Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 11-10-23

November 10, 2023

Greetings, faithful readers. Leave it to Network Faithful reader “Mavericks” to find an incredible drum solo by Greyson Nekrutman for us to enjoy. Watch it to the end of the video, be amazed at the talent inherent in all youth, and incorporate that awareness into your advocacy efforts. Enjoy this young man’s mastery of the drums 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 one issue of Friday Update left after this one, so enjoy!

When to Adapt: Ensuring Evidence-Based Treatments Work for Children of Diverse Cultural Backgrounds
Approximately one in six children across the United States have a diagnosable mental health condition, and roughly half report being unable to access mental health treatment. There are significant disparities in access to treatment, with Black and Hispanic children with mental health conditions reporting approximately half as many visits to mental health providers as White children. When children do receive treatment, the type, quality, and effectiveness of services vary considerably.

Do Kids Grow Out of Learning Disorders?
If your child has just been diagnosed with a learning disorder, you may wonder if they’ll grow out of it. Learning disorders don’t go away. But kids who have them can learn successfully with the proper support. Kids with learning disorders can thrive like any other child by understanding how they learn and getting to know their strengths and weaknesses.

2024 Joint Meeting on Youth Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Call for Papers
March 20-21, 2024
The National Center on Youth Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, a research institute of the Massachusetts General Hospital and affiliated with Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, is coming together with the Bureau of Indian Affairs/Office of Justice Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Indian Health Services, Behavioral Health Division, and many other agencies in on March 18-20, 2024 to hold a hybrid (both in person and on-line) Joint Meeting on Youth Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery in conjunction with the Pathways to Wellness Recidivism Reduction Initiative.

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Children and Youth Report 2023
This report chronicles the effects of climate change on children’s mental health, the structural inequities that lead to some populations bearing greater impacts, and solutions to support the mental health of children and youth on the individual and community level. Watch the launch webinar to hear the major findings of this report from the authors and to preview the action steps for medical professionals, community and elected leaders, children and youth advocates, teachers, environmentalists, philanthropists, and the public.

Approaches to Coordinating Services for Young Children and Families
A new report out of the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation describes ways in which states and communities have coordinated various services—that is, combined cross-organization services to meet multiple family needs simultaneously through a centralized process—to support families’ well-being and expand their access to these services, particularly for families with lower incomes and other historically marginalized groups. The highlight describes six models of coordinated services used by states and local communities and its key findings can inform efforts to develop and improve service coordination.

Sexual Health Facilitators’ Guide to Responding to Youth’s Questions About Sex
For years, researchers have sought to identify the most common sex ed-related questions that students are asking in school and online. Students’ questions largely fall into topics related to the body, identity and relationships, sexual behavior, contraception/protection, and pregnancy. Some questions may prompt teachers or facilitators of sex education programs to worry that students are asking a question simply for shock value. While this does happen at times, students ask questions because they genuinely don’t know the answer, need or want sexual and reproductive health services, have worries and misunderstandings about sexuality and sexual behavior, or want to be reassured that their question is valid.

School Medicaid Expansion: How (and How Many) States Have Taken Action to Increase School Health Access and Funding
As of October 2023, the Healthy Schools Campaign has identified 25 states that have expanded their school Medicaid program to cover services outside of an IEP/IFSP using the “free care” policy reversal. This brief provides a summary of each state’s actions, along with related state documents and other resources that may be helpful to states working to increase access to and funding for physical, behavioral, and mental school-based health services.

Time to Treat the Climate and Nature Crisis as One Indivisible Global Health Emergency
Over 200 health journals call on the United Nations, political leaders, and health professionals to recognize that climate change and biodiversity loss are one indivisible crisis and must be tackled together to preserve health and avoid catastrophe. This overall environmental crisis is now so severe as to be a global health emergency.

Changing Course in Youth Detention: Reversing Widening Gaps by Race and Place
This report discusses what the post-pandemic juvenile justice system looks like, how a young person’s racial identity affects their odds of being detained, how the risk of detainment for youth varies by location, and what juvenile justice systems can do to make better, safer and fairer decisions.

The Many Wondrous Benefits of Unstructured Play
Parenting guides include developmental milestones, managing big emotions, child safety tips, and more. What might be overlooked? Unstructured play. That’s a mistake, psychologists say. A wealth of research shows that unstructured play—play that isn’t organized or directed by adults or older peers and generally doesn’t have a defined purpose or outcome—is a fundamental necessity for children to thrive physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

AAP Report Offers Advice on Reducing Harms From Excessive Noise Exposures
Noise is often considered merely annoying, but excessive exposure has adverse health effects and is a major, underrecognized public health issue. An estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years may be at risk for permanent hearing damage from excessive exposure to noise. New AAP reports highlight the effects of excessive noise, especially in children and adolescents, and how pediatricians can help prevent potentially dangerous exposures.

Strengthening the Behavioral Health Workforce for Children, Youth, and Families
A strategic plan for Connecticut behavioral health providers working with children and families has just been released. Yes, this was written for Connecticut, but there is much you can learn from the report and use as a template for your state!

Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Transformation of Mental Health Care Program Accepting Applications
The Foundation is soliciting proposals from academic researchers focused on transforming mental and behavioral health care that improves outcomes for children and adolescents. The award is $200,000 payable over two years in equal installments of $100,000. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE JANUARY 15, 2024.

An Online Course on Trauma Screening in Pediatric Primary Care Settings is Now Available!
The Trauma ScreenTIME Pediatric Primary Care Course is a free online training course on how to screen children for trauma in pediatric primary care settings. This training was developed by the Child Health and Development Institute in collaboration with families and national experts based on current research and best practices. The course is appropriate for child-serving staff in various roles within a pediatric primary care setting, including leadership, frontline clinical staff, and administrative staff. The course shows how to develop a screening process, conduct brief trauma screening, and connect families with their preferred supports and 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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