Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 11-24-23

November 24, 2023

Greetings, faithful readers. Well, here we are at the end of the road. There has been much discussion about the “last song” for Friday Update and plenty of suggestions for who the artist should be and what meaning should be conveyed. It’s been fun, entertaining ideas from so many of you, but I made my mind up a long time ago about what music should send us out and why. Enjoy the message and the song!

Most Important Reads of the Week

This is the Last Issue of Friday Update
This is the final issue of Friday Update. On behalf of Pat Baker, Cyndi Nation, and Jona Bacolod, we are grateful beyond measure for your trust in us to bring you quality information about children’s mental health all these many years.

A Big Thank You
Many thanks to the countless individuals who helped make the Children’s Mental Health Network a tremendous success. True to our motto, this work is a collective effort. I can’t name you all for fear of leaving so many wonderful people out. Still, I would like to take a moment of personal privilege and honor the individual whose unwavering support impacted me the most. (hint – if you watched the opening video, you already know!)

What’s Next for Scott
Along with the kind wishes from so many as we wind down, a consistent question posed has been, “What the heck are you gonna do next?” (okay, I added the “heck” part). I will still be advocating, just at the other end of the life spectrum. After much training over the past year, I have started providing end-of-life doula (death doula) services. It’s a calling that feels right. Also, I have a book, yearning to be set free, that will focus on the children’s mental health advocacy movement over the past 50 years (jeez, I am old as dirt). I plan to revitalize the Kundalini Chronicles podcast and possibly the Optimistic Advocate podcast. However, at a frequency that fits the travel schedule my bride is masterfully putting in place.

Keep in Touch
If you would like to be on a post-Network mailing list for the occasional update or podcast release from me, just click on the link and leave your name and email. No more weekly updates so no cluttering the inbox. Just an occasional surprise to brighten your day and enlighten your soul.

A Sampling of Links From Over the Years
We thought it would be fun to put together a sampling of links to the many different sources we have used over the years to bring you relevant information for children’s mental health research, policy, and practice. This list is not exhaustive (a mere 560 links or so) and is in random order. We hope it encourages you to think outside your defined lane of expertise or interest–a necessary skill if you are going to be an effective advocate. You never know what hidden gem lies under an effort with a slightly different name or focus. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

The Trouble With Third Culture Kids
The most downloaded article on the CMHNetwork website
When Nina Sichel first submitted this post for consideration in 2012, I had never heard the term third culture kid, or TCK for short. I vividly remember Elaine Slaton (long-time network supporter) encouraging me to contact her friend Nina, who had just written a book on TCKs. No one in the mental health community I was a part of was talking about third-culture kids, and I could have easily ignored Elaine’s request, but I didn’t. And it became the most downloaded article in our vast repository of information on children’s mental health. I have heard from countless individuals from across the globe over the last decade expressing gratitude for this post–exactly what the Network was created to do. So, you see the lesson from this. If you are gonna be an effective advocate, ya gotta learn to embrace what you don’t know. You will be surprised how many “teachers” await your inquisitive embrace. Try it. You might learn a thing or two!

Rosalyn Smith Carter 1927 ~ 2023
Widely recognized as a leading advocate for mental health and caregiving, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter was actively devoted to building a more caring society. Give yourself the gift of time to visit the Rosalynn Carter Tribute Page and learn more about this amazing First Lady, wife to President Jimmy Carter, and tireless advocate.

How States Are Responding to the Behavioral Health Crisis Among Children and Youth
Two years after leading pediatric organizations declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health, the situation remains alarming. Young people living with complex behavioral health conditions are of great concern.

What the Statistics Say About Generation Z
Meet Generation Z. Born between 1997 and 2012, they are ​“racially and ethnically diverse, progressive and pro-government,” according to Pew Research Center. They’re also sandwiched between millennials — born between 1981 and 1996 — and Generation Alpha, which is adding members through 2025.

Gen Z Adults and Younger Millennials Are “Completely Overwhelmed” by Stress
Young adults in America report higher stress than older generations, with 18- to 34-year-olds saying their average stress level is a 6 out of 10, compared with 3.4 among those 65 and older.

The SMART Center Is Seeking An Assistant Professor with Expertise in School Mental Health and Implementation Science
The School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center and University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences are seeking an Assistant Professor with expertise in school mental health and implementation science. The position will remain open until filled; however, candidates are encouraged to send in application materials by December 31, 2023 for full consideration.

Cognitive and Emotional Well-Being of Preschool Children Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In this cross-sectional study, including data from the Ontario Birth Study, pandemic-exposed children had significantly higher problem-solving and fine motor skills at 24 months. Still, they have lower personal-social skills compared with nonexposed children. At 54 months, pandemic-exposed children had significantly higher vocabulary, visual memory, and overall cognitive performance than nonexposed children.

