"Now Is the Time" Project AWARE Local Educational Agency Grants

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Due Date: Monday, June 16, 2014

The purpose of this program is to assist local educational agencies to begin to support the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with youth in both school settings and communities to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth, including how to encourage adolescents and their families experiencing these problems to seek treatment. It is required that individuals be trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

"Now Is the Time" Project AWARE State Educational Agency Grants

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Due Date: Monday, June 16, 2014

The purpose of this program is to build and expand the capacity of state educational agencies to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues in children and young adults, and connect children, youth, and families who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services.

Norman Spack treats transgender teens to delay the effects of puberty

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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. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

Healthy Transitions grant opportunity announced

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Network faithful should sharpen their pencils and get to writin'. The Healthy Transitions grant announcement has been published and we are including it below. Please note that the name of the grant program has been changed to “Now is the Time” Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults with, or at Risk for, Serious Mental Health Conditions (Short Title, NITT-Healthy Transitions (NITT-HT).

SAMHSA Announcement
In support of  the President’s “Now is the Time” (NITT) Plan, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is announcing a new grant program, “Now is the Time” Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults with, or at Risk for, Serious Mental Health Conditions (Short Title, NITT-Healthy Transitions (NITT-HT).  The purpose of this program is to improve access to treatment and support services for youth and young adults ages 16 – 25 that either have, or are at risk of developing a serious mental health condition.  Individuals who are 16 – 25 years old are at high risk of developing a mental illness or substance use disorder, and are at high risk for suicide. Unfortunately, these youth are among the least likely to seek help and, as a result, they may “fall through the cracks” and not receive the help they need to assume safe and productive adult roles and responsibilities.

Youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders face an even more difficult transition to adulthood than their peers.  As a result, it is important to identify these young people, develop appropriate outreach and engagement processes and create access to effective clinical and supportive interventions.  Outreach and engagement is essential to these youth and young adults, 16 – 25, and their families, as many of them are disconnected from social and other community supports. These youth may not be working, in school, or in vocational or higher education programs.  Some face the additional challenge of being homeless, or having contact with the juvenile or criminal justice system, increasing the likelihood of admissions to hospitals, mental health facilities and correctional facilities.  Once identified and engaged, it becomes essential to improve emotional and behavioral functioning so that youth and young adults can progress into adult roles and responsibilities and lead full and productive lives.

As part of the President’s overall NITT initiative, SAMHSA will create a continuum of outreach, engagement, awareness, prevention and intervention strategies. This continuum includes Project AWARE at the front end, which will focus on prevention and promotion with school age youth in educational settings, and Healthy Transitions (HT), which will extend this focus by creating treatment services and intervention approaches for disconnected youth and young adults that are transitioning to adulthood.

The overall goal of HT will be to provide services and supports to address serious mental health conditions, co-occurring disorders, and risk for developing serious mental health conditions among youth 16 – 25 years old.  This will be accomplished by increasing awareness, screening and detection, outreach and engagement, referrals to treatment, coordination of care and evidence-informed treatment for this age group. Healthy Transitions will: increase awareness about early indications of signs and symptoms for serious mental health concerns; identify action strategies to use when a serious mental health concern is detected; provide training to provider and community groups to improve services and supports specific to this age group; enhance peer and family supports, and develop effective services and interventions for youth, young adults and their families as these young people transition to adult roles and responsibilities.  When needed, these services are to be continuous so that young people and their families experience a seamless transition across age groups. 

The Healthy Transitions program envisions three populations of focus:  16 – 25 year olds at risk of developing a serious mental health condition who may otherwise be unidentified; 16 – 25 year olds who have already been identified as experiencing a serious mental health condition; and the community-at-large (i.e., general public).  For youth at risk, Healthy Transitions will focus on outreach and engagement strategies, including the use of peer-to-peer and family supports, social media, and coordination across care delivery systems, including vocational training and higher education.  These strategies will connect young people to resources to help them maintain their health and develop skills to lead full, productive lives.  Outreach and engagement will also create opportunities for early detection and intervention for those who begin to exhibit more serious problems over time.  And, for youth with existing mental health conditions, including those experiencing early signs of serious mental illness,  Healthy Transitions will  improve access to relevant child- or adult-serving systems and implement effective evidence-based services and supports to improve outcomes and life trajectories.  For the general public, this initiative will raise awareness about the early indications of serious mental health and substance use conditions among youth  and young adults and identify action strategies to use when a serious mental health concern is identified for youth and young adults.

The critical point of focus is to increase outreach efforts to identify youth and young adults who either have untreated mental health conditions or are at risk of developing such conditions; with a goal of keeping young people from “falling through the cracks,” especially after they leave high school.  This will be expected to occur at the state/tribal/territorial level and at the local level.  These outreach efforts will involve raising awareness through social media and other existing natural networks, (e.g. YMCA’s, health fairs, primary care centers, faith organizations and teen centers) that can effectively target youth, family, and community members about the early warning signs of mental illness and action steps to identify needed resources, expanding access to care.  It is anticipated that youth and family organizations will also have a significant role in promoting engagement and peer support strategies.

