The Behavioral Health Needs of Youth With Preexisting Psychiatric Disorders in the Aftermath of COVID-19
Children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders are a sizable population of children and youth with special health care needs. While the capabilities of behavioral health resources to meet these youth's needs were already strained, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic extended resource limitations just as this subgroup of children and youth with special health care needs faced new stressors and potential exacerbations of their underlying psychiatric illnesses. In this article, we provide a brief narrative review of the factors' manifestations with an emphasis upon their disproportionate impact upon children of color and their families and particularly those from disadvantaged communities. We proceed to provide policy proposals for addressing these disparities. These include raising reimbursement for behavioral health services, increasing telehealth care delivery, reducing inter-state licensing requirements, increasing community-based services, and addressing social determinants of health. Conclusions and directions for strengthening behavioral health service delivery capabilities and addressing systemic injustices are made.
Parent Depression and Anger in Peer-Delivered Parent Support Services
Knowledge about parents who seek peer-delivered parent support services in children's mental health is limited. In this prospective study, characteristics of 124 parents who sought peer parent advocate services related to their children's behavioral difficulties are described. This urban sample consisted primarily of low-income mothers of color, 80% of whom were caring for children with clinically significant behavioral problems. Of these parents, 64% endorsed clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms at baseline. Linear mixed effects models were used to examine associations between parent depression and anger expression with working alliances with peer advocates. No independent or combined effects of parent depression or anger expression on working alliance were found. However, adjusting for family demographic factors, caregiver strain and child symptoms, parent depression interacted with anger expression to influence working alliances, primarily around agreement and mutual engagement on goals. Among parents who endorsed clinically significant depressive symptoms, anger expression did not influence working alliance but among non-depressed parents, anger expression was negatively associated with working alliance. Implications for training peer parent advocates to more effectively engage low income parents are discussed.
Turn 2 Us: Outcomes of an Urban Elementary School-based Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Program Serving Ethnic Minority Youths
Many school-age children in the United States with social, emotional, and behavioral problems do not receive mental health services. These problems negatively affect their social and behavioral functioning and academic achievement. This is particularly a problem for Latino youths, who represent the largest ethnic minority group in the United States and the largest group with unmet need for mental health services. School-based mental health promotion and prevention programs (SBMH-PPs) can mitigate such problems. This article describes such a program, located in an underserved area of northern Manhattan, New York City. A study was conducted to examine the effects of this SBMH-PP, which served 174 predominantly Latino at-risk students from two urban elementary schools during the 2008-2009 school year. Pre and post teacher reports, attendance rates, and academic scores were used to analyze the effects of the SBMH-PP on these students. Results demonstrated increased prosocial behavior and classroom compliance, as well as improved academic achievement. Improvement was also found in attendance when compared with a control group of similar students not served by the program. The outcomes of this study provide further evidence for the effectiveness of SBMH-PPs that serve minority youths in elementary schools.
The Development and Evaluation of a Parent Empowerment Program for Family Peer Advocates
Family-to-family services are emerging as an important adjunctive service to traditional mental health care and a vehicle for improving parent engagement and service use in children's mental health services. In New York State, a growing workforce of Family Peer Advocates (FPA) is delivering family-to-family services. We describe the development and evaluation of a professional program to enhance Family Peer Advocate professional skills, called the Parent Engagement and Empowerment Program (PEP). We detail the history and content of PEP and provide data from a pre/post and 6-month follow up evaluation of 58 FPA who participated in the first Statewide regional training effort. Self-efficacy, empowerment, and skills development were assessed at 3 time points: baseline, post-training, and 6-month follow-up. The largest changes were in self-efficacy and empowerment. Regional differences suggest differences in Family Peer Advocate workforce across areas of the state. This evaluation also provides the first systematic documentation of Family Peer Advocate activities over a six-month period. Consistent with peer specialists within the adult health care field, FPA in the children's mental health field primarily focused on providing emotional support and service access issues. Implications for expanding family-to-family services and integrating it more broadly into provider organizations are described.
Parents' ethnic-racial socialization practices: a review of research and directions for future study
Recently, there has been an emergence of literature on the mechanisms through which parents transmit information, values, and perspectives about ethnicity and race to their children, commonly referred to as racial or ethnic socialization. This literature has sought to document the nature of such socialization, its antecedents in parents' and children's characteristics and experiences, and its consequences for children's well-being and development. In this article, the authors integrate and synthesize what is known about racial and ethnic socialization on the basis of current empirical research, examining studies concerning its nature and frequency; its child, parent, and ecological predictors; and its consequences for children's development, including ethnic identity, self-esteem, coping with discrimination, academic achievement, and psychosocial well-being. The authors also discuss conceptual and methodological limitations of the literature and suggest directions for future research.