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Mental Health, Gun Policy, Teen Vaping: RAND Weekly Recap

November 16, 2018

This week, we discuss helping kids cope with trauma; new support for gun policy research; how U.S. political polarization impacts competition with China; the high stakes of teen vaping; a promising mental health awareness campaign in California; and China's long-range bomber flights.

Little boy that has been bullied at school

Images bybarbara/Getty Images

Helping Kids Cope with Trauma

This week has been filled with harrowing stories of escape from the wildfires in California. Natural disasters, mass shootings, incidents of domestic violence, or any other traumatic experiences can be especially devastating to children.

But there are tools to help. The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools, developed by RAND researchers, is one of them. This program is used in schools to help address symptoms related to traumatic experiences. It also helps children build skills for handling stress and anxiety, and provides peer and caregiver support.

Image by RAND Corporation

New Support for Gun Policy Research

The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research is a major initiative to fund nonpartisan, scientific research on gun policy and gun violence. Founded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the collaborative will award between $20 million and $50 million over the next five years. RAND will administer the initiative under the direction of an advisory committee. The goal is to fund research that has the best chance of guiding the public and policymakers to fair and effective gun policies.

U.S. President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 9, 2017

Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

What Does a Polarized America Mean for Competition with China?

Political polarization in America may worsen tensions with China, increasing the risk of a military crisis. That's according to RAND's Timothy Heath. Moreover, the partisan divide could hamper U.S. decisionmaking if a crisis occurs. How can this be addressed? U.S. leaders will need to work even harder to mitigate the effects of political polarization and manage competition with China in a stable, effective manner.

E-cigarette held by a young woman

Photo by JANIFEST/Getty Images

Juul and the Stakes of Teen Vaping

This week, e-cigarette maker Juul announced it will suspend retail sales of most of its flavored e-cigarette pods. The company also plans to shut down some of its U.S. social media accounts. These changes come in response to growing pressure to address teenage vaping. Recent RAND research revealed that adolescents who use vaping products are more likely to smoke cigarettes. They're also likely to increase their use of both products over time.

Photo of the WeRise event

Young people attended a WeRise event this summer in Los Angeles, California

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Efforts May Be Working in California

Los Angeles County recently launched a mental health awareness campaign called WhyWeRise. It encourages young people to engage with mental health issues and lower barriers to mental health access. According to a RAND evaluation, the campaign is showing early signs of success. People exposed to the campaign were more likely to express support toward those with mental illness. They were also more likely to feel empowered to take action on mental health issues.

A Xian H-6K bomber landing at Zhuhai Jinwan airport ahead of Airshow China 2018

A Xian H-6K bomber landing at Zhuhai Jinwan airport ahead of Airshow China 2018

Photo by Alert5/CC BY-SA 4.0

The Strategy of China's Bomber Flights

Since March 2015, China's air force has conducted a series of long-range bomber flights in the Asia-Pacific region. The flights have taken place over the South China Sea, near Japan, and around Taiwan. A new RAND report finds that these activities are likely to continue—and even ramp up—in the future. Going forward, the United States should work with allies and partners to plan for any negative effects.

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