May 2018

Trauma-Informed Care: Understanding the Many Challenges of Toxic Stress

The journey toward mental wellness and self-care can be especially challenging for trauma survivors. “Trauma literally means ‘wound, injury, or shock,'” according to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). “It refers to extreme stress that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope,” writes Esther Giller of the Sidran Institute. The impact of trauma makes it difficult for survivors to understand their own experiences, and can interfere with their ability to get...

Anniversary of Peace

Today is the 17th anniversary of my sister's passing. At the age of 43 she died from alcoholic liver disease. A mindfulness practice that I have taken on to better handle her death has been to look upon this day as a day that she finally was at peace. After my morning walk I remembered that today is what I like to call her Angelversary. The day she got her angel wings! Today as I wished her a Happy Angelversary a wave of deep sadness and guilt came over me. I believe that it came from...

Dewayne ‘The Foster Care Rock’ Johnson [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

Dewayne Johnson might not have the worldwide fan following of the similarly named pro wrestler-turned-movie star. But, in his way, he has become a true rock for kids in need. Johnson, 48, is a social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), home to the largest local population of foster kids in the nation. He’s also a bit of a unicorn. Born into foster care himself, Johnson spent his childhood moving from house to house, relative to relative. One...

Colleges Are No Match for American Poverty [theatlantic.com]

Russell Lowery-Hart spent a Texas winter weekend sleeping outside, even when a light rain fell and it grew so cold that he forced muddy shoes into his sleeping bag to warm his feet. By day, the 48-year-old became increasingly sunburned crisscrossing the streets of Waco, applying for fast-food jobs and searching for soup kitchens. He arrived at one charity at noon to find that lunch ended at 11:30; luckily, a homeless woman shared her cinnamon bread with him. He was unshowered and unshaven,...

The Conflicting Educations Of Sam Schimmel [npr.org]

On Aug. 24, 1952, the Silook and Oozevaseuk families of Gambell, Alaska, welcomed a baby girl into the world and introduced her to the island that had been their home for centuries. Gambell is at the western edge of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. When the weather is clear, you can see Siberia in the distance. Baby Constance was born into a culture that was rich and well-adapted to the exceptionally harsh environment. Her ancestors had passed down skills for surviving — ways of...

Preventing ACEs is a social moonshot.

We are enjoying amazing community dialogue as we launch the nation's first data-driven, cross-sector and systemic program focused on preventing adverse childhood experience, trauma and maltreatment. We are addressing the social determinants of health, increasing ten vital family-focused services to create community and home environments where children are safe and families thrive. This is a social moonshot. Join the ride. www.ResilienceLeaders.org

The Relentless School Nurse: Taking my Seat at the Congressman’s Table

On February 16, 2018, two days after the Parkland shootings, the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) released this call to action: “American Academy of Nursing Calls for National Commission on Mass Shootings Washington, D.C. (February 16, 2018) –– Today, the American Academy of Nursing urges Congressional leadership to launch a bipartisan National Commission on Mass Shootings within the next thirty days. “The time to act is now. Thoughts and prayers for victims and families are simply not...

There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Parent [movetheworldfilms.org]

Parenting is one of the most important roles a person can fulfill in their lifetime so it may seem absurd to claim that there are no bad parents. Sure, there are some parents who are more prepared for the rigors of parenting, parents who have the means to provide a good life and the diligence needed to ensure their child has a proper moral upbringing. As long as a parent takes the job of parenting with the utmost seriousness and humility it doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from,...

Why Least Restrictive?

The sixth principle of the Child and Adolescent Service System Program principles is that service selection must be: Least restrictive/least intrusive: Services take place in settings that are the most appropriate and natural for the child and family and are the least restrictive and intrusive available to meet the needs of the child and family. If we look at this from a trauma informed perspective, it comes down to control over one’s own choices. Here are two important considerations: If a...

The Hidden Costs of Losing Your City's Newspaper [citylab.com]

When local newspapers shut their doors, communities lose out. People and their stories can’t find coverage. Politicos take liberties when it’s nobody’s job to hold them accountable. What the public doesn’t know winds up hurting them. The city feels poorer, politically and culturally. According to a new working paper, local news deserts lose out financially, too. Cities where newspapers closed up shop saw increases in government costs as a result of the lack of scrutiny over local deals, say...

Researchers determine exercise dose linked to improved cognition in older adults [medicalxpress.com]

Staying mentally sharp—that's aging Americans' highest priority, according to the National Council on Aging. While thousands of clinical trials suggest that exercising the body can protect or improve brain health as we age, few studies provide practical prescriptive guidance for how much and what kind of exercise. Now, an exhaustive systematic review of 4,600 clinical trials—led by researchers at the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical...

Amid a Flurry of Immigration Scandals, Activists Stay Focused on the Trump Administration's Separation of Families [psmag.com]

Faced with overlapping controversies over its treatment of undocumented children, the Trump administration attempted this week to walk back previous statements that it had lost track of hundreds of undocumented children formerly in its care. Immigrant rights advocates disagreed about whether the administration should more closely monitor those children's whereabouts—but they were all unified in their outrage regarding the administration's ongoing separation of hundreds of migrant children...

If Addiction Is a Disease, Why Is Relapsing a Crime? [nytimes.com]

When Julie Eldred tested positive for fentanyl in 2016, 11 days into her probation for a larceny charge, she was sent to jail. Such outcomes are typical in the American criminal justice system, even though, as Ms. Eldred’s lawyer has argued, ordering a drug addict to abstain from drug use is tantamount to mandating a medical outcome — because addiction is a brain disease, and relapsing is a symptom of it. Ms. Eldred’s case, now before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, has the...

A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work? [npr.org]

Justin Napier is exactly the kind of community college graduate Tennessee was hoping for. In high school, Napier didn't have his eye on college. In fact, he had a job lined up working on race cars after graduation. But in the spring of 2014, a year before Napier graduated, Gov. Bill Haslam announced a plan to make community college free for graduating high school seniors, part of a broader plan to dramatically increase the number of adults in Tennessee with college credentials. It was...

The Largest Health Disparity We Don’t Talk About [nytimes.com]

I didn’t think our relationship would last, but neither did I think it would end so soon. My patient had struggled with bipolar disorder his entire life, and his illness dominated our years together. He had, in a fit of hopelessness, tried to take his life with a fistful of pills. He had, in an episode of mania, driven his car into a tree. But the reason I now held his death certificate — his sister and mother in tears by his bed — was more pedestrian: a ruptured plaque in his coronary...

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