Friday Update 4-18-14
Friday Update 4-18-14
Greetings faithful readers. With the increasingly polarizing discussions taking place currently around recovery models vs. psychiatric treatment models for addressing the needs of the seriously mentally ill we are reminded that at the end of the day we are all human and there are positives and negatives on both sides of the equation. As we say often, dialogue is key. We need to humanize the discussion, acknowledge the "truths" of those who are passionate about a psychiatric solution and those who are passionate about a consumer-driven recovery solution. The fact is that both have merit in certain situations and must coexist if we are to move the field forward. What better way to begin the humanizing process than by watching the brilliant TED Talk by Elyn Saks. Dr. Saks specializes in mental health law, criminal law, and children and the law. Her recent research focused on ethical dimensions of psychiatric research and forced treatment of the mentally ill. She teaches Mental Health Law, Mental Health Law and the Criminal Justice System, and Advanced Family Law: The Rights and Interests of Children. She served as USC Law's associate dean for research from 2005-2010 and also teaches at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Law at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.Watch the TED Talk, let it simmer, and then get to readin' Friday Update!
Most important reads for this week
Act to Keep Students Safe
A critical window of time is closing to protect America's kids against restraint and seclusion in schools. According to data just released from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, 107,000 kids were subjected to physical restraint or were confined to seclusion rooms in schools during the years 2011 and 2012. To protect kids nationally, Sen. Tom Harkin (D - IA) and Rep. George Miller (D - CA) have introduced the federal Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2036/H.R. 1893) that would ban the use of restraints and seclusion in schools except in cases of a bona fide emergency. However, with Sen. Harkin and Rep. Miller, both passionate champions of this issue and legislation, set to retire from Congress at the end of this year, the fate of this bill protecting students against restraint and seclusion in school is uncertain if the bill is not passed during this session.
The power of words: What the Wall Street Journal didn't tell you
Two weeks ago there was an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that basically eviscerated the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) while at the same time calling for support of HR 3717 – The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Since then the introduction of the proposed bill we have read with great interest articles in the press, personal communication, and written testimony from past Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearings on HR 3717. Much of what has been written is definitely passionate and unfortunately sometimes vitriolic. There are three particular sound bites that keep coming up (two of which found their way into the WSJ editorial) that taken at face value may create an impression that might be more than just a bit misleading. It is interesting to note that these three provocative sound bites appear to have gone unquestioned in the popular press all these months, so in true Network fashion we decided to grab the long shovel and do some digging'. What we found may surprise you.
Norman Speck treats transgender teens to delay the effects of puberty
Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need.
Register today for the Georgetown Training Institutes
If you haven't registered for the 2014 Georgetown University Training Institutes, take a few seconds to look through the Agenda at a Glance. We've got an action-packed schedule from July 16-20th filled with presentations from experts from around the country, so register today! And for those Spanish speakers out there, we've got a Spanish-language version of the website.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Week and Day - Celebrations abound!
CMHNetwork Children's Mental Health Awareness Week
In partnership with Characters Unite and Creating Community Solutions the Children's Mental Health Network is offering two great activities that you can use as stand-alone activities during Children's Mental Health Week or can incorporate into your existing plans to enhance what we are sure is already a great program. Our focus this year is Battling Stigma and Disparities in Children's Mental Health. Creating Community Solutions is making all of their resources available so that you can hold meaningful dialogues in your community about the importance of battling stigma and disparities in children's mental health. Characters Unite has given us the idea of both joining their "I won't stand for" campaign and creating one of our own for you to participate in. Check it out Network faithful and get ready for a great Children's Mental Health Awareness week.
Take Action! Please take time to familiarize yourselves with these bills and share your thoughts with your elected officials.
- Keeping All Student's Safe Act!
Senator Tom Harkin has introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASA), vowing to push forward with this bill "either as a stand-alone piece of legislation or by incorporating it into a bigger bill." The bill puts the contentious issue back on the front burner in Congress after the House passed a similar bill in 2010 and a previous Senate bill stalled. Make no mistake; getting the KASA bill through will be an uphill battle so your continued advocacy on this issue is important. While we think the introduction and passage of this proposed bill should be a no-brainer, much more public support is needed. And that means you! We have made it super easy for you to do so take 5 minutes and let your voice be heard.
- Prohibiting Detention of Youth Status Offenders Act of 2014
H.R. 4123, the Prohibiting Detention of Youth Status Offenders Act of 2014 would eliminate locked confinement of status offenders. Under the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA), youth who have committed a status offense such as running away from home or skipping school, cannot be placed in locked confinement unless their behavior violates a valid court order. Rep. Cardenas' bill, gets rid of this exception. The bill requires all states, within one year of the legislation's passage, to stop using the valid court order (VCO) exception. States can be granted an additional 12 months to eliminate their use of VCOs if they are able to show hardship. Status offenders do not belong behind bars as overwhelming evidence indicates that once in the prison system the likelihood of repeat incarcerations increases. Efforts need to be addressed to alternative treatment strategies that do not involve incarceration.
- Protecting Youth From Solitary Confinement Act
H.R. 4124, the Protecting Youth From Solitary Confinement Act prohibits solitary confinement of individuals who are being held in juvenile facilities, and are under federal custody. The bill further requires that the Director of the Board of Prisons compile and present annual data on the number of juveniles who are placed in solitary confinement at their facilities. The report will include demographic information, and data on why and how long the youth was placed in solitary. H.R. 4124, was sent to the Judiciary Committee for their review.
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