Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 9-29-23

September 29, 2023

Let’s get this issue of Friday Update started with a special shout-out to Mavericks, a long-time reader of Friday Update who consistently sends excellent video suggestions. With only four issues of Friday Update left, I figured it only appropriate that we honor Mavericks unwavering support of the CMHNetwork, especially on this glorious day. Keep riding, Mavericks! Enjoy the waves and 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 four issues of Friday Update left after this one, so enjoy!

Discipline Is Still Biased. How to Reduce Racial Disparities in Suspension Rates
Despite attempts to eliminate bias from school discipline policies, Black students continue to receive harsher punishments than White students for the same infractions. But Jason Okonofua, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, is working to change that. He developed an intervention known as empathic discipline that helps teachers cultivate a growth mindset and respond with empathy when students act out.

Strategies to Advance Racial Equity in Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
Sexual and reproductive health equity means that all people are supported by policies and systems that help them achieve their desired sexual and reproductive health. Currently, too many young people—especially Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth—lack the autonomy and system-level supports to achieve the sexual and reproductive health they desire. This brief aims to show programs, providers, and researchers how they can approach adolescent sexual and reproductive health services in a way that advances racial equity.

Surveying the Impact of the Pandemic on Domestic Violence Program Services and Supports to Families
One of our interns, Bethany Augenstein, is pursuing her Master’s in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health at the University of South Florida. As part of her Master’s degree project, she is conducting a survey to understand better the needs of children who are victims of domestic violence and how the pandemic impacted services and supports offered through domestic violence programs. You are encouraged to participate in this survey if you are involved with a domestic violence organization. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Let’s help one of our star interns out!

Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care
Thanks to a generous donor, for the second year running, The REACH Institute is able to award 150 scholarships for its Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care (PPP) Program, to pediatric primary care providers practicing in the Greater Atlanta area. To be considered for this free training opportunity, applicants must be a pediatrician, family physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant practicing in the Greater Atlanta area, and available to attend one of the following 3-day virtual training sessions (followed by bi-monthly, group learning calls) January 19 – 24, 2024, and February 2 – 4, 2024.

Social Media Brings Benefits and Risks to Teens. Here’s How Psychology Can Help Identify a Path Forward
As youth mental health continues to suffer, parents, teachers, and legislators are sounding the alarm on social media. But fear and misinformation often go hand in hand. APA’s recommendations aim to add science-backed balance to the discussion.

When to Adapt: Ensuring Evidence-Based Treatments Work for Children of Diverse Cultural Backgrounds
Approximately one in six children across the United States have a diagnosable mental health condition, and roughly half report being unable to access mental health treatment. There are significant disparities in access to treatment, with Black and Hispanic children with mental health conditions reporting approximately half as many visits to mental health providers as White children. When children do receive treatment, the type, quality, and effectiveness of services vary considerably. This Issue Brief describes what is known about making adaptations to EBTs for diverse populations and provides recommendations for clinicians on when and how to make these decisions.

Model Standards for a Critical Recovery Support Service
The JEAP Initiative, and the Consortium on Addiction Recovery Science (CoARS) Peer Recovery Support Services Workgroup, invites you to attend a free virtual 3-part forum series on peer recovery support services. The first session starts October 3rd, so sign up today!

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Adds American Sign Language Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Callers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s addition of nationwide American Sign Language (ASL) services for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing as part of ongoing efforts to expand accessibility to behavioral health care for underserved communities. Since the July 2022 launch, the 988 Lifeline has received more than 5.5 million calls, texts, and chats and will now be available to the millions of Americans who use ASL.

Teen Suicides: What Are the Risk Factors?
Some people think that when teens talk about killing themselves, they just want attention and should be ignored. It’s not true. Any talk about suicide is something to take seriously. Sadness, avoiding friends and family, anxiety, and doing dangerous things are also signs a child might need help. So is talking about dying, even if you think they don’t mean it.

School-Friendly Health Systems: Core Principles and Practices to Guide Health Systems to Help Children Reach Their Full Potential
Given the inherent, mutually reinforcing connection between health and education, a consortium of pediatric hospital teams and health organizations have undertaken an initiative to help health systems become school-friendly— supporting children and their families from early childhood through high school and beyond.

5 Million More Children Experienced Poverty in 2022 Than in 2021, Following Expiration of COVID-era Economic Relief
The rate of child poverty in the United States has more than doubled, from 5.2 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022, according to newly released data from the Census Bureau, translating to 5.2 million more children living in poverty than in 2021. This increase follows the expiration of most COVID-era programs. The new Census data highlight the critical role of pandemic-era social safety net expansions in the dramatic decrease in child poverty rates in 2020 and 2021. Despite high rates of unemployment during the pandemic, child poverty (as measured by the Supplemental Poverty Measure) declined by 25 percent in 2020 and by nearly 50 percent in 2021, largely thanks to stimulus payments and temporary expansions to government programs such as the Child Tax Credit, Unemployment Insurance, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), among others. The expiration of these programs reverses the progress of the last two years.

