How Jennifer Siebel Newsom Turned a Youth Psychological Well being Champion

Credit score: Jennifer Siebel Newsom/Fb

Jennifer Siebel Newsom

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The primary companion, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, has spent a long time highlighting, analyzing and bettering the psychological well-being of younger individuals. However for her, the topic transcends skilled duties. It is private.

When Siebel Newsom was 6, her older sister died in an accident, leaving her to cope with grief and emotional upheaval at a younger age. She is aware of firsthand, she stated, what it is wish to be a baby who has skilled loss and trauma, like so many California kids have endured in the course of the pandemic.

“I believe we went to remedy as soon as (after my sister died) after which it was like, transfer on, it is high quality, we’re simply going to fake like nothing occurred,” he stated. she stated in a current interview with EdSource, her eyes filling with tears. “And it was traumatic to lose your finest buddy and your sister. So I at all times knew, with out your sanity, what do you will have?

Siebel Newsom went to varsity, obtained an MBA, then labored in Hollywood for a couple of years earlier than turning to documentary filmmaking. She has produced 4 award-winning documentaries specializing in psychological well being, fairness, gender and associated subjects, beginning in 2011 with “Miss Illustration” about how representations of ladies are too typically centered on magnificence and sexuality , and the affect on younger individuals. “The Masks You Stay In”, printed in 2015, examines how boys wrestle with expectations of masculinity. In 2020, “The Nice American Lie” examined racial and earnings inequality in the USA. Extra just lately, “Truthful Play” focuses on the difficulties girls face when attempting to stability work and household life.

Past the digital camera, Siebel Newsom has been a persistent and outspoken advocate in her husband’s administration for college students with trauma, anxiousness, despair and different emotional difficulties. This yr, the Newsom administration earmarked $4.7 billion for youth psychological well being packages in California, seen because the nation’s largest funding within the emotional well-being of kids ever.

The cash will go to a bunch of packages, together with:

  • 40,000 new college counselors and different psychological well being professionals.
  • Group faculties that present social companies to college students and their households.
  • Simplified Medi-Cal protection for younger individuals to obtain free psychological well being companies.
  • A one-stop-shop on-line center for youth psychological well being companies which incorporates hotlines, movies and recommendation for folks.

As the primary companion, Siebel Newsom lobbied for higher vitamin in faculties, higher entry to the outside for youngsters, and different youth wellness initiatives.

Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the State Board of Schooling, praised Siebel Newsom’s “fixed and protracted” efforts on behalf of California’s kids, households and lecturers.

She has huge empathy for the traumatic experiences that younger individuals and their households have gone by in the course of the pandemic and has been instrumental in organizing consciousness of those points in addition to sources for social-emotional helps and practices for younger individuals. faculties,” Darling-Hammond stated. “She has a dynamic imaginative and prescient of kid, household and group schooling programs that really nurture all college students to allow them to thrive – nourishing their our bodies with nutritious meals, their minds with alternatives for inquiry. depth and their hearts with a way of belonging, acceptance and love.

Siebel Newsom’s efforts are particularly welcome after so a few years of California’s funding shortfall for psychological well being companies, stated Loretta Whitson, director of the California Affiliation of Faculty Counselors.

“She is aware of full properly that complete psychological well being companies in California faculties have been insufficient. Whereas the Governor’s current funding will add further college counselors to the workforce, there shall be a good better want for entry to program assist movies and supplies such because the Siebel Newsom documentary collection. stated Whitson. “(We) want to work together with her and assist her efforts.”

Siebel Newsom can be a mom of 4 who, like most dad and mom, has skilled the anguish of watching her kids undergo emotional misery in the course of the pandemic.

“I needed to learn to floor (them), and so did I. That actually helped,” she stated at a current convention of faculty counselors and directors in Napa. kids face these challenges, we have to understand it is not their fault…. As a mum or dad, there’s nothing worse than seeing your little one undergo and feeling powerless to assist them.

Her personal experiences, in addition to these of different dad and mom, have helped form her advocacy efforts. In 2021, Siebel Newsom toured the state to pay attention to folks’ frustrations and challenges in the course of the pandemic, gathering concepts on what may assist households address college closings, quarantines, the lack of family members and different difficulties. She repeatedly heard concerning the expertise dependancy of kids – younger individuals who not often left their bedrooms as a result of they have been glued to their telephones, or spent numerous hours a day taking part in video games, or have been consumed by the media. social, or had utterly disengaged from household and mates.

Along with a bunch she based, California Companions Challenge, she used the data to create tool boxes for households, faculties and others to assist kids overcome expertise dependancy.

“I’ll at all times be the one that says the elephant within the room is expertise and social media dependancy and all that stuff,” she advised EdSource. “Our kids’s brains are nonetheless plastic and never totally configured, and they’re manipulated by this expertise which creates extra isolation and disconnects us from one another and from relationships. So we knew we needed to strategy this from holistic approach.

Considered one of his options to those challenges is to get younger individuals to exit extra and eat extra nutritious meals. She was a serious funder of the state’s Farm to Faculty grant program, a $60 million initiative to pay for varsity gardens, cooking courses and different initiatives geared toward bringing meals extra more energizing meals to varsities and instructing kids the place their meals comes from.

To encourage children to get exterior extra, she launched the California State Parks Journey Go, which gives free admission to all California fourth graders and their households to 19 state parks, and the California State Library Parks Go. , which gives free state park passes. obtainable initially with a library card.

Amy Cranston, govt director of the Social Emotional Studying Alliance for California, stated Siebel Newsom’s advocacy has helped convey consideration to the youth psychological well being disaster and promote wellness in faculties.

“As we are able to see from her documentary work, she is acutely conscious and knowledgeable of those important points that we face as a society,” Cranston stated. “We’re so grateful for his assist and for the governor’s workplace to acknowledge the very important function this performs in scholar success, in class and in life.”

Darling-Hammond stated that Siebel Newsom“cares for the state’s 6 million kids with the identical sense of concern and compassion that she has for her personal.”

Because the governor’s spouse, Siebel Newsom feels in a novel place to merge her private curiosity in youth welfare with insurance policies that have an effect on on a regular basis Californians. With the pandemic, elevated use of expertise by younger individuals and a common improve in vitriol and polarization, she stated she felt a way of urgency about her work and points for youngsters. Californians.

“This can be a public well being emergency,” she stated. “Given what is going on within the nation and around the globe, it’s important that California succeeds proper now. And that begins with the well-being of our youngsters.

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