Friday Update

Friday Update 7-31-15

July 29, 2015


Friday Update 7-31-15

Greetings faithful readers. Summer is in full swing so what better way to begin than with some Tay Sway… or in true Network fashion, an uber cool cover of Taylor Swift’s smash hit Shake it Off by the always amazing band ‘Walk Off the Earth’.

But I keep cruising,
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”

Okay Network faithful, get up and shake it off, andthen get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

Several new mental health reform bills emerge – The opportunity for educating members of Congress is now!
Oh my, Network faithful, the legislative reading list at the CMHNetwork compound just got a whole lot bigger! In addition to H.R. 2646 (lot’s of engine work needed), and the Matsui bill (which is the most “common sense” approach to HIPAA to come out of Congress in a long time), there are two other new bills that are making the rounds. Senators Bill Cassidy and Chris Murphy have just released a mental health reform bill, as have Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray

The addition of these new bills provides a wonderful opportunity for advocates to broaden the conversation around mental health reform and make it inclusive of diverse perspectives. Look for our opening analyses of the “new kids on the block” in Friday Update next week.

Gang abatement? Is it possible that school climate and the conditions for learning could reduce violence?
Is it possible that teaching social skills – combined with the other conditions for learning such as connection and caring – could reduce juvenile delinquency, violence, gang membership and even radical affiliations with groups like white supremacists and jihadists? As yet we don’t know but this may be a logical hypothesis worth testing!

Mindfulness as effective as pills for treating recurrent depression
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as good as pills at stopping people relapsing after recovering from major bouts of depression, according to a study. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed from mindfulness techniques, which encourage individuals to pay more attention to the present moment, combined with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), specifically to try to help people who have recurring depression. It teaches people to recognize that negative thoughts and feelings will return, but that they can disengage from them. Rather than constantly worrying about them, people can become aware of them, understand them and accept them, and avoid being dragged down into a spiral leading back to depression.

‘Defend Childhood’ to improve access to education and explicitly confront childhood trauma
We must not look the other way: A common sense revision to ESEA. Childhood trauma is the missing, macro factor in education which has been blurring our interpretation of results for all micro programs. Meanwhile, we continue pouring billions into education program “buckets” oblivious to the gaping trauma holes in the bottom. Now, with the ESEA rewrite, we have a choice to ‘Defend Childhood’, to improve access to education and to bring clarity to results, by explicitly confronting childhood trauma. That, in turn, will lead to more equity in education, and better social and financial productivity for our nation.

The Murphy Bill: Old wine in new bottles
ACEs Connection member Andrea Blanch and David Shern caution that the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646) could prove harmful to the very people it is intended to help, and ignores significant scientific advances in our understanding of the causes and treatment of mental illnesses.

Time to get ready for the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference, March 13 – 16, 2016
Since 1988, this annual conference has been a leader in promoting the development of the research base essential to improved service systems for children and youth with mental health challenges and their families. In the context of a rapidly diversifying population, this conference continues to expand to include topics related to substance abuse service systems and research, as well as pressing behavioral health topics associated with mental health reform legislation being discussed in Congress. The call for proposals will be out at the end of August so be sure to get yourself some Bermuda shorts, knee-high socks and a bit of zinc oxide to help motivate you to write a winning proposal! 

New learning module on partnering behavioral health & child welfare
Big time props to Network faithful Rich Weisgal for his work with the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS) in developing an E-Learning Module titled “Foundations of Behavioral Health: Partnering to Serve The Mental Health Needs of Children in Child Welfare.”

Mindfulness study to track effect of meditation on 7,000 teenagers
Seven thousand teenagers wrestling with the churning emotions of adolescence, exam stress, and peer pressure are to take part in an unprecedented trial of the effect of mindfulness meditation on mental health. Psychologists and neuroscientists from Oxford University and University College London recently announced that they plan to recruit children aged 11 to 16 from 76 secondary schools as part of a seven-year study. They said it would be the largest trial of its kind ever conducted, and it would test some of the increasingly ambitious claims about the power of mindfulness meditation to tackle illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

Let’s get teens talking!
One in five teens lives with a mental health condition, yet less than ½ get help. Mental health remains a taboo topic for many so NAMI, with support from SAMHSA, developed a project designed to get teens talking. The project, Say it Out Loud, consists of a toolkit that provides everything you need to engage teens in a conversation about mental health. It includes a short film with the ten common warning signs and three youth sharing their stories, a guide on how to conduct a successful discussion with teens, fact sheets to share with participants and more.

Wraparound & System of Care Trainer position now available
The Institute for Innovation and Implementation (The Institute) at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and the National Wraparound Implementation Center has an opportunity for a Wraparound and System of Care National Trainer position. Applicants must have significant expertise in system of care and Wraparound practice. This position is responsible for all functions related to training and technical assistance in multiple implementation settings nationally in Wraparound and provides guidance and content expertise specific to implementing this evidence-informed practice model. This position is responsible for ensuring design, development, documentation and implementation of training and technical assistance curricula using a variety of complex activities that are inclusive of adult learning techniques driven by implementation science.  

Boys are more likely than girls to receive a prescription for antipsychotic medication regardless of age, researchers have found. Approximately 1.5 percent of boys ages 10-18 received an antipsychotic prescription in 2010, although the percentage falls by nearly half after age 19. Among antipsychotic users with mental disorder diagnoses, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was the most common among youth ages 1-18, while depression was the most common diagnosis among young adults ages 19-24 receiving antipsychotics. – See more at:





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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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