Friday Update

Friday Update 1-1-16

January 01, 2016


Friday Update 1-1-16

Greetings faithful readers. I can think of no better way to start the new year off than with the magnificent Aretha Franklin, paying tribute to Carol King at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015. I defy you not to be moved when watching this incredible performance. Aretha reminds us of what is good in America. Watching and feeling the love in the Kennedy Center as she sings, witnessing President Obama shed a well-deserved tear, I am reminded of the importance of love, especially in the midst of caustic debate among politicians vying for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the national election of 2016. We are better than the current fear mongering taking place in these debates. There is no place in America for hate or xenophobia. In her brilliant way, Aretha, and the assembled people at the Kennedy Center on a most beautiful night, remind us of that. Fill your cup by watching this video and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week 

Documentary film exposes heroin addiction; Congress debates; CDC stymied in abuse prevention efforts
I just finished watching the new HBO documentary, Heroin: Cape Cod. It is a raw, up close and personal account of the heroin epidemic currently gripping our nation, as told by those who know addiction best – active users. I encourage you to watch this film. Our nation needs a wake-up call to the rampant abuse and overprescription of opioid painkillers. Addicts, who may have begun their opioid journey through painkillers such as oxycontin or oxycodone, tend to gravitate to cheaper heroin, readily available on the streets. The result is a rising tide of needless overdose deaths.

I also encourage you to contact your congressional representatives and ask what the heck they are doing to try to stem the tide of rampant opioid abuse. And then, just because Network Faithful got a thing about being fully informed, catch yourself up to speed on the drama surrounding the CDC’s efforts to put out guidelines on prescription opiates. What? You thought we would take a break over the holiday? Not a chance. Get to readin!

Have you seen the agenda for the Tampa Research & Policy Conference?
Oh my, you have just got to take a look. A most impressive collection of passionate and dedicated researchers, policy makers and advocates will be gathering in Tampa, Florida March 13 – 16, 2016, to advance the knowledge around sound research and policy related to children’s mental health. The draft agenda for the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health is now available online. We are still adding some finishing touches, but are so excited about the quality of presentations this year; we want to share it with you now. Give the agenda a read, get excited, and get registered!

Teach mental health in primary schools, advisory group says
Leave it to our dear colleagues from across the pond to suggest a common sense approach to addressing mental health on a national level – start early and focus on the schools! The Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group, which was set up by Englands NHS’s clinical research network, said that if problems were to be prevented or dealt with effectively later, it was essential to address the issue early. They are advocating that mental health should be placed on the national curriculum for primary school children. The Children’s Mental Health Network could not agree more. Hey Congress, are you paying attention?

NIMH is searching for a new Director
The National Institutes of Health is seeking a first-rate scientific leader for the position of Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The Director provides leadership and direction to the Institute and advises the NIH Director and Institute and Center (IC) Directors on the development of NIH-wide policy issues related to mental health and related research training and serves as principal liaison with other agencies of the DHHS and the Federal Government. It seems to me that the most important qualification should be that he or she is an avid reader of Friday Update, don’t you?

NIDA and NIAAA release new resources for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week
NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have unveiled several new online toolkits designed for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week event holders interested in focusing on specific drugs. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is an annual, week-long observance that brings together teens and scientific experts to shatter persistent myths about substance use and addiction. The new toolkits provide event holders with resources to tailor activities to the specific drugs that most affect their communities. Additionally, a general toolkit in Spanish is now available. This year’s observance will be held January 25-31, 2016.

Noteworthy resources just added to the CMHNetwork website

  • Biomarkers Outperform Symptoms in Parsing Psychosis Subgroups
    Three biomarker-based categories, called biotypes, outperformed traditional diagnoses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with psychosis, in sorting psychosis cases into distinct subgroups on the basis of brain biology, report researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health. A hallmark of severe mental illness, psychosis is marked by hallucinations and delusions, or false, irrational beliefs. “The biotypes were more biologically homogeneous than categories based on observable symptoms,” explained Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D., acting director of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which funded the study. “Just as fever or infection can have many different causes, multiple psychosis-causing disease processes – operating via different biological pathways – can lead to similar symptoms, confounding the search for better care.”

  • Cultural Neuroscience: Closing the Gap in Population Mental Health Disparities
    Mental health disorders pose a significant global financial burden in treatment annually. A key challenge facing global mental health is to understand the etiology and treatment of mental health disparities, including the mechanisms of population disparities in mental health. Cultural neuroscience is a research field that examines the cultural, environmental, and genetic factors that shape psychological and neural processes underlying behavior. Recent advances in cultural neuroscience demonstrate the relevance of culture in modulating brain and behavior. This NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research talk will provide an overview of advances in cultural neuroscience, with discussion of the implications of this research for closing the gap in population mental health disparities.

  • Pinterest: Positive Parenting
    CDC has launched a Pinterest board, Positive Parenting, to help parents interact with two- to four-year-olds and get answers to common challenges. Pins give expert advice for moms, dads, and caregivers to build a happy and healthy relationship with kids. Users can access free articles, practice skills, and download charts.
  • Combinations of Types of Mental Health Services Received in the Past Year Among Young Adults
    According to SAMHSA’s 2014 NSDUH data, 11.9 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 received mental health services in the past year. This represents an annual average of 4.1 million young adults—with 3.1 million young adults receiving prescription medication, 2.2 million receiving outpatient services, and 418,000 receiving inpatient services.

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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