Mental Health Disorders- Child Trends Adolescent Health Highlight (2013)

This newsletter published by Child Trends is an informative resource that clarifies a lot of common questions regarding adolescent mental health.  The newsletter contains definitions of mental health terminology, facts and figures about current mental health trends, a list of warning signs and common mental disorders among adolescents.  There is also information about treatment, mental healthcare access and barriers to care, strategies for reducing mental disorders among adolescents and a list of comprehensive resources.

Citation:

Murphey, D., Barry, M., and B. Vaughn. (2013). Mental Health Disorders. Child Trends Adolescent Health Highlights.

Link to “Mental Health Disorders”

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Go Ask Alice!

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Go Ask Alice! is Columbia University’s health Q&A Internet resource. There are six category pages of questions answered —Alcohol & Other Drugs, Emotional Health, Fitness and Nutrition, General Health, Relationships, and Sexual and Reproductive Health. The goal of Go Ask Alice! is to keep readers inquisitive, informed, and healthy.

This resource is good for educators, young people who have questions, and organizations that work with young people. This resource is also valuable to parents.

To read more about Go Ask Alice! click here. 

Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

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This research study, conducted by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, examines the relationships of teenagers with the various social media that are a big part of modern life. The study states that social media are designed to encourage the sharing of personal information in a public form and, though teenagers have confidence in their ability to adjust the privacy settings of their profiles, they overwhelmingly feel unconcerned about the possibility of unwanted third parties contacting them or accessing their information. Furthermore, the amount of information being shared by teens online has risen significantly since the last study conducted in 2006.

While the study does not explicitly reference any specific implications, the results are relevant to adolescent sexual health in a variety of ways, including the potential for exposure to solicitation or unwanted advertising by companies and individuals and the task of building and maintaining relationships, as well as an online presence and reputation. It is important that youth learn about the responsible use of social media and the potential risks of sharing personal information online.

The Pew Research Center provides nonpartisan, factual information to the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. To read the full report, visit their webpage or click the image above.

California Core Competencies for Providers of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs/Services (2008)

The Core Competencies are intended for adult providers of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and serve as a foundation of professional capabilities that all providers should strive to possess in order to deliver effective, sensitive and appropriate sexual health care and services to adolescents.

The Core Competencies are divided into 5 major domains:

  1. Professional and Legal Role
  2. Adolescent Development
  3. Youth-centered Approach and Youth Culture
  4. Sexual and Reproductive Health
  5. Pregnancy-STIs-HIV

Information is provided that details what a provider should know and should be able to do for each domain.

Citation:

Core Competencies Subcommittee of the Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group (ASHWH), California Core Competencies for Providers of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs/Services. 2008. Core Competencies.

Link to “California Core Competencies for Providers of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health.”

Our Trans Children (2007)

“Our Trans Children” is a resource published by the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) that covers a vast number of topics and issues and provides answers to common questions regarding transgender issues.  This specific edition also features information regarding children with gender-variant behaviors.

The booklet provides detailed answers to commonly asked questions.  The topics and questions are grouped into the following categories:

  • Some Commonly Asked Questions about Trans People
  • Similarities and Differences Between Sexual Orientation and Gender Variance
  • Who are Intersex People?
  • Issues of Transgender Youth
  • Trans People and the Law
  • A New Day is Dawning
  • Resources

Citation:

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Transgender Network (TNET). Our Trans Children. 2007.

Link to PDF for “Our Trans Children.”

Programs that Work (2008)

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Advocates for Youth is an organization that is

Dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

The Science and Success (2nd ed. 2008): Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections publication highlights 26 U.S Based programs that have been proven effictive at delaying sexual initiation or reducing sexual risk taking among teens.

  • 14 out of 26 of the programs demonstrated a statistically significant delay in the timing of first sex among youth.
  • 14 out of 26 of the programs increased use of condoms
  • 9 out of 26 demonstrated an increase of other forms of contraception
  • 13 out of 26 showed a reduction in the number of sex partners and/or an increase in monogamy among participants
  • 7 out of 26 assisted sexually active youth to reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse
  • 10 out of 26 helped reduce the incidence of unprotected sex.
  • 13 out of 26 programs showed a decline in tenn pregnancy, HIV or other STIs.
  • 9 out of 26  showed a significant impact on teen pregnancy
  • 4 out of 26 showed a reduced trend in STIs
  • 6 programs achieved improvements in youth’s receipt of health care.

