Move over boomers, the Millennials are here!

February 27, 2015

Remember the Sixties? If not, ‘ever heard of the Sixties?  Often described as a time of great social upheaval with dramatic shifts in education, economics, and social opportunities, it was the decade in which Baby Boomers came of age. Is it possible that the youth and young adults of today are experiencing even greater upheaval and change that the Baby Boomers?

nextamericaPaul Taylor, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center, thinks so. In his book, The Next America, Taylor writes, “In the decades since Boomers first came bounding onto the national stage, no generation of young adults had made nearly as loud an entrance–until now. Meet the Millennials.” Indeed the gaps between the Boomers and the Millennials in trust, anxiety, religious affiliation, wealth, politics, optimism, education, race/ethnicity, marriage, and child-bearing are astounding. The degree to which the generations differ raises many questions relevant to mental health: When young people and their parents and grandparents have such markedly different attitudes and values, how are families and communities to bridge the generation gap? What are the challenges for mental health professionals in working with teen and young adult clients?  With families? In building community acceptance?

These questions will be addressed by Taylor in an exclusive pre-conference intensive workshop at the 28th Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health, March 22nd. Paul Taylor’s eye-opening book has been featured on The Daily Show and is this year’s winner of the Blanche F. Ittleson Award, the American Orthopsychiatric Association’s highest honor.

Building on Taylor’s observations, Gary Melton, professor of pediatrics in the University of Colorado School of Medicine and professor of community and behavioral health in the Colorado School of Public Health, will argue that the current emphasis on evidence-based practice is a major obstacle to significant improvement in the average mental health of children, youth, and young adults and the well-being of their families. The only four-time recipient of the American Psychological Association’s prestigious Distinguished Contributions Awards, Melton will contend that meaningful improvement will happen only when policymakers and practicing professionals work together to engineer a culture change.  

Mary Armstrong will build on the panel discussion by further exploring challenges to culture change in mental health. Armstrong will discuss what the implication of culture change are for the mental health system–including how funding is allocated, how professional are trained, and the role of state agencies–and possible strategies for addressing those challenges. Armstrong is Director of the Division of State and Local Support in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at University of South Florida and President of the American Orthopsychiatric Association.

The workshop will conclude with an examination of the need for an intergenerational community mental health system. Led by Jill McLeigh, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, this presentation will include a discussion on the challenges related to having separate child and adult systems, especially for young adults. 

If you are attending the 28th Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health, you will not want to miss this important pre-conference intensive session. More details here.

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