Friday Update 2-16-18

Greetings faithful readers. The horrific shootings at a high school in South Florida provides yet another sad, and all too frequent reminder, that in addition to sending thoughts and prayers to the victims of this tragedy, we must also pray with our feet and vote, if we are to get our congressional leaders to address gun violence in America. Let's start off this issue of Friday Update with Michael Jackson's "Heal the World," and then get to readin' Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week  

The Wrong Side of History: Gun Violence... It's Time to Talk About It
Spoken Word artist IN-Q delivers a stirring message on the absurdity of gun violence, and our nation's apparent unwillingness to do anything about it. 

Dear Congress: If Mental illness Causes Mass Shootings, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Network faithful, Liza Long, writes in a Morning Zen post - I’m the mom CNN used to call whenever there was a school shooting. And today, one day after 17 children who are the same age as mine did not come home from school because of another mass shooting, I’m angry. Predictably, politicians have tweeted meaningless “thoughts and prayers.” Also predictably, some Republicans have tried to shift the blame for the latest massacre to the isolated actions of a “mentally disturbed individual.” Now, I’m concerned that we are having the same blame and shame conversation without any meaningful action... Read Liza's recommendations for action in this Morning Zen post.

Senator Murphy Makes Powerful Speech After Florida School Shooting
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) gave an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate moments after a shooter opened fire at a South Florida high school, leaving at least 17 people dead. Murphy, who was elected to the Senate after the Sandy Hook massacre took place in his home state, has been a strong and consistent voice calling out congressional inaction on gun laws. “This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America,” he said. “This epidemic of mass slaughter ... it only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction.”

What Gun Violence Looks Like, in One Powerful Poem
“I Could Ask, But I Think They Use Tweezers” grew from Aziza Barnes long struggle to find the language to talk about the murder of a friend. He was shot and killed at 18, just before he planned to train to be a firefighter. The poem, told in broken but interconnected fragments, parallels the physical effects of gun violence on the body — how bullets break apart a system. “It’s all very firmly connected, and if one part is struggling to survive, then the rest are compensating for that part,” she said.

How Can You Tell Junk Science from Good Science About Autism Causes?
Last November, Dr. Dennis Embry wrote a Morning Zen post highlighting studies that focus on preventing Autism by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and acetaminophen exposure. Several readers wrote in and asked an important question - "How does one determine what is solid science and what is junk science?" I posed the question to Dr. Embry and asked him to write a follow-up Zen post addressing the junk science question. Buckle up, Network faithful. Dr. Embry has a homework assignment for you!

Mental Health of Transgender Youth: The Role of Family, School, and Community in Promoting Resilience
The focus of this eReview is on gender variance and trans identities among children and adolescents. The authors review what is understood at this point about gender variance in development, associated mental health considerations, and contexts such as families, schools, and community organizations that can serve to mitigate or exacerbate risks. In addition to the review of the state of research, two community authors who work with trans youth and their families weigh in on the implications this research has for their work.

Postdoc Fellowship at the University of Washington
The University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is pleased to announce a new postdoctoral fellowship focused on child and adolescent behavioral health services research and policy. This postdoc would be a great match for any aspiring academic interested in a career at the nexus of children’s mental health, implementation science, state and local policy, and being an active partner in bridging the “research to practice” gap on behalf of youth and families. Check it out!

Check Out the Agenda for the 31st Annual Research and Policy Conference on Children, Youth, and Young Adult Behavioral Health!
Oh man, have we got a great agenda chock full of amazing presenters lined up for for the 31st annual "Tampa Conference", March 4 - 7. Did I mention that the conference was in warm and sunny Tampa, Florida? It's a mere two weeks away, Network faithful. Pack the zinc oxide and meet us there!

Intramural Researchers Develop Suicide Risk Screening Toolkit for Medical Settings
Researchers in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)’s Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP) developed and recently shared a free resource—the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) toolkit. This toolkit includes a set of screening questions that can help nurses or physicians in medical settings successfully identify youth at risk for suicide.

Preschool Program to Boost Executive Function Leads to Success in Primary Grades
A program to teach preschoolers pre-reading, social, and thinking skills appears to have benefits through third grade, particularly in executive functioning—the mental skills that include planning, paying attention, organizing, and remembering details, according to a study funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). 

Complementary Health Approaches for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some people turn to complementary health approaches to prevent seasonal affective disorder, including St. John’s wort, melatonin, and vitamin D. This National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health digest summarizes current research for these modalities. 

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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