Friday Update

Friday Update 10-8-19

October 08, 2019

Greetings, faithful readers. I know the news of the day is unrelenting, but you owe yourself some sunshine. And if no one is readily giving it to you, look no further than Friday Update, cuz we got plenty of sunshine for you. Get your chakras aligned by taking 3 minutes and 48 seconds (not a second longer, I promise) and watch Katrina and the Waves perform their lively tune – Walking on Sunshine. C’mon, you know you want to! Enjoy the sunshine and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Friday is the Deadline for the Call for Proposals. Get on it! 
Save the dates for the 33rd Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health: March 15 – 18, 2020, in Tampa, FL, and get to writing your fantastic proposal. The deadline for proposals is this coming Friday, October 11th. Yikes!

Keynote Speakers Confirmed for the Tampa Conference
Yep, we are pretty darned excited that David Williams, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez Vice President, Center for Systems Innovation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Gary Blau, Executive Director of The Hackett Center for Mental Health, are confirmed as keynote speakers. And guess what? We are getting ready to announce a final plenary session that you are going to love! More keynote announcements are coming in the next few weeks. Check out the details and register, already!

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom Could Benefit Children’s Attention Span and Grades
Another gem from our colleagues at Child Trends
Research from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin indicates that children could benefit from teaching curricula that focus on kindness in the classroom. Children in classes that used the mindfulness-based kindness curriculum had better grades and attention spans, and showed a higher level of social competence, compared to children in classrooms that did not use the curriculum. The curriculum focuses in part on helping children learn to identify and respond to emotions in appropriate ways.

I Took Lady Gaga’s Advice and Attended Mental Health First Aid Training and Here’s What I Thought
Check out the blog post on the Transitions ACR website by one of its staff members who took the Mental Health First Aid course. Hey, if Lady Gaga encourages us to take Mental Health First Aid, we probably should!

Using Gold Standard Science to Prevent Violence & Shootings: Not Smart-Watch Profiling
Ah, Brave New World is upon us, with proposals to use computerized, Silicon Valley, and Defense Department methods to stop shooters and related violence. The proposed savior would be a new Federal Agency, called HARPA, which is calling for exploring whether technology like phones and smartwatches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent.”

Upcoming Webinar: “Using Text and Email with Clients – Guidance and Resources for Providers”
Mark your calendar for a webinar on October 24th that looks quite relevant for those who work with youth and young adults. Co-hosted by Pathways Research and Training Center at Portland State University, this webinar will explain the technical and administrative requirements for the ethical, HIPAA-compliant use of text and email. The presenter, Roy Huggins, will give an overview of the different forms of email and texting and describe how each measures up to the standards of HIPAA’s Security Rule and the professional ethics codes of mental health professional organizations. He will also provide guidance and resources to help providers decide how texting and email can or cannot fit into their practice. Participants will learn how to develop a communications policy for clients and families that upholds ethical standards.

Pathways RTC Abruptly De-Funded by SAMHSA
Another cut by SAMHSA occurred this past week, and this one hurts. For reasons that are puzzling to me (actually, I have not been able to find a publicly stated reason), SAMHSA decided at the last minute to pull funding for the Pathways RTC at Portland State. If you are as concerned about the arbitrary nature of this decision as I am, take a moment to let your representatives and SAMHSA know and encourage them to reconsider!

Dare to Dream America Now Accepting Applications
Deadline: November 1, 2019
Youth MOVE National’s Dare to Dream America program provides an opportunity for youth (ages 13 to 25) or Youth MOVE chapters to get involved in mental health awareness activities. Successful applicants are awarded a grant up to $3,000 to implement projects that promote mental health awareness. Five projects will be awarded $1,000, and three projects will be awarded $3,000. In the past, youth have funded mental health summits, created video PSAs, hosted carnivals, and strategized anti-stigma campaigns. Get on it! The deadline to apply is November 1st, 2019.

Implementation of the Whole Child Assessment to Screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences
The current study developed and implemented a tool to screen for Child-ACEs at a pediatric resident clinic in San Bernardino, California. Development of the tool, named the Whole Child Assessment (WCA), was based on an iterative process that incorporated triangulation of references, patient data, and physician feedback. Implementation of the WCA occurred over the course of 6 improvement cycles that involved obtaining and responding to stakeholder feedback, streamlining paperwork and workflow, and providing physician education. The results of the study suggest that use of the WCA provides an acceptable and feasible way to screen for Child-ACEs during routine pediatric practice.

Are We Trauma-Informed? Tools to Measure Progress in a Program, School, or Organization
The Child Health Development Institute is out with a new Issue Brief focusing on child trauma. Interest in addressing child trauma has surged in the past two decades, sparked by research on the effects of trauma exposure. As a result, child-serving organizations are increasingly integrating trauma-informed approaches; however, there is limited research on how to measure the effectiveness of these approaches. This Issue Brief reviews 49 surveys (or measures) of trauma-informed approaches and identifies promising examples that can be used by programs, organizations, and broader service systems to help evaluate how they are supporting the health of children affected by trauma.

A Mother Responds to Childhood Trauma; a Family Begins to Heal
Re-sharing one of our Zen favorites, per request. Back in 2015, we featured a Morning Zen post from Daun Kauffman where he appealed to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, to seriously address the issue of childhood trauma. A reader sent in a heartfelt response from the perspective of a mother with mental health challenges. She permitted us to share her letter but wanted to make sure it was okay with her daughter first. You can read her daughters’ response at the end of the post.

A Qualitative Study of Caregivers’ Experiences, Motivation, and Challenges Using a Web‐Based Mindfulness Intervention
Caregivers report experiences of stress and burden that can affect their health negatively. Web-based mindfulness interventions have shown beneficial health effects in clinical and non-clinical populations, including caregivers. The study aimed to explore the experiences of a web-based mindfulness program, including motivation and challenges to use, in caregivers of a person with somatic illness.

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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.

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