Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 3-21-21

March 21, 2021

Let’s start this issue of Friday Update off with the most amazing Dimash Kudaibergen, singing Sinful Passion. Okay, hang on, I get that you may be saying, “Who is Dimash?” Well, Dimash is a national treasure of Kazakhstan, and possibly the greatest singer in the world. Well, dang, then you better listen up, right? Enjoy ya some Dimash, become a groupie (like me), and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Creating Good Trouble: Starting Action Circles to Help Title I School Kids Make More Money in Their Lives
What a concept! Help Black, Brown, Red, and poor White kids earn more money with better education— “earned income” in policy wonk.  That notion is starting to be discussed…for real. Another great read of the continuing series offered by the CMHNetwork Science Advisor, Dennis Embry.

Optimistic Advocate Interview With Keith Wakeman, CEO of SuperBetter
In this episode of the Optimistic Advocate, Keith Wakeman, CEO of SuperBetter, talks about the story behind this fantastic app’s success. He discusses their mission to unlock heroic potential in every one of us worldwide through the app. Their epic win is to positively impact the co-occurring epidemics of mental illness, addiction, and suicide. And equally important, building connections with mission-aligned organizations to improve resilience, recovery, and mental health in the industries and communities they serve. SuperBetter is an app designed to empower individuals and communities to live epic lives full of joy, resilience, strong social relationships, positive emotions, and a sense of purpose. SuperBetter is based on Jane McGonigal’s work, the Chief Science Officer of SuperBetter, and author of the New York Times best-seller of the same name. The SuperBetter App has been downloaded over one million times, with a goal of 50 million downloads by 2025, and my money says they will reach that goal easily!

Practical Resources to Support Student Mental Health During COVID-19
We are big fans of School Mental Health Ontario and their wonderfully comprehensive Student Mental Health Action Kit. Check out their latest collection of stress management and coping virtual field trips. The focus is muscle relaxation strategies. But wait! To get the full flavor of this great resource, spend some time walking through the virtual halls of the website. There are resources for educators, parents and families, and students. Enjoy!

FREDLA Celebrates Family Leaders in Honor of Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month (February), FREDLA celebrated family members who led the way for families in the early days of the family movement in children’s mental health from the 1980s–1990s. It was so heart-warming to read this. Thank you for honoring, FREDLA!

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:  This looks like a great virtual conference. Colleagues from across the nation are encouraged to apply!

Connecting Communities that Lift Up Child and Family Well-Being and Social and Community Justice
Call for Proposals Now Open. Proposal Submission Deadline: May 20, 2021
The Kempe Center is excited to host the 2nd annual virtual conference, A Global Call to Action to Change Child Welfare. We will reconvene and expand the international community of practice brought together during the inaugural, groundbreaking 2020 event where 1400 participants from 20 different countries convened to debate, innovate, and discuss ways to transform child welfare. Contributors included children and young people, family members, leading practitioners, advocates, academics, and managers worldwide.

Apply to the AMA-SHLI Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship
The American Medical Association’s Center for Health Equity (AMA CHE), in collaboration with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), we are delighted to invite you to apply to our newly launched AMA-SHLI Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship. The AMA-SHLI Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship is a unique, first-of-its-kind post-doctoral fellowship designed to enhance physicians’ advocacy leadership skills to improve health outcomes and advance health equity in the communities they serve or may serve.  The fellowship runs from September 2021-November 2022. The fellows will participate in three (3) learning intensives at the beginning of the fellowship and will subsequently engage in monthly learning sessions with a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral group of nationally-renowned experts, scholars, researchers, and current and former policymakers across all levels of government. Participating fellows will receive a stipend of $15,000 for full participation would be eligible for up to 28 CME credit hours.

Child Psychiatrists Warn That The Pandemic May Be Driving Up Kids’ Suicide Risk
Psychiatrists and other doctors who work with children say the pandemic has created a perfect storm of stressors for kids, increasing the risk of suicide for many. It has exacerbated an ongoing children’s mental health crisis — suicide rates had already been going up for almost a decade among children and youth.

Johnson County’s Youth Suicide Rate Fell 33% During the Pandemic Last Year — What Could Be Behind That?
As schools fluctuate between in-person, hybrid, and online-only learning during the pandemic, students’ mental health has remained a top concern in Johnson County and nationwide. While some communities, like Clark County, Nev., saw increased youth suicide rates following COVID-19 school closures, Johnson County’s suicide rates decreased between 2019 and 2020. Youth suicide rates were down by 33% between March 2020 and December 2020. Why?

The United States Is Falling Behind in Bilingual Education, Why Does It Matter?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Latinx students comprise the largest minority demographic in the nation’s schools, accounting for 22 percent of students as of 2016. Sadly, only 9 percent of the teacher workforce is of Hispanic origin in comparison. Although the population of Latinx students continues to grow in the United States, “schools still don’t represent the demographical figures of a country where over half of its student population is non-white.”

Integrated Care Begins With Self-Care
In this episode of The Optimistic Advocate podcast, I was thrilled to interview Rebecca Pille, Department Chair, Health, and Wellness Coaching at Maryland University of Integrative Health, and Laurie Ellington, Co-Founder of Zero Point Leadership. The conversation focused on the importance of self-care, something we could all use a little more of! Enjoy the interview, learn a bit of science to give you the nudge to take better care, and get excited about some fantastic opportunities for professional development at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, Health and Wellness Coaching Program. Dang, so much goodness in one podcast!

New WHO Expert Group to Identify Gaps and Solutions to the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19
Mental health conditions, one of the leading causes of suffering and disability in the European Region, have burgeoned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone’s mental health has been affected in some way, whether as a result of the worry about becoming infected or the stress brought about by measures such as lockdown, self-isolation, and quarantine, or linked with foregone employment, income, education, or social participation. Over the coming months, the Technical Advisory Group will review and synthesize available evidence from the population level, the policy and service level, and the individual level, and highlight emergent needs and implications for the development of mental health services in the WHO European Region. The Group’s recommendations will feed into a mental health framework for action, which is to be presented to the WHO Regional Committee for Europe – WHO’s decision-making body in the Region – in September 2021.

Interim Guidance on Supporting the Emotional and Behavioral Health Needs of Children, Adolescents, and Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Emotional and behavioral health challenges were of growing concern before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the public health emergency has acutely exacerbated these challenges. The pandemic continues to highlight disparities in morbidity and mortality, access to health care, including COVID-19 vaccination, access to education, and many additional factors, which make life more challenging and stressful for many during this time.

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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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