Friday morning update – 1-25-13

March 03, 2013


Friday morning update – 1-25-13

Greetings faithful readers – Oh man, we are so glad to be back in the USA after an amazing two weeks in South Africa, where we were able to recharge and reflect upon the recent flurry of activity, discussion, and unfortunately, short-sighted rhetoric about children’s mental health, guns and violence. Look for a full analysis of the Biden Commission efforts from us this coming Friday after the jet lag wears off! Not to worry though, plenty to cover and catch up on in this week’s issue of Friday Update, which requires some singin’, dancin’, celebratin’, and the obligatory straight talk. One of the true joys of the CMHNetwork is that we are free of any ties that may bind through special interest funding sources, which means we can call it the way we see it, and man, Network faithful have been burnin’ up the email with comments, questions and pleas for action. So let’s get to it and start with a rockin’ rendition of “Back in the USA”  to celebrate our return to the States. Turn on the computer in the conference room, crank up the speakers, get your butt’s outta your chairs and get to singin’ and dancin’ with Chuck Berry, Linda Rondstadt, Keith Richards and Robert Cray. Then, read the rest of Friday Update and get to work, cuz this issue requires you to take action in a number of important areas.

Let’s put an end to inappropriate seclusion and restraint – Sign the White House petition! 
Many of you will remember the Morning Zen piece we did on Bill Lichtenstein, parent of a beautiful daughter who experienced the horror of the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint (“His name is Bill – and he is fighting against seclusion and restraint”). After Bill wrote an article about his experience for the New York Times and we featured the story on the CMHNetwork website, he was, and continues to be, flooded with emails from parents who have had similar experiences. In talking with Bill I shared with him the dilemma parents have expressed to the CMHNetwork about speaking out for fear of reprisal – much like what happened to him with the school board when the Times article hit the streets. As the stories of heartache continued to mount, Bill called me and said, “We’ve got to do something to help these kids and parents.” So we will. And so must you. We are working on several ideas for how the Network can support safe forums for parents to share their stories as well as opportunities to facilitate constructive dialogue among parents, teachers, administrators and mental health professionals about how to best address this complicated issue. As a first step, thanks to the initiative of Bill Lichtenstein, we are encouraging you to sign this White House petition asking President Obama to support the Keep All Students Safe Act. We need 25,000 signatures by February 11, 2013 to receive a formal White House response. This is a no-brainer folks, whether you are a parent, young adult who has experienced the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint, teacher, therapist, administrator or concerned community member – sign the petition so that we can get the attention of the White House on this important issue. Oh, and by the way – it takes approximately one minute to sign the petition online. One minute out of the 1,440 minutes you will spend today breathin’, thinkin’ and caring about kids and families. Yep, I think you could probably spare a minute to do this simple, yet powerful act. Make a difference. Click here to take action.

Think the inauguration was special this year? You should have seen it in 1901
Thanks Politico for alerting us to this “very cool” 102-page official souvenir program from the 1901 inauguration of President McKinley and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. The program includes predictions about the 2001 inauguration, a nation with 336 Senators (“Say what?”), and both a Supreme Court and Vice Supreme Court. Check it out here

California a model for national mental health system?
If you want a fascinating look into the thinking of experts in the state of California about how to improve the mental health service delivery system in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, check this out. They were all asked the same question – “How should policymakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. respond to the public debate triggered by the killing of 26 people at an elementary school?” The responses illuminate the complexities of this important issue and raise the question – Should California be the model for a national mental health system? Read on.

4th Annual Conference on Stigma, Discrimination and Disparities in Children’s Services!
Speaking of California, the agenda is now available for the 4th Annual Children’s Services Stigma & Disparities Conference February 13-15, 2015 in sunny San Diego! Click here to register today! Be a part of the dialogue about solutions and actions to combat stigma in children’s services so that children will no longer say It’s dangerous to be different. Details here.

Fact sheet on Medicaid, CHIP and the Exchanges is here
For Network faithful who want to be in the know – the fact sheet summarizing the 474-page rule on Medicaid, CHIP and the exchanges is available here. Among others, one of the most important paragraphs in the document is this one:

  • The rule proposes that notices to applicants and beneficiaries would include combined, clear, and accurate information about eligibility for all insurance affordability programs, including Medicaid, CHIP, advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions, as well as eligibility to enroll in a qualified health plan through the Exchange. The final combined, comprehensive notice would be generated by the agency that completed the last step in making the eligibility determination (which could be the Exchange or the Medicaid or CHIP agency). This coordinated process would not be required to be in place until January 1, 2015, or, optionally, at an earlier date if all relevant agencies have the necessary systems in place.

“Combined, clear, and accurate information about eligibility for all insurance affordability programs” should be etched on all advocates arms. Now is the time to be vocal about the need for clear family-friendly language. Details here.

CMS sends mental health parity guidance to the states
We will be studying the recently released CMS letter to state Medicaid and health officials clarifying mental health requirements under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and will have our analysis available for your review later next week. We need your thoughts on this one, Network faithful, so send ’em in! Details here.

