Friday Update 2-12-16

February 04, 2016


Friday Update 2-12-16

Greetings faithful readers. Hey, guess what? Valentines Day is right around the corner and we can’t think of a better way to get in the mood than by watching this very special Valentines Day video from last year. It definitely stands the test of time. Thanks to Network faithful Laurie Ellington for sharing! Enjoy the video and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week 

Questioning elements in HR 2646 does not make you “the enemy”
Reacting to a sign-on letter from the Center for Democracy and Technology opposing HIPAA changes in Rep. Tim Murphy’s mental health bill (H.R. 2646), Murphy’s Chief of Staff, Susan Mosychuk outlined the Congressman’s strategy for addressing dissent with stark clarity. In an interview with Politico, Mosychuk is quoted saying “Those who oppose the reform [HR 2646] are the enemy.”


If Congressman Murphy wants to be a champion of mental health reform, the only way to do so is to abandon the bullying tactics utilized in the creation of the original Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Our task as advocates and politicians involved in the creation of a mental health bill is to approach difference with respect and a willingness to listen.

Senate HELP Committee brings reason, civility and comprehensiveness to mental health reform
On a more civil note…
There is much work to be done with the plethora of mental health bills in the legislative pipeline, but watching the recent Senate HELP Committee hearing provided a glimmer of hope that some of our nations politicians are heading in the right direction on mental health reform. Take some time to read this Zen post and watch the hearing.

New mental health bill in the House of Representatives
Next week, I will share my comments on the Comprehensive Behavioral Health and Recovery Act of 2016. This bill presents a significant advancement beyond the approach taken in the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 20 (HR 2646). Stay positive Network faithful, Spring is coming, and the opportunity for meaningful mental health reform is at hand!

The 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Tampa Research & Policy Conference
Download the draft agenda for the conference and start packin’ your bags. Don’t forget the sunscreen, flipflops and Ray Bans. Sunny Tampa, Florida gonna be nice and warm next month!

Documentary challenges us to rethink our cultural understanding of mental illness
The soon-to-be released documentary Healing Voices goes a long way to healing our fear of people commonly labeled as “schizophrenic,” “bipolar,” and “psychotic.” The message of this film is that understanding and love–not fear and stigmatizing labels–are what people who have experienced these altered states need. Check it out!

When Addiction Has A White Face
“WHEN crack hit America in the mid-1980s, for African-Americans, to borrow from Ta-Nehisi Coates, civilization fell. Crack embodied instant and fatal addiction; we saw endless images of thin, ravaged bodies, always black, as though from a famined land. And always those desperate, cracked lips. Our hearts broke learning the words ‘crack baby.’But mostly, crack meant shocking violence, terrifying gangs and hollowed-out inner cities. For those living in crack-plagued areas, the devastation was all too real. Children learned which ways home were safe and which gang to join to avoid beatings, or worse.” Great article by Ekow Yankah on the New York Times Opinion Page.

SAMHSA Seeking Comment on Confidentiality Records
HHS has published proposed revisions to the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations—42 CFR Part 2. The goal of the proposed changes is to facilitate information exchange within new health care models while addressing the legitimate privacy concerns of patients seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. Deadline for public comment on this proposed rule is 5 p.m. Eastern Time on April 11, 2016.

Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success
SAMHSA is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success grants. The purpose of this grant program is to address two of the nation’s top substance abuse prevention priorities: 1) underage drinking among persons aged 12 to 20; and 2) prescription drug misuse among persons aged 12 to 25.

Three great tip sheets from our friends at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

  • Children with Traumatic Separation: Information for Professionals
    The relationship with a parent or primary caregiver is critical to a child’s sense of self, safety, and trust. However, many children experience the loss of a caregiver—either permanently or for varying amounts of time—due to death or other circumstances. For example, chronic separa­tions may result from military deployment, parental incarceration, immi­gration, parental deportation, or termination of parental rights. When sep­arated from their caregiver, children may develop post-traumatic respons­es. This factsheet gives information on traumatic separation, chal­lenges children may face, post-traumatic responses children may have, and suggestions for helping children who experience traumatic separa­tion from a caregiver.
  • Sharing Power: A Tool for Reflection
    The Partnering with Youth and Families Committee of the NCTSN developed this tip sheet for providers to use to explore sharing power in trauma-responsive care. Providers also can use the tool to “wear the hats” of others at their agency—parent, intake worker, adminis­trator, and more—to help broaden perspective and deepen their insights. The tip sheet covers these topics: language and tone (of agency outreach materials), intake and registration, conducting an initial meeting, giving assessment/evaluation feed­back (e.g., jargon-free), the course of care, obstacles and crises, and end­ing treatment services.
  • What’s Sharing Power Got to Do with Trauma-Informed Practice?
    Family members are more likely to show up and continuously engage in the treat­ment process when a service provider welcomes their participation and respects their experiences. The Partnering with Youth and Families Committee of NCTSN developed a tip sheet for providers seeking to build a trauma-responsive practice to share power with families, youth, and children. The tip sheet discuss­es the importance of enhanced participation and its positive outcomes for trauma-informed care.

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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