Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 8-2-20

August 02, 2020

Greetings, faithful readers. Let’s start this issue with Curtis Mayfield singing his great song Keep on Keeping On, cuz that’s what we’ve got to do. As we work through the pandemic, racial injustice, and a bewildering political landscape, we need to somehow keep our focus on what is most important in children’s mental health. Enjoy the video, keep on keepin’ on, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Satcher Health Leadership Institute Launches Health Equity Project with Google
The Health Equity Kickoff hosted by the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and was held from July 13-15, 2020. With over 100 participants from the health equity field with special guests, including 12 lightning talk presentations, and six introductory remarks speakers, this meeting aimed to help us understand how we should and can create a comprehensive, public-facing data platform to track health inequities in the United States. The Children’s Mental Health Network is excited to partner with SHLI to help promote the activities of this vital project.

A New Measure, Under Development, Will Give Policymakers Better Data About Children’s Development, Well-Being, and Learning
During times of crisis—such as the current COVID-19 pandemic and related recession—state policymakers must have high-quality data to help them understand children’s development and better support the creation of policies that mitigate potential injury to children and families. One important measure is the Healthy and Ready to Learn Measure (HRTL), which will provide leaders with information on the health and readiness to learn of young children in their states starting in 2022.

New Podcast Episode of the Optimistic Advocate! Bonita Gibb on Innovations in Rural Mental Health and Personal Self Care
In this episode of The Optimistic Advocate podcast, I spend some quality time with Bonita Gibb, Social Marketing Coordinator with the Otsego County System of Care in upstate New York, about an hour outside of Albany. Bonita wrote into the children’s mental health network and wanted to share some of the fantastic things that they were doing with youth and families during the pandemic.

Dr. Tia Dole Talks About How LGBTQ Youth Are Responding to the Pandemic and Protests
Slow and steady. That’s how Tia Dole, Ph.D., Chief Clinical Operations Officer at the Trevor Project, describes the increase of calls they’re receiving during the pandemic. The Trevor Project (TrevorLifeline: 1-866-488-7386, TrevorChat, TrevorText: Text START to 678-678) is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for young LGBTQ people up to the age of 24. While there is no caller too young, most are between the ages of 11 and 24 and prefer chat and text. In part, this is because young people live in a more digital world, but it’s also because LGBTQ youth find it easier to talk about the challenges they face through chat and text. Generally speaking, notes Dr. Dole, young people reach out to the Trevor Project about their identity. “Most of our callers are not suicidal and are questioning their identity or sexuality. They reach out to us because they need an adult who they can talk to and work through things in a nonjudgmental way.”

Should Schools Reopen?
“There is no risk-free decision about school reopening.” Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Michael Yogman, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff review the evidence on COVID-19’s spread through children and schools and on the learning loss—both academic and social—that results from children being kept out of the classroom.

How Young Adults Can Manage Loss of Income During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Another great tip sheet from our colleagues at Transitions ACR
“What should I do now?” This may be something you are asking yourself if your income has been cut recently. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to lose income because of pay cuts, lay-offs, or furloughs. This loss of income can be very scary and may be the first time you’ve been on your own and out of work. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to pay your different bills (e.g., school loans, credit cards, rent, food, etc.). In order to make ends meet, you may need to use any emergency savings you’ve built, apply for unemployment benefits, or use your stimulus payment. This tip sheet provides some ideas and resources for managing if you’ve lost your job or are getting less pay due to the current health crisis. Be sure to check out the Transition ACR website for tons of great resources!

Making the Most of a Summer at Home: A Guide for a Happy and Healthy Summer During COVID-19
Many thanks to the Otsego County System of Care for sharing this great resource. Written to help families in Otsego County, NY, think of innovative summer activities, there are lots of great ideas in this guide that you might be able to replicate in your community. Check it out!

A Practical Guide to Self-Care for Helping Professionals
Another great article by Julie Radlauer-Doerfler and John E. VanDenBerg!
Self-care for professionals is vital to the effectiveness of the services being provided. Helping professionals may not consider their own needs, or they may be preoccupied with their responsibilities. Helpers often mistakenly believe that they are invulnerable to fatigue, stress, frustration, and depression. Often, they see others needs and feel the responsibility to lift them up, and in the process, forget about self-care. As helping professionals, we have learned that helpers need help, encouragement, and support, too. This article was written to affirm that proper self-care is both a responsibility and a necessity for helping professionals.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

My passion is helping to shape policy and practice in children’s mental health. 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 for the exchange of ideas on how to continually improve children’s mental health research, policy and practice.

In addition to my role with the CMHNetwork, I host The Optimistic Advocate Podcast, a weekly interview show where I explore how innovative people find ways to improve mental health for themselves, others, and the community at-large.

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