Health & Wellness Newsletter – Mental Health Awareness Month
May 23, 2023

Health and Wellness Newsletter
A colorful sign with the words "You belong"

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As the arrival of spring brings blooming flowers and joyful moments, it’s crucial to take a moment to focus on our own mental health and well-being. Embracing self-care is not only essential, but also encouraging to witness more people prioritizing their mental health, breaking the stigma, and promoting awareness.

By caring for our mental health, we improve our physical and emotional well-being, enhance resilience, and develop healthier ways to manage life’s challenges. This May, let’s explore strategies like immersing ourselves in nature, connecting with loved ones, practicing mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, spending time with pets, volunteering, prioritizing sleep, joining support groups, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Valuing our own mental health helps us create a ripple effect of positivity and empathy, making a meaningful impact on ourselves and others around us.

We are sharing a multitude of resources surrounding mental health this month that you can utilize in your programs and beyond. 

In This Newsletter:

Child Trends logo

Building Protective Communities for Black Children and Families
Tuesday, June 13, 2023; 11:00 AM PST

Child Trends is hosting a webinar focused on creating and maintaining supportive communities for Black children and their families, aiming to address racial inequities and promote the conditions necessary for their overall well-being and success by bringing together experts from various fields to discuss strategies and share their visions for protective communities.

Register today!

Photo of three people looking to the left is a new resource that provides access to support for issues with mental health, drugs, or alcohol. Explore how to find care near you, learn about treatment options, support for coping with issues, and how you can help others around you. There is also live chat, call, and text for those that need immediate support.

Photo of two children laughing

Communities Must Tailor Youth Suicide Prevention Efforts to Those Who Need Them Most

Research shows that youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth have elevated suicide risk, highlighting the need for tailored prevention strategies. Child Trends’ new brief Communities Must Tailor Youth Suicide Prevention Efforts to Those Who Need Them Most offers three recommendations to help community-based organizations tailor their youth suicide prevention efforts to these populations’ unique needs and strengths:

  • Center youth voice by prioritizing their leadership and input in developing youth suicide prevention programs. 
  • Identify youth suicide risk factors and promote protective factors that capitalize on a population’s strengths. 
  • Partner with other organizations in youth’s communities to coordinate efforts and leverage each group’s unique strengths.
Photo of two drawn heads

Adolescents Need More Proactive, Preventative Mental Health Supports in School

According to the CDC, American youth are facing a severe mental health crisis, with suicide rates among them increasing in 2021 after a two-year decline. Anxiety, stress, and mental health challenges are also on the rise among adolescents. In an article for EdSurge, Sara Potler LaHayne emphasizes how the implementation of proactive and preventative support, such as social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, is crucial to address the underlying conditions that lead to violence, self-harm, and bullying.

CalHHS logo

Mental Health Resources for Youth

Supporting the mental health of our young people is more important than ever. The California Department of Health and Human Services (CalHHS) has created a Youth Mental Health Resource Hub to promote a #GoldenStateOfMind. From resources on coping with stress to toolkits that support well-being, this resource hub is a valuable tool for parents, educators, youth & everyone who cares about improving the mental health of our young people. 

Screenshot of Dear Colleague letter from SAMHSA

Risks of Xylazine

SAMHSA is issuing an alert about the risks associated with xylazine, a non-opioid agent increasingly found in combination with opioids like fentanyl, which can cause severe circulatory changes and tissue damage. Xylazine is known as “tranq” or “tranq dope” in the illicit drug market and poses dangers including drowsiness, respiratory depression, and potentially life-threatening skin wounds. SAMHSA emphasizes the need for practitioners to be aware of xylazine risks, manage patients accordingly, and provide counseling and harm reduction advice. 


Evidence-Based Roadmap for Supporting and Affirming LGBTQI+ Youth

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a report emphasizing the importance of supporting and affirming LGBTQI+ youth. The report, Moving Beyond Change Efforts: Evidence and Action to Support and Affirm LGBTQI+ Youth highlights the resilience of LGBTQI+ youth when they receive support but also acknowledges the mental health crisis caused by discrimination, rejection, and bullying. 

The report emphasizes that it is normal and healthy for children to identify as LGBTQI+ and that all children should have their sexual orientation or gender identity affirmed and supported.