Autism Spectrum Disorder: From numbers to know-how

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The video and presentation slides including Beyond the Data from the April session of CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds, “Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Numbers to Know-How,” held on Tuesday, April 22 are now available at 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Surveillance studies indicate a substantial increase in diagnosed ASD. Just-published CDC data shows an estimated prevalence of 1 in 68 children affected by an autism spectrum disorder. ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and is almost five times more common among boys than girls. Tracking and diagnosing ASD can be difficult, since there is no single biological marker, and diagnostic criteria have changed recently. Although signs may appear early in life, many children with ASD do not receive a final diagnosis until they are over the age of four. This delay means that children with ASD and their families might not get the help they need during critical periods of development.

Child Mind Institute is bringin' it for Children's Mental Health Awareness Month

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childmindThe Child Mind Institute is in full court press mode with their Speak Up for Kids campaign in preparation for Children's Mental Health Awareness Month and want you to take full advantage of the great resources they have waiting for you!

Here is just one of many great ideas that you can implement TODAY! Place a Speak Up for Kids video on your website Just copy and paste the embed code they provide on their website to add one of their Speak Up for Kids video public service announcements to your site. Three video PSAs are currently available: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Depression. Get on it Network faithful!

NCHS study: 7.5% of children aged 6-17 taking behavioral medications

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The NBC News (4/24, Fox) website reports that a survey conducted by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics has found that “7.5 percent of children aged 6–17 are taking some sort of prescription medicine for emotional or behavioral difficulties,” supporting evidence that an increasing number of “US kids are getting drugs for conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).” For the survey, researchers interviewed the parents of 17,000 youngsters during the years 2011 and 2012. Figures from the American Psychiatric Association indicate that “five percent of US children have AD/HD,” the article also notes.

New York Times takes a closer look at incarcerated juveniles

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Research has long shown that locking up young people puts them at greater risk of dropping out of school, joining the unemployment line and becoming permanently entangled in the criminal justice system. States and municipalities have thus been sending fewer young offenders to juvenile institutions and more of them to community-based programs that keep them connected to their families and reduce the risk that they will engage in further crime. The number of children held in custody plummeted from about 107,000 in 1995 to less than 71,000 in 2010 and is still falling.

This is all to the good. But the authorities could bring even more juveniles into the mainstream if they did a significantly better job of educating them. That means paying more attention to the learning disabilities, emotional problems and substance abuse issues with which these youngsters are disproportionately afflicted and which often helped land them in trouble in the first place.

It is a mistake to assume that all children held in juvenile facilities represent “hard cases” beyond redemption. Indeed, a new study, by the Southern Education Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Atlanta, shows that nearly two-thirds of the young people who were confined in 2010 were confined for nonviolent offenses.

One mother's words: Our kids need to talk about mental health

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One of the CMHNetwork's key collaborators for Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, Mary Jacksteit of Creating Community Solutions has written a heartfelt blog article on MomsRising: 

  •  Finding ways for our kids to talk about mental illness and mental health is really important.  I live near Washington DC and had to read last week about a local high school with 6 suicides in the past two years. Two of the kids were 15 years old. Imagining the pain of the parents of these kids almost made me sick. It does make me ache.  I'm a mother of a now grown child who was very, very sick with bipolar disorder and anxiety as a teenager so this strikes very close to home. 
  • Read the blog on Mom's Rising.  

Bridging the transition cliff: Best practices in assisting young adults with mental health needs as they transition to adulthood

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aarc webinar
Young Adulthood represents the age range with the highest prevalence rates of severe mental health needs, yet young adults are also least likely to engage services and supports. Similarly, supportive systems vary widely across the country, and within each state, regarding eligibility for young adults in need of services, making it extremely difficult for young adults to access the supports they need. For these and many other reasons, young adults leaving child welfare and residential care have startlingly poor outcomes. However, programs that provide early and developmentally targeted preparation, and a solid coordination of transition services, can make a life-changing difference in the futures for young adults in residential care.

This presenter will introduce Chicago’s Thresholds Youth Programs, dedicated to best practices for young adults in care with severe mental health needs. The youth programs include a Residential Program for young adults, a Transitional Living Program for youth with Severe Mental Illness, and a Transitional Living Program for Parenting young adults.

This presenter will discuss how Young Adulthood has evolved over 60 years into its own age range, and how that evolution underscores the unique needs of this age group, both on a national and local level. The audience will then be introduced to some of the best practices with young adults, emphasizing the Transition to Independence Practice (TIP). The TIP Model is the Evidence Informed Practice dedicated to Young Adults with Emotional/Behavioral Needs or Mental Illness. Developed by Rusty Clark, Ph.D. of the National Network on Youth Transition, the TIP Model assists programs in adjusting their practices to promote better outcomes for young adults at risk across the five Transition Domains: Employment, Education, Living Situation, Community/Life Functioning, and Personal Effectiveness & Wellbeing ( The presenter will discuss some of the basic principles of the TIP model, along with other Promising Practices, and how Thresholds evolved its supports for young adults within the context of a Residential Program which still must adhere to Child Welfare regulations.

