In The News | NAMI

Republican candidates are talking about mental health. Is there room for bipartisanship?

Posted on November 17, 2023

USA Today

Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO, sees the rising prominence of mental health issues as an inevitable result of the record number of Americans dealing with conditions like depression and anxiety. “We know now, more than ever, that people need care,” Wesolowski said. “The conversations for better or worse show that there's recognition that we have to do something. We cannot sit by and wait.” Presidential candidates are addressing the issue, Wesolowski said, “because they know if they don't address it, we're going to face a tsunami of mental health consequences in the future.” Still, while conversations around mental health are gaining prominence, Wesolowski expressed concern that increasing calls for institutionalization of people with mental illness by some candidates in the 2024 race could stymie progress and could further stigmatize those with mental health conditions. “We can't just focus on locking people up or talking about people as if they are some other population. They’re friends, they’re neighbors, they're our spouses, our children,” Wesolowski said, arguing that efforts to re-institutionalize people serves as a “misinterpretation of what is needed.”


One Brooklyn community fears safety amidst a lack of mental health resources

Posted on November 12, 2023


As mental health care shortages plague communities across the country, many Americans face a difficult question. In the rare cases when someone with untreated mental illness acts violently, what's the best way to keep both the person and the community safe? NAMI CAO Hannah Wesolowski stated the biggest challenge that we see is just the availability of care. Wesolowski added, “there's long waitlists for mental health providers. There is often inability to get care in an insurance network. If somebody needs inpatient care, which is not the first stop but is the right type of care for some people, it's often not available."


Cities know the way police respond to mental crisis calls needs to change. But how?

Posted on November 9, 2023

NPR Shots

In 2020, the Crisis Receiving for Behavioral Health center ("Crib") opened in Downtown Sacramento and receives people experiencing a mental health crisis. The center allows them to stay for 24 hours and get connected to other services. “Physical locations linked to services, like Crib, are a crucial part of a well-functioning 988 system,” said Jennifer Snow, National Director of Government Relations, Policy and Advocacy for NAMI. "Those crisis stabilization programs are key to helping people not languish in the ER or unnecessarily get caught up in the criminal justice system," Snow said. “It's too early to know how the nation is progressing overall on building up these kinds of centers,” Snow said.


‘Kids are struggling’: Suicide rate soaring for Black children, teens nationwide

Posted on November 8, 2023

Cox Media Syndicated: Boston 25 News

A recent Johns Hopkins University analysis of CDC data reveals that in 2022 the gun suicide rate for Black teens surpassed that of white teens for the first time and the suicide rate for Black kids and teens has tripled over the past two decades. “Whether it be racism, discrimination…kids are struggling across so many different domains and then in addition to that there’s bullying,” said Dr. Christine Crawford, NAMI associate medical director, in a taped on-camera interview. Dr. Crawford said many Black students are facing more stressors and they may not have all the necessary tools to cope with them. Crawford believes this process starts at home. “Prioritizing conversations around mental health is a matter of safety and quite frankly it’s a matter of your children’s life,” said Crawford.


How to Deal With a Narcissist Boss, Co–Parent, or Child

Posted on November 7, 2023

Yahoo Life

You can’t always just leave the narcissist in your life if it’s a parent or co-parent, boss, or child. “A disorder implies poor functioning, but there are plenty of successful people who are narcissistic and live happy lives,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI CMO. “If you’re fine with not having meaningful relationships, if it works for you on some level, you might do nothing. But I think empathy can be learned through group work and psychotherapy. I don’t think you’re doomed if you want to work on the problem.” If people exiting your life have told you that you are self-centered, that you lack empathy, and that you weren’t willing to consider their experience, consider getting a therapist, urges Dr. Duckworth.


Biden, Trump HHS honchos spar at Milken

Posted on November 6, 2023

Politico Future Pulse

Technology is often blamed for young people’s mental health struggles. It can also be a solution, panelists at the Future of Health Summit said. “Siri, I’m feeling depressed.” Encouraging a young person to start a conversation about their mental health care, even with Apple’s assistant, Siri, can make a difference, said Daniel Gillison, NAMI CEO. In response, Siri says it’s sorry to hear that and offers to connect the person to a family or friend or refer them to the alliance’s website, Gillison said at a session on America’s youth mental health crisis. Why it matters: While devices and social media are often seen as contributors to teens’ anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, they can also help youth get support with their mental health struggles, Gillison said.


Talking to kids about tragedy in wake of Maine mass shootings

Posted on October 31, 2023

Yahoo! News

In the wake of the mass shootings in Lewiston, Maine, many parents are navigating how to talk to their kids about the tragedy. Dr. Christine Crawford, NAMI associate medical director, said there is no one right way to talk to kids but simply talking, listening, and reassuring are key. “One way to start is to ask the kids what they think about the current situation, how does it make them feel, what have they heard about it, so you know exactly where you’re starting from,” Crawford said. “From there they can talk about what feelings and emotions it brings up for them.” Parents should reassure kids they are safe, she said, and that there is hope in a world that seems scary. “Safety is key because for a lot of kids, especially young kids, they just want to know the adults in their lives can take care of them and keep them safe,” Crawford said. “But when you hear about all these unsafe events, it makes kids wonder, ‘Are the adults able to protect me if something were to go wrong?’”


Transgender students: How controversy over NJ school policy is taking a toll

Posted on October 31, 2023

NJ Spotlight News

Transgender students say rollback of transgender protections makes schools less safe and welcoming. Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO, said too many people assume every child has a supportive home environment, which isn’t always the case. “We’re losing too many kids every single day and we need to do more to tell our kids that they are perfect as they are, that we love them, we accept them and do everything we can to protect our children’s health and well-being,” Wesolowski said. She added that the discussion of anti-LGBTQ+ policies alone can have a hugely detrimental impact on youth who may feel like the resources, support and access to care they benefit from are at risk. This leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality, Wesolowski added.


Young adults suffer from anxiety, depression twice as often as teens

Posted on October 24, 2023

The Washington Post

Young adults in the U.S. experience anxiety and depression twice as frequently as teenagers, according to a new survey report by the Harvard University Making Caring Common project. The high levels of mental illness reflect the current challenging conditions for entering adulthood. For the first time since the Great Depression, the most common living arrangement for people in their 20s is with one or both parents. “Transitioning to independence and to adulthood has been pretty hard for our young people nowadays,” said Christine Crawford, NAMI associate medical director and psychiatrist. “There are a lot of concerns that have to do with finances, as well as uncertainty about what their future could bring.”


Gen Z young adults face double the depression and anxiety of teens, Harvard report finds

Posted on October 24, 2023


Dr. Christine Crawford, NAMI associate medical director, said the report's findings correspond with what she sees in her practice. "This transitional period [to adulthood] has always been the same, but young people [now] are consistently being inundated by messages of what's happening to the world, the environment, and that's further fueling some of the mood-related symptoms they're experiencing," she said. Crawford added that heightened anxiety among parents and the trend in recent decades of an "all hands-on deck, micromanaging" style of parenting have led to young people not being as well prepared to enter adulthood.

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