Friday Update

Friday Update 5-29-15

June 01, 2015


Friday Update 5-29-15
Greetings faithful readers. Okay, here we go. Summer is coming and you can be sure that we will be seeing some mental health reform proposals from your favorite (and not so favorite) leaders in Congress. We will be busy carbon-dating and analyzing whatever comes forward. Let’s start off this edition of Friday Update with an inspiring song from our friends at Sesame Street that we think is most appropriate for members of Congress and their dedicated staffers who will be doing the heavy lifting in the next few months. Faithful readers know of our continued admonishment of attempts to simplify comprehensive mental health reform into short, simple, and unfortunately often misleading sound bites. We owe it to families to not let this happen! So in the spirit of sound bites, please enjoy Ernie’s angst and psychological breakthrough as he learns to put down the duckie. Just as members of Congress have got to put down simplified notions of what mental health reform should look like, “Ya gotta put down the duckie if ya wanna play the saxophone.Rock on with Ernie, celebrate his emotional breakthrough, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

Show Elmo what you’ve got!
Let’s continue the Sesame Street love… Dancing is a great way to stay active—and Sesame Street wants to see your family’s moves! If you’re watching videos with your preschooler and would like to do so in a safe, child-friendly environment, please join the fun. No one does positive psychology better than Sesame Street!

Address mental health issues before stage four
As we leave the month of May, Mario Hernandez provides a reminder of the importance of addressing mental health challenges early. Mario serves as Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. If you want to learn more about prevention programs that support the social and emotional growth of our children, check out the amazing work being done at CFS. Rock on Mario!

Understanding my own stereotypic movement disorder
Give a hearty Network Welcome to our newest Morning Zen contributor, “Anonymous.” Anonymous is a nineteen-year-old student from England, who writes openly about her experience living with Stereotypic Movement Disorder. Keep writing Anonymous! Your words will inspire many. We love our growing legion of Network faithful from “across the pond!”

My Mantra
This week we are sharing another powerful essay from Lee Gutkind’s book, Writing Away the Stigma. Linda K. Schmitmeyer writes from the perspective of a wife who reflects on her husband’s slow slide into mental illness, the promises lost, the strength of their three children, her unwavering love and a steely resolve to “get to the end without being bitter.”

Ask mom how she’s doing
Clearly, the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut has been doubling up on their vitamin packs. Every time I turn around they have put out another practical, easy to understand, resource for families and providers. Be sure to check out their latest infographic for pediatric health providers and others caring for new moms and their babies. Goodness, take a breath you guys! Actually, you should keep it coming and just accept that the fact that while you love Connecticut, you are clearly a national force to be reckoned with in the field of child health and development.

Message to Western behavioral health providers from the Society of TRUTH (Tribal Families Rural and Urban Together Healing)
Members of the Society of TRUTH (Tribal Families Rural and Urban Together Healing), offer a respectful, but clear reminder of the importance of honoring traditional ways when planning and providing mental health services. In our quest for improving mental health services for children, youth and families, let’s not forget the wisdom that has guided Native people for generations. That wisdom must be front and center in any discussion about mental health reform.

Upcoming webinar series on prevention, treatment and recovery
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is sponsoring a four-topic webinar series, entitled Addressing Serious Mental Illness: Effective Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Strategies. These webinars are offered June-August 2015 by the partners in the Mental Health Block Grant Coalition, which has been developed and sponsored by SAMHSA. The Coalition consists of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health, the National Disability Rights Network and the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. These webinars, focusing on Children’s Services, Peer Services, Home and Community-Based Services, and Collaboration with Criminal Justice, will describe new and emerging practices across a variety of services.

  • Okay, Network faithful, this looks like an important series of webinars to attend. Approach the information provided with an open heart and questioning mind!

Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant dollars down, drug use up
Speaking of “block grants”… Have you noticed the uptick in talk about substance abuse prevention? There is much talk about the alarming rise in overdose deaths, promising policy changes by mayors across the country regarding the use of life saving drug interventions and admirable work on the Hill by Congressional representatives like Tim Murphy, who is shining a bright light on prescription drug and opioid abuse. With all of the talk of the need to “do something” as a backdrop, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) has just released a new fact sheet on the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant that shows that the Block Grant has lost one-quarter of its purchasing power (when adjusted for inflation) over the last 10 years. During that time, illicit use of drugs has increased, admissions to treatment for opioid pain relievers has dramatically increased, and a majority of states saw increases in admissions for treatment for heroin. Connect the dots, Network faithful!

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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