June 18, 2021

🚨 State of emergency for children's mental health

After fifteen months of COVID-19, it's clear that children are suffering from anxiety and depression at much higher rates than previously seen. Children's Hospital Colorado, for the first time in its 117-year existence, has declared a state of emergency for pediatric mental health. The reality of the situation at their emergency department is that the top reason for admission is now suicidal thoughts. Specifically, ER visits for anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation and hopelessness are up 72% compared to the same period in 2019. What can we do to address this major crisis? First, we need to ensure that a large portion of funding from the America Rescue plan is focused specifically on pediatric mental health. Second, we need to increase and improve community-based crisis services. And third, we all need to check in more with the young people in our lives. This last one, in particular, is something simple that we can all do today. Read more

A 911 for mental health crises? —

Across the country, more communities are putting together emergency response units that entail mental health and psychiatric support specialists instead of relying on police officers alone. Federal data estimates that at least 125 million Americans live in areas lacking mental health professionals and services; this is particularly the case in rural America. To help remedy this crisis, there exists a goal to establish a national hotline—988—by July 2022. It would be similar to calling 911, but it would prioritize emergencies where trained suicide prevention specialists and mental health counselors can take charge. Similar approaches already exist in some regions, like Los Angeles, CA, and Eugene, OR, but the need for a national system of support is still pending implementation at a larger scale. Read more

Are there too few Latinx nurses? —

Even today, in 2021, the number of Latinx (Latina/o/x) nurses is severely disproportionate to their overall demographic size in the United States: although 20% of people in the US are Hispanic, only about 6% of all 3.3 million registered nurses identify as Latinx. On the other hand, about 74% identify as white. As the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the Latinx population, there is a strong need for more representation and communication from Spanish-speaking practitioners to their patients. As Liz Guevara, nurse care manager, said, "We need to be culturally competent [...] Patients are more reluctant to speak to a provider if they can't fully express themselves." And sometimes, this reluctance is the difference between a positive and a negative healthcare outcome. Read more

A new tool to support the recovery of stroke victims —

A new device called IpsiHand has been approved by the FDA that could help stroke victims regain control of a disabled hand. The device is comprised of a headset and a robotic exoskeleton worn on the patient’s hand. Patients are told to imagine moving this hand. The device then records the brain activity in the uninjured side of the brain, which can begin to take over motor control more. Dr. Eric Leuthardt and his team discovered that although most motor function is contralateral, meaning the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, that some motor skills can be trained on the ipsilateral side using their assistive device in combination with physical therapy. Read more

Coronavirus Updates

New COVID-19 variants spreading globally —

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke on Monday, sharing that while total global cases of COVID-19 have declined for nearly two months in a row, the emergence and transmission of new variants may be cause for alarm. Many countries—and some entire continents, such as Africa—are still seeing an increase in infections and death rates. While many of the regions in question are likely to already be lacking in "vaccines, diagnostics and oxygen," the emergence of new COVID-19 variants is not helping. With the continued spread of highly transmissible variants, some regions must maintain mitigation efforts. Tedros has shared the goal of a 70% global vaccination rate by the G-7 meeting in Germany next year. Read more

CDC schedules emergency meeting to discuss inflammation related to vaccines —

Next week, the CDC will hold an "emergency meeting" to discuss the occurrence of nearly two hundred rare cases of heart inflammation appearing in patients who recently received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. So far, at least 226 cases have been recorded in patients ages 30 and younger, meeting the CDC's working definition for myocarditis and pericarditis. In either case, it's the immune system that is triggering an inflammatory response to infection or possibly some other trigger tied to the vaccines. While most patients fully recover, 20% still reported chest pain after recovering from the acute inflammation. As these cases still seem to be rare, the emergency meeting will focus more on the reason for the inflammation itself rather than any kind of vote to alter existing vaccine recommendations. Read more

The majority of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated —

This trend seems to be the case in hospitals across the nation: the patients that are hospitalized for COVID-19 are those who have not received the vaccine. "I haven't had anyone that's been fully vaccinated become critically ill," said Dr. Josh Denson, a pulmonary medicine and critical care physician. Even children seem to be following the trend, with unvaccinated children appearing to have an increased risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. Thanks to the vaccines—according to the CDC—the average number of patients hospitalized weekly across the country has plummeted by 88%. And this result is with a mere 53 percent of adults fully vaccinated. Imagine the improvement if even 75% of adults become fully vaccinated. Read more

Upcoming Events

6/23, 3pm PDT: IG Live: How to Care for Your Most Authentic Self —

Ryann Kress, RN, and therapist Cassie Whitfield will host an Instagram Live to discuss how to maintain healthy personal and professional relationships (hello, boundaries!), the intersection of healing and identity, and how they utilize community to best care for themselves. All nurses are welcome! Join us here

Clockin' Out 🌈

4 Tips for Healthcare Providers Serving the Gender-Diverse Community

1. Never make assumptions
2. Share your pronouns
3. Display signs of support
4. Thoughtfully acknowledge the past
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