Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 1-22-21

January 22, 2021

Greetings, Network faithful. I’m gonna keep this simple – In the words of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, “There is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Enjoy this most inspiring video of Amanda Gorman reciting her poem at the Presidential Inauguration. Absorb the video’s words and images, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads for the Week

The Kundalini Chronicles Gets Its Own Podcast (Separate From the Optimistic Advocate)
Besides hosting the Optimistic Advocate podcast, I now host the Kundalini Chronicles podcast. Wait, wait, what? Two podcasts? Yes! I decided to split out the Kundalini Chronicles, which has pretty much dominated the last almost 30 episodes of the Optimistic Advocate podcast. Enjoy!

Monthly Trauma-Informed System Leadership Support Conversation for Behavioral Health Leaders
The Integrated Human Services Group is hosting a free monthly Trauma-Informed System leadership support conversation for behavioral health leaders. This leadership series is an excellent opportunity for Behavioral Health Leaders to connect with their peers in a mutual learning environment – and it is free! Join other senior managers and executives in an hour of quiet, shared reflection and informal peer to peer coaching about trauma-centric leadership and organizational effectiveness. Designed for leaders in the healthcare and human service fields and their allied departments, these no-cost monthly engagements are a moment of respite and self-care for managers, directors, chiefs, and other senior staff professionals. Each month, the group hears a “micro” presentation on some aspect of leadership and organizational performance and then shares an open facilitated conversation around that concept or related to other emergent topics.

Making a National Case for “Good Trouble” to Heal Mental Health Disparities, Based on Good Science
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are Rip Van Winkle, you know that children, adolescents, and adults who are Black, Brown, Red, or some mix of that have a higher risk for psychiatric disorders, related physical illnesses, lower lifetime income, and other harmful disparities.

NIMH Launches the Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET): A National Learning Health Care System
Over the past 10 years, there has been rapid growth nationally in the number of clinical programs focused on support for individuals who are experiencing a first episode of psychosis. This growth was stimulated both by the exciting results of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) studies and the expanded federal funds to support early psychosis program development across the country. A critical addition to this national focus on early psychosis programs is the launch of the Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET) by NIMH. EPINET is a national learning health care system that links early psychosis clinics through standard clinical measures, uniform data collection methods, data sharing agreements, and integration of client-level data across service users and clinics. Clients and their families, clinicians, health care administrators, and scientific experts now have the opportunity to partner within EPINET to improve early psychosis care and conduct large-scale, practice-based research.

Adolescent Substance Use 101: Current Trends and the Impact of COVID-19 Webinar
There is an upcoming webinar on January 28th from 1-2 pm related to adolescent substance use trends and the impact of COVID-19 hosted by The National Council. This webinar will discuss adolescent substance use data trends and, more specifically, which substances are prevalent nationwide, as well as the impact COVID-19 has played on rates of substance use and access to treatment.

CMHACY 41st Annual Conference – NON-NEGOTIABLE: Demanding Social Justice and Racial Equity in Our Systems of Care
The California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY) holds the most significant and longest-standing system-of-care conference in California each year. The 41st annual event will be held virtually on April 28 and 29. The conference’s theme will focus on social justice and racial equity issues as they play out in the various child/family service systems. Also being examined is the failure of systems to sufficiently prioritize and address the community (social) determinants of health, and behavioral health in particular. Here is a link to the conference webpage and registration portal:  This looks like a great virtual conference. Colleagues from across the nation are encouraged to apply!

Fewer Black Teens Seek Treatment for Depression, Mental Health Issues Than White Counterparts
This article published by The Washington Post in August 2020 highlights the cumulative trauma experienced by black youth since the beginning of the pandemic, including events of police violence and racial injustice. The article stresses the importance of addressing stigma, cultural mistrust, and systemic inequalities that likely impact the lesser number of black youth seeking treatment for mental health problems.

Pandemic Takes Toll on Children’s Mental Health
The article looks at how a family and youth were impacted personally by the COVID-19 pandemic and the youth’s resilience. It highlights the need for schools and community organizations to support youth mental health, even when conducting school and events virtually. It also provides preliminary research that demonstrates anxiety and depression among youth was increasing before the pandemic, with rates likely even higher during the pandemic.

Immigration Reform Proposed by Biden Could Alleviate Anxiety, Fear for Thousands of California Children
On day one of his Presidency, Biden proposed legislation to offer a path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants, including a path for children already been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This shift would primarily benefit undocumented children living in California. The state is home to about 184,000 DACA recipients and about 750 K-12 students with undocumented parents. A survey conducted by UCLA Civil Rights Project found that fear of immigration enforcement has affected children emotionally and academically. Children struggle with fear and anxiety that their parents may not be home when they return.

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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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