Friday Update 4-27-18 

Greetings faithful readers. Wow, another amazing week. I'm feelin' like a trip in the way back machine to spend a bit of time with  Des'Ree, singing her classic hit, You Gotta Be. Get inspired, and then get to readin' Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

Does the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Have a Leadership Problem?
This issue of Friday Update has several posts related to Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore McCantz-Katz's decision to either cancel or not renew 19 out of 34 technical assistance contracts. Community grant leaders, individuals, and professional organizations are pleading with the Assistant Secretary to reconsider her decision. Does the Assistant Secretary have a leadership problem? If so, how can we help her? Read this Morning Zen post for some ideas.

Now Is The Time - Healthy Transitions Project Directors Appeal to Assistance Secretary to Reconsider Elimination of Technical Assistance and Evaluation
Several Healthy Transitions Project Directors signed on to a letter to the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, asking her to reconsider measures being taken to severely weaken evaluation and technical assistance efforts attached to their grants.

Substance Abuse Agency Wants to End ‘Contractor-Driven’ Approach to Care
A contractor group is objecting to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s plan to cut back on “technical assistance” contracts, citing the value those contractors can bring to communities, especially in the face of the ongoing opioid crisis.

Professional Services Council Defends Role of Contractors Amidst SAMHSA’s Call to Halt Contracted Work
The Professional Services Council (PSC) sent a letter April 5 to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Assistant Secretary Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz raising concerns that her recent comments, and her actions stopping contracted work, devalue the critical role government contractors play in combatting today’s substance abuse and serious mental illnesses.

Federal Substance Abuse Chief Cancels Contracts — and Roils Longtime Agency Partners
Interesting article in the Washington Post that asks questions about Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz's decision to cut evaluation and technical assistance contracts. From the article - "As the nation’s opioid epidemic rages on, the federal agency charged with leading the government’s response to substance abuse is changing the way it helps local communities. But critics say the move risks leaving programs with fewer resources until the new plan is in place."

Bent Not Broken Program Helps People with Mental Health Issues
Since we are focusing on how SAMHSA is weakening support and evaluation efforts for a number of its grant programs, here is one example of a successful Healthy Transitions grant that will be impacted - the Bent Not Broken Program in Florida. It is so unfortunate that their support is being cut off.

Lawsuit seeks to reverse cuts to HHS pregnancy prevention program 
Speaking of things being cut early... 
A new class-action lawsuit alleges that HHS illegally ended federal grants under the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program two years ahead of schedule.

HHS Deputy Director of Communications Placed on Administrative Leave After Disturbing Posts Discovered
Ximena Barreto, Deputy Director of Communications, has been placed on leave as HHS examines her disturbing posts that target former President Obama, Muslims, the pizza-gate conspiracy, and more. What is most troubling is that Ms. Baretto was part of HHS leadership in charge of agency-wide messaging and communication. Please note that the video footage in this article contains vulgar language.

Mental Illness Is Not a Scapegoat
Please join me in welcoming our newest Morning Zen author - Colin Dively. Colin is the youth coordinator for Utah Youth Empowered to Succeed (UT-YES), a peer group that assists young people with, or at risk of developing, mental health disorders between the ages of 16 and 25 to transition successfully into adulthood. In this post, Colin shares his thoughts on the importance of collaboration on multiple fronts to promote societal and cultural change and to end the crisis of mass shootings

Nuestra Salud “Bringing Behavioral Health Best Practices to Latino Communities - Live Spanish Webcasts
Still two more great webinars in this continuing series! Hosted by the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA), each one-hour Webcast will be moderated and broadcast in Spanish bringing together a panel of experts from across the U.S. to discuss important and relevant Latino behavioral health topics.

We Must Destroy This Family in Order to Save It
Eileen was desperate to help her son, and the only way to do it involved a perverse legal loophole that involved giving up custody to get services. But should she dare try it? Shannon Heffernan tells the story on the podcast, This American Life. 

Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis
SAMHSA is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis Grant Program (Short Title: CHR-P). The purpose of this program is to identify youth and young adults, not more than 25 years old, at clinical high risk for psychosis and provide evidence-based interventions to prevent the onset of psychosis or lessen the severity of psychotic disorder.  

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO


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