Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 8-18-23

August 18, 2023

Let’s get this issue of Friday Update started with one of my favorite Canadian groups, The Wailin’ Jennys, singing their beautiful song, “One Voice.” I have included the complete lyrics on the video page – a most worthy read during these times of monumental change. Okay, enjoy the song, get your chakras in line, 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 eight issues of Friday Update left, so enjoy!

Children of Incarcerated Parents | See Us Support Us
See Us, Support Us (SUSU) raises awareness about and increases support for children of incarcerated parents. SUSU is a year-round effort with national partners, culminating in a month of action in October. Sign up for SUSU Network emails to receive quarterly updates about how you can SEE and SUPPORT children year-round. 

National Federation of Families Conference 2023: Advancing Social Justice, Equity, and Inclusion
November 9 – 11, 2023, Chicago, IL
For the last 34 years, the National Federation of Families has brought together families, parents, community leaders, providers, partners, and legislators at their Annual Conference, where they work to leverage lived experience and learned solutions for the support and advancement of families whose children experience mental health and or substance use challenges during their lifetime. Get all the details here!

Giving the (Young) People What They Want: A Policy Framework for Youth Peer Support
Read this important Policy Framework report by The Center for Law and Social Policy!
The existing mental health system is failing to meet the needs of young people, particularly Black, brown, and Indigenous young people, 2SLGBTQIA+ young people, and young people with disabilities. Within the current mental health system, they often experience the effects of institutionalized racism, such as harsher treatment, stigmatization, and professionals minimizing their mental health symptoms. The current mental health system is also experiencing a workforce shortage, with many young folks unable to access care, particularly in mental health deserts—geographic areas with limited access to mental health services like psychologists and counselors. Youth peer support offers a solution to both these problems.

After High School: Talking With Your Young Adult About Underage Drinking
You can help the young adults in your life make healthy choices in their late teens and early 20s. It may be as simple as talking with them about the consequences of underage drinking. Even though they are branching out on their own, you have a positive influence on choices affecting their health and future.

The College Faculty Guide to Academic Supports for College Students with Serious Mental Health Conditions
This video series is designed to provide information and strategies for college faculty members regarding how to support the academic participation and success of students who experience mental health conditions. College students commonly experience mental health conditions, yet myths and misconceptions about mental health conditions persist. This video series aims to dispel these misconceptions and provide research-based information regarding how the experience of a mental health condition can impact a student’s academic participation and performance.

Call for Abstract SOPHE’s 2023 Advocacy Summit
The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is accepting abstracts for their upcoming Advocacy Summit, taking place October 14th – 16th in Washington, DC. The deadline for presentations has been extended to September 1st.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Outcomes Are Declining Despite Continued Improvements in Well-being Indicators
Recent data have revealed dramatic and troubling declines in the mental well-being of children and adolescents over the past decade. However, social indicators of well-being—including housing, income, and food stability; access to education and health care; and high-quality relationships—have improved over the same period. In a new Child Trends brief, Nathaniel Anderson (University of California Los Angeles), Kristin Anderson Moore (Child Trends), and co-authors argue that policies that focus on improving these social indicators, while important, may not be as effective as previously thought at directly addressing young people’s mental health needs. The authors suggest that by expanding the scope of data that track child and adolescent well-being, policymakers can design more effective and equitable solutions that support children and adolescents’ mental health.

Using Digital Technology to Respond to the Youth Mental Health Crisis
Amid a worsening mental health crisis, many young people can’t get the care they need. Ongoing mental health workforce shortages have exacerbated these challenges — especially for young people who rely on Medicaid. Experts from the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and the Commonwealth Fund explain how digital mental health technology can help address this crisis. They also discuss the regulatory, evidentiary, and reimbursement obstacles to its adoption.

Teen Depression: More Than Just Moodiness
Being a teenager can be tough, but it shouldn’t feel hopeless. If you have been feeling sad most of the time for a few weeks or longer and you’re not able to concentrate or do the things you used to enjoy, talk to a trusted adult about depression. Download the checklist developed by NIMH!

How Exposure to Diversity Can Help All Children (And Adults)
Many of us know and embrace that diversity is something to be celebrated. While this positive message is shared explicitly, it hasn’t sunk in deeply enough to penetrate our implicit biases. There is evidence that such biases can start developing quite early in life. Frequent exposure to diversity can reduce or eliminate those biases.

Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman on the Right Way to Praise Your Kids to Set Them up for Success
Of course, parents want to tell their kids how great they are—they are smart, intelligent, and athletic! But unfortunately, research shows that calling your kids gifted and talented isn’t going to cut it. Certain types of praise can inadvertently stunt a child’s performance. Andrew Huberman, a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine and host of the Huberman Lab, evaluates how performance and grit are inextricably linked to the praise people receive and give themselves, as well as whether or not they can learn and adopt a growth mindset.

Infants and Toddlers in High Quality Child Care Seem to Reap the Benefits Longer, Research Says
Researchers have debated the long-term impact of early childhood education for decades, sharing evidence that while some children experience positive long-term outcomes, others see initial benefits fade out — or even experience detrimental outcomes. A new study is adding to a growing body of research indicating that high-quality early care and learning programs can positively impact children for years into the future. But there is one caveat: Children need to be enrolled early, in infancy or early toddlerhood, to reap these benefits.

Parents See Own Health Spiral as Their Kids’ Mental Illnesses Worsen
A national shortage of mental health care providers, and the search for affordable care, has exacerbated strain on parents, often the primary caregivers who maintain the health and well-being of their children. Their day-to-day struggle has led to its own health crisis, say psychologists, researchers, and advocates for families.

What Does ‘Mind-Blindness’ Mean—and How Does It Hurt Autistic Kids?
For many parents of neurodivergent children, a diagnosis often comes accompanied by a slew of specialists, therapy appointments to attend, treatment options to choose from, and a whole new vocabulary of niche terms that find their way into daily conversations. For families navigating an autism diagnosis, “mind-blindness” has long been used to describe the mental states many individuals on the spectrum experience––but in recent years, new studies show the term is likely inaccurate and may limit possibilities for emotional connection.

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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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