‘We’re In a New World’: American Teenagers on Mental Health and How to Cope
To be a U.S. teenager in 2023 is both the same as it ever was, and astoundingly different from even a generation ago. Along with all the classic challenges of growing up—grades, parents, first loves—looms a crop of newer ones: TikTok, gun violence, political division, the whipsaw of COVID-19, and the not-so-slow creep of climate change.

Report: 70 Percent of U.S. Counties Don’t Have Enough Maternal Mental Health Providers
While Americans know there is a general mental health crisis in the country, the U.S. is also facing a maternal mental health crisis. A new report from The Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health found that 70 percent of U.S. counties don’t have sufficient mental health resources for new mothers.

Using the Family First Act to Grow and Nurture Support Systems for Families of Young Children
Early childhood is a developmental stage ripe with opportunities to support the healthy development of children, promote family well-being, and prevent the adverse effects of child maltreatment. States and communities nationwide are taking different approaches to building out a robust continuum of prevention services and supports for families. Child- and family-serving systems, including child welfare and early childhood, play distinct but overlapping roles in supporting families depending on their circumstances.

CONNECT: 100 Ways to Create Happiness in Your Life
We are excited to share the news of a new book by Dr. Julie Radlauer that provides a guide to focusing on the social influences of mental health. Research demonstrates that 1 in 3 people are struggling with loneliness, which is the most significant indicator of depression. According to a Harvard University study, approximately 80% of people experiencing mental health symptoms can have their needs met through less formal treatment options. By understanding how social aspects impact our happiness and wellbeing, we can incorporate everyday strategies into our daily practice. This book is designed to share research, tangible tools, and simple techniques to incorporate into your life. The book is now available on Amazon.

Why Self-Care Is Essential to Parenting
Parenting can be stressful under the best of circumstances. Still, moms and dads of children with developmental and mental health challenges often have to deal with strain of a different magnitude. Caring for a child with special needs can become a full-time job — and an overwhelming one at that, if you don’t have adequate support. Without enough help, parents may be headed toward caregiver burnout, negatively affecting everyone.

Making a Case for Prevention–The Daily Mile
In this second of a two-part post on innovative prevention services, Jocilynne Jepson, intern from the University of South Florida, takes a look at The Daily Mile, a program that originated in Scotland and is now in elementary schools worldwide.

Connect4Families Toolkit
The Connect4Families Toolkit was produced by the Connecting to Care initiative’s Family Care Connections (FCC) Workgroup as part of a grant to promote communication and collaboration among child-serving sectors and support families and youth as full partners in driving the transformation of Connecticut’s system of care. Download the toolkit and see how you can adapt it for your state!

2023 Data Capacity of State-funded Pre-K Programs Across the United States
From December 2022 to March 2023, the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) conducted the nationwide State-funded Pre-K Data Survey to understand better states’ capacity to access, use, and link data. The survey includes data on 43 states, including data from direct survey respondents in 35 states and secondary data collected from eight states.

Treating Anxiety in Kids by Working With Parents
For anxious children, there is a surprising new form of therapy in which the therapist works only with the parents. It’s called SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions). It works by changing how parents respond to anxious behaviors in children, such as asking parents to stay with them until they fall asleep or avoiding places and things they are afraid of.

Black Children and Youth Can Benefit From Focused Research on Protective Community Resources
Child Trends recently announced that protective community resources (PCRs) would be one of two priorities for its new applied research agenda on Black children and families. As part of this work, the authors conducted a systematic literature review on PCRs for children and youth from birth to age 24. In addition to this brief, readers can use this bibliographic tool to search a database of articles on PCRs published from 2012 to 2022.

HHS, SAMHSA Release 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The report shows how people living in the United States reported about their experience with mental health, substance use, and treatment-related behaviors in 2022. The report is accompanied by a high-level brief that includes infographics.

High Levels of Maternal Stress During Pregnancy Linked to Children’s Behavior Problems
Children whose mothers are highly stressed, anxious, or depressed during pregnancy may be at higher risk for mental health and behavior issues during their childhood and teen years, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Millions of American Families Struggle to Get Food on the Table, Report Finds
Putting three meals a day on the table was a struggle for millions of people in the U.S. last year. That’s the sobering conclusion of a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found hunger in the U.S. rose sharply in 2022.

And finally…

Happy Trails to You
Well, that’s it. Enough avoiding the inevitable. Besides, I am out of tissues and joyful sad tears. Enjoy the tune and happy trails to all of you!

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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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