A few of our priorities this year (2019) are children's mental health, justice system reform, trauma-informed policy, and access to services for all. We share some of the most striking data on these issues that have helped to shape our perspectives.

Children's Mental Health

38.5%

Of Massachusetts youth ages 0-17 experienced at least one form of trauma, abuse, or significant stress in the prior year, with more than 15% experiencing multiple traumas.

27%

Of Massachusetts high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless for more than 2 weeks.

31.2%

Of self-identified LGBTQ Massachusetts high school students seriously considered suicide in the past year.

Criminal Justice Reform

42%

Of inmates and detainees have a mental health condition as estimated by Massachusetts Sheriffs, which run pre-trial detention facilities and prisons housing those sentenced to 2.5 years or less.

>

Jails/prisons have higher rates of mental illness/substance use disorder than the general population.

28%

Of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health clients were arrested at some point in a 10-year period, primarily for non-violent charges.

>

There are higher rates of justice involvement among those with mental illness/substance use disorder than the general population.

54%

Of homeless individuals report having spent time in a correctional institution.

>

Homelessness is an often unaddressed but highly related issue; prevalence of homelessness is high among justice-involved and those with mental illness/substance use disorder and vice-versa.

Trauma-Informed Policy

12.5%

Of the US population has four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are stressful or traumatic events outside of the child’s control whose negative effects can be long lasting and severe.

>

The public health impact of childhood adversity is evident in the very strong association between childhood adversity and depressive symptoms, antisocial behavior, and drug use during the early transition to adulthood.

3x

Those with 4+ ACEs had twice the likelihood of reporting ever heavy drinking and three times the likelihood of reporting alcohol problems in adulthood.

>

Research has demonstrated a strong relationship between ACEs, substance use conditions and mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

1

Stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult is the single most common characteristic among children with resilience.

>

Resilience is the ability to overcome serious hardship.

Sources: