Tag Archives: advocacy

How Can We Better Protect LGBTQ Students: Psychologists Take Action

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By Joshua R. Wolff, PhD (Adler University); H.L. “Lou” Himes, PsyD (QuIPP); and Theresa Stueland Kay, PhD (OUTReach Utah)

Over the last year, we have witnessed regular news media headlines coming out of Washington, D.C. with a state of shock, horror, and anger. Specifically, we have been alarmed by the rollback of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and students.

We know from first-hand experience that LGBTQ students face many forms of discrimination which contribute to health disparities, such as increased rates of suicide and homelessness. Specifically:

  • I (Lou) have been gender non-conforming my whole life and I have faced harassment in educational institutions from elementary school through my doctoral studies.
  • I (Theresa) work with LGBTQ youth at an organization called OUTreach Utah. All too often, the youth I see are marginalized and bullied at home and at school. When they suffer at school, personnel frequently fail to protect these students. Even worse, faculty, staff, and administration often blame the youth for the fact that they are bullied.
  • I (Joshua) came out as gay at a faith-based college, Biola University, where I risked academic expulsion based solely on my sexual orientation, and realized I did not have any legal protections.

Together, we have each dedicated our careers as clinical psychologists to helping support LGBTQ people in the face of discrimination, which we have done through research, clinical services, and volunteering.

LGBTQ children and youth face daily roadblocks to their education and threats to their safety. This is a systemic issue and requires a systemic response.

Like many Americans, we have at times felt powerless against what seems to be an overwhelming recent assault on many of the most marginalized groups of Americans, including (but certainly not limited to) LGBTQ students. Hence, we asked ourselves “what can we do to help”? We decided to visit Washington, D.C. to talk to Members of Congress, including some who may not share our views, about the importance of protecting LGBTQ students.

Our first step was to contact staff at the APA to help us get started. We felt particularly fortunate to receive wonderful assistance from staff in the Public Interest and Education Government Relations Offices.

Prior to meetings with congressional offices, we connected with leading LGBTQ advocacy groups in Washington to learn about their current federal priorities and strategies. We met with the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, and the Trevor Project, as well as APA staff from the Safe and Supportive Schools Project. As a result, we learned about several important priorities. These included:

  • re-instating Title IX protections for transgender youth;
  • the ‘Safe Schools Improvement Act’ which would require schools to create plans to combat bullying, specifically including LGBTQ students;
  • fully funding Title IV (school climate improvement grants) of ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’; and
  • ensuring that federal surveys and surveillance systems  collect sexual orientation and gender identity data.

Further, we were alarmed to learn that the Trevor Project has seen a dramatic increase in the number of transgender youth calling their suicide prevention crisis hotline following the announcement of President Trump’s military ban for transgender service members. This provided a sobering reminder of how our government’s words and decisions affect those most vulnerable in our society.

Our meetings with these groups affirmed two clear messages:

(1) LGBTQ students need critical legal protections, and

(2) we need data to tell us how we can help.

We lobbied staff from the National Governors Association and the offices of Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on these important legal protections and data collection. Among the issues raised by the advocacy groups we met with the day before, we talked about:

  • the high rates of LGBTQ suicide attempts and homelessness, as well as
  • the lack of Title IX protections that could reduce bullying and victimization of transgender students
  • the need for greater legal protections and data collection to end these health disparities.

Each of us explained why these issues are important to us personally, how they impact our work as psychologists, and how they affect the Members’ constituents. Unsurprisingly, some offices did not agree on how to address the concerns. But others were eager to listen, and shared concerns about the high rates of suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth and other health disparities. All of the offices agreed that there should be ongoing Congressional oversight of the Department of Education to continue to protect students, and asked us to follow up and continue the conversation.

The experience reminded us that advocacy isn’t a one-time deal, and it’s not just happening in Washington. Advocacy can happen through a phone call or an email to our Members of Congress. Hence, we will follow up with the various offices we contacted to remind them about the critical protections that LGBTQ youth need.

We encourage you to get involved, too. Join the APA Federal Action Network or get involved at the local or community level. Psychologists have a lot to contribute to advocacy, and it’s vital to make your voice heard.



Joshua R. Wolff, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Adler University in Chicago, IL. Further, he was a contributor to the U.S. government’s (SAMHSA/HHS) report, “Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth”. His current research is directed at developing evidence-based public health strategies to reduce suicide rates and health risk behaviors for SGM people in non-affirming religious environments by building partnerships with clergy and faith leaders.

