News

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Child Abuse and Suicide Prevention

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) featured an article underscoring the relationship between child abuse and risk of suicide for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse has deleterious impacts on lifetime mental health, including increased risk for suicide. In the wake of COVID-19, families are experiencing elevated levels of stress, economic instability, and social isolation, which may increase youth exposure to abuse. SPRC highlights an opportunity to prevent child abuse and suicide by strengthening family support environments during this difficult time.

The ASAP Center offers training in evidence-based, trauma-informed treatments for suicide prevention among at risk youths: SAFETY and SAFETY-A. These family-centered approaches to youth suicide prevention improve family functioning and suicide-related outcomes by enhancing family support. Click here to learn more about our treatment programs for suicide, self-harm, and depression.

New SAMHSA Guidance for Treatment of Youth with Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a new guide on evidence-based care for treatment of youths with suicidality called “Treatment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth.” The ASAP Center offers training and support in the use of SAFETY-A and SAFETY for youth suicide prevention. Since traumatic stress is associated with increased suicide and self-harm risk, the ASAP Center aims to support trauma-informed approaches to suicide and self-harm prevention. Learn more about our trauma-informed interventions in the new SAMHSA guide on pages 24 and 25.

Free virtual event: ASAP Center Co-Director, Dr. David Goldston, was on expert panel for Andy Irons Foundation + Billabong

The Andy Irons Foundation and Billabong partnered to offer a viewing of pro surfer Andy Irons’ documentary “Kissed by God”. The expert panel, including Dr. David Goldston, presented a virtual roundtable discussion on mental health. The event concluded with a tribute to Andy’s legacy by the heavy metal band, Metallica.

Register to watch the entire virtual event for free: https://www.sas.com/en_ca/webinars/2020/surfing-the-second-wave.html

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for all age groups between 10 and 34 years of age in the United States. Now is the time to consider what you can do to take a stand for suicide prevention. Our team at the ASAP Center is dedicated to the advancement of trauma-informed suicide prevention care through state-of-the-art interventions and evidence-based treatments that work for youth and their families. During this Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we are working to reach out to existing and potential new partners to work together to improve suicide prevention care and improve outcomes for youth and families.

We invite you to explore:

New Resources on Evaluation and Management of Suicide Risk in Pediatric Practice

Video series on mental health developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics features Dr. Joan Asarnow, Center Director, addressing questions about how to evaluate and manage suicide risk in pediatric practice. This Mental Health Minute Video Series is designed to provide education to support pediatricians as they care for children and youth. The series aims to improve knowledge and skills during the current national crisis and in the future. https://services.aap.org/en/patient-care/mental-health-minute/suicide/. Also see brief fact sheet.

Click here for NEW TELEHEALTH GUIDANCE FOR YOUTHS AT RISK FOR SUICIDE.

New Telehealth Guidance for Youths at Risk for Suicide

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, care providers increasingly offer mental health services via telehealth and other virtual platforms. We have developed trauma-informed recommendations for care providers, who are remotely evaluating and treating youths with suicidal and self-harm thoughts and behaviors. This tip sheet covers a variety of considerations which include navigating a telehealth session, addressing youth safety, and working with the patient’s caregiver to foster a safe environment. Although we tailor tips to the COVID-19 restrictions, these recommendations could be applied outside of the pandemic.

Please continue to stay tuned for weekly updates on self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access our broad tip sheet here.

Staying Socially Connected during COVID-19

We hope that you and your families are healthy and staying safe. We are all affected by the current COVID-19 situation and this week we expand on our tips for getting through these challenging times. Click here for our tip sheet. Continue to check back weekly as we expand on tips and provide updates!

Social support is important. During this time of “social distancing” you can still stay connected with people in your life using phone, texts, emails, FaceTime or other ways of connecting. Reaching out to friends and family can provide support and keep you connected with others.

1. Physical distancing is NOT social distancing. Although we remain physically distanced from others right now, maintaining connection is more important than ever.

2. Schedule in time to connect. Set aside time every day to keep up with your loved ones. Whether it’s a quick text exchange, an email, or a phone call or video chat, staying connected during this time is essential. 

3. Get creative. There are many ways to interact virtually while staying physically separated. You might consider throwing a birthday party for a family member through Zoom, celebrating a holiday together on FaceTime, streaming a live exercise class online, scheduling a virtual Netflix watch party or hosting a virtual game night.

4. Remember you are not alone. See this link for helpful coping strategies that others are using to handle the pandemic. Check out these sweet animals from the UCLA People-Animal Connection thanking our frontline healthcare workers!

Note: Links are provided only as a convenience and for informational purposes. Listing of a link does not constitute an endorsement or an approval of any of the listed products, or associated services or opinions. UCLA, the ASAP Center, and Center directors and team members bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links.

