Police interventions for emotionally distressed children on the rise in New York City public schools, analysis finds

Police interventions for emotionally distressed children on the rise in New York City public schools, analysis finds

An NYPD car in front of a Brooklyn public school in 2015. Police interventions for emotionally distressed students have tracked upwards over the past four years, a new analysis found. Spencer Platt / Getty Images Police interventions for children facing mental health crises at New York City public schools have increased, with Black students and students with disabilities disproportionately affected, according to a new analysis of city data from 2016 to 2020.

In a report released Thursday, Advocates for Children of New York analyzed more than 12,000 “child in crisis” incidents — a New York City Police Department label for instances in which a student in emotional distress is removed from class and then transported to a hospital for a psychological evaluation. The analysis, an update to the nonprofit’s 2017 brief , found an upward trend in such police interventions over the past four years.

And, mirroring the 2017 report, the data showed stark racial divides: In the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, more than a quarter of police interventions involved Black boys, even though they account for only 13% of the public school population. Similarly, Black girls also were overrepresented, showing up in 20% of the interventions despite accounting for only 12% of enrollment. In 92% of cases where students were handcuffed, the student was Black or Latino, and all 33 children between the ages of 5 and 7 who were handcuffed during the last four years were students of color, according to the report.

“When you look at data like this, how can you deny that there is systemic racism?” said David Kirkland, executive director of the New York University Metro Center, who was not involved with the report.

That a 5-year-old child would be placed in handcuffs is “unconscionable,” said Kirkland. “If these kinds of punishments were heaped upon the backs of advantaged and privileged students, we wouldn’t tolerate it,” he added. “We would move towards common sense policy solutions, much like the recommendations offered [in the report].”

The report comes at a time of racial reckoning across the country, as some school districts have taken significant measures to address over-policing of students of color. The authors of the report are calling for an elimination of all police and police infrastructure from schools citywide.

They said the NYPD is ill-equipped to respond to students’ social, emotional and mental health needs. New York City currently employs about 5,300 officers as NYPD school safety agents. This number has increased about 65% since 1998, when, under Mayor Rudy Guiliani, control of school safety was transferred to the NYPD. In June 2020, the Mayor announced that by June 2022, the education department would regain control over the school safety agents.

Responding to the report, the education department […]

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Nexus of Good: Building emotional resilience

Nexus of Good: Building emotional resilience

Children from low socio-economic background lack the essential skills to cope up with emotional and financial instability caused by poverty. Currently, 128 million children are enrolled in the Indian public education system. These children live in poverty, with most having a household income of USD two or less a day.

Their vulnerabilities lead to reduced attentiveness, lack of curiosity, demotivation, powerlessness, shame and anger. These factors result in reduced motivation to learn, relationship building skills and emotional resilience. Apart from affecting their academic performance, this also takes a toll on their mental and emotional well-being, overall productivity and life choices. More specifically, this makes them less likely to pursue higher education, decrease employability and disrupt their positive mental health.

Children from the low socio-economic background in India generally lack the resources to access private education and rely rather on public education. Within such systems, at the government and the teacher level, there is a general alignment on the need to focus on the holistic improvement of underprivileged children.

However, the government and the teachers currently lack the expertise to equip children with the necessary skills to tackle the ill-effects of poverty, cope up with their reality and go on to become productive and healthy lifelong learners. As a result, there is an alarming gap between the skills our most vulnerable children need and the skills that the public education system provides.

It is in the aforementioned context that Richa Gupta, Vedant Jain and Malika Taneja founded Labhya Foundation, an educational non-profit that enables children from low socio-economic backgrounds with necessary skills to cope with the ill-effects of poverty and become life-long learners through Social Emotional Learning (SEL) interventions at scale. The founders themselves came from the realities of social adversity, financial instability and emotional distress. They had to cope with their realities of financial and emotional instability at a young age. However, there was a clear understanding that their journeys had been driven by unique opportunities and access that not all children from low socio-economic backgrounds have. This understanding drove Labhya Foundation’s inception in 2017 and continues to define its mission, vision and work through the years.

SEL is the process of exploring one’s emotions, maintaining healthy relationships and understanding one’s role and purpose in the long term. It is considered one of the most powerful tools for social change and poverty reduction: every USD invested in SEL programmes yields USD 11 in lifelong gains in health, education, and employment. (Columbia University)

Labhya Foundation partners with state governments to co-create localised statewide SEL programmes for all children enrolled in public schools of partner states. Through these programmes, they co-create a 30-minute daily SEL class or “Happiness Class” for all students between grades K-8.

