Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 7-8-22

July 08, 2022

Greetings, Network faithful. Growing up in the Bay Area, Tower of Power was seared into my soul. Enjoy this cover of their megahit So Very Hard to Go, performed by a wonderful group out of Russia, Leonid & Friends. Get your international vibe on during this difficult time between nations, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

25th NIMH Conference on Mental Health Services Research
Please join the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for the 2022 Mental Health Services Research Conference (MHSR). This event will take place virtually on August 2 and 3, 2022. The MHSR conference brings together leading mental health services researchers, clinicians, mental health advocates, and federal and non-federal partners to highlight scientific opportunities for the next generation of high-impact research to improve mental health care. The MHSR 2022 will feature thought-provoking keynote and plenary speakers and significant scientific advances presented as part of symposia, discussion groups, and posters. The virtual MHSR conference will be held on August 2-3, 2022. There is no registration fee, but registration will be required.

Modernized Anti-racist Data Ecosystems (Made) For Health Justice Call for Applications
Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the de Beaumont Foundation, Modernized Anti-Racist Data Ecosystems (MADE) for Health Justice is a grant opportunity that seeks to accelerate the development of health-focused local data ecosystems that center principles of anti-racism, equity, justice, and community power. Through MADE for Health Justice, non-profit organizations will be funded to build and facilitate multi-sector teams tasked with creating local data ecosystems. These ecosystems must focus on improving community health, connecting data across multiple sectors of local government, prioritizing the needs and voices of communities oppressed by structural racism, and ultimately driving just and equity-centered decision-making.

Fatherhood Programs Can Support Fathers’ Healthy Relationships With Children and Coparents
In the past three years, the Child Trends’ Coparenting and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education for Dads (CHaRMED) project has aimed to understand better how fatherhood programs support fathers’ coparenting and intimate relationships. This article highlights important lessons learned from CHaRMED that can inform how fatherhood program practitioners support fathers’ relationships and improve their—and their families—well-being.

Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research Unveils New LGBTQIA+ Resource Webpage for Mental Health Care Providers
As we close out Pride Month, we are excited to launch our “Providing Culturally Competent Mental Health Care to #LGBTQIA+ Youth & Young Adults” webpage featuring resources and five important tips for Mental Health Providers to provide culturally competent care for LGBTQIA+ youth & young adults they work with.

Everyday Mental Health Practices
School and classroom environments impact a student’s sense of belonging and overall mental health. Maintaining positive relationships with students within a caring school community and a safe, welcoming, inclusive classroom contributes to students’ social-emotional wellness and readiness to learn. In addition, mentally healthy classrooms have a critical role in facilitating social-emotional skill development – via instruction, embedded opportunities for practice, and ongoing modeling. Create and maintain your mentally healthy classroom with simple, everyday classroom practices.

Strategies to Help Parents and Families Create Healthy and Supportive School Environments
Parents and families have a powerful role in supporting children’s learning, health, and well-being at home and school. When parents are engaged in their children’s school activities and initiatives, children get better grades, choose healthier behaviors, and have better social skills. Students who have parents involved in their school lives also are more likely to avoid unhealthy behaviors, and they are less likely to be emotionally distressed.

Bridging the Mental Health Care Gap for Black Children Requires a Focus on Racial Equity and Access
Black children and families in the United States experience direct, indirect, and intergenerationally transmitted stressors that result from systemic racism, many of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to pre-COVID mental and emotional health outcomes, data since the onset of the pandemic show that Black children’s and adolescents’ reports of anxiety and depression have worsened. As the nation navigates the recovery phase of the pandemic, it is time for practitioners and policymakers to focus greater attention and resources on the specific mental health and wellness needs of Black children and youth. This includes addressing the social determinants—i.e., the economic, educational, environmental, and other nonmedical factors that impact Black children and youth’s well-being—linked to higher levels of stress and more negative health outcomes.

Helping Your Young Child Feel and Understand Their Feelings
We all know that emotions like love and gratitude are fun and beneficial, but what about emotions like fear, worry, or jealousy? Believe it or not, all our feelings serve a purpose. I say “believe it or not” because maybe, like me, you may have grown up believing that being scared is bad and something to avoid. Fear certainly does feel uncomfortable. But what if you could make friends with fear? The following is an excerpt from the Reader’s Note in the Imagination Press new book Feel Your Feelings. It explains the book’s basic concept and why scary emotions are our friends.

Service and Advocacy Organization Leaders Share Insights for an Applied Research Agenda on Black Children and Families
In a new brief, Mavis Sanders, Fadumo Abdi, and Tyreasa Washington share responses from interviews and surveys with leaders at 15 direct service and advocacy organizations whose work includes a focus on Black children and families.

Healthy School Meals for All
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has published the policy-specific toolkits Pouring Rights on sugary drinks and Healthy School Meals for All. These toolkits are designed as a roadmap to guide advocacy with academic research, case studies, model policies, messaging guidance, and other resources.

24th Annual Advocacy Summit
The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is excited to host the 24th Annual Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, on October 21 – 24, 2022! This year’s summit theme is “Youth Health Equity: Forging the Path for an Inclusive Future.”The Summit features five educational tracks: Anti-Racism & Youth Health, Youth LGBTQ+, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Youth Mental Health, Misinformation in Youth Health, and Student Poster Track: Health Advocacy for Youth.

Teen Suicide Risk: What Parents Should Know
Young people who identify as LGBTQ+ are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual or cisgender peers due to frequent experiences of discrimination, hostility & rejection. Caring and informed family support can help kids cope when life feels overwhelming. You will feel better prepared to help your child when you know more about these suicide risk factors.

Study Furthers Understanding of Disparities in School Discipline
A new NIMH-supported analysis designed to overcome these limitations has further advanced our understanding of racial and socioeconomic bias in the classroom. The analysis shows that disciplinary disparities occur as early as preschool and that their effects can negatively influence how well students do in later years.

The Third of Edition of the Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (Bers) Has Been Published
The Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (BERS) is a norm-referenced, standardized assessment that measures the strengths of school-age children. The original BERS was published in 1998 with data provided by youth, parents, and professionals in the children’s mental health field. The BERS system includes the Teacher Rating Scale, Parent Rating Scale, and Youth Rating Scale, as well as the Strength-Based Interview, which are used to identify a child’s strengths, competencies, assets, and resources. Local, state and federal agencies have widely adopted the BERS to plan, implement, and evaluate services. Recently the third edition of the BERS was published, which can be computer-scored and provide a narrative summary and goals for an individual treatment plan. Individuals interested in obtaining a copy should contact the publisher, Pro-ed, or if you have questions about the development or use of the test, contact the lead author, Mike Epstein (

More States are Allowing Students to Take Mental Health Days Off
Many parts of the country lack enough therapists who can work with students experiencing mental health concerns. Some experts believe that a mental health day policy is a good start towards addressing the youth mental health crisis.

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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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