23 of the programs listed in the publication include information about absitence and contraception. The remaining three are programs for early childhood interventions and one is service learning program.

To visit Advocates For Youth’s website click HERE.

For the full publication: Programs that work 2008 full rpt

For the Summary of Programs: Programs that work 2008 Exec Sum

Emerging Answers (2007)

In 2007 the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy issued a report on New Research that Identifies Effictive Teen Sex Education Programs and Other Interventions.

The report, conducted by Dr. Douglas Kirby, PhD, evaluates 115 programs. Two thirds of the programs examined focus on abstinence and contraception and their positive effect on teen behavior.

The report also includes results in regards to access to contraception, condoms and whether educational programs that include parents and teens have any affect on whether teens engage in sexual activity.

You can view the summary of the report here.

Or the full report here.

Visit The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States (2010)

This data brief published by the Centers for Disease Control shows data collected from teens (ages 15-19) who answered questions about formal sexual education they have received and whether or not teens talk to their parents about sex .  Sex education in schools and other places, as well as received from parents, provides adolescents with information to make informed choices about sex at a crucial period of their development.

  • Female teenagers were more likely than male teenagers to talk to their parents about “how to say no to sex,” methods of birth control, and where to get birth control
  • Parental communication about sex education topics with their teenagers is associated with delayed sexual initiation and increased birth control method and condom use among sexually experienced teenagers
  • About one-half of teenagers reported first receiving instruction on “how to say no to sex,” STDs, and how to prevent HIV/AIDS while in middle school.

Citation:  Martinez, G. (2010).  Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States.  CDC Data Brief.

Link to “Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States”

Comprehensive Sex Education: Research and Results (2009)

This research takes a look at federal spending on abstinence programs that are proven ineffective.  Statistics that compare the effectiveness of abstinence only programs with comprehensive sex education programs show that the latter is greater and that abstinence programs have no viewable effect on teens reducing sexual activity and/or using safety measures if they do engage in such acts.

  • A congressionally mandated study of four popular abstinence-only programs by the Mathematica found that they were entirely ineffective.  Students who participated in the programs were no more likely to abstain from sex than other students.
  • Experts estimate that about one young person in the United States is infected with HIV every hour of every day.
  • Among youth participating in “virginity pledge” programs, researchers found that among sexually experienced youth, 88 % broke the pledge and had sex before marriage.  Further, among all participants, once pledgers began to have sex, they had more partners in a shorter period of time and were less likely to use contraception or condoms than were their non-pledging peers.

In addition to the information regarding the research done on abstinence programs, the article also includes information regarding the success and need for comprehensive sex education.  According to studies completed, as listed in the article, comprehensive sex education works to reduce teen sexual behavior and encourages using safety measures.

Beyond the results, the article also provides the statistics and information as to why it is so crucial for comprehensive sex education programs.

Citation:  Advocates for Youth (2009).  Comprehensive Sex Education:  Research and Results.

Link to article.

Replicating Successful Programs (2006)

Plain Talk is a program developed by the Annie E Casey Foundation and was launched into five urban communities in 1993. The program is a neighborhood based initiative aimed at helping adults, parents, and community leaders develop the skills they need to communicate effectively with young people about reducing adolescent sexual risk taking. Plain Talk has been replicated in multiple communities across the United States.

The Goals of Plain talk are to:

  • Create consensus among parents and adults about the need to protect sexually active youth by encouraging early and consistent use of contraceptives.
  • To give parents and other community adults the information and skills they need to communicate more effectively with teens about responsible behavior.
  • To improve adolescent access to high-quality, age-appropriate and readily available reproductive health care, including contraception.

To find more information regarding the Plain Talk program visit The Annie E Casey Foundation and conduct a search for Plain Talk.

To view a summary of the Plain Talk Program, click the link below. Plaintalk.org is no longer a working web address for this organization.

