Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 6-23-23

June 23, 2023

Hey, Network faithful, it’s time to revel in some good old bluegrass with Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle performing “Little Maggie.” Spread your bluegrass wings and fly! Enjoy the tune and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

The Children’s Mental Health Network is Closing Down
After meeting with the Board of the Children’s Mental Health Network, we have decided this will be our last year of operation. It has been an incredible journey, and every reader of Friday Update will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Only 12 Issues of Friday Update Left
Goodness gracious, I have been writing Friday Update since 2012. For the first 10 years it was a weekly publication (good grief!) and then in 2022 it went to every other week. So much information (and fantastic music!) in those issues. A big part of me is going to miss it. We at the Network love feedback, so let us know what you have most enjoyed about reading Friday Update. Contact us here.

Time to Consider Another Donation Recipient!
As most of you know, we do not accept federal funds and are funded solely by donations. Given that the Network will close this December, we are no longer accepting donations and encourage you to continue giving to other organizations that share your values and principles. We are most grateful to our donors over the years. It was your shoulders on which we stood to ensure a clear and unfettered voice for children’s mental health.

Anti-Poverty Programs May Help Reduce Disparities in Brain Development and Mental Health Symptoms in Children
States that provide stronger social safety nets have lower socioeconomic disparities in the brain development and mental health of children 9 to 11 years old, according to research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. The disparity in brain structure between children from high- versus low-income households was more than a third lower in states with greater cash assistance than in those offering less, and the disparity in mental health symptoms was reduced by nearly a half.

Helping Children Who Are Neurodiverse Build Friendships
Making friends and finding social opportunities can sometimes be difficult, particularly for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or an intellectual disability. Here’s what parents can do to help.

Understanding the U.S. Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage
Nearly half of all Americans will have a behavioral health issue in their lifetime, from a mood disorder to a substance use problem. Behavioral health care encompasses a wide variety of interventions delivered by many different types of providers. In the U.S., nearly all these providers are in short supply.

The Social Determinants of Health Federal Policy Landscape: A Look Back and Ahead
Founded by Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Karen DeSalvo in 2018, the National Alliance to Impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH) works to address the social determinants of health (SDOH) as a core component of value-based care transformation. NASDOH started with the belief that “a multitude of factors influences the ability of individuals and families to lead healthy and productive lives. Beyond the more commonly recognized factors, such as insurance coverage and access to medical care, are the non-medical SDOH. These non-medical drivers include access to healthier foods, safer neighborhoods, reliable transportation, and educational attainment. They also include how we behave in our environment, such as exercise, eating habits, and tobacco use. SDOH accounts for more health outcomes, including cost, than medical care alone.

Conversation Starters on Building More Equitable Early Childhood Systems
Child Trends and Start Early have partnered to better understand what early childhood systems builders need to build and support more equitable systems. They define an early childhood system as a comprehensive, cross-sector, and coordinated set of policies, services, and supports for young children (prenatal through age 5) and their families. At the heart of this work are the following central questions: What makes an early childhood system successful? What do systems need to do differently if families are placed at the heart of systems building and improvement? How can systems know they are progressing toward more equitable policies, programs, and outcomes?

School Employee Wellness: A Toolkit for Supporting the Implementation of School Employee Wellness in Districts/Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic ignited an ongoing problem within the U.S. educational system, which has included a declining labor force, increased stress and anxiety among school staff, and low morale among employees within K-12 public school settings. As a result, school districts are struggling to attract and retain employees, and many employees have health concerns that impact their work life. This quick-start toolkit is provided as a supplement to Healthy School, Healthy Staff, Healthy Students: A Guide to Improving School Employee Wellness, designed to increase the capacity of district and school staff in addressing school employee wellness, to improve the health of all school employees, and to improve student health and academic outcomes.

Applying for a Job: The Young Adults Guide
From our colleagues at Transitions ACR
“Applying for a Job: The Young Person’s Guide” is a good starting point for your young adult in their job search journey. From considering pay, thinking about growth opportunities, and what type of job you might like (in-person versus remote), the tip sheet gives you a great overview to help get started. It also includes short topics like creating a professional online presence and securing references.

Creating Policies to Better Serve Diverse AANHPI Populations
While Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) populations are, collectively, the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, these groups have rich and distinctive experiences, and current policies do not adequately support their unique challenges; this lack of support is especially evident for AANHPI children and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated many challenges among AANHPI children and families.

Providing Culturally Competent Mental Health Care to LGBTQIA+ Youth & Young Adults
In the face of stigma, violence, adverse life events, and worsened mental health, having supportive, affirming adults in their lives can have a significantly positive effect on LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. According to the Trevor Project, “LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.” This Resource Guide offers five tips to help mental health professionals provide affirming and accepting culturally competent care to LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. This guide can also be helpful for anyone with a loved one in the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America’s Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2023
This annual report tracks federal and state investment in public health and concludes that under-investment in public health programs leaves the nation less prepared for current and future health risks. One-time COVID-19 emergency funding helped control the pandemic but did not address structural weaknesses in the nation’s public health system.

Mental Health Treatment Among Children Aged 5–17 Years: United States, 2021
This report describes the percentage of children aged 5–17 years who have received mental health treatment in the past 12 months by selected characteristics based on data from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey. Mental health treatment is defined as taking medication for mental health, receiving counseling or therapy from a mental health professional, or both in the past 12 months.

10 No-Cost, Screen-Free Activities to Play with Your Preschooler
Most parents want to provide more for their children than their parents were able to do for them. But, have you ever noticed how kids tend to have fun with things as simple as a cardboard box? It’s true. When it comes to play, which is essential to healthy development, simple toys such as blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets are often the best kind for kids. In fact, they’re more effective in allowing children to be imaginative and creative than more expensive toys that may be out of reach for many parents.

2023 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being
From the Annie E. Casey Foundation
When families have accessible, affordable, quality child care, kids and parents benefit. Young children can find nurturing support and begin early learning while their parents and caregivers can earn money for food, housing, and other essentials. A functional childcare system that meets the needs of families would ensure parents have care when and where they need it — at a reasonable cost and with family-supporting pay for childcare professionals.

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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, 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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