Friday Update 4-4-14

Greetings faithful readers. What a week! Meetings with both Senate and House staff and a fabulous 3-day meeting for NIMH Partners. No wonder Friday Update is just a tad late... We sometimes hear from readers that Friday Update is too long, filled with too much information and analysis. Network faithful know that we don't do well with sound bites, so apologies in advance for the length of this issue. Wait a minute - what the heck are we apologizin' for? Network faithful are the most knowledgeable and informed children's mental health advocates around and we plan on keepin' it that way. So put the "Do not Disturb" sign on the door, watch a little Aerosmith and RUN DMC to inspire you to "Walk This Way" and then get to readin' Friday Update! 

Most important reads for this week

Congressman Murphy has agreed to meet with the CMHNetwork to discuss challenges in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act 
Last Thursday I attended the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health hearing on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717), sponsored by Congressman Tim Murphy. The hearing underscored how much work lies ahead in educating Congress about the exciting approaches to meeting the needs of individuals with mental health challenges that have taken place over the past 30 years as a result of the family and youth movement, as well as the important work being done in brain research and specific evidence-based practices for the seriously mentally ill. With that as a backdrop I am pleased to announce that Congressman Murphy has agreed to have a face-to-fact meeting with representatives of the Children's Mental Health Network to discuss the bill and hear our suggestions for how to improve upon the language in the bill and address our concerns. Dialogue is key folks. Just saying no to a proposal that is now being discussed in forums that include support from elected officials from both parties will not work. We send a hearty "thank you" to Congressman Murphy for being true to his statements in the hearing about wanting input and look forward to a productive dialogue. 

CMHNetwork continues education on the Healthy Transitions Initiative 
When I have the honor of meeting with elected officials or their designees I make it a rule to always try to surround myself with colleagues who are a whole lot smarter than me. Last week I asked Network faithful Lauren Grimes, Transitional Age Youth Outreach Coordinator for On Our Own of Maryland to join me in a meeting with Senate Appropriations staff to discuss the wide range of services and supports that are working well with emerging adults who have been involved with the mental health delivery system. Every time I bring a young adult with me to a meeting on the Hill I am inspired and encouraged about the next generation of leaders. We are indeed in good hands folks. But don't rest too easy; we have much work to do.

We ain't gonna stop with our education efforts in Congress
The distance from my home to the Senate and House in Washington, DC is 554 miles roundtrip. I must tell you that every mile driven down good old I-95 is worth it if we can continue the quest to broaden the education opportunities of those who are making decisions about the type of services and supports that are funded by the federal government for young people with mental health challenges and their families. Network faithful know we refuse any federal funding so that our voices may remain clear to be supportive with both praise and constructive criticism when necessary. Tempting as it might be to take a grant here or there to keep things goin', it's not gonna happen... (Here comes the pitch) If ya wanna throw a few bucks into the gas fund for the old truck, we ain't gonna stop ya!

Wall Street Journal editorial on SAMHSA "shameful, deceptive, and untruthful" 
Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal published an unsigned editorial in their review and outlook section that eviscerates SAMHSA for how (as they state) "undermines treatment of the mentally ill."  Needless to say, there has been both outrage and support, pitting mental health advocates against each other. The timing of this editorial coincides with the current discussions in Congress around the HR 3717 - Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Read the Morning Zen post from guest contributor Jonathan Delman, who, speaking from personal experience, characterizes the editorial as shameful, and even worse deceptive and untruthful. 

CMHNetwork Children's Mental Health Awareness Week 
In partnership with Characters Unite and Creating Community Solutions the Children's Mental Health Network is offering two great activities that you can use as stand-alone activities during Children's Mental Health Week or can incorporate into your existing plans to enhance what we are sure is already a great program. Our focus this year is Battling Stigma and Disparities in Children's Mental Health. Creating Community Solutions is making all of their resources available so that you can hold meaningful dialogues in your community about the importance of battling stigma and disparities in children's mental health. Characters Unite has given us the idea of both joining their "I won't stand for" campaign and creating one of our own for you to participate in. Check it out Network faithful and get ready for a great Children's Mental Health Awareness week! 

