Building A Culture of Resilience: The Nevada State-Wide Initiative
With the highest rates of illicit youth drug use and addiction in the U.S. and increasing youth suicide rates, Nevada is in a state of emergency. Led by Anne Weisman, MPH, PhD—CMBM Faculty Member and Director of Wellness & Integrative Medicine with the UNLV School of Medicine—the Nevada State-Wide Initiative will support individuals, organizations, and institutions in addressing and treating urgent psychosocial challenges that face Nevada’s children and families.
This work is generously supported by the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
Nevada is currently in a state of crisis. The state has the highest rate of illicit drug disorders among youth in the country. Domestic violence and addiction threaten to tear apart the social fabric of the state. For several years, Mental Health America has ranked Nevada as the overall worst state in the country for mental health, with the largest percentage of residents who need and lack access to mental health services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the impact of existing challenges upon the state. Fear, loss, and isolation have caused widespread stress and trauma, anxiety, depression, anger, and behavioral problems. Youth in particular have exhibited disproportionately negative responses to the pandemic. In the Clark County School District alone, 24 students have committed suicide since the beginning of the pandemic.
State educators have said that Nevadan schools are like “pressure cookers.” More and more students struggle to regulate their emotions. Staff face widespread stress and burnout as they try to balance supporting their students and coping with their own struggles. As one teacher put it, “No one knows what to do with their emotions, so problems are escalating quickly.”
Nevada’s schools do not have the capacity to address this ongoing mental health crisis. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine recognizes the need for a comprehensive program of trauma relief for the state’s children, families, and communities.
Meeting the Need
The Center for Mind-Body Medicine will implement an 18-month school and community wellness initiative for the state of Nevada. The Nevada State-Wide Initiative will support individuals, organizations, and institutions in addressing and treating urgent psychosocial challenges that face Nevada’s children and families.
By training educators and staff, healthcare and social service providers, and community leaders, CMBM aims to provide direct healing services to thousands of the state’s most vulnerable children and families. Our evidence-based mind-body skills will make Nevada’s schools centers of healing.
We plan to work with Clark County School District, Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Nevada, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), United Way of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Indian Center, Green Our Planet, and other nonprofit organizations.