Note: this webinar presents preliminary data, final results were published JAMA Pediatrics in April 2020.
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Between 1999 and 2017, approximately 1,000 children in Allegheny County unexpectedly lost a parent to an accidental overdose. Many of these children had encountered public systems such as child welfare, mental health, and juvenile probation, both before and after the death of their parent(s). As the opioid crisis persists in western Pennsylvania and throughout the country, this webinar considers specific issues affecting the children left behind.
Eric Hulsey leads behavioral health analytics at the Allegheny County Dept of Human Services and describes the results of analysis about estimating prevalence of childhood bereavement resulting from unexpected loss due to parental overdose and encounters with public systems.
Cynthia Grindel, Account Manager at Life Solutions EAP, discusses ways that helping professionals like mental health counselors, child welfare specialists, and school personnel can support children who have lost parents to overdose.
Both presenters discuss implications for the future, including the ways that systems and helping professionals need to adjust to accommodate the growing number children who have lost parents to overdose over the course of their development into adults.
Dr. Eric Hulsey is Manager of Behavioral Health Analytics at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Office of Data Analysis, Research and Evaluation. The role of this position is to improve the data analytics capabilities within the Department to support practice, quality improvement, management decision making, policy and planning. Prior to this, he served in various roles to increase the application of the science in substance use disorder treatment and policy and is also a former clinician. Dr. Hulsey earned a Doctor of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, a Master of Arts in Psychology from Duquesne University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida.
Cindy Grindel is a licensed social worker with a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and 25 years of experience in providing counseling, crisis intervention and critical incident response to individuals and organizations throughout the region. She currently serves as an Account Manager with Life Solutions Employee Assistance Program providing trainings on a wide range of topics including grief/loss, stress management, compassion fatigue and resilience. In addition to her EAP experience, Cindy has worked as a Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, on call social worker for a hospital trauma team, and volunteer responder for airline disasters.