Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 2-3-23

February 03, 2023

Greetings, Network faithful. This issue deserves a masterful rendition of the Bob Dylan classic, “I Shall be Released,” sung by Stonehoney with Jimmy LaFave and Red Molly. This one’s for you, Richard! Okay, Network Faithful, don’t forget to tell those close to you that you love them, enjoy the tune, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Celebrating the Life of Richard Donner – Family Partner Extraordinaire
I lost a friend the other day, and all of us in the children’s mental health space lost a pillar of the family movement. Richard Donner passed away after a brief battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Whether you knew Richard or not, if you are a family advocate, a provider, or both, you have benefited from his presence and participation in building the movement that has defined my adult life. I hope you will take a moment to read my tribute to a dear friend, Richard Donner.

Why Trauma Screening in Schools Makes Sense
Well, the folks at Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI) have done it again. This time, they have produced a video in which experts explain why trauma screening in schools makes sense. CHDI’s free, online Trauma ScreenTIME Course helps school leaders & staff learn about trauma’s effects on learning and develop screening programs. CHDI is one of our favorite child-focused organizations! Watch the video here.

Children’s Mental Health Initiative (AKA Systems of Care) Notice of Funding Opportunity Now Available
Okay, system of care devotees, time to get writing as there is a new round of funding available. In addition to the reinsertion of language related to the system of care framework, there is a new requirement for trauma and grief-informed care elements across all system components. Another new addition is an emphasis on integrated care services between pediatric primary care providers and health systems. In this funding round, there is also an opportunity to develop and implement plans to address the crisis of children waiting for mental health care in hospital emergency departments. There is much more – all designed to strengthen the grant and provide an opportunity for applicants to address significant issues related to child, youth, and young adult mental health. Now get to writin’! The due date is March 21st.

Broken Ties: Mending, Coping with Separation, Estrangement
Hosted by the National Family Support Technical Assistance Center, “Family Connections” is a virtual community for parents and caregivers who support loved ones facing substance use and mental health challenges. Families need credible resources, guidance on accessing help, and the opportunity to connect with others facing similar challenges. Monthly gatherings will focus on a specific topic, provide tips and tools, and offer the opportunity to network with other families. Family Connections takes place on the first Thursday of every month at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Research Highlight: COVID-19 Pandemic Associated With Worse Mental Health and Accelerated Brain Development in Adolescents
New findings from a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health shed light on how adolescents living through the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying shutdowns compare, both psychologically and biologically, to their peers before the pandemic. The study is one of the first to examine the effects of the pandemic not only on adolescents’ mental health but also on their brain structure, reflecting more lasting effects of adversity.

Family Exchange: Peer Networking for Family Leaders who Foster and Support Family Engagement
Are you a family leader with lived experience as a primary caregiver of a child, youth, or young adult with mental health or substance use need who is working in a role that fosters and supports family engagement in agency practice and policy decisions? Are you interested in connecting with other family leaders in similar roles to expand and enhance your skills and knowledge? Whether you are new to your role or you have been in the family movement for many years, the Family Exchange is a peer networking group to share experiences, innovative and effective practices, skills and knowledge, solution to barriers and challenges, and key information supporting your role as family leaders.

JEAP Initiative Offering Paid Virtual Student Internships for the Summer
The Justice-Involved and Emerging Adult Populations (JEAP) Initiative is offering paid virtual student internships for this summer. The application deadline is February 10th, so get on it! While you are at it, check out the JEAP website, which is chock-full of great information and research on Recovery Support Services. Visit the JEAP Initiative website here.

NIMH Strategic Framework for Addressing Youth Mental Health
The purpose of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Strategic Framework for Addressing Youth Mental Health Disparities for fiscal years 2022–2031 is to provide a conceptual approach to help guide NIMH activities, including research funding, stakeholder engagement, and workforce development, related to research on the mental health needs of youth impacted by racial and ethnic health disparities.

Expanding Collaborative Care in Medicaid Can Combat the Country’s Youth Mental Health Crisis
By integrating mental health services into primary and pediatric care, the collaborative care model has been shown to reduce access barriers and stigma while facilitating the early identification and treatment of young people’s mental health conditions. Yet uptake of the approach by Medicaid programs, health systems, and primary care providers has been slow. Learn about the factors impeding the wider adoption of the collaborative care model and how policymakers might address them.

Research Finds More Negative Effects of Screen Time on Kids, Including Higher Risk of OCD
Two new studies show associations between screen time and behavioral and psychological risks for children, adding to a growing body of evidence that excessive use of smartphones and other devices can be deleterious to their health. In one study, researchers reported a link between screen time and higher rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnoses among preteens. Conversely, the results suggested that using electronic devices to calm youngsters when upset may inhibit their ability to learn to soothe themselves, leading to more frequent, intense emotional outbursts.

Mental Health of Incarcerated LGBTQ+ Youth Is Understudied — but New Analysis Shows Kids Are in Crisis
Existing research shows that LGBTQ+ youth are at a greater risk of disenfranchisement that will put them on the path to prison. Yet how their mental health is affected while incarcerated, and the details of what they experience behind bars, is barely studied, experts say — dampening urgency to demand resources and inclusive policies.

As Student Mental Health Needs Soar, Schools Turn To Telehealth
A growing number of public schools across the country are following the same path — turning to remote health care when the demand for aid has spiked, and the supply of practitioners has not. Some school districts are using federal covid relief money to pay for it, as studies show rising depression, anxiety, and suspected suicide attempts among adolescents.

Self-Care for Parents
Parenting is hard. It’s a full-time job, and many parents prioritize their family’s well-being before their own. When we can meet our own mental and physical needs, it benefits our well-being and our children. Hear from Dr. Lisa Damour, Sonali Gupta, and Dr. Hina Talib on how they prioritize self-care, the activities they practice, and the benefits they have witnessed for their families.

Reducing Child Poverty for Our Youngest Children Requires That We Consider Their Unique Needs
A recent Child Trends report explored factors that led to an unprecedented reduction in child poverty in the United States over the past quarter century. This brief complements that report with a discussion of how reducing poverty among our youngest children require that we consider their unique needs and circumstances.

How Early Puberty Affects Children’s Mental Health
The average age of puberty in the United States is dropping. Early puberty, or a child’s body maturing at an unusually early age – generally before age 8 for girls and 9 for boys – can cause anxiety, depression, and body image issues. Parents need to understand the emotional changes that accompany puberty so they can help their children cope.

Why Is It Important to Read to Your Child?
As parents, we hear that reading helps our kids develop a genuine love of reading. And reading together is indeed a crucial way to support children’s language skills and literacy. But being read to also helps them learn to manage their emotions, build empathy, and understand people different from themselves. It helps them feel more connected to their caregivers, too — and they can even learn more easily when they’re cuddled up with you.

How to Support Young Kids Who Are Struggling in School
Learning difficulties can hurt kids’ self-esteem. Kids may feel frustrated and embarrassed or worry about being different from their peers. Here’s what parents can do to help kids feel more confident and in control, even when things get tough.

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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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