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Advancing behavioral health equity – start in schools

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Many factors impact the behavioral health of our school children. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious contributor, but so is the issue of behavioral health equity. Long before the pandemic, children’s mental health was a growing crisis. According to the Surgeon General’s 2021 advisory on youth mental health, up to 1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 struggled with a reported mental, emotional, developmental or behavioral disorder. Additionally, approximately half of the 7.7 million children with a treatable mental health disorder did not receive adequate treatment.1 What is behavioral health equity? Behavioral Health Equity is the right to access quality health care for all populations regardless of the individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or geographical location….

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Yin and yang: Your introvert’s and extrovert’s happy return to school

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taught you a lot about resilience as you work from home, while also managing your children, and possibly even educating them.

Consequently, you’ve learned a lot about yourself and your family. However, there may be one revelation that took you by surprise.

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Increasing behavioral health equity in Massachusetts: MBHP will award $250K in grant funding

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The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) is a Beacon Health Options company and a leader in helping people lead healthier lives through access to critical services. As part of its commitment to behavioral health equity and access, MBHP recently awarded more than $130K in grants to five organizations from across the Commonwealth to increase access to and engagement in behavioral healthcare for diverse populations. This funding is the first round of a grant cycle that will ultimately distribute $250K in grants focused on this pressing issue. MBHP received more than 100 submissions from across Massachusetts. After a comprehensive review and decision-making process, the following organizations were awarded grant funding: Aspire Health Alliance Community Health Network Area 17 The Learning Center…

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Black Mental Health Pioneers

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This Black History Month we express our gratitude for the contributions of Black Americans who have fought, and continue to fight, for health equity. We recognize that there is more to be done to achieve equity in healthcare. Beacon Health Options is dedicated to advancing Behavioral Health Equity so that all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and geographic or financial access can receive individualized care that demonstrates cultural humility and improves their health and well-being. This month, we shine a light on just a few of the pioneers who have paved the way for deeper understanding and better lives for all. From groundbreaking early research sparking debate on desegregation, to new techniques and therapies we recognize…

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Helping kids cope in challenging times: 4 helpful tips

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Everyday life can feel overwhelming to even the strongest adult. It’s not surprising then, that children often have a difficult time understanding – much less coping – with modern stressors. Acts of violence, the threat of school shootings, civic unrest and anxiety about COVID-19 are just a few of the many challenges facing our kids. Fortunately, parents, school officials and other caregivers can take action to help children understand the world around them and learn positive coping skills. While the child’s age and developmental stage should inform your approach, here are some general tips for helping kids cope with challenging situations: Have open and honest conversations about safety. Be honest with children about the dangers that exist but do so…

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National Gratitude Month 2021: Why focusing on the positive helps improve physical and mental well-being

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Gratitude’s amazing powers can shift us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives. Taking the time to remember all the things to be thankful for—especially during the pandemic—that simple act of gratitude, of appreciating the good in our lives, and those around us, can help improve physical, emotional, and mental health. And with November being #NationalGratitudeMonth, it is a nice reminder that the simple act of taking the time to be thankful can help improve our lives. The quality of being thankful improves physical and mental well-being. “Gratitude erases negativity. Every time you think “this isn’t my day,” stop for a second,  and start going over in your mind everything you have to be grateful…

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A time to reflect on suicide prevention

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Trigger Warning: The below blog post is focused on suicide prevention, suicide, and mental healthcare We know from our State of the Nation’s Mental Health Report that in spite of Americans’ increased emotional distress resulting from the pandemic, there is a disconnect between this escalated distress and a flat rate of diagnosis in 2020. Suicide can be the result of an untreated mental health condition. One in four young adults globally are estimated to be experiencing depression in 2020 and 2021, according to a global study published in JAMA. We believe mental health is health. Physical and mental health are linked and must be addressed equally and in tandem for overall, whole-person health. It is critical that anyone thinking about…

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Boost productivity: Support the mental health of employees working remotely

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our mental health is becoming well-known.

In a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 40 percent of American adults reported symptoms of anxiety and depression due to pandemic-related stressors. Social isolation, job loss, added parenting stress and general upheaval can all explain the added pressure.

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Support your child’s behavioral health through the pandemic and beyond

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Adjusting to the “new normal” during this past year’s pandemic may leave us wondering what exactly is considered unhealthy.

Regarding child and adolescent mental health, the line between typical developmental behaviors and those that require professional help can be difficult to discern even in the best of times—which means monitoring for unhealthy behaviors is that much more important during the ongoing public health crisis.

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Suicide and COVID-19: The time for suicide prevention is now

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Highlighting an interview with the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), Beacon Health Options posted a blog in September about the potential impact of COVID-19 on suicide rates in the United States.

The blog pointed out that suicide data from 2018 — the most recent we have on suicide trends — can tell us little about anything today, such as a reaction to the pandemic, making it difficult to inform prevention efforts.

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