Friday Update

Friday Update 12-13-19

December 13, 2019

Greetings, faithful readers. Okay, I know you are so over the discussions of impeachment, regardless of what side you are on. Maybe it’s time to do some soulful rebalancing and take 5 to listen to the music. Enjoy the spirit-lifting rendition of the Doobie Brothers hit song, Listen to the Music, performed by Playing for Change, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

SOCIAL GUARDIANS: The Shape Of The Things To Come
What does Twitch, a psychiatrist, a semi-professional gamer, and the American Academy of Child Psychiatry have in common? They have all put their faith in the fantastic team at Youth ERA, which is innovating a cutting-edge approach to engaging youth and young adults. Wanna see what’s working that you likely don’t have a clue even exists? Read this Morning Zen post.

Beginning this week, we are publishing our very own SAMHSA Watch – a recurring feature that will focus on SAMHSA, the small but ever-so-important federal agency that has a large footprint on children’s mental health. Let’s face it; the agency needs our help. Recent news accounts about employee lawsuits, sinking morale, tales of spooky oversight of employee actions leading to banishments, and the rampant exiting of brilliant people; I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s help SAMHSA find its way. But first, we have a homework assignment for you.

Joint Statement on Gun Violence Prevention Policy and Mental Health Disabilities By Members and Allies of the Coalition for Smart Safety
The Children’s Mental Health Network is a proud member of the Coalition for Smart Safety. The Coalition for Smart Safety includes disability rights, civil rights, education, and privacy organizations working together to stop the false association of gun violence with psychiatric disability.

The recent mass shootings in our country have necessarily turned the spotlight on proposed policies and solutions at the legislative level. While the undersigned agree that public safety is paramount, the assumption that people with mental health disabilities, including those with perceived mental health disabilities, are inherently dangerous and that targeting them will solve our country’s gun violence problem is wrong. Talking points and legislation relying on those assumptions are counterproductive and only serve to further stigmatize people with mental health disabilities and the disability community as a whole.

National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research Grants
The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research is excited to share details of their upcoming request for proposals (RFP), to be released on January 3, 2020. In the 2019 funding round, the collaborative awarded almost $10 million in research funding.

Where in the World has Friday Update Been?
Hey, Network faithful, we are baaaack!!! Did you miss us? Good! Donate, and you will feel so much better… We have been in the Network bunker with the fantastic team at USF and hard-working reviewers from across the country – all focused on putting together a program for the Tampa Conference. And boy oh boy, is it ever a gem!

Tampa Conference Draft Agenda Now Online!
We are oh so close to finalizing the agenda for the Tampa Conference. But, we are so excited about the content, we must share the draft agenda with you. Remember to register and book your hotel room soon. We are close to being sold out!

It’s “Okay to Say™” That You or a Loved One Have a Mental Illness
It is good to see long-time Network faithful, Gary Blau, settling in to his new role as Executive Director of the Hackett Center, in Houston, TX. Be sure to read his latest blog post about an exciting initiative in Houston to address the stigma surrounding those with mental health challenges, head on.

Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crises and Need for a National Resilience Strategy
Focused on the health and well-being of adolescents, this report continues a series, Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crises by TFAH and Well Being Trust. The Pain in the Nation series informs national policy to advance a comprehensive National Resilience Strategy. This report is focused on adolescents for two reasons: adolescent suicides and vaping have spiked in recent years. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers. The report highlights dozens of evidence-based and cross-sector approaches that can improve adolescents’ life circumstances, protect them from harm, and set them on healthy trajectories leading to their success in school and into adulthood.

Growth and Distribution of Child Psychiatrists in the United States: 2007–2016
A chilling study recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that mental health coverage for children in the United States is just as bad, or worse, than it ever was. More than half of the children in the United States with a treatable mental health disorder do not receive treatment from a mental health professional. One of the driving factors contributing to this unmet need is a shortage in child psychiatrists. Child psychiatrists (per 100 000 children) increased by 22% from 2007 to 2016. However, 70% of US counties had no child psychiatrists in 2007 or 2016, and child psychiatrists were much less prevalent in low-income and less-educated communities.

Why Mental Health Care Deserts Persist for U.S. Children
Laura Santhanam, a reporter with the PBS News Hour, takes a closer look at the Child Psychiatrist study above, and focuses on the glaring disparities of children’s mental health care in America.

Family Engagement in Systems
Family engagement is embedded in the values and principles of a system of care. Where to begin and how to make it happen in systems is often a challenge. The Family-Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA) has just released their  latest infographic, Family Engagement in Systems, highlighting the key components to successfully engage families in any child-serving system. Also – FREDLA will be in full force at the Tampa Conference, so be sure to attend some of their sessions!

Spatial Analysis Can Increase Our Geographic Understanding of Early Care and Education
new brief outlines how the early care and education field can use spatial analysis. The brief describes three common uses of spatial analysis to answer questions about early care and education: categorizing geographical areas, creating variables using spatial information, and analyzing spatial patterns and associations. Note: We have a couple of sessions planned for the Tampa Conference focusing on this topic!

Funding Opportunity: System of Care (SOC) Expansion and Sustainability Grants
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, is accepting applications for fiscal year 2020 Grants for Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances. Deadline: Monday, February 3, 2020.

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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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