Finally, this presenter will illustrate changes the audience members can make right now to enhance their work with young adults in care to better prepare them for adult life. The audience will leave with resources and contact information for learning more about the discussed practices and about further young adult and child welfare-based research.

Our presenter is Marc Fagan, Psy.D., Marc A. Fagan, Psy.D. is the Associate Director for Youth Services at Thresholds in Chicago, the oldest and largest mental health agency in Illinois. Dr. Fagan oversees comprehensive programs for young adults with mental illness and traumatic histories, teen parents, homeless families, and young children. He has presented both locally and nationally regarding youth in transition to adulthood. As a Certified Consultant for the National Network for Youth Transition, Dr. Fagan trains audiences in the Transition to Independence Process (TIP); an evidence-supported framework for working with young adults with emotional/behavioral disorders and/or mental illness. He also participates in numerous state workgroups dedicated to improving outcomes for transitioning youth and for young people in the child welfare system. Dr. Fagan was recently honored to speak at a Congressional Briefing in Washington DC in support of the Healthy Transitions Act for youth with mental health needs. Additionally, Dr. Fagan is a Master Trainer in Aggression Replacement Training (ART®) and a Certified Trainer in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI).

This event requires registration, will last for 2 hours, and it is free to AACRC members along with free NASW CEU's. Non-members fee is $50.00 for an single login (which can be viewed by as many individuals in the room) and $25.00 per each NASW CEU's requested.

  • Topic: From Transition Cliff to Slope:Best Practices in Assisting Young Adults with Mental Health Needs as they Transition to Adulthood 
  • Date and Time:
    • Thursday, May 15, 2014 9:00 am, Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, GMT-07:00)
      Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
      Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:00 am, Mountain Daylight Time (Denver, GMT-06:00)
  • Register here

7th Annual Fatherhood Solution Conference

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fatherhood conference
It is no secret that the CMHNetwork is a huge fan of just about everything the Children's Institute in California does. One thing they have been particularly strong in is their longstanding commitment to providing quality training events around the issue of fatherhood involvement. If you work with fathers, are a father yourself or care about fathers strengthening the bond between them and their children then you should consider attending the upcoming one-day conference sponsored by the Children's Institute. Their seventh annual Fatherhood Solution Conference will be held on June 13th, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Here are the details:

  • Join nationally recognized experts and your colleagues for a daylong exploration of the most important issues related to fatherhood. Discover new ways to build and strengthen relationships between fathers and their children. 

    NEW! This year’s conference will include a designated Father Track with workshops covering topics that are relevant and beneficial to fathers in attendance. 

    Who Should Attend: community service providers, policy advocates, government representatives, mental health professionals, public health professionals or community members who are concerned about solving the problem of absentee fathers’ effects on the lives of children. 
  • Conference Speakers include: 
    Cheryl Grills, PhD – nationally-recognized clinical psychologist with expertise in the development of empowerment, participatory models of evaluations, and issues of cultural competency
    Gregory Boyle, S.J. – Founder and Director of Homeboy Industries
    Earl Johnson, PhD – Director of the Office of Family Assistance, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
    and many more! 

    Registration is now open!  
    Standard Registration: $125 | CEs: $25

How positive youth development offers promise for teen health & teen pregnancy prevention

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May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. In observance, the HHS Office of Adolescent Health is hosting a live webcast on positive youth development.

  • Please register for the webcast here
  • When and where: Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 2-3 p.m. ET 

 You'll learn:

  • What positive youth development is, and how it’s valuable for programs working with adolescents
  • The research behind positive youth development, and what we know about its success in teen pregnancy prevention
  • How community programs have been using positive youth development to benefit youth
  • Future interventions using positive youth development, and the way forward for positive youth development research

For more information on the Office of Adolescent Health, please visit the website.

Stamp Out Stigma sets a goal of reaching more than 1 million people

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The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW), the national voice for specialty behavioral health and wellness companies, has just launched a campaign called Stamp Out Stigma. According to their press release, the campaign is aimed at reaching more than 1,000,000 people in 2014 in order to change perceptions and reduce the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorders. The Stamp Out Stigma campaign will encourage people to take the Stamp Out Stigma pledge and share their own personal stories.

Through direct outreach by ABHW and its member companies, a website ( and active social media platforms, the campaign aims to:

  • Recognize the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders;
  • Reeducate ourselves, friends and family on the truths of mental illness and addiction; and
  • Reduce the stigma of mental illness and addiction and, thus, transform lives.

Member companies will leverage existing communications platforms to reach key audiences, including their employees, provider networks and customers, with Stamp Out Stigma resources and information, including: Stamp Out Stigma pledge cards, posters and wrist bands as well as personal stories posted on social media.

Check it out Network faithful. Visit their website at

  • Sign Up Now
  • Take Action
  • Contribute