Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 10-23-20

October 23, 2020

Greetings, faithful readers. Let’s start with a bipartisan video message giving you ten reasons why you should vote… today! All elections are important, but this election is especially crucial if you are committed to ensuring that youth with mental health challenges and their families get the services and supports they need to be the best that they can be. So, if you haven’t voted yet, watch this video, hitch up yer britches, and get to votin’! And when you get back from the polls, get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Innovative Advocate Solomé Tibebu Leads New Mental Health Initiative
As my guest on the latest episode of The Optimistic Advocate podcast, I am excited to have Solomé Tibebu, Director of the Upswing Fund. Solomé is leading an effort to provide timely resources to organizations that focus on the mental health and well-being supports to adolescents of color and/or LGBTQ+ in the United States—populations that face urgent needs during the pandemic but too often lack access to the care they need. Funding for the effort comes from Pivotal Ventures, a personal investment and incubation company founded and led by Melinda Gates.

Expanding Mental Healthcare in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health Accepting Grant Applications – Deadline fast approaching!
Adolescents who are of color and/or LGBTQ+ face significant barriers to accessing mental healthcare and services. The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health was created to address that need by providing resources to organizations serving these populations. The Upswing Fund wants to ensure expanded access to mental health services by providing direct support to the source—the networks, care providers, and system-enabling organizations—to empower them to not only leverage the latest innovations to grow their resources and treatment options, but in doing so to create a more integrated, higher quality system. Hurry – Application deadlines in November and early December, depending on which grant you apply for. Get on it, Network faithful! 

Survey on How the Pandemic is Impacting Children and Families
Zizzette Garcia, a graduate student at the University of South Florida and an intern with the CMHNetwork needs your help! Zizzette is researching how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children and adolescents with developmental disabilities or mental health needs and their families. Please take a few minutes to complete her questionnaire. Your responses will be kept anonymous. Support the growth of our interns as emerging policy analysts. We need to nurture the next generation of advocates!

#WhyWeCan’tWait: A Youth Data Portrait Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2020
At a time of pandemic, recession, public lynchings, and uprisings for racial justice, our nation is at a crossroads. The mounting stress and economic fallout from COVID-19 and racial turmoil is widening the equity gap for young people and communities of color. We are in a crisis and need action and investment from the public and private sector to support the solutions proposed for decades by young people and racial justice leaders. What we need is a New Deal for Youth. The Center for Law and Social Policy has just released the next set of data from their 2020 Youth Data Portrait focusing on healing and wellbeing. These data show how the pandemic has exacerbated the existing mental health crisis for youth and young adults, particularly among young people of color.

Transitions ACR Makes Available a Bounty of Useful Employment Related Tip Sheets for Young Adults
I’m beginning to think the folks at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (Transitions ACR) never sleep. They keep producing great resources for youth and young adults. Okay, Transitions ACR, you keep producing, and we will keep sharing. Thanks for being such an excellent partner with the Children’s Mental Health Network.

Youth Experiences in Depression Care – Young Adults (18 – 25) Participation in National Survey Requested
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), in partnership with New York University and Youth MOVE National, is conducting a nationwide survey to better understand youth experiences in depression care. The feedback that youth provide will go directly towards working with health plans to improve the quality of services and coverage provided to youth. This project aims to identify what is helpful, what is harmful, and to identify strategies that will better depression treatment, including screening and follow-up care. Eligibility to participate includes being a young adult between 18 and 25 who have received depression care during adolescence (12 to 18). Depression care includes but is not limited to: being a recipient of Youth Peer Support, hospitalization, medication use to manage depression, and therapy. To participate, fill out this brief survey. Upon successful completion, there will be an opportunity to enter a raffle for a $25 Amazon gift card. 

Teens Did Surprisingly Well in Quarantine
More sleep and family time—and less social media—may have made the difference.
As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States in March, work and school moved online, restaurants closed, and unemployment soared. The effects on mental health were immediate: U.S. adults in spring 2020 were three times more likely to experience mental distress, anxiety, or depression than adults in 2018 or 2019. How American teenagers fared during this time is more of a mystery. With teens no longer going to school and few able to see friends, many people worried about how teens would adapt. However, teens’ experiences of these events might differ from adults’, just as responses to the Great Depression varied by age.

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships
The pandemic and economic fallout impacts have been widespread but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, long-standing inequities, often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating.

Americans Are Struggling with the Mental Health and Economic Impact of COVID-19
On The Dose podcast, the Commonwealth Fund’s Reggie Williams discusses why Americans are experiencing the anxiety and sadness of the pandemic differently than people in other countries, and how this is tied to concerns about food, jobs, and housing.

Health Care in the 2020 Presidential Election: What’s at Stake
As the presidential election draws near, leadership from the Commonwealth Fund reflect on the meaningful differences in health policy priorities and platforms between the two candidates, which they have described more fully in their recent blog series. While similarities exist in some areas — most notably prescription drug pricing and proposals to control health care costs — the most striking differences between the positions taken by President Donald Trump and those of former Vice President Joe Biden are on safeguarding access to affordable health care coverage, advancing health equity for those who have been historically disadvantaged by the current system, and managing the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

My passion is helping to shape policy and practice in children’s mental health. 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 for the exchange of ideas on how to continually improve children’s mental health research, policy and practice.

In addition to my role with the CMHNetwork, I host The Optimistic Advocate Podcast, a weekly interview show where I explore how innovative people find ways to improve mental health for themselves, others, and the community at-large.

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