Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 6-9-23

June 09, 2023

Hey, Network faithful, let’s celebrate clarity and new beginnings (always a good idea) with Lachy Doley covering the Johnny Nash classic, I Can See Clearly Now. Enjoy the unabashed joy of these fine musicians and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Important Message From Scott Bryant-Comstock

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.

So many of you have played significant roles throughout our existence, dating back to the early conversations in 2003 about an alumni network for graduated system of care grantee sites (how it all began). This work, more like a calling, has been so gratifying for me, but it is time to move forward. I am excited to see the next generation pick up the reigns of advocating for children and adolescents with mental health challenges and their families.

The next six months will be business as usual, with a heavy dose of reminiscing! While we will close the Network in December, the repository of information, articles, and research papers on the website will live on, as the University of South Florida has agreed to host our website so that people can have access in the future.

So, for now, speaking on behalf of Pat Baker and Cyndi Nation, we are forever indebted to the kindness and unconditional love all of you have shown to us, proving what needs no proof, that the power of collective voice is unparalleled.

Full disclosure: I am struggling to write these words, so I will keep this announcement short. Know that in future issues of Friday Update, when composure returns, I will be sharing many memories of both the significant and the mundane that are part and parcel of any movement, especially one so important as this one.

Much love,


Most Important Reads of the Week

Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community
The US surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, released an advisory on loneliness and isolation, its destructive impacts on our overall health, and the extraordinary healing power of our relationships.

Why Are Teenagers So Sleep-Deprived?
Most teens today are living with mild to severe sleep deprivation. Teens actually need more sleep than little kids. Experts say teens need over nine hours a night to be healthy. But over a third of teens get only five to six hours a night.

Discriminatory Transgender Health Bills Have Negative Consequences for Youth
From our colleagues at Child Trends…
Recently, Florida, Texas, and Nebraska all took legislative steps to restrict youth’s access to gender-affirming health care—actions that put transgender children and youth at higher risk of experiencing violence, family separation, and poor health outcomes. These actions are part of a growing number of anti-trans legislation happening in states across the country.

Is the Child Care Crisis Escalating?
Nearly 90% of brain growth happens before children start kindergarten. That’s why experts say high-quality care is so vital for small children. It’s also why the ongoing child care crisis is so worrisome and why the Biden administration is once again trying to address the issue on a national scale.

2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People
The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People amplifies the experiences of more than 28,000 LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 across the United States. This survey gives a voice to LGBTQ young people — at a time when their existence is unfairly at the center of national political debates, and state legislatures have introduced and implemented a record number of anti-LGBTQ policies.

A Data-Driven Approach to Improve Preschool System Equity
As a preschool leader overseeing statewide programs for 3- and 4-year-old children, you are committed to supporting children and families across the state. Your goals include equitably reaching those who need preschool services the most to ensure that they have positive experiences in your program. You want to support children’s transitions between classrooms and to kindergarten while equipping your staff to do their job well.

How to Help Kids Deal With Embarrassment
For grown-ups, minor embarrassments are no big deal. But for kids, being embarrassed can be very upsetting. Helping kids build resilience and confidence will make sure they have the tools to deal with embarrassment in a healthy way. Embarrassing situations happen to everyone from time to time. But if a child regularly comes home from school upset or has a major change in behavior or mood, there may be something more serious going on. Bullying could be a problem. Or if your child is so worried about being embarrassed that they avoid activities most kids enjoy, they could be struggling with social anxiety disorder and may need help.

Schools Out! Tips For Taking Advantage of Summer Break to De-Stress from the Hustle and Bustle of the School Year
It’s that time of year again when the days are heating up, and the spirit of care-free living takes over as school starts to pause for summer break. Kids work all year with the end goal of summer always in mind. The questions often on parents’ minds are: What should I engage my kids in during the summer break? How do I make the most of the time with my kids?

Save the Date: The Evolution of Mental Health Research Symposium
Date and time: September 13, 2023, 8:30 a.m.– 5:30 p.m. ET
Starting in September 2023, NIMH will celebrate 75 years of transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses. The celebration begins with “The Evolution of Mental Health Research” symposium, highlighting key advances in mental health research over the past 75 years. Join NIMH on September 13 for a hybrid event featuring distinguished speakers and thought leaders in mental health research. Hear how developments in neuroscience, genetics, and behavioral research are leading to exciting new discoveries shaping the future of the field. Registration information will be available in the coming weeks. The symposium is the first of several events in this yearlong anniversary celebration.

Why Are Teen Girls in Crisis?
Navigating the tumultuous teenage years has never been easy. But the unique cultural context young Americans find themselves in today makes this transition period especially hard for many. A recent snapshot of data collected over the past decade paints a bleak picture of just how poorly teenage girls, in particular, are faring. In 2021, nearly 60 percent of female high school students said they persistently felt sad or hopeless within the past year — the highest level reported in at least ten years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2011, just 36 percent said the same thing. Experts say there’s no specific underlying reason for this trend, but challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of social media could have both played a role.

How Does Our Political System Influence Mental Health?
Many of us are familiar with the social determinants of health­—structural conditions that we are born into, live, and die in. But have you considered how our political system advances or hinders health equity? We can trace many inequities—from banking, education, criminal justice, housing, employment, and health—back to the political determinants of health: voting, government, and policy. The good news is that we can also leverage these political determinants of health to advance health equity.

New Animated Video for Families Helps Wraparound Data Collection in West Virginia
Youth with complex needs and their families depend on systems, organizations, and practitioners to provide timely, engaging, high-quality services. As such, measuring timeliness, engagement, fidelity – and most importantly, outcomes – is critical to ensuring systems, programs, and practitioners deliver effective care.

Moving Beyond Change Efforts: Evidence and Action to Support and Affirm LGBTQI+ Youth
This report, Moving Beyond Change Efforts: Evidence and Action to Support and Affirm LGBTQI+ Youth, provides behavioral health providers, researchers, policymakers, and other audiences with current knowledge about LGBTQI+ youth, a comprehensive research overview, and important information on behavioral health concerns within this community.

Mental Health and Schools: Best Practices to Support Our Students
This report highlights the current strengths and barriers related to promoting healthy outcomes for students living with mental health concerns. It provides actionable recommendations and strategies to ensure that all children and families have access to the services and supports they need to thrive.

Learn to attract and retain top talent by creating a workplace culture that fosters wellness and allows for the free expression of issues related to employees’ mental health, behavioral health, and addiction. This important course, offered by the USF College of Behavioral and Community Sciences and The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, is 100% online, free, and open to the public, with the opportunity to earn certification and digital badging. Sessions will begin in June 2023. Register today!
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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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