Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 9-15-23

September 15, 2023

Let’s get this issue of Friday Update started with a great collaboration between Tommy Emmanuel and Molly Tuttle as they flex their guitar prowess playing White Freight Liner Blues. Enjoy the tune 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 five issues of Friday Update left after this one, so enjoy!

Teaching Social-Emotional Learning Is Under Attack
As battles rage over what can be taught in the nation’s classrooms, social-emotional learning (SEL) has been caught in the cross fire. Bills in at least eight states have sought to ban or limit SEL, and parents around the country are rallying against it.

Seeking Input on NIH’s Revised Mission Statement
NIH has issued a Request for Information (RFI) inviting feedback on a proposed update to the NIH mission statement. NIH is seeking input broadly from staff, NIH-funded institutions, scientific and professional societies, the clinical practice community, advocacy organizations, and the public. The RFI will be open for 90 days and will close on November 24, 2023. Please take a moment to review the RFI, submit your input, and share with your colleagues.

Shattering Myths: Performance, Attrition, and Executive Functioning of College Students with Mental Health Conditions
Thursday, Sept 21, 2023 at 2:30 – 4 PM EDT

This webinar will discuss the recent findings of Dr. Michelle Mullen on the academic persistence of college students with mental health conditions. The high rate of dropout from college among this population has long been attributed to symptoms and poor grades. However, Dr. Mullen’s research showed that the Focused Skills and Strategy Training (FSST) program significantly improved the retention rates of college students with mental health conditions.

Selfies, Social, And Screens: Navigating Virtual Spaces For Youth
Virtual spaces are everywhere and have become a constant presence, offering social connectedness and the ease of instant communication. But the online world of selfies and social media also brings with it challenging situations that can have a negative impact on youth mental health. Mental Health America has developed a toolkit that provides information, tips, and resources for young people, caregivers, and school personnel on how to protect youth mental health in a digital world.

Call for Proposals: System of Care Virtual Summit 2024
Do you work with children at the local recreational center, support families at a health clinic, or provide guidance to youth transitioning out of care? The National Training and Technical Assistance Center wants to hear from you! The theme of this year’s virtual conference is “All Systems Go! Taking Action Together,” inspired by the knowledge that all systems should work together to support the well-being of children, youth, and families. To be considered, submit your final proposal online to present in one of six content areas by November 6, at 11:59 pm PDT.

NIH Establishes Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $24 million in first-year funding to establish Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence. Part of NIH’s Implementing a Maternal Health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative, the centers will develop and evaluate innovative approaches to reduce pregnancy-related complications and deaths and promote maternal health equity. The grants are expected to last seven years and total an estimated $168 million, pending the availability of funds.

How Do You Know if Your Child Is Getting Good Care?
Finding mental health treatment for kids can be confusing. How do you know if a provider is a good fit for your child? And what should you expect from treatment? There are some basic rules you can use to tell whether your child is getting good mental health care.

How the New 988 Lifeline Is Helping Millions in Mental Health Crisis
In 2021, suicide was among the nine leading causes of mortality in the US among people aged 10 to 64 years, CDC data show. To improve access to crisis services, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline converted from a 1-800 number to a 3-digit dialing code in July 2022 and ramped up its capacity to handle calls. Since this transition, the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, where the old 1-800 number is now rerouted, has fielded more calls, texts, and online chats, and has responded to them more quickly. But despite such improvements, some states struggle with keeping up answer rates, and many people aren’t aware of the services provided—assuming they even know 988 exists.

New Report Highlights SBDI Among Innovative Approaches and Recommendations for Safer Schools
The Center for Policing Equity outlined strategies to create safer student learning environments in a new white paper, Redesigning Public Safety: K-12 Schools. The report urges policymakers and school administrators to invest in public health strategies such as school diversion measures and restorative justice initiatives. It highlights Connecticut’s School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) as a successful approach to improving student well-being, school climate, and safety.

The Call for Content for the 2024 Accelerating Health Equity Conference Is Now Open!
The conference education committee is seeking proposals featuring leading-edge tactics, thought leadership, and experts in the field in the following content areas: building authentic and sustained community engagement and partnership, understanding and meeting individuals’ health and social needs, establishing systematic and shared accountability and building diverse leadership and governance, creating equitable and inclusive workplaces, and other emerging topics. The submission deadline is September 22.

Activate Center: Sexual and Reproductive Health Resource Explorer
Activate: The Center to Bring Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Research to Youth-Supporting Professionals ( supports the Office of Population Affairs’ mission to promote adolescent health and prevent teen pregnancy by bridging the gap between research and practice. The resources included in the Resource Explorer are explicitly designed for professionals who support young people experiencing the child welfare and justice systems, homelessness, and disconnection from school and work.

State-Level Macro-Economic Factors Moderate the Association of Low Income With Brain Structure and Mental Health in U.S. Children
A new study finds that generating anti-poverty programs may help narrow gaps in mental health and brain development between children living in low- versus high-income households. The analysis, published in Nature Communications, used data on 10,000 children ages 9 to 11 across 17 states and measured associations between cash assistance programs, Medicaid expansion, and hippocampal volume of children living in high- and low-income families. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays a crucial role in memory, learning, and emotion. Lower volume, or smaller hippocampus size, is linked to cognitive problems.

Firearm Deaths Among Children Continue to Rise, Disparities Widen
According to a new study, firearm death rates among children and teens rose almost 9% from 2020 to 2021, while disparities worsened. The increasing rates meant firearms remained the leading cause of death for youths. The researchers analyzed 2018-’21 data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database, analyzing firearm deaths for children 19 years and younger.

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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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