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Recs for supporting youth mental health!

Thank you to SJPC Counsel member Asha Kreiling for all of your hard work creating this write-up!

In this article we're taking a look at Item #2 from the 2p 5/11 Sac County BOS meeting.

What was this item all about you ask?

Well, let me tell you!

Item 2: Recommendations From The Sacramento County Public Health Advisory Board Regarding Youth Mental Health And Correctional Health Prevention Of And Alternatives To Incarceration (Health Services) Supervisorial District(s)

In this article we'll be discussing the highlighted portion of the item: youth mental health. Specifically, the recs from the Sac County Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) regarding this important topic.

*If you're interested, you can find a link to the meeting agenda here, and a link to video of the meeting here.

What's PHAB?

The Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) is an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors on public health matters.

PHAB website page linked here

Watch Chair Don Nottoli pronounce PHAB as “fab” like “fabulous” in the video below!

In early 2021, PHAB established a working committee to review the public health outcomes around youth mental health and the impact of COVID-19 on school-age children in Sacramento County. After reviewing state CDC data and hearing from elected school board members and community advocates, PHAB recommends that the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors consider a strategy to:

enhance school-based mental health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services

Sonal Patel from PHAB gave a presentation - slides linked here. Here’s the video:

What was said during the presentation?

  • Sonal first gave an overview of youth mental health by the numbers, looking at stats from before and since the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Then, she emphasized the necessity of providing school-based mental health services by explaining that these services:

    • Reduce and eliminate barriers to accessing mental health services and treatment

    • Serve students where they are, by trusted peers and teachers

    • Increase access to mental health services which can then further reduce the burden on the county mental health system

    • Normalize access to mental health services, which can help to destigmatize mental health treatment

    • Provide prevention and early intervention, which can reduce or prevent poor academic outcomes and improve mental health and life outcomes

Sonal listed the 4 recommendations of PHAB:

  1. Provision of youth and parent-friendly mental health literacy education

  2. Training for teachers and staff on mental health screening, prevention, early intervention practices, and recognition of children who need more intensive care

  3. Telehealth mental health services, including access to mindfulness mobile applications

  4. School-based peer to peer or near peer mentoring programs

Listen to Sonal make these recs in the video below!

What did the Supes have to say?

Supervisor Kennedy:

  • Commended the County for now having a Youth Mental Health Board and for working towards having a clinician at every school. He said he hopes they will take the information to heart as they look at the Sac County Budget in the coming months

Supervisor (Vice Chair) Desmond:

  • Agreed with and supported the recommendations, calling the peer programs, in addition to the clinicians on campus “crucial.” Supervisor Desmond expressed appreciation for PHAB raising the issue as he agrees there is a youth mental health crisis, as he has seen in his own children and their peers

Supervisor Serna:

  • Stressed the need to address substance use disorders in the youth mental health context, citing the tragic opiate and fentanyl overdoses of young people, not just adults

Watch a compilation of all the comments mentioned above in this video!

And finally, one last comment

Bina Lefkovitz with Sacramento County Office of Education (referred to as SCOE, pronounced sko-ee)

  • Described the youth mental health crisis faced by Sacramento County and said the PHAB’s recommendations focusing on school-based, peer to peer services would be the fastest way to provide the urgent support youth, parents, and schools need

  • She said peer to peer programs not only promote positive youth development and mental health outcomes, but they also give youth important life skills and agency to support others and solve problems

Check out the SCOE comment in the video below!

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