Address mental health issues before stage four

0 Comments | Posted

May is Mental Health Month, and on behalf of our community’s children, parents, families and friends, we hope that advocates, leaders and policy makers will take this opportunity to invest in our community’s behavioral health. Mental Health America started the May is Mental Health Month campaign ( over 60 years ago to build a national focus on our country’s crucial mental health needs. Although progress has been made in creating effective services and supports, there is still a long way to go to meet our current needs.

Addressing mental, emotional and behavioral health before stage four — this year’s theme — calls attention to the importance of addressing challenges early, identifying potential underlying causes and planning an appropriate course of action on a path toward overall well-being. When we think about cancer, heart disease or diabetes, we know that the earlier we treat them, the better. Like with cancer, it’s better to start treatment before it reaches a more critical level such as stage four. So why is it that we don’t do the same thing for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental and behavioral health issues?

Approximately one in five young people in the U.S. has a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. According to the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, a review of three longitudinal studies concluded that close to 40 percent of young people have had at least one mental, emotional or behavioral episode by the time they are 16. Sadly, 75 percent to 80 percent of those in need of mental health services do not receive them.

Mental and behavioral health disorders impose an estimated $247 billion annual cost to society, without consideration of the emotional cost to youths and their families. A major portion of these costs does not take place in mental health care settings, but instead in education, juvenile justice and physical health care systems. During former Florida state senator and Tampa native Louis de la Parte’s tenure in Tallahassee, he had a favorite poster hanging in his office that said, “It costs more to keep a man in prison than to keep a boy in college.”

Prevention has the potential for saving our community many resources. The National Research Council notes that cost-benefit ratios for early treatment and prevention programs for addictions and mental illness programs range from 1:2 to 1:10. This means a $1 investment yields $2 to $10 savings in costs for health care, criminal and juvenile justice, education and lost productivity.

By the time our youths finish middle school and enter high school, most mental illnesses will have already developed, affecting their schoolwork and friendships, and shaping the future course of their lives. Investing in effective prevention programs for children will help them to build the skills and resilience they deserve. Fewer will struggle with depression, substance abuse, criminal justice involvement and suicide as they mature.

Our children can’t wait — they only have one childhood. Invest in prevention programs that support the social and emotional growth of our children. For information, visit or

~ Mario Hernandez, Ph.D ~

Mario Hernandez, Ph.D., a Psychologist, is a Professor and serves as Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. Dr. Hernandez is nationally recognized for his 30 years of local, state and national experience in the field of children’s mental health and systems of care and serves on the Children's Mental Health Network Advisory Council.

Upcoming webinar series on prevention, treatment and recovery

0 Comments | Posted

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is pleased to sponsor and announce a four-topic webinar series, entitled Addressing Serious Mental Illness: Effective Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Strategies. These webinars are offered May-August 2015 by the partners in the Mental Health Block Grant Coalition, which has been developed and sponsored by SAMHSA.

The Coalition consists of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health, the National Disability Rights Network and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. This Coalition impacts thousands of Americans by delivering web-based training and technical assistance on a range of policy issues to multiple stakeholders in state and local behavioral health systems centered on promoting and enhancing the federal Community Mental Health Block Grant.

These webinars, focusing on Children's Services, Peer Services, Home and Community-Based Services, and Collaboration with Criminal Justice, will describe new and emerging practices across a variety of services. In addition, each webinar will explore the types of outcomes sought for different approaches, how these approaches are financed, and provide state and local examples.

Ask mom how she's doing

0 Comments | Posted

Please help the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut circulate this important infographic to pediatric health providers and others caring for new moms and their babies.


8th Annual Fatherhood Solution Conference- Register today!

0 Comments | Posted

fatherhood8th Annual Fatherhood Solution Conference
June 19, 2015
Father’s Day – It Happens 365 Times a Year!

It's time again for the Children's Institute's annual Fatherhood Solution Conference. This is your opportunity to join a distinguished lineup of speakers and experts in the field of parenting and fatherhood. Explore vital issues. Come away with new knowledge and resources. This year’s theme reflects the importance fathers play in their children’s, families’ and communities’ daily lives.

If you are a child or family service provider, therapist, program administrator, policymaker, parent or caregiver, child/family advocate, educator, medical or legal professional, clergy, in law enforcement, or anyone who is interested in issues affecting children and families — this conference is for you.

Featured Speakers:

  • Robert K. Ross, MD
  • Daryl Rowe, PhD
  • Chris Hickey, PhD
  • Jerry Tello
  • Patrick Mitchell
  • Jorja Leap, PhD

Conference Highlights
Several dynamic tracks will provide attendees with enhanced learning opportunities:

Fatherhood Impact on Early Childhood Development & Education
Workshops in this track will discuss the critical role of fathers during their child’s early childhood years. It will discuss how fathers are the first teachers of their child and the impact that fathers have on their child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and intellectual development. Presenters will address the impact of Fathers on Early Childhood Development, School Readiness and Child Outcomes with workshops supporting the needs of early childhood education profession and those working with infants, toddlers and young children.