For effective co-creation […]

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How can we save our kids from screen addiction, which soared during the pandemic?

How can we save our kids from screen addiction, which soared during the pandemic?

Amir, a seven years old child, shows violent behavior and angry outbursts when his mother, Nour, refuses to let him watch TV or play on his iPad. Moreover, he does his virtual homework only if his mother allows him to spend at least five hours straight on screens. Amir’s mother, Nour, told Enab Baladi that even on special family occasions, her children spend a significant part of their playtime with their peers on screens amid the absence of traditional children’s games, which include physical activities.

In the past, TV stations used to broadcast children’s cartoons and shows within a scheduled period of time, commensurate with the school education systems in each country, in an attempt to minimize the negative side effects of too much-unorganized screen time. Unfortunately, the new digital devices, which display their content 24 hours a day, thanks to the available access to the internet, undermined efforts to monitor time spent staring at screens. Children can use technology, turning it into a habit that can be practiced at any time and without limits. Moreover, the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the shutdown of traditional schools accelerated the embracement of digital learning immensely. Thus, children’s screen time soared during the pandemic.

Pediatric psychiatrist Alaa Daly told Enab Baladi that children’s misuse of technology—children often use technology for playing video games and watching videos— poses great dangers to their mental health, especially at young ages, the stage when the children are developing their language and social skills in order to interact and communicate with others.

Children’s mental health is also affected by the overuse of technology. Video games, in particular, have a harmful effect on their attention and concentration. While playing video games, children are completely detached from their surroundings. In other words, they cannot focus on their daily life activities, including physical ones, or connect with their families appropriately.

Prolonged TV viewing and digital game playing also inhibit the child’s ability to communicate and interact with other children, which is essential at this age. Excessive screen time may also lead to depression, anxiety, addictive behavior regarding the internet, sensitivity, anger outbursts, separation from reality, and lack of acceptance of real-life and interaction with its events. Alternative solution

Pediatric psychiatrist Alaa Daly said that one of the methods to mitigate potential risk factors for children, including their spending too much time on digital screens, is to find other non-screen activities for children to become involved. This means extra parent-child bonding activities. Parents should spend more quality time with their children; they should communicate with their children openly and effectively, carry out at-home activities, and minimize the amount of time children […]

Continue reading the rest at english.enabbaladi.net

Breaking down the reality and history of mental health stigmas within America’s AAPI communities

AAPI mental health stigmas have only been exacerbated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Hannah Xu Throughout the month of May, the U.S. celebrates the history, culture, traditions, diversity and many contributions of the AAPI community with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen for two reasons. One is to commemorate the first wave of Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843.

Between 1886 and 1911, 400,000-plus Japanese women and men immigrated to the states, particularly to Hawaii and the West Coast.

In memory of the arrival of Manjiro , the 14-year-old fisherman who is considered to be America’s first Japanese immigrant, Congress established May as AAPI Heritage month.

May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

The Central Pacific Railroad, the company that built the western portion of the railroad, employed more than 10,000 Chinese laborers, yet their hard work has often been glossed over in history.

Even at a ceremony in 1969, marking the 100th anniversary of the completion of the railroad, centennial officials agreed to set aside part of the ceremony to pay homage to the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad, but they neglected to fulfill this promise — in a way that stung like a scorpion.

Instead, the then-Transportation Secretary, John A. Volpe, attributed the achievement to Americans, saying: “Who else but Americans could drill 10 tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?”

Volpe mentioned some of the backbreaking and hazardous work that was performed by a labor force consisting of 90% Chinese migrants, who were ineligible to become citizens under federal law, but they received nothing more than a passing mention. The five minutes of recognition that was promised to these migrant workers was never given. Thus, each May that passes, the AAPI community acknowledges this labor effort and reflects on the many ways in which Asian immigrants shaped this country.

For the 31 days of May, mental health advocates, organizations and those living with mental illnesses observe the importance of taking care of one’s mental wellness, and shed light on the issues that permeate the mental health industry, like inaccessibility, injustices within treatment centers, and the stigma that hinders people from seeking help.

The word stigma is defined by the Cambridge English dictionary as “a strong feeling of disapproval that most people in a society have about something.”

Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is extremely normalized and can be seen in several sectors of society.