The NITT-HT seeks to address behavioral health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities by encouraging the implementation of strategies to decrease the differences in access, service use, and outcomes among these subpopulations of youth in this program.  (See Appendix I of the RFA: Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities).

To accomplish program goals, NITT-HT will promote: 

  1. Creation, implementation and expansion of services and supports that are culturally competent and youth-guided, involve and include family and community members (including business leaders and faith-based organizations), and provide for continuity of care between child- and adult-serving systems to ensure seamless transition.
  2. Infrastructure and organization changeat a state/tribal/territorial level to improve cross-system collaboration, service capacity and expertise related to youth and young adults with or at-risk of, serious mental health and substance use disorders as they transition into adult roles and responsibilities.
  3. Public awareness, cross-system provider training, e.g. higher education/community colleges, behavioral health, law enforcement, primary care, vocational services and child welfare.

NITT-HT is one of SAMHSA’s services grant programs.  SAMHSA intends that its services grants result in the delivery of services as soon as possible after award.  Service delivery should begin by the 6th month of the project at the latest.  

NITT-HT grants are authorized under Section 520A of the Public Health Service Act, as amended.  This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic Area HP 2020-MHMD and/or Substance Abuse topic Area HP 2020-SA.

Eligible applicants are:

State governments, Indian or tribal organizations (as defined in Section 4[b] and Section 4[c] of the Indian Self-Determination Act); District of Columbia government and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (now Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands). 

Tribal organization means the recognized body of any AI/AN tribe; any legally established organization of American Indians/Alaska Natives which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of American Indians/Alaska Natives in all phases of its activities.  Consortia of tribes or tribal organizations are eligible to apply, but each participating entity must indicate its approval.

Eligibility is limited to states/tribes/territories because the goal is to have services and supports linked and integrated at the state/tribal/territory level in order to effect broad policy change and replication. 

Useful Information for Applicants

Speak up for kids!

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The Child Mind Institute has put together a comprehensive array of resources to help you raise awareness about the needs of children and youth with mental health challenges during the month of May. Their campaign is called "Speak Up for Kids" and per usual, there is a tremendous amount of great information for you to use. Please read the announcement below and get involved!

Speak Up for Kids
Using the power of social media to raise awareness is one of the easiest ways you can participate in Speak Up for Kids this May. Together we can get #ISpeakUp trending with powerful stories of why you, your members, friends, family and supporters Speak Up for Kids. 

Take a look at the promotional toolkit for resources for you to use when sharing Speak Up for Kids with your audience:

  • Customizable #ISpeakUp Selfie Sign
  • Sample social media, blog, and newsletter language
  • Badges, banners, and ads
  • Speak Up for Kids logo
  • Event viewing party guide

Remember to register to tune in online on childmind.org/speakup for the Speak Up for Kids events being hosted across the county. We have a terrific line-up of speakers this year including Rory Culkin, Brian Grazer, Jason Katims (Parenthood), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), and the American Psychological Association’s Dr. Cathy Mavrolas. 


  • April 21: The #ISpeakUp wall will go live on childmind.org/speakup alongside some terrific new resources from our Contributing Partners!
  • April 25: Campaign launch event at the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • May 1: Ask your constituents to take #ISpeakUp selfies! We have some amazing celebrities lined up to post their pics, our Speak Up New York City event where we’ll have a social media enabled photobooth for attendees to take selfies, and exciting media coverage planned.  
  • May 4: Speak Up Sunday! Feature a powerful #ISpeakUp story on your blog and social media and encourage others to tell theirs. 
  • May 6: Both Speak Up DC and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s launch event for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2014 are in conjunction with the National Council on Behavioral Health Conference this year. We’ll connect you to the action via the livestream. 
  • May 8: Speak Up Los Angeles
  • May 11: Happy Mother’s Day/Speak Up Sunday! Feature an #ISpeakUp story on your blog and social media and encourage others to tell theirs.
  • May 18: Speak Up Sunday! (You guessed it – another opportunity to tell an #ISpeakUp story from your network and ask your constituents to tell theirs)
  • May 21: Speak Up Chicago 
  • May 25: Your final Speak Up Sunday! You know the drill!
  • June 3: Wrap up :)

Mental Health America celebrates "May is Mental Health Month"

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For 65 years, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month, raising awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.  

This year’s theme, “Mind Your Health,” recognizes the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness.