The Economic Well-Being of LGB Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care
This brief describes the characteristics and economic well-being of young people aging out of foster care who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). It also compares their economic self-sufficiency to that of their heterosexual peers also aging out of care. Interesting read that was produced as part of the Youth Demonstration Development project being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Read about it here

Connecticut reversing mental health cuts – for now
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has spurred discussion about mental health (and hopefully some action) at the Federal level in ways that one can only hope will be sustained. It turns out that in the state of Connecticut, where the horror is still very real, there is a rethinking of budget cuts to mental health – for this year at least. In an article by Arielle Levin Becker of the Connecticut Mirror, she notes that State officials have reversed plans to cut more than $7 million in funding from mental health and addiction programs this fiscal year. This is good news, though under extremely tragic circumstances. Unfortunately, it also points out the fiscal fragility of the mental health service delivery system. Hopefully, this temporary reprieve for Connecticut’s mental health system will result in some creative and innovative thinking about how to keep mental health services a priority for future budget decision-making. Details here.

Stalling mental health cuts as a result of Sandy Hook: A tenuous situation at best
Thanks to Julio Abreu from Mental Health America for sharing this timely article from the Washington Post. The article points out the fragile nature of what is meant by “more mental health care.” It’s quite easy to call for it and heaven knows we need it. But paying for it… ah, therein lies the rub. A recent article cited in Friday Update regarding the Connecticut decision to hold off on mental health cuts is widely recognized as a helpful, but temporary decision. Mental health leaders and advocates, while grateful, are already wringing their hands about what might happen next year. Short-term solutions are just that folks – short term. What does this mean for Network faithful? Well, excuse the coarse language but it means you need to continue to be a pain in the rear end at the state and federal level and keep calling for a complete halt to mental health cuts, whether your focus is on children or adults. Additionally, you need to speak out loud and clear not just for services, but quality services that have been proven to work. So when you read the Washington Post article, don’t get complacent and for goodness sakes, don’t think we are out of the woods – not by a long shot. Read more here.

2013 BRSS TACS Policy Academy – Apply now!
This request for applications (RFA) invites States, Territories, and Tribal Governments to develop an application and apply for participation in a virtual BRSS TACS Policy Academy and to receive a subcontract award from the Center for Social Innovation in the amount of up to $50,000. So – If you are a state behavioral health authority or tribal leader, get on it. Read more here.

HHS re-launches a more user-friendly
Hey Network faithful, this is one worth checking out. HHS has just re-launched to include new information about the Marketplace, where families and small businesses will be able to easily compare and purchase high-quality health insurance plans starting October 1, 2013, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014. Details here.

National Drug Facts Week – January 28–February 3, 2013
National Drug Facts Week is a national health observance that offers teens the opportunity to interact with scientists and other experts about drug abuse. Get involved to help educate teens and shatter the myths about drugs. Details here.

Quick turnaround required for SAMHSA SOC grantee call for proposals This one is for SAMHSA System of Care grantees only!
The Call for Proposals for the tentatively scheduled Summer 2013 System of Care Community Training is now available. Gotta get your proposal in by January 29th, so dang, hope you can spin it quick! Details here.

New chart for tracking Medicaid expansion decisions
State Refor(u)m is out with a new interactive chart for tracking Medicaid expansion decision. It’s a compilation of executive-branch statements, state legislative activity, and state and outside analyses. Pretty darned cool. Check it out here.

Webinar on Expansion Planning Grants
Okay Network faithful, this is your chance to find out everything you wanted to know about the Expansion Planning Grants but were afraid to ask. Actually, you need to ask a lot of questions – this is your opportunity! The TA Enterprise will be presenting a Webinar on January 28, 2013. . (Where is William Shatner when you need him? Oh c’mon, watch the clip and get with what we think should be the TA Enterprise theme song – you know you want to…). And then get the details about the webinar

“Primer Hands On” – Training for Leaders On Building Effective Systems of Care
Hey Network faithful, Georgetown University is offering a wonderful opportunity to learn about how to use the organizing framework and strategic approach laid out in Building Systems of Care: A Primer to advance your state or local community system building efforts by attending the next Primer Hands On training May 1 & 2, 2013. Details here.

$10,000 grant available – John & Polly Sparks Early Career Grant for Psychologists Investigating Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED)
The John and Polly Sparks Early Career Grant empowers early career psychologists to produce scientifically – based research and programs (on serious emotional disturbance) that could provide models for broad-based applications across the country. The grant is also designed to encourage early career psychologists to devote their careers to methods of intervention and treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children. There is one $10,000 annual grant so go get it! (Thought that might get your attention.) Details and eligibility requirements here.

Jobs, jobs and more jobs
Yet another great gig with Youth M.O.V.E. National has popped up on the radar screen. Check it out on our jobs page.

Goodness gracious, enough already! Smart phone readers without opposable thumbs are screamin’ for a break, so here is the rest of the news for this issue in bullet form…

Is Friday Update workin’ for ya?
A big THANK YOU for reading and participating in Friday Update each and every week. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to improve and expand our coverage of pertinent issues for children’s mental health advocates, families, policy makers and just plain folk who care about making our communities stronger. So, in the spirit of innovation and change, what would you do to improve Friday Update for 2013? Send us your ideas. We are grateful for any and all feedback, especially for ideas of how we can improve upon what we offer you. Not signed up yet to receive Friday Update every week? Sign up now and get the latest information you need to help you improve services for children and families. Forward a copy of this Update to a colleague and be a part of spreading the love about children’s mental health far and wide. Just be sure to give us a wee bit of credit, okay?

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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