Mainstream media coverage of complex illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, tend to emphasize portrayals of violence, unpredictability and danger to others, despite the fact that close to 96% of violent crimes are committed by people who […]

Continue reading the rest at aldianews.com

Children who show a blunted neural response to errors may be at risk of psychopathology

Children who show a blunted neural response to errors may be at risk of psychopathology

A study from Brain and Behavior found that children who respond to errors with a larger error-related negativity (ERN) fared better on a range of psychological outcomes one to two years later — including anxiety, depression, and emotion regulation. The study authors say the ERN may serve as a neuromarker of resilience in children.

The error-related negativity response is an electrical brain signal that occurs after a person makes a behavioral mistake. The response stems from the anterior cingulate cortex and has been identified as an indicator of future mental health. However, the research findings are somewhat contradictory. Some studies have suggested that an enlarged ERN in childhood predicts worse mental health, while other studies have found better mental health among children with larger ERNs.

Study authors Jamie M. Lawler and her team conducted a study to explore the link between ERN activity in young children and the development of emotion regulation, cognitive control, and psychopathology one to two years later.

“About 1 in 5 kids experiences an emotional or behavioral problem but we as a field are not very good at predicting which kids that will be. Our research is one part of trying to understand how to identify children early so that we can hopefully intervene before big problems develop,” said Lawler, an assistant professor at Eastern Michigan University and director of the Self-regulation, Early Experience, and Development Lab .

Their study made use of data from a larger project and included two time points. At the baseline assessment, children were between the ages of 4 and 7 and took part in a “Go/No Go Task” — a cognitive task that requires participants to respond to certain stimuli and refrain from responding to other stimuli. The “Go/No Go” task was used to measure ERN. The children’s parents completed reports of their child’s cognitive control, negative affectivity, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms.

From the initial sample, the researchers selected a subset of children who either showed a high ERN amplitude (15 children) or a low ERN amplitude (15 children). The groups were matched by age and sex as closely as possible. At a follow-up study around one to two years later, the two groups of children completed several tests to assess cognitive control, and their parents also completed assessments of the child’s cognitive control. Both the children and their parents additionally completed measures of child emotion regulation and internalizing and externalizing symptoms.

At baseline, the group of children with a high ERN amplitude fared better according to parental reports of cognitive control, negative affectivity (e.g., anger, fear, discomfort), and externalizing symptoms (e.g., aggression, overactivity) compared to the low ERN group. Moreover, when reassessed one to two years later, the high ERN group continued to […]

Continue reading the rest at www.psypost.org

Sandy Hook Promise Sounds the Alarm for Adults: The Kids Are Not Alright

Sandy Hook Promise Sounds the Alarm for Adults: The Kids Are Not Alright

Staying in a bedroom for 20 hours a day. Being constantly plugged in online. These are just a few of the stressors that youth have faced over the last year due to the pandemic, leading to heightened anxiety and depression, among other new or worsening mental health struggles. This emotional situation can give rise to various forms of youth violence — not just shootings, but also suicide and self-harm.

News. Social media. Online classes. Teenagers are plugged into bad news and challenging learning environments. Social media, which can be a positive place to connect, may spark feelings of isolation and low self-esteem. Learn how to help them unplug by knowing the signs at https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/how-to.

The kids are not alright. Learn the warning signs to prevent a tragedy. Tweet this To help adults better understand the “powder keg” of turmoil threatening the lives and well-being of kids right now, Sandy Hook Promise released a new PSA campaign today, ” The Kids Are Not Alright. ” Created with BBDO New York, this series of three short videos reflects the anxiety, isolation, pressure, boredom, and incessant information overload that teenagers are experiencing. It is a national call to action for parents and other caring adults: learn the signs of a child in emotional distress and get help before it’s too late.

“We may think kids are resilient, but the truth is — the kids are not alright,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “More youth are struggling with mental health issues and heightened depression and anxiety as a result of the pandemic. And it’s our responsibility to listen to them, support and protect them.”

Recent studies show more than 70% of teenagers are struggling with mental health concerns, and one in four has considered suicide. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among teenagers — and these tragedies can be preventable.

Even as we begin to reopen, we’re a long way from going back to normal. When schools reopen in the fall, social distancing will still be required. Students will have to deal with the stress of a new school year combined with adapting to the new school environment. Many will be returning to school after suffering the death of a loved one during the COVID crisis. Their stress will continue to mount and those who already suffered trauma will be at even greater risk of suicide and self-harm.

Research groups are predicting that there will be more “deaths of despair” related to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, as we continue […]

Continue reading the rest at www.prnewswire.com