emerged as the primary descriptors of community characteristics that can influence academic success and youth development: (1) the severity of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) reported by adults; (2) the poverty level in the school communities; and (3) differences in school size and ethnic diversity. The report demonstrates that there is wide variation across the state in community success in creating the conditions for success critical for many their children. Authors describe two Washingtons: “one in which schools and their communities help the majority of their children prosper and other communities where loss takes too many children away from their promise.” They call for efforts to build consensus to (1) support educators in understanding the scope of the impact of ACEs and develop skills to identify and respond to the impact of trauma; (2) to educate parents who are dealing with the consequences of their own childhood adversity; (3) to use an understanding of trauma from ACEs as an intervention framework for students at greatest need. Authors conclude that there is an opportunity to build well-coordinated education and treatment systems of care employing treatments for trauma from ACEs as essential services.
Network Members Judy Cohen, Jeanette Scheid, and Ruth Gerson are authors of the article Transforming Trajectories for Traumatized Children, published in the January 2014 Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, (Volume 53, Issue 1). Authors stress that “the cost of ignoring trauma for children . . . is staggering” and leads to “significantly higher rates of medical and mental health disorders and health care usage; and, as shown in a large national study, untreated child abuse and neglect alone accounted for more years lost to disability than all mental disorders combined. Authors conclude that “child and adolescent psychiatrists and other child-serving professionals can take important and meaningful steps to help children avoid negative outcomes and live healthy, productive lives” by providing: (1) early and effective identification of trauma impact in children and adolescents; (2) evidence-based trauma-focused psychotherapeutic interventions for traumatized children; (3) evidence-based psychopharmacologic treatments for traumatized children as these become available: (4) integrated, trauma-informed systems of care; (5) outreach and collaboration with primary care providers; and (6) training the next generation of child and adolescent psychiatrists about all of the above.