Friday Update

Friday Update 8-12-19

August 12, 2019

Let’s start with some Elton John, singing ‘Imagine‘ in Central Park in 1980 – less than three months before John Lennon was tragically murdered. Tragedy and gifts of the spirit tend to run in parallel paths and are often intertwined. The past few weeks have been particularly horrible for our great nation, yet the opportunity for hope is all around. Soothe your soul and get a bit of balance back in by soaking in the words and feeling evoked from Lennon’s song.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Give yourself the gift of just under 6 minutes to watch the video, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

A Champion for Children’s Mental Health at SAMHSA Moves On. His Leadership Will Be Missed.
It has been a little over a month since I got the call from Gary Blau, Chief, Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch, at SAMHSA. “Hey Scott, I have some exciting news. I have accepted a position as Executive Director for the Hackett Center for Mental Health. I’m movin’ to Houston!” In this Morning Zen post, I share my journey with Gary, worry about who will carry the mantle for children’s mental health with him leaving, and identify some of his best leadership traits in the hope that SAMHSA will consider some of these traits when deciding who should be Gary’s replacement.

Keynote Speakers Confirmed for the Tampa Conference
Yep, we are pretty darned excited that David Williams, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez Vice President, Center for Systems Innovation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, are confirmed as keynote speakers. And guess what? We are just getting started! More keynote announcements are coming in the next few weeks. Check out the details and register, already!

Think You Got What It Takes to Present at the 33rd Annual Research and Policy Conference? We know you do!The Call for Proposal Online is now open!
Save the dates for the 33rd Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health: March 15 – 18, 2020 in Tampa, FL! The Call for Proposals online submission portal is open, so get to writing!

IPS Fidelity Scale for Young Adults
Researchers at Transitions ACR, in collaboration with Westat, have developed a new Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Model for Young Adults. The IPS Fidelity Scale is recommended for use with IPS programs serving the age group from roughly 15 to 26 years of age and includes a 35-item scale. This new scale is designed to meet the needs of young adults and allow organizations to make sure they are delivering young adult evidence-based IPS to fidelity. A score sheet is also included. Be sure to visit the Transitions ACR website to stay abreast of the great work they are doing!

Adults in Immigrant Families Report Avoiding Routine Activities Because of Immigration Concerns
Changes in federal immigration policies and heightened immigration enforcement over the last several years have caused fear and insecurity for many immigrant families across the country. In addition to stories of rising fear among families reported in the press, several studies have documented evidence of widespread anxiety and instability among immigrant families and children. Beyond avoiding participation in public programs, many immigrant families may be changing how they go about their daily lives. Reports show immigrant families increasingly avoiding routine activities, such as interacting with teachers or school officials, health care providers, and the police, which poses risks for their well-being and the communities in which they live.

Treating Toxic Stress in Kids a Top Priority for California’s First Surgeon General
Dr. Nadine Harris Burke, California Surgeon General, has been a leading advocate in pushing the state to expand screenings for abuse and extreme stress in children. Burke Harris said that when children are exposed to high levels of stress or abuse often enough, hormones are triggered that can have lasting effects on brain development and the immune system. Too often mental trauma is considered unrelated to medical care, she said, despite studies showing a clear link to physical ailments.

Development and Implementation of a Pediatric Adverse Childhood Experiences (Aces) and Other Determinants of Health Questionnaire
To date, there is no known existing validated questionnaire designed to comprehensively screen young children and adolescents for exposure to ACEs in a pediatric primary care setting. Drawing from the adult ACE and other adversity and trauma screening tools, a literature review, the WHO criteria and the team’s experience, the authors developed the first pediatric ACE and other determinants of health questionnaire. This approach was informed by the development of the WHO International ACEs questionnaire.

The Child Trauma Screen (CTS) Developed by Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI)
Many children suffer from trauma in silence and alone. Screening is a way to identify children that are experiencing high levels of distress and may need help to overcome trauma exposure. The Child Trauma Screen (CTS; formerly called the Connecticut Trauma Screen) is being used by behavioral health providers, pediatricians, school staff, child welfare workers, and juvenile justice staff to identify children who may be suffering from trauma exposure and need more comprehensive assessment or treatment.

Guidance to States and School Systems on Addressing Mental Health and Substance Use Issues in Schools
SAMHSA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new joint informational bulletin, Guidance to States and School Systems on Addressing Mental Health and Substance Use Issues in Schools. This guidance includes examples of approaches for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) related treatment services in schools and describes some of the Medicaid state plan benefits and other Medicaid authorities that states may use to cover mental health and SUD related treatment services. Additionally, the guidance summarizes best practice models to facilitate the implementation of quality, evidence-based, comprehensive mental health, and SUD related services for students.

Help Your Baby Deal with Emotions
Just like adults, babies experience a wide range of daily emotions. It’s a parent’s job to help them sort through the difficult ones. But do you know how to help your infant cope? New research offers some clues.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

Hello, I’m Scott Bryant-Comstock, CEO and founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network. For the past 40 years, my journey as a mental health advocate has traveled from volunteering at a suicide and crisis center, professional roles as a therapist in an outpatient clinic, in-home family therapist, state mental health official, Board Chair for a county mental health program, and national reviewer of children’s mental health systems reform efforts. As the founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network (2009), I lead the Network’s efforts to grow a national online forum to exchange ideas on how to improve children’s mental health research, policy, and practice.

In 2019, I had a full-blown Kundalini awakening. That experience has clarified many of the questions about purpose, focus, and mission that I have had my entire life. And heck, I want to share those learnings with you!

I encourage you to listen to the Optimistic Advocate podcast, with new episodes every Monday through Friday. Episodes always give you something to chew on as you move through the day. Insights from me, always a bit of poetry, and inspiring homework for you, as we move together on this beautiful journey of creating harmony with the universe. As a bonus, periodically, we post a long-form interview with inspiring advocates who help individuals and families make positive changes in their lives in communities across the globe. Remember to stay optimistic and listen to the universe (It’s speaking through you, I promise.).

Choose the podcast player of your choice and subscribe!

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