Friday Update

Friday Update 3-15

March 15, 2020

Greetings, faithful readers. My goodness, what a week, what a month, and most definitely, 2020 is gonna be quite the year. Despite all of the adversity facing us as a nation and as a species, let’s remember our indomitable can-do spirit, and rise up with Andra Day. Remind yourself of the inspiration within by watching Andra Day sing “Rise Up,” and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most Important Reads of the Week

Music Has the Power to Heal
I am mixing in a few more videos in this issue, cuz I am a firm believer that music is a powerful way to honor the myriad of emotions that we are all feeling right now. So as you read through, give yourself some time (cuz I know you have more of it right now) to immerse yourself in the video choices. Your chakras will love you for it!

Tampa Conference Canceled
Amazing. A few short weeks ago, we were in the mad dash final preparations for the 33rd Annual Research and Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. And then the Coronavirus took hold, and we made the difficult decision to cancel the conference. The decision was the correct one, no question. But, dang, we are so sad, I’m not gonna lie. I am grateful to all of you who put your heart and soul into planning to attend and present at the conference. Give us a few weeks to wrap up the “conference that almost was,” and I will give an update on the ways we will be promoting the presentations accepted for the conference. It should be fun!

How to Stay Calm in the Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis
Pandemic panic is nothing new. But depending on who you are and what your life experiences have entailed, it might be new to you. It is helpful to realize you are not alone if you are experiencing feelings of helplessness or even hopelessness as you watch news coverage of the increasing spread of illness or disease. But thankfully, there are ways to achieve and sustain positivity amidst the panic.

Perfect timing for these two contributions on self-compassion from Paul Savery, whom we have referred to over the years as “British Invasion.” Paul is retiring from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services this month, and moving on to his next adventure. Oh man, we are going to miss Paul, and his contributions to Friday Update over the years. Good on ya, Paul!

Self-compassion vs. Self-esteem
In contrast to self-esteem, self-compassion is not based on self-evaluations. People feel compassion for themselves because all human beings deserve compassion and understanding, not because they possess some particular set of traits (pretty, smart, talented, and so on). This means that with self-compassion, you don’t have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself.  Self-compassion also allows for greater self-clarity, because personal failings can be acknowledged with kindness and do not need to be hidden. Moreover, self-compassion isn’t dependent on external circumstances; it’s always available – especially when you fall flat on your face!  Research indicates that in comparison to self-esteem, self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience, more accurate self-concepts, more caring relationship behavior, as well as less narcissism and reactive anger.

Want to Change Your Life? Try Self-Compassion
Science suggests that constant self-judgment and shame shut down the learning centers of the brain, robbing us of the resources we need to learn and grow. Shame locks us into repeating vicious cycles, instead of helping us form new healthy behaviors. Further, shame undermines our belief in ourselves, marooning us on an island of helplessness and self-loathing. As Brené Brown aptly puts it, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” What’s the alternative? Self-compassion—bringing kindness and care to our own suffering. It might seem surprising that self-compassion can bring about great change, but modern science is backing this up. Research suggests that an attitude of kindness strengthens our ability to learn from our mistakes, which can expand our perspective and make us more creative and resourceful.

Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) State Education Agency Grants
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2020 Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) – State Education Agency (SEA) grants (Short Title: AWARE-SEA).  SAMHSA expects that this program will focus on partnerships and collaboration between state and local systems to promote the healthy development of school-aged youth and prevent youth violence. Applications are due April 20, 2020.

David Gilmour – Comfortably Numb (Live At Pompeii)
Okay, let’s cut to the chase. When you are feeling a bit lost, there is nothing better than some Pink Floyd to take you there and then bring you back. Curl up, and watch and listen to the mastery that is David Gilmour on guitar. The video is 9:42 long. Perfect meditation opportunity!

Transitions ACR Recruiting for New Smoking Cessation Study Advisory Committee
Are you interested in participating in a research study? Are you between the ages of 18-26? Are you a current smoker or former smoker who has quit in the past 5 years? If you answered yes, you may be eligible to participate on the Advisory Committee for a research study being done through the University of Massachusetts Medical School. University researchers are looking for people with lived experience with a mental health condition who are current or former smokers to serve on the study’s unique Advisory Committee. Committee members will be compensated $25 for their time. For more information, contact Ian Lane at or call 508-856-2089.

Teenage Conflict: The Body Remembers!
Research from the University of Virginia finds that adults who reported increased stress and conflict during their teenage years had markers of high levels of immune system inflammation, suggesting that teen conflict could hurt one’s health years later.

Peter Frampton – Do You Feel Like We Do–Oakland Coliseum – See if you can pick Scott out in the crowd!
Okay, as we close out this issue of Friday Update, I want to inject a bit of fun into your life. Warning – the video is 24 minutes long, but like I said earlier, you got some time on your hands! Get yourself uplifted with Peter Frampton, singing “Do You Feel Like I Do,” at the Oakland Coliseum in 1977. Now, here is the kicker. I was at that concert, stage left, about 100 feet from the stage. See if you can find me in the crowd. Here is a hint. I am wearing tight bell-bottom jeans, tight white t-shirt, and hair down to my shoulders. Boy, those days are sure over…

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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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