Theresa Stueland Kay, PhD, trained at Biola University, a faith-based institution, and is a licensed psychologist in Utah.  She is also an Associate Professor of Psychology at Weber State University.  Dr. Kay also serves as Board Chair at OUTreach Utah, a nonprofit organization that serves and supports LGBTQ youth.

H. L. “Lou” Himes, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and president at QuIPP, the Queer Identities Psychology Partnership—a group psychotherapy practice in Manhattan, NY that focuses on providing psychotherapy and transition-related support for trans/queer individuals.  Dr. Himes uses they/them/theirs pronouns.

Filed under: Children and Youth, Health Disparities, Human Rights and Social Justice, LGBT Issues, Public Policy Tagged: advocacy, Capitol Hill, data collection, Every Student Succeeds Act, gender identity, health disparities, LGBT, LGBT health, LGBT rights, LGBT students, LGBT youth, Safe Schools Improvement Act, sexual orientation, student health, suicide prevention, surveillance, Title IV, Title IX, transgender, transgender youth

“All Politics is Local”: 5 Simple Tips for Becoming a Better Advocate

science march 1

By Amalia Corby (Senior Legislative & Federal Affairs Officer, APA Public Interest Government Relations Office)


Interest in our political process has dramatically increased across the U.S. since the last election. People want accountability from their elected representatives and are ready to engage on complex issues such as health care coverage, immigration, and tax reform. The demand for grassroots advocacy training has grown along with this increased engagement. Allow me to share a little secret that may eventually put lobbyists such as myself out of a job—being an advocate is easy. You likely already have all the tools you need!


Here are some tips to help you get started.


Tip 1: Show up!

Take advantage of opportunities to meet your Senator or Representative, visit their in-district offices, or to attend town halls. If you can’t meet face-to-face with your Member of Congress (MOC), spend time with one of their staff members. Congressional staff are young, sharp, and motivated to serve their constituents. They are the eyes and ears of the office and if they care about your issue, chances are they will talk to their boss about it.


Tip 2: Share a story.

If you’re able to secure a meeting, remember that Members of Congress love a good story. A personal connection to an issue, either in your personal or professional life, can make a huge difference. As a psychologist, you may have both a personal and professional connection to the issue—this is an amazing advantage—in sharing your story, you may also have the opportunity to talk about the underlying research or clinical implications tied to your concerns.

Before you talk to congressional staff, think not only about what you want to communicate, but why. What is your underlying motivation? Share it.


Tip 3: Know your issue.

Do you know the underlying legislation or funding mechanism tied to your concerns? News and the internet will give you some information, but this is also where your professional association, advocacy organizations, or fellow activists can help.

While at times there is a fair amount of crystal ball-gazing in Washington, the legislative calendar is somewhat predictable–for example, appropriations (funding) activity always ramps up in spring. Government relations offices will know what’s happening, bound to happen, might happen, or definitely will not happen.


Tip 4: Talk about it (respectfully).

Respectful political discourse has become increasingly difficult, and while social media can be a great way to communicate, it can create problems as well. Before you post, take time to think about your audience. What will your message contribute? Will it change anyone’s mind, or lead to further entrenchment? Is this conversation best had in-person?

Likewise, when you call your congressional office, be nice to the tired soul on the end of the line who has to field constituent calls all day. They will listen to your concerns, and take note for the MOC.


Tip 5: Act locally.

There are many opportunities to be a catalyst for change closer to home. Even in Washington, D.C., arguably the most political city in the U.S., city council seats go unchallenged for years.

State level legislation is another opportunity. Grassroots movements often begin in the states and eventually get attention on the national level. Hot button issues that are stagnant at the national level can move quickly in the states. In recent years, state legislation on firearms, abortion, and campus sexual assault reporting has changed the national discourse on these issues.


For more information on advocating for psychology, please check out APA’s Guide to Advocacy. While you’re there, please join APA’s Federal Action Network (FAN), an e-mail grassroots network to help interested psychologists advocate for their discipline. APA Government Relations Offices disseminate information and action alerts to FAN members focusing on recent or upcoming federal legislative or regulatory action of concern to psychology.


Additional Resources:

Our Science Directorate colleagues recently produced this advocacy training video.

Watch below:


For a list of useful advocacy tools, check out the APA March for Science page.

Filed under: Public Policy Tagged: advocacy, advocacy training, Congress, grassroots advocacy, policy, policy change, politics, public policy

Can a Bystander Make a Difference in Sexual Assault Prevention?


