Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 9-1-23

September 01, 2023

Let’s start this Friday Update issue with one of my favorite artists, John Prine. Heck, you never really need a reason to listen to John other than that he was, and continues to be, a tonic for the soul. Enjoy John singing The Other Side of Town, pause to reflect on the eternal beauty of a true artist, 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 seven issues of Friday Update left, so enjoy!

Promoting Health Equity by Changing How We Pay for Care
Health inequities in the United States are persistent and pervasive, resulting from well-documented discrimination inside and outside the health system. These inequities are both preventable and treatable. Reforming how we pay for care is one of the many tools the health system has to improve equity. Yet reform efforts have fallen short and have only recently begun to focus on reducing inequities.

Are You Parenting a Child Between the Ages of 3-17 Who Has Been Diagnosed With a Mental or Behavioral Health Condition?
Researchers at California State University Monterey Bay are looking for working parents of children aged 3-17 with mental or behavioral health conditions to join a virtual Project Advisory Group (PAG). As a member, you will help them develop a decision-making tool that can assist parents in deciding whether to disclose their child’s condition to their employer. The PAG will meet once a month from June 2023 to Spring 2024 via Zoom, and participants will receive $50 per meeting. All parents, whether they have disclosed their child’s condition to their employer or not, are welcome to participate.

By Using Vague Language to Define Misconduct, Many States Put Children at Risk for Unfair Disciplinary Action
In October 2021, a South Carolina judge ruled in favor of students who asserted that criminal statutes using broad and subjective language such as “disorderly conduct” and “disturbing schools” were unconstitutionally vague as applied to elementary and secondary school students and put students at risk of arrest and criminal misdemeanor charges for minor infractions. The court found that the laws failed to clarify the prohibited student conduct and allowed subjective, arbitrary standards for enforcement. While this ruling dealt with criminal statutes targeting youth for minor offenses, it provides a powerful argument against school discipline policies and codes of student conduct that use similarly vague language.

Getting Accommodations at College: Tools for School
If you are having trouble with school due to mental health, your school is obligated to provide extra supports and services to help you succeed. These supports and services are called accommodations, and they can make a difference! Your school may also make some modifications to the courses at your request.

12 Tips for Raising Confident Kids
Right from birth, kids learn new skills at a dizzying rate. And along with those new abilities, they also acquire the confidence to use them. As children get older, that confidence can be as important as the skills themselves. To thrive, kids need to trust in their capabilities while, at the same time, knowing that they can handle it if they aren’t successful at something. They develop healthy self-confidence by experiencing mastery and rebounding from failure. Here are 12 ways to set kids up to feel capable and get the most mileage out of their skills and talents.

Save the Date: 2024 Mental Health America Conference
The 2023 Mental Health America Conference united over 10,000 advocates from around the U.S. and worldwide — our largest gathering in history. Thank you to everyone who helped make it an incredible success. The journey together continues. Mark your calendars for the Mental Health America Conference 2024, Sept. 17-21, in Washington, D.C.

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!

Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults
What’s the bottom line on the risks of E-cigarettes for kids, teens, and young adults? This CDC Fact Sheet lays it all out in stark detail.

Read the Label Youth Outreach Materials
Read the Label, the “next generation” portfolio of materials based on FDA’s award-winning Spot the Block outreach campaign! Initially launched in 2007, Spot the Block was a comprehensive program from the FDA that evolved into a nationwide grassroots initiative. Through this hands-on campaign, kids, families, and community outreach leaders united to use the Nutrition Fact label as their everyday tool for making smart and healthful food choices.

Training Today’s Youth to Become Tomorrow’s Mental Health Care Providers
A new career preparation program inspires diverse students to “create healing spaces.” Program leaders hope that exposing more students to mental health professions will lead to more diversity in the field, which will, in turn, lead to better access to support for students of color at a critical time for them.

Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Emergency Nurses Association Call for Strategies to Improve Care for Children, Adolescents Seeking Urgent Help for Mental, Behavioral Health Concerns
The nation’s emergency departments are the first and sometimes the only point of care for surging numbers of young patients with mental health emergencies. More support and resources are needed to provide the best care. That is the message conveyed in an updated policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), which joined to provide recommendations for the management of mental and behavioral health care in emergency departments.

Treating Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis
Each year, nearly 49,000 lives are lost in the United States due to gun violence, of which more than half are suicides. More Americans died due to gun violence in 2021 (the most recent year for which complete statistics are available) than in any other year on record — though due to the nation’s growing population, the rate of gun deaths has remained lower than its peak in the 1970s. Youth gun violence, in particular, appears to be on the rise. For decades, the question of how best to confront the epidemic of gun violence — with policy, law enforcement, education, public health, or a combination — has been fiercely debated and politically contentious.

Latino Children’s Health in the U.S. Worsened by Anti-immigrant Discrimination
Latino children who live in states with more anti-immigrant prejudice and tougher policies aimed at immigrants are more likely to experience health issues, according to a study co-authored by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. CNN article about the study noted that, in general, Latino children are known to experience more health issues than non-Latino white children, potentially because systemic inequities—such as laws aimed at excluding them from obtaining health care or housing—lead to chronic stress.

Youth Detention and the Pandemic
The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion’s Chang­ing Course in Youth Deten­tion: Revers­ing Widen­ing Gaps by Race and Place expos­es the large and widen­ing gaps in youth deten­tion by race and place. The report com­pris­es three years of research from the Foun­da­tion and tracks the effects of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic on juve­nile jus­tice systems. The dis­pro­por­tion­ate use of deten­tion for Black youth — already dis­tress­ing­ly high before the pan­dem­ic — has increased sub­stan­tial­ly. Also, over that three-year peri­od, local and region­al dif­fer­ences in the use of deten­tion have increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly, a reminder that most deci­sions about youth deten­tion are made locally.

How to Help Kids Deal With Rejection
Rejection and disappointment are two difficult feelings to have. We often blame ourselves when we don’t reach some of our goals. Resiliency (or “grit” as it’s now called in pop psychology) is a valuable character trait we can foster in our children. Our kids will inevitably feel disappointed, rejected, and defeated at times. Here are five tips that can help build some grit.

Help Your Child Manage Anxiety: Tips for Home & School
Anxiety is another word for feeling worried or scared. It’s normal for children and teens to feel anxious sometimes, like before a big test at school or talking in front of a group of people. But if your child’s anxiety gets in the way of normal activities, such as sleeping alone at night, playing outside, or going to school, they may need extra support. The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent your child from feeling anxious and help them handle worries when they happen. Talk with your pediatrician to discuss strategies and tips that can help.

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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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