Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 8-4-23

August 04, 2023

Greetings faithful readers. Let’s appreciate the heart and soul of the people of Cuba, embodied by two of the stars of Cuba’s legendary Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo. The duo sings the classic bolero Quizas Quizas Quizas with only a piano to accompany their golden voices. Take it all in, 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 nine issues of Friday Update left, so enjoy!

Effective Alternatives to Youth Incarceration
As The Sentencing Project documented in Why Youth Incarceration Fails: An Updated Review of the Evidence, compelling research proves that incarceration is not necessary or effective in the vast majority of delinquency cases. Rather, incarceration most often increases young people’s likelihood of returning to the justice system. Incarceration also damages young people’s future success in education and employment. This report identifies six program models that consistently produce better results than incarceration, and it details the essential characteristics required for any alternative-to-incarceration program – including homegrown programs developed by local justice system leaders and community partners – to reduce young people’s likelihood of reoffending and steer them to success.

A Catalyst for Childhood Obesity: How Racism Has ‘Huge Implications’ for Health Trajectory
Racism contributes to childhood obesity, according to a new study that found children as young as nine were more likely to meet the definition of obesity if they faced racism a year earlier. Though the link between racism and obesity has long been assumed, this was a clear confirmation in children, said co-author Adolfo Cuevas, an expert on racism and health at the NYU School of Global Public Health.

Resilience for Teens: 10 Tips to Build Skills on Bouncing Back From Rough Times
The ads make it look so easy to be a teen—everyone seems to be laughing, hanging out with friends, and wearing exactly the right clothes. But if you’re a young adult, life can be pretty tough sometimes. You may face problems ranging from being bullied to the death of a friend or parent. Why is it that sometimes people can go through really rough times and still bounce back? The difference is that those who bounce back are using the skills of resilience. The good news is that resilience isn’t something you’re born with or not—the skills of resilience can be learned.

Tuning In: Explore Ways to Notice, Recognize, and Respond to Children’s Needs
You play a key role in creating a caring connection with your child, setting them up for healthy relationships with peers, grown-ups, and themselves! Everything you do is an opportunity to build healthy habits and emotional well-being in children, now and over a lifetime. Research has shown that attunement — noticing, recognizing, and responding to your child’s emotions and needs — helps your child feel accepted, understood, and safe. Sesame Street offers ways to build a stronger relationship with your child by helping them feel seen, heard, and loved!

State Scorecard: Surging Preventable Deaths, Untreated Mental Health Needs
According to the latest edition of the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, the country is grappling with a surge in preventable deaths and unaddressed mental health needs. The report ranks states’ health systems annually based on how well they provide high-quality, accessible, and equitable health care. And for the first time, the scorecard includes measures for evaluating reproductive care and women’s health.

Myths About Selective Mutism
Selective mutism (SM) is a relatively rare anxiety disorder in which children who are talkative at home are unable to speak in more public settings,  including school. Their behavior is often misinterpreted as an inability to speak at all, or as a willful refusal to speak. Here are some of the most common myths about SM.

Association Between the COVID-19 Pandemic and Early Childhood Development
This cohort study in 447 children aged 1 to 3 years and 440 children aged 3 to 5 years in Japan found that children exposed to the pandemic were 4.39 months behind in development at age five years compared with those not exposed to the pandemic. Variations in development were greater during the pandemic vs. the pre-pandemic period, regardless of age.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Adds Spanish Text and Chat Service Ahead of One-Year Anniversary
One year after the rollout of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its 988 Lifeline partners announced the addition of Spanish text and chat services. After a successful pilot test, specialized services for LGBTQI+ youth and young adults were added earlier this month.

Supporting Student Mental Health: Is Connecticut in Good SHAPE?
As schools emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, educators are looking for creative and lasting solutions to address students’ growing mental health needs. CHDI’s Policy Brief, Supporting Student Mental Health: Is Connecticut in Good SHAPE? shares resources and strategies for aligning statewide policies using The SHAPE System to support school mental health infrastructure and improve district, school, and student outcomes. Helpful information that other states can learn from, so check it out!

One-Third of Teens Have Parent With Anxiety or Depression, Survey Suggests
Parents and their teenage children report similar rates of anxiety and depression, according to a report published this week by Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common project. Further, almost 40% of teens report being worried about the mental health of at least one of their parents.

Creating Communities That Help Support Neurodiverse Children
We all are different. We all are unique. This is cause to celebrate. Yet, the current landscape of friendships and social spaces can feel unwelcoming for many children and families. Flexibility and inclusivity are often lacking, leaving little room for children who are neurodiverse, such as those on the autism spectrum or who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or intellectual disability. There are many tools and organizations to help children with neurodevelopmental differences practice friendship-building skills and connect through social opportunities. But a larger community effort is needed, as well.

Can the Metaverse Be Good for Youth Mental Health? Youth-Centered Strategies for Ensuring and Enhancing the Mental Health and Safety of Young People in the Metaverse
The U.S. Surgeon General has called on the country to take a ‘safety first’ approach to the online lives of youth. This report answers that call to action. As the time young people spend in these immersive spaces and augmented/virtual reality environments increases, there is greater urgency to understand the interactions between these spaces and their mental health. Grounded in a robust literature review and the deep engagement of an interdisciplinary Advisory Board of experts and a diverse cross-section of young people, the report provides actionable guidance for stakeholders in fostering a metaverse ecosystem that centers on the rights and well-being of youth.

Kids With This Hobby Make Better Test Takers, New Cambridge Study Suggests—and Enjoy Better Mental Health
According to a recently published study in Psychological Medicine, kids who read for pleasure 12 hours per week perform better on cognitive tests and have better mental health. Those who started reading recreationally at an early age had better verbal learning, memory, speech development, and academic achievement than their peers who weren’t picking up books for fun.

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, 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