Image source: Flickr user bitsorf: Thank you 1,500,000 times on Flickr, under Creative Commons

By Amy Zavadil , PhD (Associate Dean for Equity and Title IX Coordinator at Barnard College)

Federal law now requires colleges and universities to provide bystander skills training to all new students and employees.  Teaching bystander skills to all students and employees in college or university settings is necessary, but not sufficient to shift culture.  The current focus is on campus sexual assault, but sexual assault happens outside of college communities.  Society beyond campuses also needs to recognize factors that contribute to sexual violence, and commit to bystander intervention to shift culture.

An extension of Latane and Darley’s (1970) work in understanding the bystander effect, why individuals may not be inclined to help in emergency situations, bystander intervention is an increasingly common prevention approach focused on the steps that lead to helping.  In response to campus sexual violence, Victoria Banyard and colleagues have been working to research effective campus bystander intervention efforts to reduce campus sexual violence (Banyard, 2013; Banyard & Moynihan, 2011; Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante, 2004; McMahon & Banyard, 2012).

Bystander intervention acknowledges there are five steps that need to happen for help to occur:

  • Notice the event
  • Recognize it as a problem
  • See personal responsibility to assist
  • Know what to do
  • Take action

Bystander skills training includes recognizing the common barriers at each step, as understanding the barrier can then increase the likelihood that intervention will occur.  It is also important to focus on safe intervention, including both direct intervention to disrupt behavior or indirect intervention to seek help from a friend or professional.

In campus and community settings there is a disconnect, students who have learned to speak up, if they see something to say something, are often being shut down or dismissed by adults, many who may not have been exposed to the decision making steps of bystander intervention.  This may be further complicated by differences in perspectives of issues of identity and sexuality.  Instead of validating efforts to intervene or speak up, some minimize concerns that may be raised – particularly when intervening at the low risk level of addressing insensitive or biased language.

Bystander intervention can be used as primary prevention – intervening at early stages of concerning behavior to reduce the incidence of violence.  It might also be used as secondary prevention, disrupting adverse behavior that has already begun.  And, finally, bystander intervention can be tertiary prevention, or how one responds to assist someone who discloses their experience or sexual violence.  At each of these levels, it is important that we do not limit this education solely to students and school settings.

Although there is increased commentary on sexual assault in the media and elsewhere, there remain stereotypes about victims and perpetrators of such crimes. Media reports tend to focus on what a victim could have done differently, rather than highlighting facts such as the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by an acquaintance and the importance of understanding consent.

It is my hope that we expand our conversation to consider how each of us can contribute to the culture in which campus sexual violence is making headlines.  We each have the potential to learn about intervention, and barriers to intervention, to assist in the culture shift that seems to be just beginning.  One way to increase our own personal responsibility for bystander intervention is to consider:  What would you hope others would do for you?


Banyard, V. (2013). Go big or go home: Reaching for a more integrated view of violence prevention.  Psychology of Violence, 3(2), 115-120. doi: 10.1037/a0032289

Banyard, V., & Moynihan, M. (2011). Variation in bystander behavior related to sexual and intimate partner violence prevention: Correlates in a sample of college students. Psychology of Violence, 1(4), 287-301. doi: 10.1037/a0023544

Banyard, V., Plante, E., & Moynihan, M. (2004). Bystander education: Bringing a broader community perspective to sexual violence prevention. Journal Of Community Psychology, 32(1), 61-79. doi:10.1 OO2Jjcop.10078

Latane, B., & Darley, J. (1970). The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help?. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts.

McMahon, S., & Banyard, V. L. (2012). When can I help? A conceptual frame-work for the prevention of sexual violence through bystander intervention. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 13(1), 3–14. doi: 10.1177/1524838011426015

Image source: Flickr user bitsorf: Thank you 1,500,000 times on Flickr, under Creative Commons


Amy Zavadil is Associate Dean for Equity at Barnard College.  In this role she oversees community standards and serves as the Title IX coordinator, working with students, staff and faculty.  Amy earned a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision.  Amy has presented to college counselors, prevention educators, student affairs staff, and Title IX coordinators at national conferences on sexual harassment in higher education, college student development, bystander intervention, and campus climate.  She has worked in higher education for eight years, as well as having prior work experience in law enforcement and project management.

Filed under: Culture, Violence Tagged: advocacy, culture

Tipping Point or State of Emergency? Real Talk About Transgender Women of Color


Zella Ziona, transgender woman murdered in Gaithersburg, MD, October 15, 2015.

