Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 5-8-21

May 08, 2021

Greetings, faithful readers. Oh man, you are in for a treat with our featured video of the week. Let’s start this issue of Friday Update off with British singer-songwriter Rumer and Daryl Hall, who give us their spin on the Gil Scott-Heron classic ‘Be Thankful for What You’ve Got.’ Yep, sound advice. We should all be thankful for what we got. Get your musical inspiration on and then get to reading’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Peer Support and Youth Mental Health ~ Important webinar featuring Youth Era
Tuesday, May 11, 2:00 pm EST
We are 14 Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the world is focused on getting crucial vaccines. On the mental health side, we are only beginning to understand the long-term impact the pandemic will have. With increasing rates of distress among young people, our communities must transform how we approach youth mental health. According to research done by Mental Health America, peer support programs are growing in popularity among youth, and teens surveyed overwhelmingly requested training on how to support their friends. To build on this momentum, Youth Era has been invited to present alongside GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard to talk about lessons learned during their brand new 5-day virtual training for young people called Uplift. Join us for the first conversation in Mental Health America and the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative’s Young Mental Health Leaders Series, Peer Support and Youth Mental Health. This 60-minute Q&A will bring together leading researchers and young mental health advocates to talk about the current challenges and successes in youth mental health. Youth Era will share tips and tactics to help anyone trying to engage with youth virtually and beyond!

The Impact on Compassion for the Family Caregiver of a Person with a Mental Health Disorder
Are you a family caregiver of someone with a mental health disorder? Please consider participating in a research project seeking to understand better the impact of being a caregiver. Participants will be asked to complete an online survey that measures compassion satisfaction or compassion fatigue. The survey will take approximately ten minutes to complete. Participants will be asked to participate in a phone interview (optional), taking about 30 minutes to complete. The interview will help to gather more in-depth information on your experience as a caregiver. Participants must be 18 years and older.

Invitation for Submission of Articles on Youth and Family Support to the Journal Healthcare
Former RRI RTC staff Eileen Brennan, Lisa Stewart, and  Claudia Sellmaieare serving as co-editors of an issue of a peer-reviewed special issue of the open access journal Healthcare, that will focus on youth mental health and family support. Invitations for submission of articles to the peer-reviewed special issue are welcomed! Deadline for submission is January 31, 2022. For more information please visit the special issue webpage.

We Can Talk: Honest Conversation About Race
In this episode of The Optimistic Advocate podcast, Julie Radlauer-Doerfler and Ryon Coote have a conversation about race and social justice issues, demonstrating how people from different backgrounds can have deep and civil conversations about these complex issues. This episode is the first of a series of conversations about race. Enjoy the series!

Pain in the Nation: How High rates of Suicide, Alcohol, Overdose Deaths Require a Resiliency Strategy – A Virtual Briefing
On May 19, 2021, at 1 pm EDT, Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust will host a virtual Congressional briefing on the soon to be released Pain in the Nation report series. Over the past decade more than one million Americans have died from alcohol, drugs and suicide. Now this trend has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a fragmented health system, and social and community conditions. No single program or policy will be a cure-all to address these issues. Instead, a comprehensive approach that focuses on the underlying causes of these “deaths of despair” can make even our most vulnerable resilient and heal a fracturing nation.

The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America’s Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2021
This annual report examines federal, state and local public health funding trends and recommends investments and policy actions to build a stronger public health system, prioritize prevention, and address the ways in which social and economic inequities create barriers to good health. According to the report’s authors, the missteps of the 2020 COVID-19 response were rooted in a public health system weakened by years of underfunding, the federal government’s failure to communicate and follow the best available science, and, health inequities that put communities of color and Tribal Nations at particular risk.

The MOST Dynamic Family Advocate – Barbara Huff
Oh man, this was a significant interview for me to be a part of. This episode of The Optimistic Advocate features the iconic family advocate – Barbara Huff. Barbara is the first board president and the founding Executive Director of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (NFFCMH). In this delightful conversation, Barbara weaves the story of her impactful advocacy journey, from an Interior Design professional “mom” to the unwavering, trail-blazing family advocate who left her mark on, among many important milestones, helping to craft the original legislation that brought the United States systems of care, to helping to create, and then lead, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the first advocacy organization to solely focus on the needs of children and adolescents with behavioral health challenges and their families. It was a joyous interview for me to conduct. Take your time with this one, folks, as it runs just a bit over an hour and a half. Pace yourself, as the conversation is full of nuggets of wisdom.

A Note About the Significance of CMS’s “Connecting Kids to Coverage” National Campaign
A Message from Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra
Today our nation’s children are living through challenging times: social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seemingly endless epidemic of mass shootings, and the economic toll that this pandemic has taken on families. And all of this is taking a toll on impacting our children’s mental health. Our children deserve to be children, but when the conflicts of the world force themselves into their lives, that’s when we need to step in and make sure that they are protected. Fortunately, most children have access to health coverage; unfortunately, millions of children remain uninsured. What’s more, kids in minority communities have disproportionately high rates of uninsurance. These facts make CMS’ Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign all the more important. Continue reading.

Teens with ADHD: More ZZZ’s, More A’s?
Teens have notoriously erratic sleep behaviors. And for teens with ADHD, research suggests that quality sleep may be tougher to come by. A study by Stephen Becker, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, found that poor sleep was associated with lower scores on standardized math tests the next day for all students. Becker says that it is important for parents to help their teens adopt healthy sleep habits and for teachers to be aware that teens falling asleep in class could be from underlying difficulties sleeping.

Why Children of Immigrants Experience Guilt — and Strategies to Cope
Children of immigrants in the US often experience a unique kind of guilt, brought on by the pressures of navigating different cultures, living up to their parents’ expectations and taking on extra family responsibilities. Mental health advocate Sahaj Kaur Kohli offers helpful strategies for dealing with these difficult feelings — starting with defining your own values and creating space for self-compassion.

Advancing Equity in Behavioral Health Through Telemedicine
This new policy brief examines the value of permanently expanding telemedicine to support the fundamental delivery of health care. The COVID pandemic helped demonstrate that telemedicine facilitates access to health services and improves equity among socioeconomically, racially, and ethnically diverse families. Research has also shown that telemedicine is generally as effective as in-person psychotherapy.

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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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