Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 10-27-23

October 27, 2023

Greetings, faithful readers. One surefire way for me to pick myself up when I’m feeling like avoiding the news cycle and binge-watching reruns of Breaking Bad instead is through music. Here is an oldie-but-goodie advocacy tune that will get you right and ready for the battle ahead. Enjoy “The River,” sung by Garth Brooks. I’ve included the lyrics. I encourage you to read them, especially those who have been letting me know your advocacy legs are getting heavy. Enjoy the tune and the lyrics, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

The Children’s Mental Health Network is Closing Down
After meeting with the Board of the Children’s Mental Health Network, we have decided this will be our last year of operation. It has been an incredible journey, and every reader of Friday Update will always hold a special place in our hearts. Only two issues of Friday Update left after this one, so enjoy!

New Trauma ScreenTIME Course for Pediatric Primary Care Settings Now Available
The ScreenTIME courses provide staff in child-serving systems with best practices for trauma screening. The goal of the course is to help child-serving staff identify and support children suffering from traumatic stress as early as possible and connect those in need with effective services. This new course from the Child Health and Development Institute continues their tradition of excellence in training and education in the children’s mental health arena!

Study Participants Wanted: Working Young Adults w/ Mental Health Conditions
Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research is recruiting for a new study, the Tools for Work Success Study, part of the 2019-2024 Learning & Working RRTC. The primary purpose of this study is to determine which of two approaches is most effective in helping young adults, ages 18 to 30 years old, with mental health conditions develop skills around focus, memory, planning/time management, and problem-solving for work.

A Resource to Help Researchers and Funders Understand Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families
This brief aims to provide information on Indigenous Peoples in the United States (U.S.) and U.S. territories for those who fund and conduct research, evaluation, and technical assistance. The brief is for those with experience engaging with Indigenous Peoples in these activities and those seeking to engage with and fund Indigenous work.

‘It’s not a red state, blue state thing’: Senators Form Bipartisan Mental Health Caucus
The newly formed caucus includes lawmakers who have been outspoken about their own experiences with mental health issues.

HHS Awards $23 Million to Support Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), is announcing approximately $23 million in funding to foster innovation, provide new research, and expand the evidence to support and advance equity in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program. The TPP program is a national, competitive program that provides funding to replicate and scale evidence-based programs and develop and evaluate new and innovative approaches to prevent unintentional teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among adolescents, promote positive youth development, and advance equity in adolescent health.

Mental Health Client-Level Data (MH-CLD) 2021: Data on Clients Receiving Mental Health Treatment Services Through State Mental Health Agencies
This annual report presents the total number of clients receiving mental health treatment services in 2021 by demographics, National Outcome Measures (NOMs) and the top five mental health diagnoses for children (ages 0-17) and adults (ages 18 and older) by geographic distribution.

New Report from the Child Mind Institute on Evidence-Based Reading Instruction and Educational Equity
Reading is a fundamental skill underlying academic achievement, professional success, and full participation in society. But right now, staggering numbers of children in the United States are struggling to learn to read. The Child Mind Institute 2023 Children’s Mental Health Report is an important read!

How Teenagers’ Lack of Sleep Is Taking a Toll on Their Mental Health
Research has found that teenagers should get eight to ten hours of sleep every night. But many sleep far less than that, and nearly one in four also have insomnia. William Brangham, a journalist with PBS, reports on why it’s so hard for so many teens to sleep and why it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

Bike Riding in Middle School May Boost Mental Health, Study Finds
Teaching middle schoolers bike riding skills in physical education classes may help improve their mental health, according to a new study that looked at the effects of a 6-8 week cycling class taught in schools across the U.S.

Bullying and Our Mental Health: How Does It Affect Our Kids’ Brains?
Twenty-two percent of kids ages 12 to 18 have reported being the victim of bullying the previous year, with kids in middle school experiencing it more often than high schoolers. Researchers are learning more about bullying to understand how these traumatic social interactions impact a child’s developing brain. Currently, imaging technology has allowed scientists to identify a possible link between bullying and distinct changes in the brain.

No Place for (Most) Kids
“We all want a world where young people can realize their potential, even when they make mistakes. But that won’t be possible unless the legal system takes a back seat to families, schools, and communities —in most cases — when young people push boundaries and break the law. Rather than over-respond to adolescent misconduct, let’s follow the evidence to do what works.” Nate Balis, Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Childhood Trauma: 3 Ways to Help Kids Cope
Parents and caregivers can help children who have had traumatic experiences in many important ways. Some of the most important ones are helping them to feel safe, learn healthy routines, identify and manage their emotions and behavior, and build resilience. To help your child cope after troubling events, it helps to remember the 3 Rs: reassure, return to routine, and regulate.

Chronic Absenteeism in US Schools Rose During Pandemic — and Hasn’t Recovered
As schools across the nation kick off another aca­d­e­m­ic year, chron­ic absen­teeism among stu­dents is a lin­ger­ing concern. Case in point: The share of fourth graders who were chron­i­cal­ly absent from school spiked during the pan­dem­ic, from 24% in 2019 to 36% in 2022, accord­ing to data from the Nation­al Assess­ment of Edu­ca­tion­al Progress (NAEP) on the KIDS COUNT® Data Center.

Assessing Exposure to Psychological Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in the Juvenile Justice Population
This resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network explores the importance, clinical considerations, and approaches to assess for psychological trauma and posttraumatic stress in youth in the juvenile justice population.

National Substance Use and Mental Health Services Survey (N-SUMHSS) 2022: Data on Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment Facilities
The N-SUMHSS is a voluntary annual survey of all active substance use and mental health facilities in the United States, its territories, and DC. The annual report presents findings on the key operational characteristics of substance use and mental health treatment facilities, use of pharmacotherapies, language assistance services, and suicide prevention assistance services.

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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, 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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