Friday Update

Friday Update 4-14-17

April 14, 2017


Friday Update 4-14-17

Greetings faithful readers. Sheryl Crow’s ‘Redemption Day‘ song, featuring Johnny Cash, feels especially appropriate this week. Get inspired by the song and the performance, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

Safety Net or Snare?: What Impact Do Federal Disability Benefits Have on Youth?
When youth labeled with a serious mental health diagnosis qualify for federal disability benefits (SSI – Supplemental Security Income or SSDI – Social Security Disability Income), does it represent a step toward self-sufficiency or a step down a slippery slope into perpetual disability and poverty? Well intentioned TAY program staff work hard to establish SSI/SSDI for their young adult clients by supporting the finding of “complete and total disability.” What short and long term impacts does this determination have on the life trajectory of emerging adults? To what extent is it both boon and bane?

The Dismantling of the Affordable Care Act Is Underway at HHS
HHS Secretary Tom Price has made it crystal clear that his department will keep using its regulatory powers to further scale back what he regards as a failed and intrusive legislation. ”We’re taking action to improve choices for patients, stabilize the individual and small-group insurance markets, and expand access to more affordable coverage,” Price said in a statement last week, linking to a new HHS memo touting the regulatory steps already underway. 

CDC Block Grants a Bad Idea
Former CDC Director Tom Frieden says the Administration’s budget proposal to switch some state disease control funding to block grants makes it impossible for the CDC to target funds toward specific threats. TIME published Dr. Frieden’s opinion last Friday. He writes: 

In short: block grants make it impossible for the CDC to continue its diligent stewardship of funds. Instead of targeting areas in need with programs that work-for example, funding efforts to stop the spread of the “nightmare bacteria” CRE, which is resistant to virtually all antibiotics and can kill half of the people who have serious infections with it-CDC would be limited to shipping money out to states and hoping they do the right thing with it.

Dr. Frieden also said the move toward block grants eliminates accountability, allowing states to use the disease prevention funds in any manner they so choose without having to report to the CDC how those funds where allocated to combat threats. 

CMHNetwork readers take note - Dr. Frieden’s comments apply to block granting behavioral health care as well. When programs are block granted, funding tends to decrease as programs are consolidated to save money, ultimately resulting in less effective approaches to behavioral health care. 

Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School: Preparation for Success
Interesting report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Penn State making a case for elementary schools adopting effective Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs to ensure student success, and encouragement for policymakers to create policies and guidelines that support SEL goals. This report is a good tool to put in your advocacy arsenal when you need to make a case for SEL!

New Guide Helps Transition People with Mental or Substance Use Disorders from Institutional Correctional Settings into the Community
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new guide providing behavioral health, correctional, and community stakeholders with approaches for effectively transitioning people with mental or substance use disorders from institutional correctional settings into the community. The guide promotes the Assess, Plan, Identify, and Coordinate approach to identifying various successful evidenced-based strategies that work across jurisdictional systems. 

Juvenile Justice Event Toolkit
This toolkit includes a compilation of relevant statistics and links to federal and multimedia resources that focus on juveniles who interact with the justice system.

NIMHD: Introducing the Language Access Portal
Learn how NIMHD is providing health resources from across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in selected languages to help disseminate health information that is both relevant to health disparity populations and available in languages other than English.

Sesame Street in Communities
Sesame Street has unveiled a brand new website and initiative called Sesame Street in Communities. Here, you’ll find hundreds of bilingual multi-media tools to help kids and families enrich and expand their knowledge during the early years of birth through six.  

Higher Death Rate Among Youth with First Episode Psychosis
A new study shows that young people experiencing first-episode psychosis have a much higher death rate than previously thought. The NIH study highlights need for increased early intervention programs.

The Power of The Adolescent Brain
This new video from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) uses research to shine a light on adolescent brain development, functioning, and capacity and provides practical suggestions for practitioners and families with adolescents. The video can be viewed in one full-length format as well as broken out into six segments (including one on mental health). Two accompanying discussion guides — one for professionals and one for families — can be used in a variety of settings, including staff meetings, conference sessions, or trainings, and instructions for preparation and facilitation are provided. We love the work OAH does!

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
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