By Sand C. Chang, PhD (Gender Specialist, Multi-Specialty Transitions Department, Kaiser Permanente) and Kimber Shelton, PhD (KLS Counseling & Consulting Services, Dallas, TX)

In June 2014, TIME magazine featured Laverne Cox on the cover, the title reading “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The message to the world was, “We’ve arrived.” While the scales have tipped for some transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, notably those with access to wealth or those that fit a mainstream beauty ideal, the rest are left behind. Members of TGNC communities of color are having a different discussion. In panels and forums, on social media, in conversation, they are saying, “The transgender tipping point is crushing us.”

The notion that we as a society have arrived at a time and place in which TGNC people have gained equality is misleading. It creates an illusion of safety, reinforcing a binary gender system and excluding TGNC people at the margins—those most deeply affected by the intersections of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and poverty. The “transgender community” is not one community but many communities. Recent advancements in legislation and health care have greatly benefited some, but the progress is not equally distributed, and the increased visibility does not equal acceptance, which is clear when we consider the realities of many Black and Latina TGNC women’s lives.

Barely one year after being featured in TIME, Laverne Cox herself declared a “state of emergency” for TGNC people. And this is why:

Transgender women of color advocate for more care and bring attention to the disproportionate rates of physical violence, sexual assault, and poverty that negatively affect their communities. By living out loud, transgender women of color also demonstrate the resilience and strength within their communities. Organizations leading awareness and advocacy efforts, such as the #blacktranswomenlivesmatter campaign, include the TransWomen of Color Collective, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Racial and Economic Justice Initiative, Transgender Law Center (TLC), TAJA’s Coalition, and Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC).

Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th honors the lives of transgender people who were killed in the past year, including the Black and Latina victims of hate crimes. However, it is not enough to remember and honor the transgender women whose lives were lost in 2015. Psychologists can mark November 20th as the day that they joined or advanced efforts to support transgender women of color, uniting with transgender women of color to create an uplifting tipping point that is inclusive of their intersecting identities.  Here are some things psychologists can do:

  • Engage in culturally competent practice, including use of the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.
  • Use voice and media presence to call attention to hate crimes, suicide rates, violence and abuse, and housing and economic disparities disproportionately impacting transgender women of color.
  • Advance research efforts that are inclusive of the gender, racial, and economic realities of transgender women of color.
  • Use your political power to promote federal and state protection for the civil liberties of TGNC individuals.
  • Celebrate and promote the identities, lives, and resilience of TGNC women of color.
  • Consider making a donation to an organization dedicated to increasing safety and equal rights for transgender women of color.
  • Include curriculum in training and supervision about transgender people and their lives.

And we can all #sayhername. These are the names of the transgender and gender nonconforming people whose lives have been lost to violence so far in 2015:

  1. Papi Edwards
  2. Lamia Beard
  3. Ty Underwood
  4. Yazmin Vash Payne
  5. Taja Gabrielle de Jesus
  6. Penny Proud
  7. Kristina Gomez Reinwald
  8. London Chanel
  9. Mercedes Williamson
  10. India Clarke
  11. K.C. Haggard
  12. Amber Monroe
  13. Ms. Shade Schuler
  14. Ashton O’Hara
  15. Kandis Capri
  16. Elisha Walker
  17. Tamara Dominguez
  18. Jasmine Collins
  19. Keyshia Blige
  20. Jessie Hernandez
  21. Kiesha Jenkins
  22. Zella Ziona


Dr. Sand Chang is a Chinese American, nonbinary/genderqueer licensed psychologist. Sand is currently a Gender Specialist at the Multi-Specialty Transitions Department at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland and maintains a private practice specializing in trauma and EMDR, addictions, relationships, and healing work with marginalized communities, particularly people affected by the intersections of racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Sand is the current Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and recently completed an appointment on the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.

Dr. Kimber Shelton is a licensed psychologist and owner of KLS Counseling & Consulting Services in Dallas, TX. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia (UGA) and MS in Mental Health Counseling from Niagara University. She is a member of the American Psychological Association Committee of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, co-chair of the Texas Psychological Association Diversity Division, and recipient of the UGA College of Education Professional Achievement Award.

Filed under: Culture, Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Ethnicity and Race, Human Rights and Social Justice, LGBT Issues, Uncategorized Tagged: advocacy, discrimination, LGBT, prejudice, race, transgender

The time is now for mental health reform, Every Day, In All-Gender Restrooms: the Signs Reflect the Times and more- In Case You Missed It– November 9th, 2015

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Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address the time is now for mental health reform, in all-gender restrooms: the signs reflect the times and more.

