Friday Update 3-27-15

March 28, 2015

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Friday Update 3-27-15

Greetings faithful readers. The 28th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health was a smash hit! We are resting up this weekend and are basking in the glow of having spent quality time last week with the international family of mental health-focused fidelity fanatics. Dang, it sure was fun. I can’t think of a better way to start off this edition of Friday Update than grooving to the energy of Sister Sledge singing We are Family. Get your family on and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week   

SAMHSA is under attack – and the rank and file are paying the price 
Folks, SAMHSA is in crisis, and we cannot sit by and watch it both self-destruct and be torn down by political forces outside. There is too much good being done by too many good people to let this happen. Show your support for the dedicated employees who work for SAMHSA and send a clear message to Congress and Administrator Hyde that they have got to figure out how to work together. Recommendations for where to start are included in this Morning Zen post.

Prescribing antipsychotics to Medicaid kids – Report shows significant quality-of-care concerns 
A disturbing report was just released by the Office of Inspector General, raising serious quality of care concerns about prescribing anti-psychotics to Medicaid-enrolled children. The report revealed that children on Medicaid in five states were being prescribed antipsychotic drugs for too long at too young an age. The report, which reviewed Medicaid claims for a sampling of hundreds of children from New York, California, Florida, Illinois and Texas from 2011, identified “quality of care concerns” in 67 percent of the claims for antipsychotic drugs prescribed to children. This report suggests a disturbing trend we need to follow closely. Beware the reliance on prescription medications to treat children with mental health challenges over utilizing proven prevention and intervention techniques. 

Disparities in child and adolescent mental health and mental health services in the U.S. 
In a new report, Margarita Alegría and colleagues investigate disparities in mental health and mental health services for minority youth. Taking a developmental perspective, the authors explore four areas that may give rise to inequalities in mental health outcomes, highlight specific protective factors and barriers to care, and, finally, outline an agenda for future research.

Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission 
The Sandy Hook Advisory Committee has issued their report to the Governor of Connecticut. The report contains recommendations for mental and behavioral health. “It should embrace system-of-care principles, including greater coordination and efficiency of care, community partnerships, inclusion of families and youth as collaborators and decision-makers, and incorporation of evidence-based practices as an organizing framework. Mental health extends significantly beyond the management of mental illness. Yet for much of the past century, mental health care has remained largely reactive instead of proactive. Our narrow approach to mental health care has generally confined strategies to screening, referral and treatment for mental illness. Just as physical health entails more than the mere absence of disease, however, mental health encompasses overall psychological, emotional and social well-being. Achievement of such well-being demands a more comprehensive approach that prioritizes the promotion of mental health as well as the treatment of mental disorder.” Well said, and serious food for thought for politicians looking for quick isolated fixes to the mental health crisis in America. 

Setting sail: Launch of the CREST.BD Bipolar Wellness Centre 
The CREST.BD network will launch its new online ‘Bipolar Wellness Centre’ on World Bipolar Day, March 30th, 2015. Produced with research funding from the Canadian government, the website – and the cutting edge evidence and tools on quality of life (QoL) and self-management of BD it houses – have been in preparation for over two years. Learn more about CREST.BD by signing up for a webinar on April 8th, 2015 at 9:00 am PT with Dr. Erin Michalak, head of CREST.BD. 

CSAP seeks National Advisory Council members 
SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is seeking to fill member vacancies for its National Advisory Council. Of the council’s 12 voting members, nine shall be from among the leading representatives of the health disciplines relevant to the activities of CSAP. A total of three members shall be from the public, to include leaders in the fields of public policy, public relations, law, health policy economics, or management. Get on it, Network faithful! 

New NIMH strategic plan aims to focus, accelerate mental health research 
Against a backdrop of rapid scientific advances and dramatic changes in the landscape of mental health care, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has issued a new Strategic Plan for Research. Informed by the successes and challenges of recent years, the new plan updates the strategic objectives of its 2008 predecessor with the aim of balancing the need for long-term investments in basic research with urgent mental health needs. Pay attention to the social marketing aspects of how NIMH is rolling this out. Worthy of replication! 

Forum on promoting children’s cognitive, affective, and behavioral health workshop 
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health will hold a workshop on opportunities to promote children’s behavioral health. This workshop will explore how healthcare reform, broadly considered, can provide opportunities and support innovations to promote children’s behavioral health and sustain them over time. Looks like a good one, Network faithful! 

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children’s Mental Health Network 

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