Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 8-28-20

August 28, 2020

Greetings, faithful readers. The beauty of music is that it can act as the connective thread through the myriad of emotions we all feel as we work through the challenges of this pandemic, which, strangely, is becoming the new normal. I’m feeling the need for a beautiful original song by Reina del Cid. Find your own quiet space and give yourself to the lyrics and music in the song, Cassiopeia. Enjoy the artistry of Reina del Cid, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Remembering DJ Jaffe
A long-time advocate for those with serious mental illness, DJ Jaffe, passed away last week after battling leukemia for more than 15 years. DJ and I could not have been further apart in our views on then-congressman Tim Murphy’s mental health bill, which was the piece of legislation that interminably enter-twined our lives together. But this is not the time or place to review how we disagreed with each other. This is the time and the place to honor someone who was determined to find a way to make things better for the seriously mentally ill.

Honest Conversations About Racism and Mental Health, Featuring a Provider, a Mother and a Young Adult
Welcome to another episode of The Optimistic Advocate. In this episode, we get the opportunity to hear both professional and personal perspectives on the topic of the impact of racial injustice on the provision of behavioral health services in Broward County, Florida. Guests on this episode include a mother of two adult sons, a young man who has experience with the mental health system, and a mental health services provider. It’s an incredible episode you will not want to miss!

How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering
In the 1930s, federal officials redlined these neighborhoods in Richmond, Va., marking them as risky investments because residents were Black. Today, they are some of the hottest parts of town in the summer, with few trees and an abundance of heat-trapping pavement. White neighborhoods that weren’t redlined tend to be much cooler today — a pattern that repeats nationwide.

Hopeful Minds Curriculum Is Now Available for Free!
I could not be more excited and prouder of this work. It is all the elements I believe critical to rebranding mental health and eradicating stigma in three one-hour lessons. Hopeful Minds is FREE, universal, has a parent’s guide, and is remote learning ready. #Hope is a strategy ~ Kathryn Goetzke ~

Hopeful Minds is a new curriculum project developed by iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression. The curriculum is based on research that suggests hope is a teachable skill. The curriculum aims to equip students, educators, and parents with the tools they need to find and maintain hope even during the most trying of times. All of the Hopeful Minds materials are free, so please share with anyone interested in learning these critical skills necessary for all globally. The hope curriculum can be used at home, in the classroom, in church, in after-school programs, or wherever you interact with youth. Hopeful Minds meets the CDC National Health Education Standards (NHES), state-specific Social and Emotional Learning Standards (SEL), and anti-bullying guidelines. Hopeful Minds is trauma-informed and aims to reduce the impact of inequality and discrimination. Other countries may find these guidelines incredibly useful when viewing/teaching the curriculum, as they can be universally applied.

Potential Effects of “Social” Distancing Measures and School Lockdown on Child and Adolescent Mental Health
The authors of this editorial come from Europe. Authors include representatives/board members from the Union of European Medical Specialists, section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (UEMS-CAP), and the European Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ESCAP).
Turning to the role of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) in research, it is not an empty plea that more research is urgently needed on both the short term and the long-term effects on child mental health to better inform policymakers. Even though numerous reviews on mental health effects of COVID-19 are being published, they are based on the existing literature that only partly mirrors the current situation. Prospective assessment of the effect of COVID 19-related mental health effects in children and adolescents is needed.

2020 Grads and Grief in a Pandemic
For high school seniors, COVID-19 has meant that important events like graduation or prom couldn’t happen. Mental health experts say U.S. teens were experiencing alarming levels of anxiety and depression before COVID-19. Now, they say kids have increased feelings of loss. Parents should watch for signs their teen struggles with depression, validate their child’s feelings of loss, and support them as they move to the next chapter.

Innovative Conversations: Intensive Home Based Treatment During a Pandemic
As part of its continuing series, the Center for Innovative Practices presents guests Bobbi Beale, PsyD, and Maurie Long, PhD, who discuss ‘treatment at a distance’-type services, which are becoming more widely accepted in behavioral healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic, and which may thrive even post-pandemic. They also explore Intensive Home-Based Treatment, an intervention designed to address extremely challenging youth behaviors within a home setting, often seen as a preferable alternative to removing youths from their homes.

A Nation Burned Out: The Neurobiology of Finding Grace Under Pressure
It seems like wherever you go in this country, most people you encounter are emotionally exhausted. Interestingly, emotional exhaustion appears to be the hallmark characteristic of burnout, which may be why, on the surface, burnout and depression look very similar. In this Morning Zen post, Laurie Ellington shares insights from the fields of modern neuroscience, mind-body research, and the psychophysiology of stress resilience that help us explore ways to navigate the current toxic social climate that pervades America.

Help Your Baby Deal with Emotions
Just like adults, babies experience a wide range of daily emotions. It’s a parent’s job to help them sort through the difficult ones. But do you know how to help your infant cope? New research offers some clues.

How to be Kinder to Yourself
People who have greater self-compassion levels tend to be more motivated, less lazy, and more successful over time. But just as important, they like themselves, even when they fall short. Psychologist Susan David explains how you can cultivate this quality.

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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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