The hustle: Economics of the underground sex economy 
The Urban Institute is out with a new research-based interactive feature that sheds new light on the scope of America's underground commercial sex economy. This is disturbing information but important for Network faithful to be aware of. 

Sessions announced for the Georgetown Training Institutes 
The winning proposals have been posted for the Georgetown Training Institutes and man, do they look great! Check out the institutes, workshops and poster sessions and then get to signin' up for what promises to be a great conference! 

Alamance County pediatric practices one of a kind in positive parenting 
Congratulations to Children's Mental Health Network Advisory Council member Martha Kaufman for spearheading a model Triple P program with pediatric practices in Alamance County, North Carolina. According to the international developers of Triple P, the pediatric primary care practice in Alamance County is considered to be the most innovative Triple P program in the world. We could not be more proud. 

Children of color face significant barriers to success 
African-American, Latino, Native American, and some subgroups of Asian-American children face significant barriers to achieving success in school and life, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds. Based on a new Race for Results index, the report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, compared data derived from twelve indicators of a child's success in each stage of life and found that most children of color are less likely to grow up in economically successful families, live in supportive communities, and meet developmental, health, and educational milestones. 

Day of Silence (April 11, 2014) 
Silence can create change! That's why every year hundreds of thousands of students across the world take a vow of silence on a Friday in April. This quiet but powerful, student-led action raises awareness about the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination. Anyone can organize a Day of Silence activity or event, and it can be a powerful way to band together and take a stand. Learn more about how to register, organize, what your rights are, and what to do if those rights aren't being respected. Strength in numbers. Solidarity in silence. 

AAP promoting message that FASDs are preventable 
For Alcohol Awareness Month in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is promoting the public health message that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are completely preventable if women do not drink alcohol while pregnant. To do so they have developed a short two-minute video that is worth watching.  

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive 
Did you know you have free access to substance abuse and mental health data from major data collection systems through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive? What are you waiting for researchers? Get on it!

New toolkit helps healthcare providers integrate sexual health into patient-centered care 
Sexual health is an essential part of every individual's overall health and well-being, and primary health care professionals should ask about a patient's sexual history as part of their comprehensive health history during primary care visits. But in busy healthcare practices, it is not uncommon for providers to skip the sexual history unless a patient shows signs or symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Providers may also avoid taking sexual histories because they do not feel comfortable asking sensitive and potentially embarrassing questions, or they do not feel prepared to ask those questions in a culturally competent manner when their patients are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Fortunately, a new resource is available to help them do so. 


Take Action! Please take time to familiarize yourselves with these bills and share your thoughts with your elected officials.

Is Friday Update workin' for ya?

A big THANK YOU for reading and participating in Friday Update each and every week. Our promise to you is that we will work to improve and expand our coverage of pertinent issues for children's mental health advocates, families, policy makers and just plain folk who care about making our communities stronger. So in the spirit of innovation and change what would you do to improve Friday Update for 2014? Send us your ideas. We are grateful for any and all feedback especially for ideas of how we can improve upon what we offer you. Not signed up yet to receive Friday Update every week? Sign up now and get the latest information you need to help you improve services for children and families. Forward a copy of this Update to a colleague and be a part of spreading the love about children's mental health far and wide. Just be sure to give us a wee bit of credit, okay? 

Be sure to add scott@cmhnetwork.org to your contacts so that Friday Update doesn't get snared caught in your spam filter.

Let us know what you need from the Network!   

We love feedback so let us know how we can improve the website to better meet your needs. Contact us here. We run this operation on your donations. If you find Friday Update useful and the resources we alert you to on our website useful, take one minute to keep us going for another year with your tax-deductible donation. Thanks again to so many of you who are spreading the word. We are indeed a collective voice and your support is greatly appreciated.

Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO 

  • Sign Up Now
  • Take Action
  • Contribute