What Helps/What Harms was a collaborative effort between Taking Flight and On Our Own of Maryland’s Transitional Age Youth Outreach Project. A team of young adults held focus groups with 16 different cohorts of young people throughout the state between August 2014 and August 2015 in order to gather information from young people about their experiences with child-serving systems in Maryland. All of the focus group facilitators had personal experience with Maryland’s child-serving systems themselves, which promoted frank discussion. A final report was written based on the information gathered from the focus groups.
Among the themes that emerged from the focus groups, many related to experiences with hospitalizations. Youth repeatedly indicated that hospitals’ use of seclusion, restraint and punishment either increased or caused new trauma. Some group participants said they felt worse on leaving the hospital than they did when they were admitted. The What Helps/What Harms team developed several recommendations for improving services to young people who are hospitalized. They include eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint and transforming “quiet rooms” into “sanctuary rooms.”
In addition to hospitalizations, the report is divided into the following themes: mental health; substance use; education; employment and independence; law enforcement; staff; and youth voice. All of the sections include direct quotes that informed the recommendations of the report.
Click here to download the report.