Friday Update

Friday morning update – 2-22-13

March 03, 2013


Friday morning update – 2-22-13

Greetings faithful readers – This sequestration adventure has been quite a journey. With all of the back and forth backbiting in Congress this past year, the Network is feeling reflective this morning. So how about starting the day off with the beautiful cover of the Jason Mraz song “I won’t give up” by Lennon and Macey. As you go through the week, consider these lyrics from the song:

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am

So that’s it folks. Sequestration is days away. Pull up your britches, don’t give up, remember that compromise is your friend, and fight the good fight. Check out the video here.

Sequestration takes effect this coming week
As a dear colleague on mine likes to say when summing up the frustration and absurdity of the sequestration battle – “Really?” Well, unfortunately, yes… Really. So do us a favor and review the multitude of articles and information we have posted on our website about sequestration since last summer if you still need to study up on the topic. But then, do something and do it quick. Your task is really pretty simple – Call or email your members of Congress and tell them to pass legislation to replace the sequester cuts with a balanced deficit reduction plan that protects children, families and our economic future. We make it easy for you to do here. Tell them it makes no sense to cut funds critical for mental health, public schools and college students, public health, science research, national parks and environmental protection, workforce training, law enforcement and public safety, children’s programs, housing, national security and much more! Let them know what the cuts mean to you at the local level to real people. Remind them that Congress has already cut spending on these discretionary programs by $1.5 trillion!!

Integrating mental health with public health – the future is now
The Children’s Mental Health Network was thrilled to read an article in the LA Times that focused on the… wait for it… integrated approach to health care! Slowly but surely, people are beginning to pick up on the virtues of integrated care, not to mention the fact that it the future of mental health does not reside in a silo. Have we mentioned that the future is now? Read more here.

Oregon advocacy organization gets the mental health message right
Hey Network faithful, listen up. Are you a family advocacy organization trying to mobilize your base around the flurry of activity at the state and national level about introducing legislation to improve mental health services after the tragedy at Sandy Hook? As faithful readers know, we have our concerns about stereotyping, or equating guns, violence and mental health issues as a package deal. But we think the Oregon Family Support Network is doing a good job of taking a proactive approach and “seizing on the moment.” Read more about what they are doing here and consider adapting it for your efforts. Okay Network faithful; get busy and check out what they are doing here!

Mental health care often ineffective
A very timely opinion piece from Leonard Bickman in the Tennessean raises the important question of quality of care in traditional mental health services. Leonard Bickman states in the article “In the wake of the Newtown tragedy… too often, this assertion on “improving access” has been the answer to resolving mental health problems in our country. Limited access is part of the conspicuous crises in mental health along with continual decreases in funding of services. But ineffective treatment is a quieter and unacknowledged crisis that is more pervasive and insidious than insufficient access. Increasing access to poor quality services would simply be a waste of resources because current research indicates mental health care for children does not work very well.” Fascinating and timely read. Check it out here. Dr. Bickman will be presenting at the Tampa conference as well, so if you are attending (and why wouldn’t you?) you can have a chance to meet him there.

26th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research & Policy Conference just around the corner!
Oh man, the agenda is out and it is crazy good! Check it out here, but remember to wear a bib, cuz you are gonna salivate profusely over all of the amazing presentations and poster sessions. This conference rocks! Be sure to come by the CMHNetwork Exhibit table and say hello. Registration for the conference includes participation in the plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, poster presentations, and networking luncheon along with all conference materials. Register now! View complete details here. Plan to be in beautiful, sunny Tampa March 3 – 6, 2013. We just packed our flip-flops and spf-15 and are ready to go…

Sesame Street launches new initiative: Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce
The Children’s Mental Health Network is thrilled to be partnering with Sesame Workshop this year. We are currently promoting Sesame Street’s newest outreach initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce, which provides much-needed resources for families with young children (ages 2 to 8) as they encounter the tough transitions that come with divorce. For those of you who are attending the Tampa Conference, be sure to stop by the Children’s Mental Health Network exhibit table to pick up your free copy of Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce! Details here.

