Please go read this newspaper story: http://www.madison-press.com/news/opinion/5245873/A-Tootle-for-the-Madison-County-Fair
A “Tootle” (for the uninitiated) is the opposite of a tattle, and Tootles are written. An Ohio newspaper is the first newspaper in the world to publish a Tootle.
The people of Madison County and the state of Ohio may not realize that they are the vanguard of showing it’s possible to mobilize young people, adults and organizations of every stripe to protect generations from the epidemic of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders . The last time this happened for a large public good for our children was during the 1950s Polio Epidemic, when 3,000 people died and 60,000 were infected.
After the Salk vaccine was proven, almost every child was then protected by either the Salk or Sabine vaccine. Service clubs, schools, and all manner of volunteers mobilized to help. By 1963, there were less than 200 cases total in the U.S. If the polio epidemic were happening today, there would be 6,000 deaths, and 120,000 cases adjusting for double the population from 150 million to 300 million.
Today, we have a much larger and more deadly epidemic of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders than polio. Current data suggest that 1 in 2 children will be affected by age 18 from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or serious behavior problems. In 2009, an independent analysis published by the Wall Street Journal (December 28, 2010) showed that 40.4 million out of 75 million young people at the time had had at least one prescription that year for a psychotropic medication. MEB’s are now the largest single expense for Medicaid for children and youth nationally. The worst case MEB is suicide. Some 38,000 people (including 5,000 young people) committed suicide last year, and 708,000 people showed up at emergency rooms attempting suicide with self-inflicted injuries, excluding drug overdoses and single car crashes. This is not other people’s children being affected. This is our kids, our grandkids, and our neighbor’s kids or grandkids. That’s a portion of the bad news.
The Good News is the America has the best science in the world for preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. PAX Good Behavior Game (http://bit.ly/NREPP) is among the best universal prevention strategies, and it can be used during any normal activity at school. PAX never mentions mental illness, behavior problems, diagnoses, etc. It just works on teaching self-regulation in peer contexts powerfully, creates lots of joy and fun at the same time as self-discipline. It also significantly improves academic success, right here in Ohio based on studies that Wright State University is doing. PAX spreads throughout school buildings, homes, and the community because children and their teachers are the heroes of the change, not the objects of change. About 149 schools are using PAX GBG in Ohio, which is more than any other state in the Union. Why Ohio? Well, there are lot’s visionary, caring people in the state. I know, because husband’s family is from Springfield and Wauseon. I’ve been to both London’s, and the one in Ohio is lot cozier and friendlier. Besides, people in London, Ohio give Tootles.
So why do Tootles and PAX matter in Madison County? There are about 525 first graders in the county. If each year, the entering group of first graders get a really good dose of Tootles and PAX, they are changed for the better for at least 20 years, based on my colleagues studies at Johns Hopkins University where I am co-investigator scientist. Here are the predicted outcomes for those Madison County first graders when they turn 21:
45 Fewer young people will need any form of special education services
29 More boys will likely graduate from high school
35 More boys will likely attend college
47 More girls will likely graduate from high school
36 More girls will likely attend college
5 Fewer young people will commit & be convicted of serious violent crimes
50 Fewer young people will develop serious drug addictions
35 Fewer young people will become regular smokers
19 Fewer young people will develop serious alcohol addictions
25 Fewer young women will contemplate suicide
35 Fewer young men will contemplate suicide
And that would save everybody in Madison County about $6.3 million, for each first grade cohort. That’s a lot of greenbacks in county of 43,000 people.
Now Madison, Greene, and Clarke counties are among some early adopters of PAX and Tootles. What if ALL the first graders in Ohio each year – about 148,000 of them –– got great doses of Tootles and PAX. What would that do for the state when that cohort reached age 21? Here is what:
12,904 Fewer young people will need any form of special education services
8,349 More boys will likely graduate from high school
10,019 More boys will likely attend college
13,314 More girls will likely graduate from high school
10,404 More girls will likely attend college
1,457 Fewer young people will commit & be convicted of serious violent crimes
14,422 Fewer young people will develop serious drug addictions
9,867 Fewer young people will become regular smokers
5,313 Fewer young people will develop serious alcohol addictions
7,275 Fewer young women will contemplate suicide
9,867 Fewer young men will contemplate suicide
And that would save everybody in Ohio about $1.9 billion, for each first grade cohort. I am pretty sure that could be put to good use.
So Madison County and London are going PAX, and so is Ohio. Where goes Ohio, goes the rest of the country. So, a big Tootle for all the children, teachers, families, and community members who are spreading PAX for our futures in Ohio.
- O’Connell ME, Boat T, Warner KE (eds.): Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; 2009.