APA’s new Safe and Supportive Schools Project seeks to prevent HIV and STDs
A new project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) will help create safe and supportive school
environments as an innovative approach to the prevention of
HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.
Funding for APA’s Safe and Supportive Schools Project is
provided by a five-year, $1 million cooperative agreement with
the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH).
“Safe and supportive schools are associated with
improved education and health outcomes, including sexual
health outcomes, for all students,” says SSSP Director Lacey
Housed within APA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Concerns Office, the project promotes safe and supportive
environments for all students and staff. The project is also
focused on reducing health disparities in three groups of
youth at disproportionate risk including: LGBT youth, with
an emphasis on young men who have sex with men, homeless
youth and youth in alternative schools.
Developing evidence-supported resources on safe and
supportive schools for school counselors, nurses, psychologists,
social workers and other personnel who can take steps to
improve school climate is also a priority for the Safe and
Supportive Schools Project. The CDC/DASH has funded 19 state
education agencies to help school districts build HIV/sexually
transmitted disease prevention programs using APA’s resources.
APA members who are interested in sharing knowledge and
expertise on safe and supportive school environments should
email the Safe and Supportive Schools Project at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New APA video shows how friends help friends get support
When lifelong friends Clara and Tom need emotional support
or a helping hand, the animated characters turn to each other
first. But after a new job causes Tom to become stressed,
uncharacteristically unreliable and to have trouble sleeping,
Clara realizes her listening ear isn’t enough.
In a short video produced by APA, Clara gently but
consistently urges Tom to seek help from a mental health
professional. He eventually agrees, and Clara learns that
“connecting him to a psychologist turned out to be some of the
best help Clara could ever give to her friend,” the narrator says.
The video, released in November, is part of APA’s
psychotherapy awareness initiative promoting the benefits
of psychotherapy as a treatment for depression. The first two
episodes in the series, released in 2012, parody prescription
drug ads to convey psychotherapy as a low-risk and evidence-
based treatment option. The latest episode focuses on warning
signs of mental illness and provides pointers for the public on
how to encourage a friend or relative to seek help.
It was developed with input from psychologists in light of the
national dialogue about mental health following several national
tragedies, says Angel Brownawell, of APA’s Practice Directorate,
who managed the project. The videos are accompanied by a
series of articles on the Psychology Help Center website that
describe how psychotherapy works, issues related to patient
confidentiality, and psychological testing and evaluation.
“We wanted people to have a way to connect with the
characters and to feel prepared to be able to talk to a family
member or friend who they may recognize needs a little extra
encouragement to get professional help,” she says.
— ANNA MILLER
Watch all three videos at www.apa.org/