Bullies Called Him Pork Chop
Network faithful, once again we are encouraging you to take six minutes out of your life to watch a video. Shane Koyczan was bullied a lot when he was a kid. So he took that pain and made this stunning video with the help of some amazingly talented people and animators as part of the To This Day Project. You can watch the video and learn more about the To This Day Project here. Six minutes folks, that’s all we’re askin’.

Great webinars on health care reform in the next two weeks
Network faithful might as well take the next week off to listen in on some great webinars while packing for the Tampa conference. The HHS Partnership Center continues to host a series of webinars for faith and community leaders. All webinars are open to the public and geared toward health care reform. Check it out.

Beyond the Expansion Decision: Tackling the Other Medicaid Changes in the ACA
State Reforum is offering a timely webinar on Wednesday, March 13th, from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST. You have heard a lot of talk from us about the pros and cons as stated by governors about states making expansion decisions. But what about the other Medicaid changes in the ACA? This webinar will answer some of those questions. Here are the details.

Final ruling on Essential Benefits is out, closing major gap in mental health & substance abuse coverage
The Obama administration has released the final rule on essential health benefits, which sets the parameters for the types of benefits that must be offered by insurers starting in 2014. As reported in a story in The Hill, “the new regulations also close a major gap in coverage for people suffering from mental health or drug problems. Prior to the rule, almost 20 percent of people purchasing insurance did not have access to mental health services, and nearly a third had no substance abuse disorder benefits, the agency said.” Okay Network faithful; in this case, healthy skepticism is a good thing. Remember, parity is wonderful, but quality of care provided is equally important (Make sure you take a look at the Bickman article mentioned above). Read the Hill article and download the final ruling here.

Monday White House Live Stream Town hall: The Affordable Care Act and the African American Community
On Monday, February 25, 2013 the White House will hold a Town hall discussion, “Looking Ahead to 2014: How the Affordable Care Act Benefits the African American Community.” The event will begin at 9:00 am with opening remarks, followed by two panel discussions and one break out session. Details here.

A whole host of social media activity from SAMHSA
Okay Network faithful, it looks like SAMHSA has been up late putting together some great resources to help you spread the word about children’s mental health. Here is the latest from their social media team. Details here. And no more coffee for the SAMHSA team. They are wearin’ us out!

Drug overdose deaths continue to climb
A recent press release from the CDC does not bode well for overdose deaths. According to a CDC analysis to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Drug overdose deaths hit a record high in 2010, fueled in large part by a continued climb in the abuse of prescription painkillers. Read the press release here.

New State Refor(u)m Webinar: Beyond the Expansion Decision: Tackling the Other Medicaid Changes in the ACA
State decisions about whether or not to do the Medicaid expansion have begun to unfold, but Medicaid has many other critical changes on its plate. States have complex eligibility and enrollment, financing, benefit design and consumer assistance requirements to untangle, and 2014 is approaching quickly. This State Refor(u)m webinar will provide a brief overview of these reforms and why they are important. Details here.

National Education Index
Network faithful who are considering undergraduate or graduate school or are parents of youth on the cusp of making “next steps” decisions might want to check this out. The project — Education Index — is a comprehensive and informative resource that systematically sorts out the available undergraduate and graduate programs available today in the U.S. Okay, there are a lot of college selection services out there, so what makes this one different? What we like is that they are committed to lowering the information barrier, encouraging a new wave of first generation college students to consider the opportunities that undergraduate and graduate school can provide. Inspired by Black History Month, The Education Index is reaching out to groups that are statistically underrepresented in universities today. Want to learn more? Check it out.

Ah yes, Network faithful – the gifts (or in this case, information) just keeps on giving… C’mon, where’s your stamina? Keep reading cuz we got some gems below…

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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
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