Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 2-19-21

February 19, 2021

Greetings, Network faithful. Let’s start off this edition of Friday Update with one of my favorite groups – Reina del Cid. Such amazing, talented musicians. Enjoy their performance of Medium and then, get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration Persist
This report published in February 2021 by The Sentencing Project emphasizes the need for continued work relating to addressing racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. Ultimately this report recommends that we must invest more efforts in community-based prevention, intervention, and diversion services as a means to address these disparities. Moreover, one of the investments recommended was to strengthen mental health services for youth of color. More focus in the juvenile justice community on the promotion of mental health services is encouraged!

CMHACY 41st Annual Conference – NON-NEGOTIABLE: Demanding Social Justice and Racial Equity in Our Systems of Care
The California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY) holds the most significant and longest-standing system-of-care conference in California each year. The 41st annual event will be held virtually on April 28 and 29. The conference’s theme will focus on social justice and racial equity issues as they play out in the various child/family service systems. Also being examined is the failure of systems to sufficiently prioritize and address the community (social) determinants of health, and behavioral health in particular. Here is a link to the conference webpage and registration portal:  http://cmhacy.org/2021conference/.  This looks like a great virtual conference. Colleagues from across the nation are encouraged to apply!

‘I’ve Tried Everything’: Pandemic Worsens Child Mental Health Crisis
The pandemic has impacted all of our lives. These changes have also impacted our children and youth struggling with behavioral health challenges. This has caused an increase in hospitalization of children with mental health emergency visits, creating a shortage of hospital beds in some cities. Part of the problem is a longstanding gap among psychiatrists and therapists trained to work with children. Advocates are calling for government officials to improve mental health by making services more accessible to anyone who needs it.

Addressing the Adverse Impacts of COVID-19 on Children with Serious Emotional Disorders
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 1:00:00 PM EST – 2:30:00 PM EST
Since March 2020, children across the country have been isolated at home participating in distance learning. The impacts academically, socially, and emotionally have been staggering, particularly for children with pre-existing serious emotional disorders and their families. There has been a reduction in referrals to child protective services, an increase in isolation, depression, anxiety, and a decrease in engagement, leading to lower academic success. What do all of these things mean in the short-term and the long-term? What can be done to attempt to mitigate some of these adverse effects? Join this NASMHPD Roundtable Discussion that will provide information and answer your questions.

Biden’s Executive Orders on Immigration Set Stage at Future Action
U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive orders this week reversing Trump administration immigration policies change little on the ground now but set the stage for future action, experts say.

Youth of Color Are Our Future – Investing in Their Mental Health Must Be Taken Seriously
Gonzales is a small city in central California populated mostly by Latino immigrant families and farm workers. Like other places, it has felt the weight of the coronavirus pandemic. When Covid-19 hit, the city’s youth council conducted an online mental health survey of middle and high schoolers. The students received an overwhelming response that revealed high anxiety symptoms and stress among their peers. The findings were a wake-up call to local leaders unaware of the depth of mental health issues their young people faced.

Parenting-Related Exhaustion During the Italian COVID-19 Lockdown
This study’s focus is from an Italian perspective on the global pandemic. From the study – “The findings add further support to the call for preventive programs to support parents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health professionals and social workers should be warned of the effects of lockdown and social distancing on parenting and, consequently, the well-being of children.”

And from Spain…

Exploring Children’s Social and Emotional Representations of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This research’s findings offer important clues for identifying how children integrate COVID-19 into their everyday thinking. From the voices of the children, the issues that have arisen can be classified into two categories: the coronavirus itself and the lockdown that has been implemented to control the spread of the virus.

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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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