The time is now for mental health reform- The Washington Times

More than 13 million Americans have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression, and the majority of them are going without treatment. A patchwork of programs and policies spanning numerous federal and state agencies makes the task of managing mental illness challenging for physicians, providers, patients and their families. This is complicated by fragmented delivery and reimbursement systems that disregard parity laws, regulatory barriers, workforce shortages and the enduring stigma surrounding mental health. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is scheduled to markup the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This legislation would comprehensively address the issues faced by people with serious mental illness, as well as the 60 million Americans who live with another form of mental health or substance use disorder. Mental health reform would be a great accomplishment for Congress and the American public.

Every Student, Every Day – U.S. Department of Education

In response to the President’s call to action to improve the lives of all young people through the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK), the Obama Administration is launched on October 7, 2015, Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism. Every Student, Every Day is focused on the estimated 5 to 7.5 million students who are chronically absent each year. Chronic absenteeism puts students at heightened risk of falling behind and dropping out of school. Despite record high school graduation rates, too many of our nation’s young people—particularly students who are low-income, of color, homeless, highly mobile, with disabilities, and/or juvenile justice-involved—still do not graduate from high school or are off-track toward that important goal. This initiative will empower educators and communities to close the opportunity gap facing our most vulnerable children and ensure there’s a student at every school desk, every day,” said U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

In All-Gender Restrooms, the Signs Reflect the Times – The New York Times

The Whitney Museum of American Art moved to its new location in Lower Manhattan, which provides restrooms for everyone on the gender spectrum. The Whitney is not alone in being challenged to rethink one of the most basic uses of public space. With the issues of serving openly in the military and same-sex marriage now largely resolved, the fight for all-gender restrooms has emerged as the latest civil rights issue in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (L.G.B.T.) community. Ever since their introduction, restrooms have been a curious ground zero for civil rights, whether for African-Americans or people with disabilities. Schools and universities (including Johns Hopkins and Michigan State), museums (like the American Folk Art Museum in New York City and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City), restaurants both trendy and modest (such as the Pass & Provisions in Houston and the Midtown Cafe in Santa Cruz, Calif.) and even the White House (in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) are recasting the traditional men’s/women’s room, resulting in a dizzying range of (often creative) signage and vocabulary.

APA Exclusive– All-gender restrooms were made available during the 2014 and 2015 APA Conventions and will continue to be provided at future APA Conventions. They will also be provided at the spring and fall consolidated meetings of APA Boards and Committees.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

Leave us a comment.

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 Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association

Filed under: In Case You Missed It Tagged: advocacy, Children, children's mental health, culture, discrimination

Is the minimum wage a psychological matter? (Spoiler alert: Yes)


By Gabriel Twose (Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer, APA Public Interest Government Relations Office)

Do you think that the field of psychology has anything to say about the minimum wage?  In a recent article in American Psychologist, Laura Smith of Columbia University argues that psychology has much to contribute.  Psychological research contributes to our understanding of poverty by highlighting its developmental and health risks for low-income Americans, and how stereotypes about poverty affect that population.

The Facts about the Minimum Wage
The federal minimum wage in the United States was established in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, aiming to ensure “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” It reached its peak buying power in 1968, but has failed to keep up with inflation.  The minimum wage was raised to $7.50 per hour in 1999, which is where it stands today.  This is far from a living wage – it is not enough to lift a full time worker with a child above the poverty line.  Although a number of states tie their minimum wage to the cost of living, the federal government has not instituted such an index.

Psychological harms of poverty
Poverty and economic adversity can be difficult environments.  Substantial psychological evidence has outlined the potential harms that can accrue. For example, low-income children and adults are more likely than those living in more affluent circumstances to be at risk for developmental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and worse academic outcomes, with negative implications for success later in life.

Marginalization and exclusion
Psychological research has also looked at other facets of the debate around the minimum wage. Stereotypes about individuals shape others’ reactions to them and opportunities provided to them. We know that the poor are often stereotyped as lazy and stupid, and both politicians and the general public tend to ignore the structural factors that create and perpetuate their circumstances.  Low-wage workers are often treated worse than other workers; you can probably think of examples in your own life, as you’ve seen how people can speak to fast-food workers, janitorial staff, or manual laborers.  Dr. Smith cites a study in which participants rated applicants for a position in a parent-teacher organization; when the candidate was described as working class, she was rated as cruder, more irresponsible, and less suited for the position.  These kind of biases and stereotypes, often unconscious, can lead to marginalization and social exclusion.  This exclusion can make it more difficult to get a job, and has additional harmful effects; excluded people tend to behave more aggressively, make more high-risk, self-defeating decisions, and score worse on logic and reasoning tasks.