State of Obesity 2023: Better Policies for a Healthier America
This 2023 version is the 20th annual report on the antecedents and rates of obesity in the U.S. and policy solutions. Since Trust for America’s Health first published the State of Obesity report in 2004, rates of adult child and adolescent obesity are up sharply, particularly in communities experiencing barriers to healthy eating and few opportunities for physical activity. 

APA Task Force Report on Tenure and Promotion for Faculty of Color
In 2021, APA’s Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) and the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP) collaborated to form a task force to examine the issues facing faculty of color within psychological science. A major goal of the report is to provide recommendations for best practices for the promotion and tenure process for faculty of color that aspire to foster meaningful systemic change across the psychological sciences. This report seeks to educate college and university administrators (i.e., psychology department chairs, chairs of promotion and tenure committees, external evaluators, deans, and chief academic officers) about the matter to begin creating systemic change. To that end, the report contains an action letter that departmental review committees can include with requests to outside reviewers for external evaluations of candidates being considered for promotion and tenure.

Why You Need to Start Talking To Your Children Way More Often About Money
For many Americans, money is a touchy subject that most don’t want to discuss with family and friends. That’s a problem, experts say—especially in families with children. We develop our attitudes and beliefs about money in childhood. By talking often about money and modeling good money management habits, you’ll set your children up for a future of financial success.

Loss of Child Tax Credit, Other Programs Pushed More Children Into Poverty in 2022
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the end of pandemic-era financial measures more than doubled the child poverty rate from 2021 to 2022. In 2021, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) child poverty rate fell to 5.2% due to the pandemic-era child tax credit and other financial assistance that helped families. In 2022, the number climbed back to pre-pandemic levels at 12.4%. That figure is the most significant increase in child poverty since the SPM, which factors in government aid, began in 2009. The number of children living in poverty based on the SPM increased by more than 5 million, from 3.8 million in 2021 to nearly 9 million in 2022. 

How the Social Aspects of Our Lives Impact Our Happiness
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. The World Health Organization states that over one billion people are experiencing mental health conditions. Further, the CDC reports that 50% of all people in the US will experience mental health symptoms in their lifetime. There are many reasons for these struggles, and we need to know the root causes to put the proper intervention in place. But it’s also important to know that we have the power to impact our own mental health. 

Supervision and Support of the Parent Peer Support Provider
Looking for support in supervising the unique workforce of Parent Peer Support Providers? Sign up for this three-day virtual training, October 24 – 26!
Supervision is a key component in the success of Parent Peer Support Providers (PPSPs). Effective supervision employs an approach that promotes the unique lived experience of the PPSP and encourages ongoing professional growth. This curriculum is part of the larger Parent Peer Support Practice Model and addresses supervisory skills that will enhance your ability to fully support the work of the PPSP. Training will include strategies, best practices and tools for your use in supervision, and you will have opportunities to problem solve around shared challenges and network with supervisors from other programs and states. At the conclusion of the training, you will receive clean electronic copies of the tools shared in sessions for your use with your team – and to tweak for your program!

7 Ways to Help Kids Calm Down Without Using a Screen
A parent’s son kept a comfort box under his bed when he was six. He filled it with treasures to help him work through his feelings—a tiny blanket, a ball, even a sequined bottle with yellow-tinted water. The strangest things can be calming! To find methods to soothe your little one that you haven’t tried, Parents Magazine asked different kinds of health pros for their most under-the-radar strategies. Why not give their ideas a whirl?

Sports, Reading More Beneficial to Kids’ Intelligence Than Video Games
Kids who play organized sports and less time on the computer are smarter, according to a new Finnish study. The study, recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, looked at the effects of diet and physical activity on 504 elementary school students over two years. Researchers found that children who spent more time playing on supervised organized sports teams and reading had better thinking skills than those who did not.  

Pandemic High School Grads Are Sticking With College. States Want to Make Sure They Finish
Three years after the pandemic upended the college careers of many students, new data show higher education students are back on track and persisting in college at the same rates they were before COVID-19 came on the national scene. However, experts say high schools and higher education institutions alike need to provide better guidance, support, and alignment between the courses provided in high school and needed in college to ensure students complete their education, as well as to build momentum for the students whose K-12 experiences were disrupted during the pandemic. 

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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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