Friday Update

CMHNetwork 12-10-21

December 10, 2021

Greetings, faithful readers. Let’s start this edition of Friday Update off with Bob Marley singing his iconic ‘Redemption Song.’ It’s a classic that I never tire of, especially when reflecting on the year we have had. Enjoy the song, spend some time reflecting on the words, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Coalition Declares ‘National Emergency’ in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Thanks to the NASMHPD for sharing this important resource!
In late October, three national organizations – the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) – declared a “National Emergency” in child and adolescent mental health. The trio cited recent data in the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) that indicated “soaring rates of mental health challenges among children, adolescents, and their families over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.” They say that the recent spike in mental health problems has exacerbated the already difficult situation that existed prior to the pandemic. It adds that, children, adolescents and families “have experienced enormous adversity and disruption, with inequities resulting from structural racism further contributing to disproportionate impacts on communities of color.” 

Transgender, Gender Nonbinary, Genderfluid, Two-Spirit, Gender Non-Conforming, & Genderqueer People
An alarming number of states are currently considering discriminatory bills focused on limiting the rights of transgender, gender nonbinary, genderfluid, two-spirit, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer people, with more than 80 bills having been introduced in 2021 alone. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the legislation specifically targets minors. These discriminatory bills will sharply reduce legal rights and equitable access to services and will significantly impact the health and well-being of TGNC people, their families, and our society at large.

The Impact of Parental Burnout
Burnout is most often associated with the workplace, but a growing body of research suggests it can also affect parents, particularly while navigating the many stressors of pandemic life.

Youth Thrive Blueprint: Coaching Tool
The Youth Thrive Coaching Tool is one of many resources for implementing the Youth Thrive Initiative developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The purpose of this Coaching Tool is to give supervisors key questions, guidance, and ideas about how to help workers assess and support Protective and Promotive Factors with youth.

Potential Socioeconomic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Neural Development, Mental Health, and K-12 Educational Achievement
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can affect more than a child’s biological health. Lack of in-person schooling and increased stress can affect neurodevelopment, mental health, and later life outcomes, especially for students from low socioeconomic status (SES) households. Insights from neuroscience on child development reveal potential neural mechanisms and educational outcomes likely disrupted by the pandemic—and how this will disproportionally affect low-SES children. Integrating the traditionally separate fields of neuroscience and educational research will be critical for developing and assessing the most impactful policies to improve our most disadvantaged children’s well-being and educational achievement.

Wraparound Care Coordination Has a Positive Impact on Youth and Caregivers Across Racial-Ethnic Groups
CHDI’s Jeana Bracey, PhD and Aleece Kelly, MPP joined colleagues at Yale School of Medicine and the Department of Children and Families in co-authoring a study in Psychiatric Services, “Understanding Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Wraparound Care for Youths With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders,” The study examined disparities in outcomes for families receiving wraparound care coordination within a system of care and revealed few significant differences by race-ethnicity and an overall positive impact of services on both youths and caregivers.

Kids Scared of Shots? Have This Conversation With Them Ahead of Time
Parents can help their children assuage any fears about the COVID-19 vaccine by allowing time for them to ask questions and providing honest answers, explains Dr. Erlanger Turner.

Re:MIX Shows Promising Short-Term Impacts on Pregnancy Prevention for Latinx Youth
A five-year evaluation conducted by Child Trends provides evidence for the impact and effectiveness of Re:MIX, a unique teen pregnancy prevention program developed by EngenderHealth and aimed at Latinx youth. Compared to students not receiving sex education, teens had better knowledge of contraceptive access, consent, and sexual and reproductive health after participating in the program. For example, 42 percent of Re:MIX participants knew where to access contraceptives after completing the program, but only 18 percent of students in the control group did. However, the program did not affect students’ sexual experience one year after completing the program.

3 Reasons Why Being a Special Education Teacher Is Even Harder During the Pandemic
While the pandemic made it harder for teachers everywhere to do their jobs, special education teachers, in particular, experienced a lack of training, support, and collaboration with their general education counterparts. That’s according to a new study released by the Center for Reinventing Public Education.

Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of Racial Trauma and Stress
In the past few decades, many prominent psychologists of color have studied the effects of racial trauma and how it leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress. It has also been linked to posttraumatic stress disorders, substance use disorders, and other serious psychological conditions. Experiences of racism against people of color build on each other and, over time, can chip away at one’s emotional, physical, and spiritual resources.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

Hello, I’m Scott Bryant-Comstock, CEO and founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network. For the past 40 years, my journey as a mental health advocate has traveled from volunteering at a suicide and crisis center, professional roles as a therapist in an outpatient clinic, in-home family therapist, state mental health official, Board Chair for a county mental health program, and national reviewer of children’s mental health systems reform efforts. As the founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network (2009), I lead the Network’s efforts to grow a national online forum to exchange ideas on how to improve children’s mental health research, policy, and practice.

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