Friday Update

Friday Update 5-20-16

May 18, 2016


Friday Update 5-20-16

Greetings faithful readers. Okay youngin’s, listen up. The Universe just reclaimed an American poet and amazing musician in Guy Clark. Many of you may not know the name, but you will know his music. Enjoy an up close and personal video of him singing one of his iconic songs, LA Freeway. The video quality wanders a bit, and the sound is in and out, but for me a perfect tribute to the raw genius of Guy Clark. Enjoy the groove and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

Ask Your “Mental Health Reform Champion” Member of Congress Where They Stand on LGBTQ Rights 
Hey, guess what? It is Mental Health Awareness Month and Washington, DC is buzzing with advocates excited to meet with their congressional representatives to discuss meaningful mental health reform. For those advocates making the trek to DC, I am sure that on your list of questions for your congressional representative is something related to the need for improved services for LGBTQ individuals, right? I mean, we talk about the importance of addressing discrimination against the LGBTQ community all the time. The nation is abuzz with discussion about the rights of transgender individuals, who can use what bathroom, and whether or not a therapist should be obligated to see someone if they disagree with their sexual orientation. And of course, you are planning to speak to your congressional representative about LGBTQ equality… right?

Feeling a bit nervous about where to begin? The debacle that took place in the House of Representatives yesterday with the voting down of an amendment protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals gives you a great conversation starter... Keep ’em honest, Network faithful!

Most mass shooters aren’t mentally ill. So why push better treatment as the answer?
Great article in the Washington Post that points out the folly of linking serious mental illness with mass shootings. Criminologists and forensic psychiatrists say there is a critical flaw in that view: It doesn’t reflect reality. For those of you making Hill visits to members of Congress who continue to wave the flag of guns, violence and mental illness, you might want to leave a copy of this article in their office. For example, the architects of HR 2646 (Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Ac of 2015) have built the foundation of their proposed bill on a base of fear, equating acts of mass violence as inexorably intertwined with serious mental illness, citing their bill as the answer to mass shootings. Even more perplexing are the mental health advocacy organizations who express support for this bill. Sure, their support often stems from interest and agreement about other components of the bill, but you have to ask yourself, is it worth it to support a bill that tries to gain traction through the inappropriate pairing of guns, violence and mental illness? Might want to leave a copy of the article in the waiting room of your national advocacy organization as well. 

New Report Recommends Strategies Linking Literacy and Social-Emotional Skills to Improve Children’s Success in School 
The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI) has unveiled an important report – Connecting Social and Emotional Health and Literacy: Critical for Early School Success – that explores the interplay between young children’s social-emotional development and early literacy and language skills. The report elevates awareness of the connections between these essential competencies, and seeks to accelerate actions by states and communities to advance children’s readiness for school and successful educational achievement. CHDI continues to model excellence in technical assistance for the state of Connecticut. We need to figure out a way to clone them for the rest of the United States!

Mindfulness therapy for mental health problems? ‘It’s more useful than drugs’
A new study has raised hope for its use in treating mental health problems. The biggest review of the practice by researchers at Oxford University found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could help to combat depression as effectively as drugs.

A tweetable moment for today!
Props to  promoting unity across mental health community. Strength in Numbers!  

2nd Annual National Wraparound Implementation Academy 
Oh man, more wraparound love for you this week. This coming September, the National Wraparound Initiative is hosting their second annual National Wraparound Academy. The Academy will provide individuals in key Wraparound roles – including care coordinators, parent and youth partners, supervisors and managers, policy-makers, family and youth leaders, researchers and evaluators – with opportunities to learn from the field’s foremost experts in Wraparound and systems of care. Visit for more information on the Academy.

NPR: Should Pediatricians Ask Parents If They’re Poor? 
A single question asked at an annual checkup — whether parents have trouble making ends meet — could help pediatricians identify children at risk for serious health problems associated with poverty and the chronic levels of stress that often accompany it. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges members to ask if their patients’ families are struggling financially and then commit to helping them get the resources they need to thrive. And some communities are trying to make that happen. Since almost half of young children in the United States live in poverty or near poverty, it’s no small challenge. 

SAMHSA Offering Funding for Training Paraprofessionals to Work With Youth 
The 2016 Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) for Paraprofessionals and Professionals Program is a collaborative grant that will provide funding during federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The BHWET program funds eligible behavioral health paraprofessional and professional training programs to develop and expand the substance use and mental health workforce. Special emphasis is on training to meet the needs of children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth at risk for developing or who have a recognized behavioral health disorder.

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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