Policy Solutions
Dr. Smith points out that several cities have already begun experimenting with increased minimum wages in order to lift workers out of poverty, including San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, and Santa Fe, NM.  Additionally, there are a number of relevant federal bills, several of which have been supported by APA.

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) have introduced legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 ( 1150/H.R. 2150).
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) have called for an increase to $15 an hour ( 1832/H.R. 3164).
  • Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2014, which would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers by refusing to consider them for employment. Although this bill was not passed, it has been incorporated into the recently introduced Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Act of 2015 (R. 3555).

Get involved!
Psychological research has an important role to play in the conversation around the minimum wage, explaining both the negative effects of poverty and the ways in which we marginalize the poor, deeming them unworthy of our help.  The minimum wage is a natural focus for psychologists’ advocacy, and we encourage you to get involved.  A great way to do this is to sign up for APA’s Federal Action Network, joining 123,000 members and affiliates in raising psychology’s voice as one.

Image source: Flickr user Michael Fleshman on Flickr, under Creative Commons

Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association

Filed under: Poverty and Socioeconomic Status, Public Policy Tagged: advocacy, culture

When Girls Compulsively Text,Their Grades Suffer, Children Treated for Mental Health by Pediatricians, Kroger Tips Scales on Trans Health Care and more- In Case You Missed It– October 19, 2015

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Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address the impact of when girls compulsively text, children treated for mental health by pediatricians, Kroger tipping scales on trans health care and more. 

APA Exclusive – When Girls Compulsively Text, Their Grades Suffer -Time

A new study by The Pew Research Center study published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychology of Popular Media Journal found when girls compulsively text, their grades suffer. They studied found that with 63% of teens reporting they send and receive an average of 167 texts per day while only 35% report socializing face-to-face outside of school. The findings highlight a gender disparity: while boys and girls both text at about the same rates, girls compulsively text about 20% more than boys. There also seems to be a connection between poor grades and compulsive texting that affects girls more strongly than boys. Kelly Lister-Landman, an assistant professor of psychology at Delaware County Community College notes that the study does not mean that all texting is bad. “texting can be a wonderful tool of communication.”.

One-third of children treated for mental health by pediatrician -United Press International

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of  2011 about 6.4 million U.S. children ages 4 to 17 had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. A new study shows that than one-third of mental health care provided to children with ADHD or nay disorder comes from primary care physicians, rather than child psychiatrists. Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, notes that “There just aren’t enough child psychiatrists in the United States to treat every child with a mental health condition,” These findings highlight as Van Cleave notes the need for collaboration and communication between primary care physicians and child psychiatrists to the deal with the sizable number of children needing mental health treatment.

Kroger Tips Scales on Trans Health Care -The Daily Beast

The Kroger Company, one of the largest private employers in the United States, will offer transgender health benefits starting January 2016 to employees. Several major American health care associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association have issued statements supporting transgender health care coverage.The Kroger Company’s insurance plan will provide coverage up to a $100,000 lifetime maximum for eligible employees and dependents. This will offer transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage and becoming a tipping point, for trans-inclusive health insurance, which is still out of reach for many of the estimated 700,000 transgender adults in the U.S. 

Pediatricians Rethink Screen Time Policy for Children -The Wall Street Journal

After more than 15 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics is starting the process of revising its ironclad guidelines for children and screens. Academy of Pediatrics had advised parents to avoid screen time completely for children under the age of 2, and to limit screen time to no more than two hours a day for children older than 2. Ari Brown, chair of the AAP committee that’s been investigating children’s media use, noted, “Technology moves faster than science can study it, so we are perpetually behind in our advice and our recommendations.”. A 2013 survey by Common Sense Media, in San Francisco, found that 38% of children under the age of 2 had used a mobile device. Dr. Brown noted that “The more screen media mimics live interactions, the more educationally valuable it may be.”

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

Leave us a comment.

For more In Case, You Missed It,  go to our homepage and subscribe to our blog via RSS or email.


Moreover, don’t forget to follow us on social media:
You can follow APA Public Interest on Twitter – @APAPublicInt and Instagram – APAPubInt.

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Make sure to also check out these APA publications:


Filed under: In Case You Missed It Tagged: advocacy, Children, children's mental health, culture