Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 4-28-23

April 28, 2023

Greetings, faithful readers. Ya know what? You deserve some sunshine. And if no one is readily giving it to you, look no further than Friday Update, cuz we got plenty of sunshine for you. Get your chakras aligned by taking 3 minutes and 48 seconds (not a second longer, I promise) and watch Katrina and the Waves perform their lively tune – Walking on Sunshine. C’mon, you know you want to! Enjoy the sunshine and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During & After Covid
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children facing mental health challenges. While about 10% of youth had a serious mental health challenge before the pandemic, most studies point to an increase of at least 40%. This means that 50% of all children could be struggling with a mental health challenge today. Props to the Connecting to Care CT campaign for producing an excellent campaign with great videos, social media content, and more to raise awareness and provide practical tools to help. Check it out and learn from these innovators in Connecticut!

Rising Scientist Awards
The crisis in children’s mental health takes many forms. Stigma. Barriers to care. Slow progress on the science we need to develop new treatments. Investing in the scientific leaders of tomorrow will accelerate discovery and transform children’s lives. The Rising Scientist Awards, presented in partnership with Hunter College, are given annually to outstanding high school students who show exceptional promise in research areas related to mental health. The 2023 Rising Scientist Awards are accepting nominations until June 9. The 2023 awards will be presented at the annual On the Shoulders of Giants scientific symposium on October 12, 2023.

National Institute of Mental Health James S. Jackson Memorial Award
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2023 James S. Jackson Award. Nominations close at 11:59 p.m. ET on May 10, 2023. NIMH seeks nominations from the field for exceptional intramural and extramural minority mental health and mental health disparities researchers.

States Can Address Medicaid’s Unwinding Challenge for Early Intervention for Kids With Disabilities
Substantial waitlists and unmet demand for early intervention services for young children with disabilities are delaying timely services within a critical window for children’s development. In April 2023, this issue will intensify as continuous Medicaid enrollment unwinds and federal match rates decline. Because Medicaid is an important, growing funding source for early intervention, these developments will make it even more difficult for children and families to receive necessary services. Thankfully, states can mitigate some of these challenges; in this blog, the authors describe three major steps states can take to ensure that Medicaid continues to support the healthy development of young children with disabilities.

Promoting the Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care
New funding opportunity from SAMHSA
This program aims to promote full integration and collaboration in clinical practice between behavioral healthcare and primary physical healthcare, including for special populations. Read the full announcement and application requirements here. Application Due Date: Monday, May 22, 2023.

Characteristics of the Early Childhood Workforce Serving Latino Children
High-quality early care and education (ECE) experiences are critical for children’s development. Evidence shows that Latino children—especially those from Spanish-speaking and immigrant households—often benefit more from these opportunities than their peers. Given the central role that teachers and caregivers play in shaping ECE quality, knowledge about this segment of the workforce can help inform workforce development initiatives and policy efforts to increase Hispanic children’s access to high-quality early childhood experiences.

Using Trauma-Responsive, LGBTQ+ Affirming Care to Connect Young People to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
This resource is designed for youth-supporting professionals—especially case managers—who provide direct care services to young people who experience the child welfare or justice systems, homelessness, or disconnection from school and work.

My “Must Have” Papers – Managing the Paperwork of Adulting Tip Sheet
Tip sheet for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions with tips about keeping and protecting important personal records and information. A Spanish translation of this publication is also available for download.

Resilience for Teens: 10 Tips to Build Skills on Bouncing Back From Rough Times
The ads make it look so easy to be a teen—everyone seems to be laughing, hanging out with friends, and wearing exactly the right clothes. But if you’re a young adult, life can be pretty tough sometimes. You may face problems ranging from being bullied to the death of a friend or parent. Why is it that sometimes people can go through really rough times and still bounce back? The difference is that those who bounce back are using the skills of resilience.

Teen Girls Are Faring Worse Than Boys on Nearly All Mental Health Measures—Here’s Why
In the three decades that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked high school students’ health and well-being, there has never been a time when teen girls have reported more sadness, hopelessness, and suicide attempts. The latest biennial CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered in the fall of 2021, was the first conducted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data show that mental health has worsened for all adolescents, but especially for girls.

Too Much Time Online Might Raise Kids’ Odds for Mental Health Woes: Study
Children’s screen use could be altering their developing brains as they enter adolescence and increasing their risk for mood disorders, a major new study finds. Children ages 9 and 10 who spend more time on smartphones, tablets, video games, and TV exhibited higher levels of depression and anxiety by the time they were 11 and 12, researchers found.

Parents Are Worried About School Shootings
Parents are divided along political affiliation and gender when asked how to prevent these tragedies, with mothers, Hispanic parents, and low-income parents the most concerned.

Helping Children Who Are Neurodiverse Build Friendships
Friendships and social connections are an important aspect of our lives. They provide a sense of belonging and allow people to be included in their communities. People with neurodevelopmental disabilities may communicate, learn, and behave differently. Sometimes these differences make developing friendships and participating in social activities harder than usual.

New CDC Report Finds Autism Diagnoses May Be on the Rise in Some US Kids
Two new reports from the CDC focusing on 8-year-olds and 4-year-olds indicate that more U.S. kids are being diagnosed with autism, and the pandemic may have delayed care. There may be a higher prevalence of autism among children these days, with the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to delays in diagnosis, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Gun Deaths Among Children Are Soaring
The number of U.S. kids dying by gunfire keeps rising. According to a new Pew Research Center report, gun deaths among America’s kids rose 50% in the last two years. More children and teens were killed by guns in 2021 than in any year since 1999, the first year the CDC began tracking the data. While most adult gun deaths are by suicide, children and teens killed by gunfire are more likely to die by homicide (60%). And 2022 marked the most violent year in schools — with 46 shootings — since 1999.

Call to Congress to Budget More Than $60M for Gun Safety Research
More than 400 organizations co-signed a letter to Congress to request millions of dollars in federal funds to be used for gun violence prevention research in the 2024 fiscal year budget. Initiated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the letter calls for $35 million for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $25 million for the National Institutes of Health and $1 million for the National Institute of Justice to conduct public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention.

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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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