Friday Update

Friday Update 2-10-17

February 06, 2017


Friday Update 2-10-17

Greetings faithful readers. Now we just gotta start off with some Nina Simone, singing ‘Revolution’ at the Harlem Renaissance Festival in 1969. What was true then remains true today. Advocacy work is ongoing so ya gotta be in it for the long haul. Give a listen to Queen Simone and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week  

Maya Angelou – We Wear the Mask
Three weeks into the new administration feels like an appropriate time to listen to and view Maya Angelou’s combination of the Paul Laurence Dunbar poem, We Wear the Mask and her poem For Old Black Men. As we enter a time when many are asking fellow Americans to “just get over it,” along comes Network Faithful Melanie Funchess, who reminds us that “just get over it” is a theme for Black Americans that is all too familiar. Funchess writes in a recent Facebook post, “I have been sitting with Dunbar’s words for the last few weeks… I have contemplated my own mask and its utility in times such as these. I have also noticed the sometimes suffocating weight of the mask and the pain of my seemingly ripping flesh in those moments when it begins to slip in the wrong company. The mask is ever present and ever necessary. It can also feel like a consuming fire that sits just behind your eyes… Thank you, my friend, for sending the voice of our ancestor to show me and say what my heart needed to hear.” 

Polarizing HHS nominee confirmed by Senate on party-line vote
A polarized Senate voted early this morning to confirm Tom Price, the conservative Georgia congressman who has been one of Congress’s most vehement opponents of the Affordable Care Act, as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

DeVos Confirmed by Senate as Education Secretary. Plenty of Issues for Advocates to Focus On! 
Last week the Children’s Mental Health Network joined forces with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and other advocacy groups to share our concern with the Senate HELP Committee about the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. As you know, DeVos’ nomination carried, making her the new Education Secretary. It is important for advocates to remember that many serious questions were raised about her nomination, providing a clear roadmap of what mental health advocates should be watching as the new Education Secretary assumes control of a federal department with significant impact on the lives of children with special needs and their families. I encourage you to read the letter of concern sent to key Senators and use it as a primer for your advocacy work from this point forward.

150 Years of ObamaCare – Relevant Now More Than Ever!
Yep, we kinda figured that a conversation about the Affordable Care Act might be important, given that the new HHS Secretary, Tom Price, has made it clear that he wants to dismantle the ACA. But what does this mean for behavioral health? If you are attending the Tampa Conference in three weeks, be sure to attend the session with Daniel Dawes. In the presentation by Dawes, he will be talking about his book 150 Years of ObamaCare, shedding light on the creation and implementation of the greatest and most sweeping equalizer in the history of American health care. Dawes will also provide a review of the health equity movement and the little-known leadership efforts that were crucial to passing public policies and laws reforming mental health, minority health, and universal health. Stay vigilant and keep informed, Network faithful!

Speaking of the Tampa Conference… Last Day to Get the Early Registration Rate!

I can’t think of anything better to do on a Friday afternoon than to register for the Tampa Conference. We will still love you if you register after today, heck, you can even register onsite. But if you register today, you save fifty bucks. Oh man, what a deal!

Effort to Reduce School-Based Arrests Benefits Nearly 15,000 Additional Students This Year in Connecticut
Eighteen Connecticut schools in six districts are participating in the Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) during the 2016-17 school year bringing the total number of schools served by SBDI to 37. SBDI is a school level intervention designed to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system by connecting students to community-based mental health services as an alternative to arrest.   

NOTE: The team from CHDI that are steering the SBDI Initiative will be presenting their work at the Tampa Conference. Look for them there!

A Message from Madeline Albright on the Executive Order on Immigration

A worthy read from former United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright on President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.  ”I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms. This is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness.This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria.” A poignant read for all Network faithful! 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts or Irresistible Actions Take Over
This brochure discusses signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for obsessive-compulsive disorder, a chronic disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviors.

Strategies to Improve Mental Health Care for Children and Adolescents: Research Review
This Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality review assesses the effectiveness of quality improvement, implementation, and dissemination strategies that seek to improve the mental health care of children and adolescents.

Eliot Brenner Reminds Us Why We Must Continue to Fight for Parity
Eliot Brenner, President & CEO of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut and CMHNetwork Advisory Council member offers a reminder of the importance of continuing to push your legislators to focus on parity. Brenner states that “in spite of all of the legislation put forth [recently], reimbursement rates for children’s mental health services are still incredibly low relative to physical health reimbursements. Poor reimbursement rates are why so many mental health providers… do not take private insurance.  It is simply not worth their time. In 2017, please reach out to your legislators to let them know about the importance of children’s mental health and the need for true economic parity between mental and physical health services.”  

Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness
This brochure discusses what social anxiety disorder is, including signs and symptoms, its causes, treatment options, and how to find help.

CDC Content in Your Hands 24/7
New for iPhone and Android phones and updated for tablet users, the latest CDC app will put health information in the hands of users wherever they go. One can find factual health information from a greater variety of content sources and use direct links to social media, text, and email to immediately share interesting articles with friends and family.    

The All of Us Research Program Seeks Feedback from the Community
The All of Us Research Program (formerly known as the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program) will create a community of one million or more people from across the U.S. to improve the future of health. Those who join the program will contribute their health, environment, and lifestyle information over an extended period. By gathering information from such a large group of people, researchers will be able to learn how specific factors impact an individual’s health, and disease prevention and treatment. This approach to tailoring health care for each unique individual is called “precision medicine.” The research program developers want to hear from everyone about their thoughts and ideas for how to make All of Us a success.    

When a Child Alleges Sexual Abuse by an Educator or other School Staff: An Educators’ Guide to Appropriate Response and Support  
Often, the safe classroom environment enables children to disclose troubling experiences to educators. Because child sexual abuse is common and has serious and multiple negative consequences, educators should be prepared to respond to these disclosures. This document addresses the types of responses that contribute to the best outcomes for children in an educational setting.

Public Opinion Research on Child Well-being
Hart Research Associates, on behalf of the Children’s Leadership Council, reviewed 45 publicly available opinion research surveys conducted between January 2013 and June 2016 to understand Americans’ attitudes towards and support for various programs related to child well-being. This report presents findings on a range of audiences, including adults, voters, and parents.


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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO 

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