Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 12-24-22

December 24, 2022

Greetings, Network faithful. Let’s start with a song you have undoubtedly heard a million times this holiday season. But I’ll bet you haven’t listened to this version of White Christmas, sung by some of our favorite crooners. Enjoy the non-denominational tune and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

New Open Source Issue of Healthcare Focused On Youth Mental Health and Family Support
Young people experiencing mental health difficulties often receive treatment and support in their communities. This Special Issue focuses on innovation in community-based care for young people aged 6–29 and on identifying supportive approaches that foster their success in school, higher education, employment, and social relationships. Props to Eileen Brennan, School of Social Work, Portland State University, for her continued excellent work in this area.

New Home (and new name) for The Institute for Innovation and Implementation
A long-time technical assistance provider to System of Care grant communities, The Institute for Innovation and Implementation is moving from the University of Maryland to the University of Connecticut. And along with the move comes a new name – Innovations Institute. They are still the same dedicated folks with the same fantastic array of talent and expertise. You can read the announcement here and be sure to visit the Institute webpage to learn more about their work.

Seeking Advice from People with Lived Experience who are in Professional Roles
The JEAP Initiative wants to hear from you! Based on requests from partners with lived experience, the Initiative plans on creating several tip sheets and videos for people with lived experience with substance use and/or the criminal legal system who want to enter a professional career. To help with the development of these tipsheets and videos, the Initiative needs feedback on what has and hasn’t worked for people with lived experience and what advice they would pass along to others who have been impacted by substance use and/or the criminal legal system. Below is an anonymous survey where you can share your advice with others and be entered into a raffle to win one of three $50 electronic gift cards. Share your advice in the short survey here.

Child Trends – Just Rockin’ the Child Health Advocacy Space
As 2022 winds down, Child Trends would like to highlight its ten most viewed research products on This mix of products reflects the range of all they do on behalf of children and youth, from agenda-setting research on child poverty to research that changes the narrative on Black families to comprehensive interactive state data tools. I am so impressed with this organization. I encourage Network faithful to visit their website and learn more about their excellent work.

PRIDE! Supporting the Behavioral Health of LGBTQ Youth
The Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health (CABH) MS Degree Program at the University of South Florida is offering a new course this coming Spring semester – PRIDE! Supporting the Behavioral Health of LGBTQ Youth. Registration is currently open to all graduate and non-degree-seeking students.

Limited Family Support Policies Create a Powder Keg for Our Nation’s Future
Even before the pandemic, America’s lack of comprehensive family support policies created significant burdens for parents. With the 118th Congress beginning in the new year, Hailey Gibbs and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek call for a bipartisan focus on family policies and programs, including comprehensive paid leave and high-quality, accessible child care.

2022 March of Dimes Report Card
March of Dimes recently released its 2022 Report Card, which presents the state of maternal and infant health in the United States (U.S.), Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The report card indicates the maternal and infant health crisis is worsening for all families and examines mom and baby health. The supplemental report presents how states are progressing toward pregnancy and childbirth targets, using the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2030 objectives.

Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Non-Binary Young People
It can be challenging for transgender and nonbinary people to bear the burden of educating others about their lived experiences. The Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Young People is an introductory educational resource that covers various topics and best practices for supporting transgender and nonbinary people. You’ll be able better to support the trans and nonbinary folks in your life and help to create a safer, kinder, more accepting world.

The State of Childhood Obesity
The State of Childhood Obesity, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project, recently released its annual report entitled Meeting the Moment: Learning From Leaders at the Forefront of Change. The report focuses on improving health data, creating communities of opportunity, building equitable food systems, and advancing priority policies.

Fully Online College Courses Linked With Worse Student Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic saw many higher education institutions switch from in-person learning to fully online courses to curb disease transmission. But new research suggests fully remote classes can significantly affect students’ mental health, compared with a mix of online and in-person courses. Data from 59,250 full-time undergraduate students show those who attended fully online classes reported higher levels of psychological distress than their peers, regardless of current anxiety or depressive disorders, COVID-19 concerns, and time spent socializing with friends.

MATCH-ADTC (Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems)
The Child, Health, and Development Institute is helping to bring a new evidence-based children’s mental health treatment to providers in Connecticut. MATCH-ADTC (Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems) is an evidence-based treatment for children ages 6 – 15. Unlike most treatment approaches that focus on single disorders, MATCH is designed to treat four common behavioral health concerns among children, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and behavior problems.

Helping Children Cope During the Holiday Season
For many children and families, the holiday season can be a time to celebrate with friends and family, but it can also be a challenging time for families affected by loss and struggling with grief. Whether families are navigating loss related to COVID-19, recent disasters and violence, separation, deployment, or other events, finding ways to cope during the holiday season can be difficult. Children and teens may react differently to grief and loss, and the last few years have made it especially challenging. As many families seek to carry forward old traditions to remember loved ones, many may create new traditions to celebrate in ways that feel most comfortable for their family during this difficult time. The NCTSN has resources to help children, youth, and families to cope with challenges related to loss and grief this upcoming holiday season.

All Children Can Be Exposed to Lead
Lead exposure is not limited to children from certain racial and ethnic minority groups, those who come from households with lower incomes, or those born outside of the United States or live with an adult who works with lead. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers to determine if their children are at risk for lead exposure and if a blood lead test is needed. If a child has a detectable amount of lead in their blood, their healthcare provider can connect them to recommended nutritional, educational, and environmental services.

Hidden toll: Thousands of Schools Fail to Count Homeless Students
A Center for Public Integrity analysis of district-level federal education data suggests roughly 300,000 students entitled to essential rights reserved for homeless students have slipped through the cracks, unidentified by the school districts mandated to help them. Some 2,400 districts — from regions synonymous with economic hardship to big cities and prosperous suburbs — did not report having even one homeless student despite levels of financial need that make those figures improbable.

Toolkit to Support Developing an Upstream Support and Child Welfare Prevention Plan for Young Children and their Families
This toolkit builds off of the lessons learned, principles, and strategies outlined in the report, Supporting the First 1,000 Days of A Child’s Life: An Anti-Racist Blueprint for Early Childhood Well-Being and Child Welfare Prevention and is designed to support efforts in identifying and developing specific strategies to strengthen and support infants, toddlers, and their families and prevent child welfare involvement.

2022 Children’s Mental Health Report: Treating Symptoms of Trauma in Children and Teenagers
In the 2022 Children’s Mental Health Report, the Child Mind Institute looks at the effects of psychological trauma on kids and the most promising ways to treat it. 

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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 (2009), 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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