Fatherhood & Child Welfare (All the Systems)
Workshops in this track will explore major overarching issues that have an impact on fathers and their ability to be present in their children’s lives. Presenters will focus on the delivery of services to fathers and their families through community-based and child welfare programs.

Inclusion/Cultural Competency
This track of workshops will cover topics that are geared toward acknowledging and valuing differences. Workshops will cover all key aspects of diversity and inclusion using case studies and activities, as well as cover the more recent applications of: culture brokering, cultural competency, race, privilege and inclusion.

Just for Dads (Father Track)
The Father Track workshops will cover topics that are relevant and beneficial to fathers in attendance. These workshops are geared toward: new dads, experienced dads, teen fathers, single fathers, divorced dads, stepdads, grandfathers, father figures, role model dads, mothers of dads, children of dads, couples…everyone who wants to learn how to be a better parent.

Spanish Track
This group of workshops will include topics from all tracks but will be presented in SPANISH.

  • Where:
    Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel
    5400 Century Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90045
  • Register Now for the Fatherhood Solution Conference!
    June 19, 2015

    8:30 am to 5:00 pm
  • Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel
    5400 Century Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90045
  • Register Now

No Letting Go

0 Comments | Posted


Okay, Network faithful, let's help Randi Silverman get her movie, No Letting Go, distributed far and wide. If you are a loyal reader of Friday Update, then you know we do whatever we can to support the collective voice that focuses on children's mental health. Randi is a loyal reader, you are loyal readers... my goodness, a match made in heaven!

NO LETTING GO is a feature film adapted from the award-winning short film ILLNESS. In 2013 and 2014, ILLNESS won 7 awards, received over 20 nominations worldwide and was under consideration for the 2014 Academy Awards.

Based on a true story, ....

NO LETTING GO centers around what would appear to be a typical family. A husband and wife balancing work and responsibilities all while raising their three sons. Over a 4-year period we soon realize the middle son is struggling in ways that do not seem common or typical. Is it a phase? Growing pains? The mom, in particular, is faced with the daunting challenge of finding answers and help for her child. In a time where the impact of mental health challenges for families, parents, siblings and the community are just being realized -- this poignant story touches on a parents worst nightmare: What if you lost your child to a mental disorder? NO LETTING GO is a powerful, heartfelt and poignant story of the strength of family and the bonds that connect us.

As a society, we can no longer afford to stay silent.

About Randi Silverman
Over the past ten years, Randi Silverman has lead community-based awareness campaigns and support groups on the issue of child and adolescent mental health. As the mother of a child with a mental health disorder, she has experienced first-hand what it is to bring a family of three children through this challenge. Randi is a frequent speaker on child and adolescent mental health, and takes every opportunity to create community conversations in an effort to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness. In service of this mission, Randi is the Associate Producer of the award-winning short film ILLNESS and the Executive Producer and Co-Screenwriter of the feature film NO LETTING GO. As a member of the creative team for both films, Randi drew from her direct experience and deep knowledge of child mental health issues to enable realistic and powerful film scripts. Randi is the co-Founder and Director of Parent-to-Parent Support Group, a support network for parents raising children with issues of anxiety, depression and/or mood disorder. Parent-to-Parent has served over 400 families in the New York City Tri-State Area since 2011. Earlier community work includes serving as Vice-Chair and Chair of Byram Hills C.H.I.L.D., a committee of the local Parent Teacher Association supporting families with children of various abilities, and serving on the Board of Directors for the Rosenthal JCC (Pleasantville, NY) as Chair of their Special Needs Department. A former practicing attorney, Randi helps parents advocate for the educational needs of children of all abilities.

CMS proposes mental health parity rule for Medicaid and CHIP

0 Comments | Posted

Proposed rule will strengthen access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced a proposed rule to align mental health and substance use disorder benefits for low-income Americans with benefits required of private health plans and insurance. The proposal applies certain provisions of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Act ensures that mental health and substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than medical and surgical services.

“Improving quality and access to care impacts the health of our nation. Whether private insurance, Medicaid, or CHIP, all Americans deserve access to quality mental health services and substance use disorder services,” said Vikki Wachino, acting director, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.

The proposed rule ensures that all beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations or under alternative benefit plans have access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits regardless of whether services are provided through the managed care organization or another service delivery system. The full scope of the proposed rule applies to CHIP, regardless of whether care is provided through fee-for-service or managed care.

Currently, states have flexibility to provide services through a managed care delivery mechanism using entities other than Medicaid managed care organizations, such as prepaid inpatient health plans or prepaid ambulatory health plans. The proposed rule would continue this States flexibility in identifying varying delivery systems for Medicaid services provided to beneficiaries, while ensuring that enrollees of a Medicaid managed care organization receive the benefit of parity in services provided to them through these various means. States will be required to include contract provisions requiring compliance with parity requirements in all applicable contracts for these Medicaid managed care arrangements.

