Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 3-28-21

March 28, 2021

Greetings, faithful readers. Many of you have traveled life’s journey alongside me for decades, and if you have, you likely have attended either the Federation conference (way back in the day) or, for the past 11 years, the Tampa conference. A ‘must” for me for any conference I ever hosted was to ensure that participants had the opportunity to rejuvenate their souls in addition to receiving great content. Here’s a little secret. The song that always played in my head as I would stride onstage to open a conference was from a fantastic band from my home San Francisco Bay Area – Sly and the Family Stone, singing Dance to the Music. That song was my “go-to” for setting my intentions for an event that would fill everyone’s cup with joy. May you carry the spirit of this song with you for any gathering you attend with the intent of lifting the souls of your fellow advocates. Enjoy the portal back to the early 70’s, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

The Tampa Conference – Celebrating 32 Years of Excellence and the End of an Era
I come to you with an announcement that includes a mixture of joy and pride, and admittedly, a tinge of sadness. After much reflection and conversation with Mario Hernandez, Chair of the Department of Child & Family Studies at the University of South Florida, we have decided to let the Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health, affectionately known as “The Tampa Conference,” have a much-deserved rest. Get out your handkerchief and read my heartfelt thank you to all things Tampa Conference!

Migrant Teens and Children Have Challenged Three Administrations, but Biden Faces Rush With No Precedent
The last three presidents have each had to grapple with a sudden arrival of thousands of unaccompanied migrant teenagers and children along the Mexico border, but the challenge facing President Biden in recent weeks is an unprecedented one. Never before have so many minors arrived so fast. The influx has overwhelmed the government’s ability to safely shelter and care for the minors before delivering them to family members and vetted sponsors living in the United States, a challenge complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

A Response to Structural Racism in the Behavioral Health Delivery System: Exploring Social Support and Social Capital to Contribute Towards Equity
Please join this exciting study to understand better mental health services for African American children with mental health conditions. The study seeks African American families of children with diagnosed mental health conditions and behavioral health professionals to participate in a one-hour virtual interview to discuss mental health services and the behavioral health system. The eligibility criteria for the study include: 1) English-speaking; 2)18 years old and older; 3) Identify as an African American family member of a child with a mental health condition or 4) Identify as a behavioral health professional/system leader/subject matter expert that works with African American children and families with mental health conditions 5) a resident of the United States. A $25 gift card may be available to all participants. Please contact Julie Radlauer-Doerfler at for more information.

Prevention and Early Intervention Is Now Accepting Applications for Presenters for the 21st Annual Partners in Prevention (Pip) Conference
Partners in Prevention is the largest annual gathering of prevention and early intervention professionals in Texas. The conference attracts parent educators, youth service providers, civic leaders, policy advocates, researchers, DFPS staff, Prevention and Early Intervention grantees, and others with a professional interest in child and family well-being, youth development, and juvenile justice. Attendees benefit from a wide variety of presentations, including but not limited to lived experience from parents and youth, fatherhood engagement, ethics, diversity, equity and inclusion, program evaluation, home visiting, and positive youth development. Presentation proposals are due April 1!

Minnesota Association  for Children’s Mental Health (MACMH) 25th Annual Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conference!
April 18 – 20, 2021
The full schedule is now available for the 25th Annual Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conference is happening online April 18 – 20, 2021. Featuring more than 50 workshops and the opportunity to earn up to 18 CEHs, this conference is designed for everyone who works with or cares for infants, children, adolescents, and their families. Many of the webinars from the conference will be recorded, and registered attendees will be able to view them for 30 days following the event. MACMH is one of the OG’s of the family movement. Give them some love, Network faithful!

Interested in becoming an NIH-funded researcher? Interested in recovery support services for people with substance use disorder? Apply for the JEAP Initiative Training Institute!
Organized by the Oregon Social Learning Center, this two-year individualized training and mentoring program is designed to support you in becoming an NIH-funded researcher focused on recovery support services. The Training Institute starts with a 3-day Virtual Training Workshop and continues with two years of mentoring and support, including guidance from a primary mentor, access to pilot study funding, methods and statistics expertise, monthly seminars, and an expert consultant panel, and the opportunity to collaborate with Community Boards. If you have completed your Ph.D. or have advanced to candidacy, this Training Institute is for you! Individuals with lived experience with substance use or the justice system and individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Application Deadline: April 18!

USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Education and Health Outcomes
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $42.3 million to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance. The $42.3 million in awards includes $24 million provided through the CARES Act. In total, these investments will benefit 5 million rural residents.

This Rural Liberal Set Out to Talk to His Pro-Trump Neighbors
It didn’t go well — until it did.
Bill Donahue planted a Black Lives Matter sign on the village green in his hometown of Gilmanton, N.H., to promote a rally. After he announced the rally on the community Facebook page, the vitriol flowed in. So he embarked on an experiment: He began approaching the myriad locals who had attacked him and his political allies. He wanted to know whether liberals and conservatives could still even talk to each other in rural America and wondered: What if they took the dialogue offline? Here’s what happened, in his words.

Achieving Racial Equity in Massachusetts: The Dynamic Duo Is on a Mission!
In this episode of the Optimistic Advocate podcast, we unveil the magic of this dynamic duo of Audrey Smolkin and Thula Sibanda, as they embark on an incredible mission to provide racial equity training to providers, families, and community leaders throughout the entire state of Massachusetts.

Proposal to Give Connecticut K-12 Students 4 Mental Health Days Each School Year Moves Forward
Connecticut’s K-12 students would be able to take four mental health days off from school next year and each year after, in addition to the ten sick days already allowed by the state, under a legislative proposal that advanced Monday. I love the idea of mental health days, but the proposal is receiving mixed reviews. What do you think?

Finding Calm – Forest Visualization
School Mental Health Ontario is at it again with another great practical video that’s gonna help you slow your roll! This video guides you through a forest visualization exercise. It can help you slow your breathing and ground your thoughts, calming you when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. For educators, this video can be used with students to help them ground themselves and settle anxious feelings. Be sure to subscribe to the School Mental Health Ontario Youtube channel to keep up with all of their video offerings!

Children’s Mental Health Crisis Could Be a Next ‘Wave’ in the Pandemic
Though the physical effects of COVID-19 have generally not been as severe for most children compared to adults, the mental health impacts of the pandemic are just as severe. And that has laid bare an ongoing epidemic in children’s mental health. That’s according to a panel of experts who recently participated in a U.S. News & World Report webinar on “Managing Children’s Mental Health: A Pediatric Hospital Imperative.”

San Diego’s Homeless Youth Need Help Healing From Childhood Trauma. Here’s How One Organization is Helping
Excellent opinion piece on how one organization, Doors of Change, is helping transition-age youth during the pandemic. From the article – “The emotional well-being of transitional age youth is particularly crucial. Homeless transitional age youth are without role models and resources. Getting them the help they need at this pivotal age makes the difference between a lifetime of homelessness and life with potential and success. And yet at this time when mental illness is on the rise, the pandemic is simultaneously making access to mental health care more difficult than ever before.”

The Pandemic Is Taking an Alarming Toll on Children
A year into the pandemic, what began as a public health emergency is turning into a mental health crisis among our nation’s children and adolescents as they struggle with social isolation, grief, and the switch to remote learning. It is becoming increasingly clear that this crisis will endure well beyond the pandemic.

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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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