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Pandemic Takes Heavy Toll on Children’s Mental Health

Michelle Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA), spotlighted the health needs of minority youth. She explained that all over the nation — and in California — youth are suffering from a mental health crisis, leading to increasing numbers of suicide and high levels of anxiety in schools.

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Black children are experiencing depression associated with pandemic.
Black children are experiencing depression associated with pandemic.

By Charlene Muhammad | California Black Media

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the health, finances, and mobility of people around the world, affecting almost everyone on the planet.

Youth, in particular, have been experiencing an uptick in mental health cases, including depression, in a trend U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is calling an emerging crisis.

On December 7, Murthy released a 42-page health advisory drawing the country’s attention to the “urgent” need to help youth facing mental health problems. He said 1 in 3 students in the U.S. say they experience sustained periods of sadness and hopelessness. That number represents a 40% increase from 2009 to 2019.

The pandemic has made those conditions worse.

“The future wellbeing of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation,” said Murthy. “Especially in this moment, as we work to protect the health of Americans in the face of a new variant, we also need to focus on how we can emerge stronger on the other side. This advisory shows us how we can all work together to step up for our children during this dual crisis.”

Recently, a panel of experts tackled the issue during a news briefing organized by Ethnic Media Services titled “The Pandemic’s Heavy Toll on Teen Mental Health.”

Michelle Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA), spotlighted the health needs of minority youth. She explained that all over the nation — and in California — youth are suffering from a mental health crisis, leading to increasing numbers of suicide and high levels of anxiety in schools.

“The numbers of children and youth in acute mental health crises shot up two and sometimes three-fold. We have had children as young as 8 years old who have been hospitalized due to suicidal ideation,” stated Cabrera.

Behavioral health experts say transitioning students back to in-person learning results in higher rates of children and youth experiencing mental health crises, she said.

According to Cabrera, existing programs lack support for youth in Black and Native populations, and records show that major disparities are also present among professionals within the behavioral health field.

“For example, the access to services and programs that may be used in white communities to combat mental health problems are not made available in Black communities,” she said.

Cabrera mentioned that there is also a career crisis in behavioral health, and that by 2022, these benefits will be put in place to help abate the employment crisis in California and all over the nation.

“The pandemic has also changed the statistics about drug and substance abuse in America,” Cabrera continued. “Data has shown an increase in alcohol and opioid consumption in young people, who are also experiencing a lot more overdoses because of their consumption of fentanyl in the drugs that are used,” she said.

Youth also struggle with returning to school physically, bullying, and a lack of programs to address their mental health issues.

Dr. Latonya Wood is the director of clinical training at Pepperdine University in Malibu. She delved specifically into the data about Black children who are suffering from mental health-related issues. She explained that depression is being expressed and understood differently among Blacks.

For example, young Black males interpret their emotions and mental conditions differently. They may not act in ways that are typically associated with depression, such as sadness or melancholy. Black youth typically translate those emotions into aggression and more physical reactions.

In addition, the pandemic has amplified some of the disconnections in the Black community, said Dr. Wood. She explained that there has not been consistent help in public health organizations that serve Black communities.

“Seldomly, there is relatability to the Black community. So African Americans are going to be lacking resources because they don’t know how to reach them,” she said.

Wood said, historically, Black people have not had a reason to fully trust mental health providers. A recent survey asked a group of Black youth about mental health care during COVID. It found that Black youth do not feel like mental healthcare providers care for them, that they only want money, and they do not understand the lived experiences, according to Dr. Wood.

“I think that really reflects the lack of culturally informed and trauma-informed care and really understanding the experiences of Black youth in some ways were traumatic during COVID,” said Wood.”

More Black people are seeking Black providers, but they number just short of about 4% of the psychologists in America, according to a 2020 Workforce Study, completed by the American Psychological Association, she continued.

As a result, Black people suffer usually long wait times to even be seen by a therapist or to receive care. Wood stressed that finding the right care for people dealing with mental disorders in the Black community is very important.

Solutions for these issues were suggested at the level of community-based care provided at places where people congregate like school, church, and the barbershop, among others. Those spaces can serve as supportive venues where mental health care or interventions can be accessible.

“The youth need support systems in place in order to help guard against the extreme negatives that come with poor mental health,” said Wood.

Advice

Evangelical Technology: The New “E.T.”

In his book, “Branding Faith,” Phil Cooke wrote, “Whatever the purpose, the goal is to win the hearts and minds of the largest audience possible and imprint an indelible story around your church, ministry or mission.” In short Mr. Cooke is saying that how we tell our story and how our story looks, will determine the impact that we will have on a world in need of relevance.

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Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is the senior pastor at the Faith Church in Oakland, CA. He is also managing director of Global Acquisitions at Nimbus Networks, LLC.
Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is the senior pastor at the Faith Church in Oakland, CA. He is also managing director of Global Acquisitions at Nimbus Networks, LLC.

By Curtis O. Robinson, Sr., M.A., Resident fellow ’19 Harvard Divinity School

The year was 1982 and Steven Spielberg released the blockbuster movie of the century entitled, “E.T., The Extra Terrestrial.” The movie outgrossed Star Wars and in 1983 grossed more than $359 million in North America and $619 million worldwide. Spielberg was making an estimated $500,000 a day, and the rest was cinematic history.

With the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, the strain and challenge of presenting a relevant Christ to a culture in need of spiritual balance has been demanding. For the most part, houses of worship have had to close their doors. However, a few have been strategic enough to weather the storm with minimal attendance for in-house worship. So, it is still a daunting task to continue to get the Word of God to a culture desperately in need of spiritual enrichment.

