Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 7-7-23

July 06, 2023

Hey, Network faithful, it’s Friday, so that must mean it’s time for something new (for me, at least!). I just discovered the incredible voice of Sierra Ferrell, who is now a permanent member of my eclectic “must listen” artist playlist. Kick back and enjoy her singing At the End of the Rainbow. Enjoy the tune and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do, and there are only 11 issues left!

Most Important Reads of the Week
Note to readers — For the final 11 issues of Friday Update, we will run these first two items for each issue to ensure readers, new and old, get the word that the CMHNetwork is closing down.

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 11 Issues of Friday Update Left
Goodness gracious, I have been writing Friday Update since 2012. For the first ten 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.

COVID’s ‘Complicated Picture’: Mental Health Worse, Staffing Tight, Enrollment Frozen at Nation’s Schools
More than two-thirds of public schools saw higher percentages of their students seeking mental health services in 2022 than before the pandemic — but only a slim majority believed they could meet children’s heightened psychological needs, according to a federal report released Wednesday. The revelation comes from The Condition of Education 2023, the latest in a series of annual digests from the National Center for Education Statistics surveying the landscape of K–12 schools. Its contents offer a nuanced account of how COVID-19 affected student experiences inside and outside the classroom.

Changes in Depression and Anxiety Among Children and Adolescents From Before to During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 53 longitudinal studies, including more than 40 000 children and adolescents across 12 countries, found an increase in depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among female individuals and those from relatively higher-income backgrounds. Anxiety symptoms increased slightly during the pandemic, although there was some evidence of a small increase in anxiety symptoms for children and adolescents from relatively higher-income backgrounds.

Building on Behavioral Health Parity: State Options to Strengthen Access to Care
Longstanding problems in access to behavioral health care have worsened since the pandemic, which increased demand for services amid workforce shortages. Millions of people are likely going untreated. JoAnn Volk and Christina Goe of the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms describe how states can ensure that health plans cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders on par with other health services.

Effective Alternatives to Youth Incarceration
As The Sentencing Project documented in Why Youth Incarceration Fails: An Updated Review of the Evidence, compelling research proves that incarceration is not necessary or effective in most delinquency cases. Rather, incarceration often increases young people’s likelihood of returning to the justice system. Incarceration also damages young people’s future success in education and employment. Further, it exposes young people, many of whom are already traumatized, to abuse, and it contradicts the clear lessons of adolescent development research. These incarceration harms are inflicted disproportionately on Black youth and other youth of color.

How Gun Violence is Reshaping American Lives
As gun violence increases and shootings seem to make headlines every few days, the fear of getting caught up in one is changing the lives of millions of Americans. A shopping mall. A classroom. A teenager’s house party. All have suffered the scourge of a US mass shooting in recent weeks. To many Americans, it feels like it could happen anywhere. 

HHS Awards Funding to States, Tribes, and College Campuses to Help Prevent Youth Suicide
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), today awarded $5.9 million to states, tribes, and college campuses for youth suicide prevention programs.

Black Children and Adolescents Can Achieve Greater Heights With Research-informed Policies and Practices
Racial disparities in many indicators of child well-being (e.g., school suspension, suicide, exposure to violence, juvenile arrests) illustrate the need to improve Black children’s and adolescents’ experiences and outcomes across multiple domains, including education, health, child welfare, and criminal justice. However, to promote a deeper and more varied understanding of Black children and adolescents, this brief highlights their progress, accomplishments, and continued needs.

Nationwide Data Insights From WRAPSTAT
Check out the recent Wraparound Blog from the National Child Wraparound Initiative. The blog posts identify how Stat data can show how Wraparound sites differ in types of youth and families enrolled, length of enrollment, level of fidelity and satisfaction, rate of progress, and reasons for discharge. By putting all these data together, much can be learned about the factors associated with fidelity and outcomes.

Advancing Racial Equity in Early Childhood Through Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
Young children, especially those from historically marginalized backgrounds, benefit from high-quality early care and education (ECE) to thrive later in life. This brief explores how Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) can help early childhood programs and professionals advance racial equity in ECE and address early social-emotional and educational disparities. The resource provides equity-focused recommendations to help IECMHC programs, researchers, and policymakers expand IECMHC’s potential as a model.

5 Everyday Tips for a Mentally Healthy Summer Break
Wonderful tips from our colleagues at School Mental Health Ontario!
Summer brings a break to routines for many. It can be a time for relaxing outdoor activities, more time for play, and joyful laughter with family and friends. However, the summer break can be challenging for some students and families. As the summer approaches, it’s a good chance to remind students, and ourselves, that there are everyday things we can all do to maintain mental health, even when circumstances are more challenging.

Mental Health America Young Leaders Council Looking for New Members
Mental Health America’s Young Leaders Council (YLC) comprises young people (18-25) who have created programs and initiatives to fill gaps in mental health support and resources in their communities. Ten leaders are selected each year and participate in this six-month leadership development program. Selected members meet over six months starting in September 2023 and contribute resources and a report with their ideas and guides to expanding or replicating their programs. Learn more, and complete your application to participate. Applications are due Friday, August 4, 2023.

Talking to Youth About Anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate
Great resource from our colleagues at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
As a caregiver, you have multiple conversations with youth daily, especially if they are your children. You might ask, “How was your day?” “Did you do your homework?” “How was practice?”. So how do you ask the tough questions about race, violence, and discrimination? Discussing these topics with another adult is hard enough, but to have them with youth may seem daunting.

American Academy of Pediatrics Receives Major Grant to Help Eliminate Race-Based Medicine
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has awarded the AAP a two-year, $2 million grant to launch a project to support eliminating race-based medicine. Several other medical organizations also received grants for this purpose. The AAP project, “Establishing a Race-Conscious Approach to Clinical Guidance in Pediatric Care,” will create a process for identifying and correcting race-normed clinical algorithms and test a revised algorithm in an emergency department setting.

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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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