Nuestros Niños Nuestro Futuro (Our Children Our Future)

Addressing mental health problems experienced by students exposed to violence

Full Project Name:Nuestros Niños Nuestro Futuro (Our Children Our Future)Primary Community Organization:La Causa, Inc.Primary Academic Partner:Julia Dickson-Gomez, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$300,000
Award Date
July2009
Project Duration:54 months

Project Description Narrative:


Milwaukee is home to a growing Latino population, with the greatest growth centered in Milwaukee's south side neighborhoods. Among residents of this area, except for home ownership, all income indicators and educational levels are significantly lower for Latinos compared to their white neighbors. This economic difficulty —which includes low academic achievement, low wages, high poverty, and significant unemployment — has a direct and major impact on family wellbeing, specifically on the mental health of children.

Three key indicators speak to the challenges facing children in this locale: educational failure, violent crime, and child abuse and neglect. Within this context, project partners will aim to address mental health problems experienced by students exposed to community and/or home violence through implementation of an evidence-based behavioral intervention program and build sustainable school capacity to support good mental health for children.

Community partners:
Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee County Wraparound Program, Milwaukee County Mobile Urgent Treatment Team (MUTT), Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS)

Additional MCW academic partners:
Laura Glasman, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine; Angel Rosado, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine; Cheryl Sitzler, MA, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Implemented a Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools program, enrolling a total of 110 students throughout the project with data indicating significant improvements in post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms among participants at both three-month and six-month follow-ups

• Established a high, sustainable level of knowledge and skills to address mental health issues within the La Causa School community, through education, training, and support for parents, teachers, and school administrators. Participating teachers demonstrated an increased knowledge level of mental health sisues and an understanding of the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools program

• Disseminated project process and outcome evaluation reports, presenting to school staff and administrators, and also presenting results at the American Public Health Association conference and at the Evidence-Based Health Policy Project Capitol Briefing

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