Mental Health America encourages you to download the 2014 May is Mental Health Month toolkit and use the material to spread the word about Mental Health Month and the importance of mental health to overall health. The toolkit includes an overview with key messages and statistics, sample Twitter and Facebook posts, a logo, Facebook cover photos, banner ads and buttons, and fact sheets on:

  • Alcohol Use and Abuse: What You Should Know
  • Social Support: Getting Connected, Staying Connected
  • Supplements: Weighing Benefits and Risks
  • Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind
  • Finding Help: When to Get it and Where to Go
  • Stress: Coping with Everyday Problems
  • Rest, Relaxation and Exercise

To download the toolkit, please fill out this brief form. Upon completion, you will be directed to the page with the materials available for download.

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!

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As many as one in four children from birth to age 5 is at risk of developmental delay or behavioral challenges. To promote healthy development and early identification of these issues, several agencies within HHS (including SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Education have partnered to launch a public outreach campaign highlighting the importance of universal developmental and behavioral screening, and support for young children.

The campaign's mission is to:

  • Promote universal screening.
  • Identify possible delays and behavioral issues in any child setting.
  • Enhance developmental supports for children.
  • Offer resources for professionals working with children.

These resources include screening tools, user guides for different audiences (including behavioral health providers), and an array of online resources for providers and parents.

The Ryan budget: Who wins, who loses... Who's got a better idea?

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The House of Representatives just passed a budget plan for FY 2015 drafted by Paul Ryan, Chair of the House Budget Committee. It is called "The Path to Prosperity," but only a select few get to go down that road. The Ryan budget demands sacrifice from nearly everyone in order to  to give new multi-billion dollar tax breaks to millionaires and big corporations. It's not the law of the land now.  But "The Path to Prosperity" could be our future if its rhetoric about expanding opportunity and strengthening the safety net is not countered with the truth about what the budget actually does. Join us to uncover the truth about the budget, including concrete estimates of the impacts on health care, nutrition, housing,education, and more.  

The Ryan Budget: Who Wins, Who Loses... Who's Got a Better Idea?
The Truth About the "Path to Prosperity"

The Webinar: Thursday, April 17, 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

The webinar will show what the Ryan-House budget would mean in our communities. It will also show you why it is important to tell the truth about the "path" that this budget would take us on - and the better road we should be traveling.



  • Sharon Parrott, Vice President for Budget Policy and Economic Opportunity at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Debbie Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs
  • A Community Expert to share the true impact of the budget
  • Moderator:  Ellen Teller, Director of Government Relations, Food Research and Action Center

Don't forget to register!

For background about the Ryan-House budget, click here

Learning community established to examine the implementation of the National CLAS Standards in Behavioral Health Systems

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The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health at Georgetown University is  seeking 20 individuals from state, territorial, and tribal level behavioral health systems who are committed to making a difference by implementing cultural and linguistic competency.

Members of state, territorial, and tribal level behavioral health organizations are invited to apply to participate in a free, interactive Learning Community on the implementation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Minority Health’s (OMH) National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care or the National CLAS Standards. The Learning Community begins in May, 2014 and ends in May, 2015.

These learning sessions will be facilitated by: 

  • The National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health and the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, which provides training and technical assistance to child, youth, and family serving systems on cultural and linguistic competence and disparities in behavioral health.  
  • The Health Determinants & Disparities Practice at SRA International, Inc., which serves as the management team that led the enhancement of National CLAS Standards released in 2013, and maintain the Think Cultural Health initiative (www.ThinkCulturalHealth.hhs.gov) on behalf of the HHS Office of Minority Health.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) supports this Learning Community on the Implementation of theNational CLAS Standards in Behavioral Health and encourages applications. NASMHPD will participate throughout the process and will help disseminate lessons learned.

In-school planning centers a success in Cleveland

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In August, 2013 we featured a Morning Zen post with Kevin Dwyer who focused on systemic, preventive alternatives to suspension, expulsion, seclusion and restraint. One of the strategies mentioned was the use of in-school planning centers. Network faithful are encourage to watch a recent news story on how the Cleveland School District has successfully implemented planning centers in their schools. Read the post from Kevin Dwyer and then watch the news clip.

  • Here is an excerpt from the Dwyer Morning Zen post: 
    An effective alternative to traditional in-school suspension is an in-school planning center, a room where a specially trained teacher or paraprofessional can combine a variety of techniques to both de-escalate the problem behavior, help the student problem solve to develop plans for a positive re-entry of the student into the classroom. The planning center can also help identify social-emotional issues that may require additional supports and referral to the school’s student support team. Teachers and staff that send students to the planning center do so through the principal’s office and must also provide the planning center staff with appropriate academic materials to work on, thus reducing the impact of missing important classroom instruction. When students are sent for a designated period of time this academic component becomes even more vital. Effective planning centers are equipped with all textbooks and instructional materials across grades and related computer materials. In one school district where paraprofessionals are used they are given 60 hours of training and have weekly coaching support from the school’s counselor or psychologist. Data are kept on the center’s use and effectiveness.
  • Watch the news clip:
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