In his book, “Branding Faith,” Phil Cooke wrote, “Whatever the purpose, the goal is to win the hearts and minds of the largest audience possible and imprint an indelible story around your church, ministry or mission.” In short Mr. Cooke is saying that how we tell our story and how our story looks, will determine the impact that we will have on a world in need of relevance.

Enter Nimbus Networks, LLC. Nimbus Networks is a certified solutions provider that creates tailored communications plans for you in collaboration with the world’s leading telecom providers.

We work with over 220 vetted worldwide carriers as a full-service technology consultant, and we have engineers who can help you design, deploy, and maintain your environment. Because no two organizations are the same, we tailor our Cloud, Voice, IT, and other technology services to match your unique requirements.

This is the first in a series of articles that will talk about the importance of having a reliable and robust IT platform. And for churches, we must still engage the world for Christ. It is important that our ET platform is effective and inviting. Stay tuned.

For more information concerning your IT or ET needs, you can reach him at crobinson@nimbusnet.net. You can also visit our website at nimbus-networks.com or you can call 925-285-8357 for a free consultation.

Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is the senior pastor at the Faith Church in Oakland, CA. He is also managing director of Global Acquisitions at Nimbus Networks, LLC.

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Activism

COMMENTARY: Roosevelt Vernon Cobb, Daddy Hammercy!

I now understand why publishing has been a major part of my life, because you worked for the Phoenix newspaper in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before you brought your family to Oakland, where I was born at 1776 7th Street at the Pack Train Hotel into a large, welded barrel that you kept in the closet.

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Theodore Vernon Cobb. Photo courtesy of the family.
Theodore Vernon Cobb. Photo courtesy of the family.

Publisher Paul Cobb’s Birthday Tribute to his father

By Paul Cobb, Publisher, Post Newsgroup

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I am honored to be a son of your seven-children family circle.

Even though you only finished the 6th grade, you were known to spot talent and could predict future opportunities for success, especially when you met Mary Magdalene Bland while she was working at Grandpa Early Bland’s watermelon and food stand.

And you prophesied that the “Lord willing, I’m going to marry you.”

You crested when you married her after she had graduated from Langston University.

I now understand why publishing has been a major part of my life, because you worked for the Phoenix newspaper in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before you brought your family to Oakland, where I was born at 1776 7th Street at the Pack Train Hotel into a large, welded barrel that you kept in the closet.

Most of that money was “earned” from your after-work second job mastery of the billiard tables on Seventh Street while wearing overalls with a cargo hook in your back pocket.

You brought your entrepreneurial skills to your work as a longshoreman, where unbeknownst to your children, you managed to save by dropping the dimes, quarters, halves, and silver dollars.

Those coins allowed you to buy properties and a car, in the same manner in which you earned them, face-to-face, over the counter, to be counted and acknowledged by the bankers and dealers, while you watched.

As a kid, with a portable shoe shine box, I worked in front of the pool halls by day, where I collected national Black newspapers from the Pullman Porters who brought them to me as a tip with payment.

You and Jimmy Herman helped me and my brother to get hired as ship clerks.

Dad, I did not know that you “graced” those same places at night. I remember when your wife told you to stop that lifestyle or she would leave, you stopped. You abruptly pursued a Bible-based lifestyle with zeal.

I still use some of your favorite aphorisms, such as, “don’t back down from any challenge, or anybody, at any time: You must outwork them.”

“Always come big or stay at home and if you do that, then all I can say is Hammercy.”

Following your advice, I married Gay Plair in 1970. I discovered that her father and you were both named after President Theodore Roosevelt and both of you share conjoined birth dates. Theodore Plair’s birthday is December 31 and yours is January 1. “Hammercy!”

You would have been proud to know that ILWU President Jimmy Herman came to my house with Port Director Wally Abernathy and American President Lines Shipping Co., CEO Bruce Seaton where we organized the Oakland Dredging Coalition to expand jobs and maritime opportunities.

I reminded your friend Herman how you would have said “Dig a little deeper or stay at home.” Hammercy!

This birthday message is being published in the Oakland Post because when Gay published her father’s birthday tribute on Facebook I finally realized that I, too, must honor you the same way. I hope the readers will show me how to use Facebook because I need to activate the “friends” names on my page.

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Activism

Emotional Emancipation Circle Series Offered for People of African Descent

Emotional Emancipation Circles are a collaboration between the Community Healing Network (CHN) and the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). The purpose of the circles is to have a safe space for persons of African ancestry to share truths about the impact of racial stress within our society as well as of having internalized negative cultural messages grounded in the lie of Black inferiority.

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Beginning Jan. 11, 2022, the Circle will meet via Zoom the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 12:00-1:30 p.m. The last session will be on May 10, 2022.
Beginning Jan. 11, 2022, the Circle will meet via Zoom the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 12:00-1:30 p.m. The last session will be on May 10, 2022.

The First 5 Alameda County Ubuntu Healing Circle is excited to offer Emotional Emancipation Circles™ (EECs) to the Alameda County Community for people who identify as Black and/or African descent.

Beginning Jan. 11, 2022, the Circle will meet via Zoom the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 12:00-1:30 p.m. The last session will be on May 10, 2022.

Sessions will take place online. You will receive a link to join after registeringFor planning purposes, please register by January 10.

Emotional Emancipation Circles are a collaboration between the Community Healing Network (CHN) and the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). The purpose of the circles is to have a safe space for persons of African ancestry to share truths about the impact of racial stress within our society as well as of having internalized negative cultural messages grounded in the lie of Black inferiority.

REGISTER HERE

For more information about the EECs, please visit communityhealingnet.org.

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