Al Éxito has conducted focus groups about youth mental health with 60 middle and high school students across Iowa along with a mental health survey with 120 respondents. In the focus groups, students discussed barriers to receiving help or medical treatment when dealing with traumatic events or mental illness. One consistent issue for youth was lack of access to care due to their financial means and/or lack of health insurance and stigma from peers and parents.
What does opportunity look like for Iowa children (and we are doing the right things help them thrive)?
Iowans think our state is a good place to raise children. But does the reality live up to our reputation? To help answer this question, the Child and Family Policy Center worked in consultation with other child health advocates to develop a Child Opportunity Scorecard—a set of ten indicators that capture the broad range of what it takes to set a child up for success.
Research suggests that to change the social architecture of an environment (e.g., the “I” versus “Us” mentality) is to act as a “compassion architect” or a person that can activate and spread compassion.
Since 2012, Iowa has been working to redesign and improve the adult mental health system, but creating a system that works for children has largely been an afterthought. There has been considerable time and energy given to TALKING about creating a children’s mental system. Yet, Iowa has lacked the political will to move beyond talk to action…until now.
In response to a HealthConnect Fellow's question about how to foster collaboration in times of scarcity and competition, a respected thought leader shared that his perspective has been to view disagreement and different approaches to work as “positive stressors.” He shared that the perspective of “positive stressors” provides an opportunity to review the direction of coalitions and/or their goals to determine if work is moving in the right direction.
Getting to the tipping point requires building consensus on strategy and outcomes. It requires shared and consistent messaging. It requires both persistence and the ability to be nimble—to react and respond to emerging threats and opportunities.