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FirstEnergy first to abandon interim clean-energy goals for addressing climate change; the body of an 11-year-old Texas girl who disappeared on her way to school has been found in a river; and Indiana youth reported to be making progress despite challenges.

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The U.S. rejects a U.N. resolution on Israel-Gaza ceasefire, but proposes a different one. Some Democrats vote against Biden to protest his policy on Gaza and a California woman is being held in Russia.

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Drones over West Texas aim to improve rural healthcare, the Ogallala Aquifer, the backbone of High Plains agriculture, is slowly disappearing and federal money is headed to growers of wool and cotton.

This Wednesday: Youth mental health summit in VA

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Tuesday, October 10, 2023   

Today is World Mental Health Day, and this week a Virginia group is focusing on youth mental health at a special summit. Speakers at "Beyond Trauma: Youth Mental Health Policy and Practice" will examine the crisis - its causes, and how it affects different social groups. Virginia ranked 48th among states - near the bottom - for youth mental health, in a report by Mental Health America, in part due to a shortage of mental health professionals. It can seem like kids who need help are caught in a never-ending cycle.

Rachael Deane, CEO of Voices for Virginia's Children says there is hope.

"We know from evidence and research that healing is possible, that treatment is possible," she explained. "So, if we can get young people into the treatment they need, and have it be accessible and affordable, healing is actually possible and we can get ahead of this."

The state's new budget allocates more than $12 million to child psychiatry and children's crisis response services. Another $5 million will be fund school-based mental health integration grants. The Beyond Trauma summit is tomorrow at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information is online at 'voicespolicysummit.com/thesummit.'

While the state's funding should help youth mental health, Deane noted there is more to be done. She said the effects of the pandemic are still seen in Virginia's children, and the current youth mental health narrative centers mostly around crisis.

"It's talking about all of the things that our young people lack, all of the ways that our young people are struggling or suffering. And I don't want to diminish what the evidence tells us, which is that our young people are struggling. We are seeing more and more young people with mental health challenges," she continued.

However, Deane said today's youth also have great strength, which needs to be recognized, and instead of strictly focusing on trauma, the conversation at the summit will center on creating and strengthening protective factors for youth mental health.


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