Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 5-29-20

May 31, 2020

Hey Network faithful, let’s start with Maya Angelou’s reading of ‘We Wear the Mask,’ an adaptation of the poem by the 19th-century poet Paul Dunbar. When it comes to race relations, Maya Angelou has always been my North Star when trying to figure out the stubbornness of the American psyche. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of understanding the senseless violence, gut-wrenching angst, and grief of the past few weeks, do your self a favor and turn your phone off and give yourself the gift of five minutes with the late Maya Angelou, one of America’s most treasured representatives of what the American spirit is all about. Five minutes of your time. That is all I am asking. Immerse yourself in the message and the delivery by Maya Angelou. And if it opens your soul just a bit wider, then we have done something good. Enjoy the poetry reading, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Youth Era Partners With Oxford University in a Project That Will Revolutionize Youth Peer Support, as a Joint Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak
Kudo’s to Martin Rafferty, founder of Youth Era (and CMHNetwork Advisory Council member), and his fantastic team for their leadership and partnership with the Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, and the McPin Foundation, to co-design and deliver online peer support training for young people aged 16-18 years old in the UK. Network faithful are most proud and are looking forward to seeing what evolves from this ground-breaking training program.

Since we are on the topic of the CMHNetwork’s amazing Advisory Council Members, check out what Daniel Dawes is up to!

GOOGLE Awards $1 Million Grant to the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine to Study Racial Impact of COVID-19
Congratulations to Daniel Dawes and his team at Morehouse!
The COVID-19 outbreak is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, raising urgent questions about why that’s happening — and about what can be done to reduce risk and harm for people of color. A new $1 million grant from will help the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine answer those questions by collecting and analyzing detailed data that can get to the root causes of why communities of color have been so disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.

Toni Morrison Addresses ‘The White Gaze’
How interesting that we live in a world where black authors are often asked, “When are you going to write about white people? Why don’t we ask white authors, “When are you going to write about black people?” The late Toni Morrison, being Toni Morrison, addressed the ‘White Gaze’ in a way that will touch your soul. Don’t know what the White Gaze is? Watch Toni’s interview with Charlie Rose in 1998. Dang, I sure do miss her.

Implementing the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program: From Policy to Practice
Yes, we canceled the Tampa Conference. However, you can still enjoy selected presentations in our Tampa Conference Webinar Series. Be sure to sign up for our first offering on June 9th!

In 2004, Massachusetts initiated the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project to address the lack of access to pediatric mental health care. The project created a peer-to-peer consultation network between primary care providers and child psychiatrists throughout the state, enabling PCPs to manage more complex behavioral problems in primary care without subspecialty referral. Over the next 15 years, many states initiated similar programs using a variety of models. This webinar will address the history and evidence currently supporting the model, the process of developing and implementing the model in different states, and the plan for evaluating the PMHCA program. Download the flyer.

Moving Science to Practice: Exploring Implementation Capacity Building in Community Settings
Calling all administrators/managers/supervisors and behavioral health professionals (e.g., clinicians, case managers, etc.) working in community-based organizations that deliver evidence-based behavioral health services in the United States! We have a promising doctoral student at the University of South Florida who could use our help. Doctoral student Enya Vroom needs your help with the Implementation Practice Survey that is a part of her dissertation research at the University of South Florida (IRB #686). The main goal is to assess community-based organizations and their employees’ perceptions of implementing evidence-based behavioral health services with adolescent and young adult populations. Participation is completely voluntary, your answers will be kept anonymous, and the survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. Must be 18 years or older. Every 25th participant to complete the survey will receive a $25 Amazon gift card! Please use this link to access the survey: If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Enya Vroom (

“Protect Others and Protect Yourself,” Our Watchwords of the Day
Words of wisdom from Ron Manderscheid, National Association for Rural Mental Health
Now that you are beginning to venture out—to a restaurant, to a store, to a hiking trail, to the beach—new etiquette becomes vital. What actions can you take? Wear a Mask: Like turning on the proverbial headlights when rain is falling, do wear a mask when others are nearby—easy to do and potentially lifesaving. Wear a Bubble: Your personal space is 12 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Revel in the freedom you have to roam there. Wear a Smile: A kind word, a friendly wave, both mean a lot. We all are suffering right now. Care now, don’t regret later. Be safe. Be healthy. Be together.

Mental Health Policy Position -Texas Network of Youth Services
The Texas Network of Youth Services is hiring a Mental Health Policy Fellow to deepen its policy focus on supporting the mental health of high-needs youth across youth-serving systems in Texas. This is a two-year full-time position, beginning in July 2020 and extending through July 2022. Applicants must have graduated from a relevant graduate program in the last 18 months.

Coping with Grief and Loss During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Gary Blau offers perspective on loss during the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 is rapidly changing our perception of the world, upending our feelings of predictability and security. More than that, we ache from loss – the loss of freedoms, the loss of livelihoods, the loss of connections, and, most of all, the loss of human life. Many resources have been developed and made available for coping with the mental, educational, financial, and physical strain of this crisis, and that is to be applauded. Countless people across the country have found help, assistance, guidance, and even solace in the materials and support being provided. From my perspective, what is lacking is a similar level of support to the tens of thousands of families who have lost a loved one to this virus.

For People With Disabilities, COVID-19 Presents An Extra Burden
The restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus have made it more difficult for many people with disabilities to access the services that help them daily. The challenges and impacts are different for different groups – from the deaf and blind communities to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, to children in special education classes.  Many people are especially concerned that people with disabilities could be denied life-saving medical treatment if a surge in COVID-19 diagnoses leads the state to ration care.

Multidisciplinary Research Priorities for the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Action for Mental Health Science
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound effect on all aspects of society, including mental health and physical health. This Lancet article explores the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of COVID-19 and set out the immediate priorities and longer-term strategies for mental health science research. These priorities were informed by surveys of the public and an expert panel convened by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity, MQ: Transforming Mental Health, in the first weeks of the pandemic in the UK in March 2020.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

My passion is helping to shape policy and practice in children’s mental health. 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 for the exchange of ideas on how to continually improve children’s mental health research, policy and practice.

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