Friday Update

CMHNetwork Friday Update 9-4-20

September 03, 2020

Greetings, faithful readers. Let’s enjoy the classic song ‘Valerie‘ by the Zutons, as performed by Amy Winehouse, and covered by Amber Taylor Music and Josh Turner. I’m tellin’ ya, if you stop for a few minutes and drink in a darned good song, your mood will be enhanced for the rest of the day. So, you know what to do. Put your headphones on and enjoy the smooth sound of Amber Taylor Music and Josh Turner (who is absolutely killer on the Telecaster), and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

The Transformative Process of Collaborating with Parents and Family Members: Engagement, Involvement & Partnership
This Advocacy Training Report and Presentation establishes a baseline for understanding how advocates and professionals can collaborate with parents and family members in their local communities, states, and nation. While most stakeholders working with parents and family members coin the ultimate relationship as “engagement,” the New Jersey Parents Caucus recognizes engagement as a process and collaboration as the ultimate goal.

Advocating for Youth Access to Mental Health Services During a Pandemic
The Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids (MHAP for Kids) has demonstrated its impact by improved youth and family functioning, school attendance, and youth mental health, decreased use of emergency or mobile crisis services, and reduced court-involvement. Now, as the largest public health crisis in recent history intensifies systemic barriers to, and increases the need for, mental health care for youth, MHAP for Kids adapts its strategies to support youth and their families. This paper describes the MHAP for Kids model and the innovative approach the program uses to meet families’ needs during COVID-19.

Unsafe school facilities reinforce educational inequities
The burden of inadequate school facilities disproportionately impacts disadvantaged students and students of color. Alejandro Vazquez-Martinez, Michael Hansen, and Diana Quintero explain how this problem is another facet of environmental racism that affects marginalized groups and what can combat it.

The Nation’s Public Health Agencies Are Ailing When They’re Needed Most
At the very moment, the United States needed its public health infrastructure the most, many local health departments had all but crumbled, proving ill-equipped to carry out essential functions, let alone serve as the last line of defense against the most acute threat to the nation’s health in generations. Epidemiologists, academics, and local health officials across the country say the nation’s public health system is one of many weaknesses that continue to leave the United States poorly prepared to handle the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 180,000 lives in the country.

Screening Youth in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems for Trauma
Trauma screening is important for youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. These children are often exposed to high levels of trauma and may benefit from evidence-based trauma treatments. A common barrier to screening is addressing staff concerns. By the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, this Issue Brief reviews screening efforts by child welfare and juvenile justice staff in Connecticut. The findings suggest that trauma screening was feasible, helpful for providing effective services, and rarely associated with significant distress. This Issue Brief provides recommendations for advancing trauma screening in Connecticut and nationally across child-serving systems.

Mental Health Commission Canada: External COVID-19 Resources for Children and Youth
If you live in Canada and have questions about how to support youth during the pandemic, the Mental Health Commission of Canada has put together an extensive resource page for you to use. And guess what? You don’t have to live in Canada to benefit from these resources. Many great ideas, tips, and strategies here, so check it out and see what you might apply to support your community’s efforts.

Debate: COVID‐19 and Psychological Wellbeing of Children and Adolescents in Italy
Italy was the first country in Europe to deal with COVID‐19. The government’s measures to contain the spread of the virus were based mainly on quarantine and social distancing, with dramatic economic, social, and psychological consequences. Since March, Italian children and adolescents face school closures, which have disrupted the daily lives of millions of young people and their families. To date, despite the slow reopening, the government has decided to maintain school closures for the entire academic year, leaving the future of young people in uncertainty. There is already some evidence that quarantine and social isolation negatively impact children’s and adolescents’ psychological well‐being. Moreover, this situation will mainly affect those children and adolescents with pre‐existing vulnerabilities and those suffering from mental disorders. It is imperative to keep young people’s needs at the core of reconstruction plans, allowing them to safely return to school and provide them with some strategies to heal and deal with this stressful and potentially traumatic situation.

Honest Conversations About Racism and Mental Health, Featuring a Provider, a Mother, and a Young Adult
In this episode of The Optimistic Advocate, we get the opportunity to hear both professional and personal perspectives on 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 a great episode you will not want to miss!

A Mother Relies on Her “Connections” to Navigate the Complexities of In-Patient Hospitalization for a Child in Crisis. But What If Those Connections Did Not Exist?
Linda Callejas is a mother with “connections” in the behavioral health care field. When her child went into crisis and needed in-patient hospitalization, trusted colleagues were available and ready to help her navigate the process. But what if she was a mother without connections? Read Linda’s thoughtful essay describing her journey and reminding us of the importance of human connection, especially for those without “connections.”

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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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