Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 10-16-20

October 14, 2020

Greetings, faithful readers. Let’s start with a video message from President Obama, encouraging all of us to vote! Register, make a voting plan and vote as early as you can. Whether it’s voting early in person or voting by mail with an absentee ballot, or showing up to vote at the polls on November 3rd, make sure your voice is heard in this election. Okay, hang out with the Prez and get your plan in place, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Remembering the Indomitable Force for Good That Was Tessie Brunini Schweitzer
Tessie Brunini Schweitzer, founder of Mississippi Families as Allies, passed away earlier this month. I will always remember how much Tessie gave to the world through her tireless advocacy to make the world a better place for children with mental health challenges and their families. Tessie was a pivotal change agent in my life. In this Morning Zen post, I share fond remembrances of one of my most revered teachers.

People of Color Create Their Own Mental Health Services Online
Faced with a pandemic and racial violence, people of color have created apps and organizations to support marginalized communities.

Teen Disengagement Is on the Rise
In the United States, teen labor force participation peaked in 1979 and has declined ever since. The largest contributor to this decline was a decrease in the share of teenagers juggling work and school. Will the Pandemic change this trend?

Newest Iris the Dragon Book to Help Children Navigate Conversations Around Mental Health and COVID-19
Iris the Dragon is back. This time with a special edition e-book aimed at helping children and their support networks explore the impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health. Project: Kids, Let’s Be Superheroes ― is the newest addition to the Iris the Dragon storybook collection. In her most recent adventure, Iris and friends are off on a special mission to reduce the mental health impact of Covid-19 on children.

Unprecedented Financial Uncertainty Looms for Higher Education
“This is orders of magnitude worse for higher ed than the Great Recession,” Robert Kelchen, professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, told Politico’s Morning Education blog. Fewer students are enrolling overall in higher education, while colleges face higher costs for virtual learning and campus safety measures. Colleges are also losing out on large chunks of so-called auxiliary revenue — money they bring in from services like housing and dining — which can comprise as much as 25 percent of some colleges’ operating budgets. And state budget cuts are either on the table or have already happened in some states.
Action Request: For those in university research positions, let me know how funding cuts impact your work. Please send me a message at

Julia Brookover, University of South Florida graduate student intern with the CMHNetwork, is working on her final project for her Master’s program and could use our help. Her research project examines changes that mental health and developmental disabilities organizations have had to make during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please take a few minutes to complete her survey and help an aspiring mental health professional out!

A Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair
Do we have a right to be hopeful? With political and ecological fires raging all around, is it irresponsible to imagine a future world radically better than our own? A world without prisons? Of beautiful, green public housing? Of buried border walls? Of healed ecosystems? A world where governments fear the people instead of the other way around? “A Message From the Future II: The Years of Repair” is an animated short film that dares to dream of a future in which 2020 is a historic turning point, where the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic and global uprisings against racism drive us to build back a better society in which no one is sacrificed, and everyone is essential.

5 Things Cities Can Do
City leaders know their cities thrive when their residents are healthy and financially secure. When families have health insurance, the burden on hospital emergency rooms is reduced, families avoid the sky-high medical debt that often results in a financial crisis, and children are healthier, which means parents take less time off work to care for sick kids. Therefore, city leaders have a vested interest in seeing their residents covered and are uniquely positioned to reach families to share information about Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The National League of Cities’ (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute), a national partner working alongside the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign since 2012 to help spread the word about Medicaid and CHIP to families, works with city leaders to support efforts such as access to health coverage to improve outcomes for children and families.

Dental Care for Children with Special Needs
If your child has a developmental disability, a behavioral issue or a physical limitation, it’s important for you to find a dentist who can give dental care while accommodating your child’s unique situation. Children with special needs—like mild anxiety disorders, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy—may need extra time or support when seeing a dentist.

Cuidados dentales para niños y niñas con necesidades especiales
Si su hijo o hija tiene dificultades de desarrollo, problemas conductuales o impedimentos físicos, es importante buscar un dentista que proporcione un cuidado dental de acuerdo a la situación particular del niño o niña. Los niños y niñas con necesidades especiales, tales como trastorno de ansiedad leve, síndrome de Down y parálisis cerebral, requieren tiempo y atención especial a la hora de visitar al dentista

The Complex Trauma Spectrum During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Threat for Children and Adolescents’ Physical and Mental Health
A letter to the editor in Psychiatry Research regarding complex trauma for kids during covid and things that systems could/should be doing to attempt to mitigate it.

In Connecticut, approximately one in five children has complex health, developmental, or behavioral needs requiring more frequent or more intensive care than usual. Care coordination plays a critical role in supporting these families. Research shows that effective care coordination improves child health outcomes and reduces costs associated with care. While Connecticut has a robust system of care for children, there are opportunities to enhance care coordination in the state.
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