Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 8-19-22

August 19, 2022

Greetings, Network faithful. Put the note on your office door that says you are on a conference call and not to be disturbed. Then, sit back and drink in India Carney, singing her original song, Human, which she wrote in the summer 0f 2020, after much racial unrest in the United States. The song is her testament to trying to make sense of it all while being in lockdown due to the pandemic. Enjoy the tune, give yourself permission to reflect and find empathy within, which seems to be lacking these days. And then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Mario Hernandez: Exemplary Leadership in Systems of Care
As a young college student, Mario was given a lead on a job at a research and training center for children’s mental health. It wasn’t remotely what he was interested in, but his wife said, “take the job; we need the money!” And the rest, as they say, is history. Mario Hernandez, former Chair of the Child and Family Studies Department, University of South Florida, and Systems of Care legend, is my guest on this episode of The Optimistic Advocate podcast. We talk about the early days of systems of care, how he built one of the most successful University behavioral health departments in the United States, and his views on leadership and collaboration – all while never losing sight of system of care core values and principles. It’s a deliciously lengthy interview, so grab a coffee, cancel any work appointments for the next hour, and join us on the couch!

An Invitation for Families to Be Heard Deadline Extended Until Today!
With the launch of the national 988 crisis line, it is a crucial time to listen to families about their experiences accessing crisis care services. If families think it’s a crisis – it is! Families can help inform the planning and delivery of crisis services in their state by describing their experiences when they faced a behavioral health crisis with their child under age 24. This national survey offers an opportunity for families to be heard. Their response is anonymous. To ensure that as many families as possible have a chance to be heard, the survey deadline was extended by two weeks and will close today, August 19th.

U.S. Department of Education is Seeking Qualified Peer Reviewers for FY 2022 Grant Competitions
The Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS) seeks qualified peer reviewers to read and evaluate discretionary grant proposals for the following FY 2022 grant competitions: Project Prevent Grant Program; School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program; Mental Health Services Professional Demonstration Grant Program. Please consider applying to be a reviewer! It will be important for the Department of Ed to get reviewers knowledgeable about child, youth, and family mental health.

Teaching Kids About Emergency Preparedness
The American Red Cross works closely with schools and youth-serving organizations to provide emergency preparedness education to young people to build resilience in communities across the country and abroad. Their age-appropriate preparedness materials include engaging activities and easy action steps that youth will find both fun and effective. ​

Facts About LGBTQ Youth Suicide
LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, they are placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society. Great read from our friends at the Trevor Project.

Teach Kids How to Be Mentally Tough
Mentally strong kids are prepared for the challenges of the world. To be clear, mental strength isn’t about acting tough or suppressing emotions. It’s also not about being unkind or acting defiant. Instead, mentally strong kids are resilient and have the courage and confidence to reach their full potential. As a parent, you can do things to help instill mental strength in your kids.

Families Can’t Wait: Providing Essential Support for Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Wellness
The agenda for the National Federation of Families conference is now available online. The conference will be in Oklahoma City, OK this year, November 3 – 5.

Nearly Half of Us Kids Live in Homes With Criminal Justice Involvement
A University of Michigan study shows that four in 10 children in the United States grow up in households where a parent or co-residing adult faced at least one criminal charge, were convicted of a felony or spent time in prison. This dwarfs estimates from the Bureau of Justice Statistics that less than 1 in 40 children have a parent in prison in a given year, says Michael Mueller-Smith, assistant professor of economics and faculty associate at the Population Studies Center at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

Integrated Early Childhood Data Is an Essential Tool for Advancing Racial and Ethnic Equity
Early childhood integrated data systems (ECIDS) offer policymakers a comprehensive view of early learning investments and children’s and families’ experiences with different intervention services from birth. Since 2009, the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) at Child Trends has focused on advancing policies and practices to help state leaders develop, implement, and use ECIDS. In response to the enhanced national focus on racial inequities—and the increased urgency to rebuild and strengthen early care and education systems in light of disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—ECDC consulted with experts in early childhood, racial equity, and early childhood data systems to assess how efforts to collect, integrate, and share data can support the creation of more equitable systems and outcomes for young children and families.

Filling Gaps in Access to Mental Health Treatment for Teens and Young Adults
During the pandemic, rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems skyrocketed among young Americans. Perhaps most distressing: nearly 20 percent of U.S. high school students surveyed in 2021 said they’d considered suicide during the prior 12 months. A new article from the Commonwealth Fund looks at ways to promote resilience and connect young people in crisis to mental health treatment and other clinical and social supports through innovative care models and new therapeutic tools.

Pain in the Nation 2022: U.S. Experienced Highest Ever Combined Rates of Deaths Due to Alcohol, Drugs, and Suicide During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Well Being Trust’s annual report found that deaths spanned ages, racial and ethnic groups, and geography but disproportionally harmed young people and people of color. Solutions are known and must be implemented.

A Reimagined Vision for Black Child and Family Well-being From National and Local Leaders
Despite significant gains toward achieving the full rights and protections of citizenship, Black people in the United States face significant challenges to their well-being that stem from centuries of racial discrimination, violence, and exclusion. Statistics recounting these challenges, while necessary to understand and address the pervasive impact of systemic racism on Black children and families, can often feel overwhelming and disheartening. For those whose experiences are reflected in these statistics—and those committed to advancing the well-being of Black children and families so that they, and the nation, can thrive—it is important to engage in opportunities to refuel and recommit to the hard work of systems change.

Healthy People 2030: Building a Healthier Future for All
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthy People 2030 report has an increased and overarching focus on social determinants of health (SDOH). In line with this focus, literature summaries are provided that offer a snapshot of the latest research related to SDOH. These summaries explore a range of key factors — such as discrimination, social cohesion, access to health services, and poverty — and examine how these issues can impact health outcomes and health disparities. Newly updated summaries are now available!

Talking With Your Children About Stress
Young people may not recognize signs of stress or know how to respond and cope effectively. Parents can offer valuable assistance and provide empathy and understanding. By knowing what to listen to and watch for and seeking out opportunities to engage in conversation with children of all ages, parents can help their children handle life challenges better.

It Is Possible to Teach Your Kids — Or Yourself — to Be More Creative
Creativity is often thought of as something you’re born with, but research suggests otherwise. “The reality is that creativity is fostered over time,” says Andres S. Bustamante, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Human Development in Context at the University of California, Irvine School of Education. Experts agree that creativity can be taught or developed. Yet popular misconceptions about creativity abound, chief among them that some people are born innately more creative than others.

Supporting Youth And Families Affected By Community Violence
Community violence can occur suddenly and without warning leaving many youth and families with a heightened sense of fear. Common types of community violence that affect youth include, but are not limited to individual and group conflicts (e.g., bullying, fights among gangs and other groups, shootings in public areas such as schools, community parks, or neighborhoods). When these events happen, youth and families may experience a wide range of reactions, including shock, anger, fear, loss, and grief. Some individuals may find it more difficult to cope following a traumatic event like this. Support from a caring, trusted adult, teacher, school counselor or nurse, or primary care provider can help youth heal and recover following a traumatic event. The NCTSN has resources to help youth and families affected by community violence.

Stress of Mass Shootings Causing Cascade of Collective Traumas
As mass shootings repeatedly erupt in schools, grocery stores, and other establishments we visit every week, Americans are living in fear. For children and teens whose mental health is already in crisis, the ongoing backdrop of violence is steadily eroding the sense of well-being, safety, and efficacy known to be essential for healthy development.

Explore More Posts
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.

Explore More Posts