Replicating Successful Programs- Plain Talk 2006

What the Research Says About Abstinence Only (2008)

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Over the past 25 years, Congress has spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  However, no professional scientific study has found these programs broadly effective.  This fact sheet, compiled by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), lists several professional study published in peer-reviewed journals with their findings about abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Several interesting conclusions include:

  • According to the researchers, in communities where there are a higher proportion of pledgers, overall STD rates were significantly higher than in other settings. Specifically, in communities where more than 20% of young adults had taken virginity pledges, STD rates were 8.9% compared to 5.5% in communities with few pledgers.
  • Further research found that, among those young people who have not had vaginal intercourse,pledgers were more likely to have engaged in both oral and anal sex than their non-pledging peers.  In fact, among virgins, male and female pledgers were six times more likely to have had oral sex than non-pledgers, and male pledgers were four times more likely to have had anal sex than those who had not pledged.
  • The average age of sexual debut was the same for the abstinence-only-until-marriage participants and control groups (14 years, 9 months).

Citation:  SIECUS (2008).  What the Research Says About Abstinence Only.

Link to “What Research Says About Abstinence Only Until Marriage Programs

I Think I Might Be Bisexual (2001)

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An indepth brochure for young adults by young adults who identify as bisexual. Topics include:

  • How do I know if I’m bisexual?
  • Am I normal?
  • What is it like to be young and bisexual?
  • How can I avoid HIV, STDs and involvement in unwanted pregnancy?
  • Whom should I tell?
  • How can I learn to like myself?

Additional resources for teens who identify as bisexual are also included on the brochure.

To view a PDF version of the brochure: I Think I Might Be Bisexual

U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity (2013)

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This report, compiled by Guttmacher Institute, contains the most recent statistics available (from 2008) on teenage pregnancy, birth, miscarriages and abortion.  It also details population trends and trends among states and information concerning different races and ethnicities.  The report is largely data, but has a lot of compelling key findings that are listed in the beginning of the report.

Some findings include:

  • New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate and New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota and Massachusetts had the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in 2008.
  • Teenage abortion rates was highest in New York in 2008.
  • New Jersey had the largest decrease in teen pregnancy rate between 2005-2008

Citation:

Kost, K. and Henshaw, S. U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity (2013).

Link to “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity.

Teen Pregnancy and Other Risky Behavior

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This fact sheet provided by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy covers statistics regarding drug, alcohol, tobacco use, delinquency and sexual activity among teens.  Teens who drink or use drugs are often more sexually active and less likely to use contraception than teens who do not use drugs or drink alcohol.

According to the NCPTP: More than one-third of sexually active teens and young adults ages 15-24 report that alcohol or drug use has influenced them to do something sexual.

To view the full document click below:

Teen Pregnancy and Other Risky Behavior

For more resources from the NCPTP visit their website: www.teenpregnancy.org

Teen Pregnancy and Education

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Teen pregnancy affects the educational achievements of teens themselves as well as the education of the children they have.  According to the NCPTP, parenthood is the leading cause of school drop out among teen girls.

This fact sheet covers the statistics related to teen pregnancy and education of the mother and the children born to teen parents. Less than half of teen mothers graduate high school and only two thirds of children born to teen mothers obtain a high school diploma.

To view all the statistics on the fact sheet click below:

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To visit the NCPTP website visit: www.teenpregnancy.org

Helping Pregnant and Parenting Teens Find Adequate Housing

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In 2002, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S Department of Justice estimated that there are 1,682,900 homeless and runaway youth under eighteen years of age in the United States. Of this number, anywhere from 6 to 22% are pregnant. This means that there could potentially be almost 400,000 homeless and pregnant young women in this country.

Understanding the resources available and law applicable to young parents to assist them in finding adequate housing is one way to help address the problem of homlessness among adolescent parents in the United States today.

The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and Healthy Teen Network collaborated to develop an overview of housing-related legal policy issues with which advocates for young families should be familiar. This is merely a guide to some of the legal and policies avenues that are available for pregnant parenting teens seeking housing supports. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice.

Some programs to obtain housing assistance include:

  • Section 8
  • Family Unification Program
  • Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program
  • Maternity Group Homes
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Transitional Housing
  • Extended Support for Foster  Youth

The guide provides details about each program and provides other information regarding finding housing for youth.

To view the full document click below:

Helping Pregnant and Parenting Teens Find Adequate Housing

For more resources from Health Teen Network visit their website: www.healthyteennetwork.org