Healthy Habits during the COVID-19 Pandemic

We hope that you and your families are healthy and staying safe. In one way or another, we are all affected by the current COVID-19 situation and this week we expand on our tips for getting through these challenging times. Click here for our tip sheet. Continue to check back weekly as we expand on tips and provide updates!

Stay healthy and take care of your body. Try to eat well, get some exercise, sleep well, and address physical illness.  

1. Try out a new, healthy recipe. Cooking can also bring you feelings of happiness and accomplishment. For free cooking guides, recipes and to create your own recipe box, check out this page. For additional cooking resources, click here.

2. Get into a workout routine. Home workouts, fitness and yoga classes can be a great substitute for the gym during this time. Find and maintain a routine that works well for you!

3. Practice sleep hygiene. With schedule changes, many are finding that their sleep routine is disrupted. Keeping a consistent bedtime, avoiding caffeine, exercising, and removing electronics from your bedroom can help you sleep better. See this sheet for more sleep tips.

4. Breathe. Bring down your stress and anxiety by using paced breathing exercises throughout the day.

Note: Links are provided only as a convenience and for informational purposes. Listing of a link does not constitute an endorsement or an approval of any of the listed products, or associated services or opinions. UCLA, the ASAP Center, and Center directors and team members bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links.

Self-care Helps Us Care for Others

We hope that you and your families are healthy and staying safe. In one way or another, we are all affected by the current COVID-19 situation and this week we expand on our tips for getting through these challenging times. Click here for our tip sheet. Check back weekly as we expand on tips and provide updates!

Taking care of yourself is a priority. If you are not doing well, you will be less able to help your children or others through this challenging period.

1. Schedule self care and breaks. Set aside a specific time to care for yourself each day. A cup of tea, cooking a new recipe, or a phone call with a friend go a long way.

2. Build a routine with some fun in it, schedule activities that improve your mood. Remember to enjoy what you can! Start your day with a funny joke, video or listen to uplifting music. Check out this uplifting virtual performance.

3. Do it “mindfully”. Focusing on an activity can give you a break, help you let go of tensions, and focus on just one thing in the moment. While minds tend to drift to judgmental or stress-related thoughts, if this happens try to notice the thoughts without judging, and bring your mind back to the activity. Please click to learn more about mindfulness and for free guided mindfulness exercises.

Note: Links are provided only as a convenience and for informational purposes. Listing of a link does not constitute an endorsement or an approval of any of the listed products, or associated services or opinions. UCLA, the ASAP Center, and Center directors and team members bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links.

Self-care and Reliable Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic

We hope that you and your families are healthy and staying safe. In one way or another, we are all affected by the current COVID-19 situation.
Our science tells us that sometimes children and adults experience increased difficulties during times of crisis, and that many children and adults can also manage crisis situations with minimal difficulties. Indeed, children and adults often discover strengths in themselves and others and manage well in times of crisis, finding strengths that might have gone unnoticed previously.
We offer a few thoughts below. Each week, we’ll expand upon each of these points to provide you with five practical tips and ideas. Check back weekly for tips and updates!

1. Parents, providers, and other adults need to take care of themselves. You will be better able to take care of others if you are healthy, safe, and able to manage stress during these challenging times. Tips for self-care:

a. Make taking care of yourself a priority. If you are suffering, you will be less able to help your children through this challenging period.
b. Stay healthy and take care of your body. Try to eat well, get some exercise, sleep well, and address physical illness.
c. Social support is important. During this time of “social distancing” you can still stay connected with people in your life using phone, texts, emails, FaceTime or other ways of connecting. Reaching out to friends and family can provide support and keep you connected with others.
d. You can’t do it all by yourself. Asking others for help and support is not a sign of weakness, rather getting some help can make things go smoother for you and your family. Having others help by reading stories or engaging in activities with your children through online tools can also make a difference when kids are “sheltering at home” and can’t attend school or other activities.
e. Build in time for yourself. Finding some time to relax, enjoy a moment, or accomplish something you want to do is important for taking care of yourself. It may feel like there is no time; but taking time to take care of yourself can make you more effective at taking care of others, which can save time overall.
f. Show yourself compassion. Doing your best to follow your normal routines is an accomplishment. Give yourself credit for doing everyday tasks like doing the laundry and cooking meals for your family during this difficult time.
g. Focus on what you can control at this time. Worrying about when schools may reopen or the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 are things outside of your control. Instead try to spend time thinking about things you can directly influence at this time, such as what your family is going to do together this evening.
h. Contact your health or mental health care provider or a national help line if you need care.

i. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service). Open 24 hours every day. TTY: 1-800-799-4889
ii. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Help available 24 hours every day at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); TTY: 1-800-487-4889
iii. 911 for emergency medical care

2. Manage information and get information from reliable sources.

a. While you do want to be informed, a constant stream of bad news can be stressful.
b. Rely on information from reliable sources. For information on COVID-19 and/or wellness, accurate information can be obtained from:

www.cdc.gov
www.nih.gov
www.nimh.nih.gov
www.samhsa.gov