Population Mental Health & Wellbeing Newsletter - Winter 2021
A quarterly newsletter of the Population Mental Health and Wellbeing Program - January 2021Jan 6, 2021
Our First PMHW Graduate
I “digitally” sat down with Alexa Hansen, our first PMHW graduate and our featured student for this quarter’s newsletter. Here’s a bit of what she had to say.
A: Aside from the MPH concentrating in PMHW, I completed CSPH certificates in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response (PHPDR) and Global Health. My career interests lie under the general umbrella of Disaster Behavioral Health, especially in international humanitarian contexts, so I felt this combination of specializations would help give me the knowledge and expertise I needed.
Read more about Alexa Hansen >
Featured Faculty: Nancy Whitesell
Dr. Nancy Whitesell is a PMHW affiliated faculty member. I spoke with her about her work with American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities. She had valuable insight to share.
Q: Can you provide a brief summary of your current work and how it relates to Population Mental Health and Wellbeing? And can you tell us about the communities where you work?
A: My research is focused on improving health and developmental outcomes for children and adolescents in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities. With young children, this involves work through the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC; www.tribalearlychildhood.org), where I am Director of Research and Measurement. The TRC has been partnering with programs that serve young children and families in Tribal communities around the country since 2005 – Head Start, Home Visiting, and Child Care – to strengthen connections between programs and universities so that research-based innovations can be implemented by practitioners and practice-based questions can be answered by researchers. I am also leading the Multisite Implementation Evaluation of Tribal Home Visiting (MUSE), a study with 17 Tribal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program partners from North Carolina to Alaska, working to understand how the home visiting is being implemented by AIAN communities. The early childhood interventions supported by this line of research support the healthy development of young children across multiple domains – social, emotional, language, physical, and cognitive.
Read more about Nancy Whitesell >
Recent PMHW Publications: COVID-19 and Mental Health
The PMHW Program has had two articles recently published about COVID-19 and mental health.
Jewell JS, Farewell CV, Welton-Mitchell C, Lee-Winn A, Walls J, Leiferman JA. Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Online Survey with a US Sample. JMIR Form Res. 2020 Aug 28. doi: 10.2196/22043. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33006939.
In the article published in JMIR Form Research, it was noted that many US residents are experiencing high stress, depressive, and anxiety symptomatology, especially those that are underinsured, uninsured, or unemployed.
Farewell, C. V., Jewell, J., Walls, J., & Leiferman, J. A. (2020). A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study of Perinatal Risk and Resilience During COVID-19. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. https://doi.org/10.1177/2150132720944074
In the article published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, of the sample of pregnant and postpartum women, 12% reported high depressive symptomatology, 60% reported moderate or severe anxiety, and 40% reported being lonely.
Faculty in the News
Affiliated faculty member, Dr. Courtney Welton-Mitchell was recently in a Scientific American article about mental health during COVID-19. Here’s a small excerpt from the article.
“'There is a consistent and growing—and highly replicated across context and across countries—literature on the detrimental effects of social isolation and loneliness and the mitigating or positive well-being effects of social support,' says Courtney Welton-Mitchell, a psychologist at the Colorado School of Public Health and the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. If you are older and alone, connecting with others can be hard, especially if you are not tech-savvy enough to link up over a computer or a smartphone. Welton-Mitchell suggests reaching out to family members and friends regularly by phone, e-mail or snail mail and perhaps setting up regular phone calls or physically distanced visits."
If you are feeling extremely isolated or are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.