Under the proposed rule, plans must make available upon request to beneficiaries and contracting providers the criteria for medical necessity determinations with respect to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.  The proposed rule also would require the state to make available to the enrollee the reason for any denial of reimbursement or payment for services with respect to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

“The proposed rule is a way to advance equity in the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services. The proposal will support federal and state efforts to promote access to mental health and substance use services as part of broader delivery system reform through the Affordable Care Act,” said Wachino.

NCTSN unveils new resource page on community disparities

0 Comments | Posted

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a new resource page on community disparities. The page features resources for parents and providers living in areas where there has been community unrest, advice regarding media coverage of these events, guidance on helping children and adolescents who have been exposed to multiple traumas, and materials addressing racism, economic and health disparities, and ways to foster community healing. There are also resources on self-care and tools to assist the first responder community.

Focal Point 2015 dedicated to Trauma-Informed Care

0 Comments | Posted

Understanding the pervasiveness of trauma and the harm it causes presents new opportunities for those who work with and care for youth and young adults. Focal Point 2015 is dedicated to Trauma-Informed Care – from neurobiology to public policy – and it is available to read online today.

Vroon VDB High Fidelity Wraparound textbooks now available

0 Comments | Posted

After years of researching, writing, editing, and testing, we at Vroon VDB, LLC are proud to announce that our High Fidelity Wraparound Textbooks are finally here, and available for purchase on our online store. There are four books available: The Foundations of High Fidelity Wraparound for Wraparound Facilitators, The Foundations of High Fidelity Wraparound for Family Support Partners, The Foundations of High Fidelity Wraparound for Youth Support Partners, and Coaching High Fidelity Wraparound: The Coach/Trainer Textbook. Here are a few things our early readers have to say about them:

  • “These are incredible. I can’t believe how much information is in these books!”
  • “I love, love, love the pictures and charts – I’ve always learned better that way.’
  • “As a coach, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the exercises and debriefing questions. That really frees up a lot of my time.”
  • “I’ve been doing wraparound for years, and I am still learning so much from this book!”
  • “The coaching tools in this book give me so many ideas. I can’t wait to get started.”

Our new textbooks were designed with two goals: to help agencies get new staff to fidelity quickly, understanding the constraints they were likely to be operating under, and to disseminate a variety of new information we have learned about the wraparound process through our implementation research. The textbooks work well for large and small groups, but they are designed for certified coaches to take 1-3 staff through. The staff work through the books independently, stopping to debrief the chapters and exercises with the coach.

We are very proud of our new textbooks, and we hope you will give them a look. Here are a few of our favorite features:

  • The new textbook presents many new strategies for staff to use to produce high fidelity wraparound and success with families. 
  • The books are no longer dependent on a trainer or coach to explain the text, so coaches can put their efforts towards illustrating and expanding.
  • There are new exercises that focus more on problem solving and reflection - instead of restating the facts presented - to create much deeper learning. The textbook includes debriefing questions for coaches or small group discussion to support the deep learning cycle.
  • The new books also include visual representations of all the main learning objectives to support visual learners and activities to support physical learning. 

These textbooks are part of our efforts to make self-sustainable high fidelity wraparound possible for a wider range of agencies. Now, all a wraparound agency needs to bring new staff up to fidelity is one or more certified coaches, and textbooks. No costly consultants. No ongoing outside coaching. No endless rounds of sending staff to someone else’s Wrap 101 trainings. Just agencies becoming self-sustainable, so all their resources can go towards providing better and better wraparound for families.

Happy Learning,

Brittany Rastsmith
Director of Training and Social Media
Vroon VDB, LLC

Family & Youth Roundtable shifts from "Awareness" to "Celebration"

0 Comments | Posted

Leave it to Donna Marto and the crew at the San Diego Family & Youth Roundtable to capture the importance of thinking beyond awareness when focusing on children's mental health. For children's mental health events during the month of May, they are shifting the focus from "awareness" to "Celebration."

  • Family & Youth Roundtable’s suggestion is to shift from an awareness day to a celebration. The term “awareness” often connotes a deficit, creating further prejudice. We believe the word “celebration” allows us to not only bring attention to children and youth with mental health concerns, but also allows us to focus on and acknowledge positive mental health and well-being.

In honor of Mental Health Month and Children's Mental Health Week, the San Diego County Children's System of Care worked collaboratively with young leaders to share how they and their organizations support the integration of children's mental health and well-being. Enjoy the video!

We at the Network love the collaborative spirit shown by the members of the San Diego County Children's System of Care. Plus, Network Advisory Council member Alfredo Aguirre, is rockin’ a truly cool green tie in the video. Way to represent, Alfredo!

  • Sign Up Now
  • Take Action
  • Contribute