Recent Articles

Do you know how to respond to a mental-health crisis?

Mental Health First Aid provides the needed skills
By Vickie Evans-Nash

MSR Editor-in-Chief

First aid and CPR classes have been taught across the nation for years now, giving people with no medical training lifesaving skills in the event of a medical crisis. People suffering from mental health problems can pose a life-threatening crisis as well. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota offers lay people a class called Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) that will give them the skills needed to respond in cases of a mental-health crisis. “In a similar way to how regular first aid teaches people BAC (breathing, airway and circulation), in mental health first aid there’s an acronym ALGEE. It stands for assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen non-judgmentally, get appropriate information and support, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage appropriate self-help,” explains Anna McLafferty, the course instructor. Continue Reading →

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Mpls psychologist receives award for professional excellence


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota presented Minneapolis psychologist Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya, executive director of the African


American Child Wellness Institute and president of the Brakins Consulting and Psychological Services, with a Professional of the Year award at its Annual Conference, held Nov. 3 in St. Paul. The award recognizes a professional who provides high-quality services, exemplifies best practices, and demonstrates commitment to and leadership in the field. “NAMI recognizes Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya for her work to provide mental health services to children, to address mental health disparities and to help more providers become certified to provide children’s therapeutic services and supports in schools,” said NAMI’s executive director, Sue Abderholden. Continue Reading →

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First steps toward getting help for a child



Having a child with challenging behaviors can at times seem overwhelming. It can seem even more so if the child is having difficulties in school. Parents and caregivers may receive frequent calls or letters from school regarding their child’s behavior, as well as requests to meet with school staff. The following steps can start you on the path to dealing with your child’s challenging behaviors:

Step 1: Start by contacting your child’s teacher. Work to develop a plan to deal with the behavior. Continue Reading →

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Kids behaving badly: Misbehavior at school may mean a child needs help


This new series of articles is intended to help parents and caregivers learn how they can help their child with challenging behaviors successfully navigate through the services and supports available in the public school system. It is also intended to give information about the process to get appropriate help, who to contact if you disagree with assessment or services or have a complaint, and to give parents and caregivers information about where they can access information about the many services and supports available to help students succeed.  

Children may have challenging behaviors as a normal part of childhood and adolescence. They may have problems learning or may get into trouble from time to time; they may have imaginary friends, seek attention from adults with negative behavior, have a number of fears, show off or use bad language to get attention, or exhibit aggressive behavior toward peers or family members. Adolescents may forget their homework or fail to turn it in, refuse to follow directions, have a bad attitude, get failing grades or even get into trouble at school. Continue Reading →

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Kids with special needs need special help


Parents must learn how to make the special education system work for their children


By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Perception is a powerful thing. For instance, when people perceive problems with mental health, learning disabilities or other conditions that may negatively affect thinking and/or behavior as a reason to look down on, stereotype or shun someone, people with these conditions may as well have leprosy. Or it may be a ripe opportunity to take advantage of an individual whose problems have made them vulnerable. Perceive it as a fact of life and you realize human beings contending with such a difficulty are exactly that, no less human than yourself and entitled to the same respectful consideration. Which is how the National Alliance on Mental Illness (

NAMI) renders itself a significant community resource, improving perception by providing information that helps make a difference in the minds of “normal” people. Continue Reading →

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