Category Archives: Advocacy

SOVA Project Summer of Showing Up

At SOVA Project, we’ve really been falling in love with Brene Brown! In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene says:

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

We’ve been trying to be courageous here at SOVA Project and we hope these small efforts are helping us move forward in a positive way!

Here are some of the recent ways we’ve let ourselves be seen:

We are happy to announce that our first SOVA paper will be published soon in the Journal of Technology in Human Services!

We had a great deal of fun participating in and being interviewed for the Reel Teens of Pittsburgh’s documentary on mental health stigma, featuring the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Stand Together program – who we have really enjoyed learning more and more about this year and hope to continue to work with. It was so inspiring for us to participate in advocating for mental health in the midst of positive, insightful, and motivated young people!

If you haven’t seen it, check out the video here below and learn more about the great award-winning work Stand Together does:

This past year, we’ve welcomed several new team members, including:

Cassandra Long, LSW our new moderator and main research assistant and Sharanya Bandla our new computer student who is also an undergraduate student at University of Pittsburgh. Also over the summer, Leah Wasser is a recently graduated student from Slippery Rock who is doing an excellent summer internship with us focused on reviewing the role of the moderator in online support groups – and helping us set up and create videos for our You Tube channel!

Here is a picture of Cassandra sharing our work with attendees at the recent NAMI conference on child mental health:

 

Don’t forget – SOVA and wiseSOVA have public blogposts you can read and share with anyone! If a young person or parent wants to log-on to comment, that is when they enter our study which currently is just observing how often they use the site and whether or not/what they comment – so feel free to share SOVA widely!

Stay tuned for more SOVA updates in the upcoming months and let us know if you have questions or feedback for us!

AFSP walk

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for helping us fundraise for the AFSP walk! We raised over $1000!

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Don’t forget – next week is Suicide Prevention Week. What can you do?

You can: sign a pledge to show others you are a safe person to talk to about suicide and mental health

You can share this link through social media:

You can: add a twibbon to your social media

Use the hashtag  #NSPW16 to post about the importance of suicide prevention

Post a personal video to share with huffington post outspeak

Learn more about suicide prevention from NAMI

Take the stigma free pledge

Learn more about the risk factors for suicide

If you know of others, let us know below!

A cause worth fighting for

Recently the New York Times highlighted a study from the National Center for Health Statistics that suicide rates for all age groups are increasing in the US. NPR reported that in particular, the rates of suicide for young adolescent girls aged 10-14 tripled, which some think may be due to trends in earlier puberty. In young people, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 65, No. 2, February 16, 2016
National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 65, No. 2, February 16, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many explanations for this, and yet more research to do, especially in mental health services to best understand how to help young people with suicidal thoughts have access to life-saving treatment. We agree with Dr. Borenstein, president of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, who wrote a follow-up editorial that these numbers should be a wake-up call for the U.S. to declare a war on mental illness and increase funding for life-saving research.

I had an opportunity to hear Dr. David Brent, a renowned researcher of adolescent suicide prevention, speak at the Annual STAR (Services for Teens at Risk) Center conference. Dr. Brent spoke about preventable predictors of suicide such as child maltreatment for which several evidence-based parenting programs exist but which are not yet widely implemented. He also talked about evidence-based school programs which target impulsive aggression, treating insomnia which increases the risk of suicide 2-5 fold, and decreasing access to lethal agents such as gun control and safety. He highlighted a program at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan which provides support that implementing evidence-based interventions can decrease rates of suicide. In the case of Henry Ford, suicide rates dropped dramatically by 75% and then down to 0. 

Some key elements of their program include:

  • a stakeholder advisory panel
  • all psychotherapists being competent to provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • a protocol for suicidal patients to remove weapons from the home
  • increasing access to care through: same-day access and e-mail visits
  • an educational website
  • educating staff in suicide prevention
  • frequent check-ins by phone
  • and providing families and support people with mental health education

At SOVAproject, we hope to help fight these increasing rates of suicide by designing an intervention with the goal of increasing adolescent and parent engagement in treatment. We are encouraged that implementation of evidence-based methods at centers like Henry Ford, do lead to real-word decreases in suicide rates, and are encouraged to advocate for continued suicide prevention.

Read more about advocating for suicide prevention at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Capture3Today, SOVAproject joins more than 1,100 communities across the country in celebrating the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day to highlight the importance of children’s mental health. About a fifth of young people experience mental illness in a given year, but few get treatment. This year, organizations like the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health are focusing on mental health being a family affair. Here at SOVAproject, we could not agree more, which is why we focus our interventions on adolescents AND parents. Our work has found that primary care providers feel parents are very important players in accessing mental health for adolescents.  We hope that our work in developing moderated online communities for parents and for adolescents to share their experiences regarding diagnosis and treatment will be part of the solution in helping them access the vital services they need to be healthy.

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Show your support for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by sharing this post or others:

National webcast tonight at 7 pm on Children’s Mental Health

Childcare aware of america

with your social media community.