Friday Update 8-25-17

August 25, 2017


Friday Update 8-25-17

Greetings faithful readers. Arnold Schwarzenegger offers a powerful message to President Trump about how to respond to Nazis. It’s a message that applies to all of us – “The only way to beat the loud and angry voices of hate is to beat them with loud, and more reasonable voices.” Watch this videoand then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week  

Tell Senate Appropriations to Restore the Final Year of Funding for the Healthy Transitions Initiative
Last month I wrote about SAMHSA’s perplexing decision to recommend cutting funding for the final year of funding for the Healthy Transitions Initiative (read it here). I encourage you to contact Senator Blunt, Chair and Senator Murray, Ranking Member Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and tell them the Healthy Transitions Initiative is one SAMHSA program worth finishing. The data that will be gained in the final year of funding will be invaluable in learning how to sustain innovative treatment and support efforts for young adults with serious mental illness. Use the attached word document letter template as a guide. Time is running short, so get on it!

Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC)
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC), established in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act, meets for the first time this coming Monday. Members will review information on federal advances related to serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED). The committee also will discuss work groups, future meetings, and efforts to share information with Congress. Gonna be a tall order fighting for a glimmer of a focus on children, youth and their families, as the committee representation is heavily slanted toward young adults and older. Take a look at the committee members and get ready to make them your favorite friends (I’ve already got a few favorites I know I’m gonna be buggin’). We are gonna need to stay on them to ensure the voice of children, youth and families are represented across the age spectrum.

Call for Proposals Now Open. Two New Tracks Added!
The 31st Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health will be held March 4-7, 2018 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown Hotel. This year, we have added two new specialty tracks – Behavioral Health Equity and Family Engagement (You can download the Family Engagement announcement here). So what are ya’ waitin’ for? Get to writin’!   

Bringing Greater Awareness to AANHPI Behavioral Health
Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) often are the least likely of racial and ethnic groups to seek mental health care. Research indicates that they do not seek mental health services due to risk factors like lack of insurance, not knowing where to find appropriate services, cultural norms, language barriers, and negative attitudes towards seeking help. In recognition of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, SAMHSA has developed two briefs on the behavioral health of AANHPI boys and young men: A Snapshot of Behavioral Health Issues for Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Boys and Men and Advancing Best Practices in Behavioral Health for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Boys and Men.  

22-day Vigil to Defend DACA
Dedicated advocates, including immigrant youth, faith leaders, and allies, are holding a 22-day, round-the-clock vigil in front of the White House to call on the Trump administration and Congress to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) programs. They know they are raising awareness and increasing support for these two critical programs – and for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – currently in danger. Meet some of these activists and see how you can help. 

Addressing Health Disparities through Effective Interventions among Immigrant Populations
The goal of the Immigrant Health Initiative is to support research to design and implement effective interventions to reduce the health disparities among immigrant populations (particularly migrant workers, recent and 1st generation immigrants) and address issues that promote health equity. For the purposes of this funding announcement, the term “1st generation” refers to people who were born in their native country and relocated to the U.S.  The term “2nd generation” refers to the U.S. born children of 1st generation immigrants. Okay, research oriented Network faithful – We need you to apply for this grant! Addressing the challenges faced by immigrant families is most important.  

Valerie Huber Named as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
A prominent leader of the abstinence-only sex education movement has been appointed to a senior position at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, joining several other social conservative activists in the leadership ranks at HHS. Ms. Huber had served since 2007 as leader of the National Abstinence Education Association, which recently renamed itself as Ascend. She previously served as abstinence education coordinator for the state of Ohio, overseeing abstinence programs serving over 100,000 students annually.

Abrupt Trump Cuts to Teen Pregnancy Program Surprise Groups
Speaking of health… The Trump administration has abruptly cut short grant programs aimed at ending teen pregnancy, leaving the institutions that receive the funds scrambling for answers. 

The Senate has Confirmed Elinore McCance-Katz to be the First HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse 
It’s official. We now have a confirmed Assistant Secretary at SAMHSA. Let’s give the Assistant Secretary a hearty welcome. You can read my Morning Zen May post about the nomination of Dr. McCance-Katz for the position here. 

Primary Prevention in Behavioral Health: Investing in our Nation’s Future
Back in the day when SAMHSA had identified the promotion of emotional well-being and the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness as its top strategic initiative, they issued reports like this. The report is from 2011, but still a worthy read. The report will remind you of the importance of a balanced focus when addressing the behavioral health needs of children, youth, and families.

Remembering Trauma: Connecting the Dots between Complex Trauma and Misdiagnosis in Youth 
This NCTSN short film highlights the story of a traumatized youth from early childhood to older adolescence illustrating his trauma reactions and interactions with various service providers (including probation officers, school counselors, and therapists). This product was created to support the critical importance of using a trauma lens in work within child-serving systems and the potentially detrimental impact of not incorporating a trauma framework. 

Webinar Bonanza!

Comments Sought About Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Implementation and the 21st Century Cures Act Part 38
The Departments of HHS, Labor, and the Treasury are seeking comments on how to improve disclosure under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MPHAEA) and other laws, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. As part of the solicitation of comments, the Departments are releasing and seeking comments on a draft model form that participants, enrollees, or their authorized representatives could use to request information from their health plan about non-quantitative treatment limitations that affect their mental health or SUD benefits. In addition, the Departments request comments on whether any additional clarification is needed regarding how the requirements of MHPAEA apply to treatment for eating disorders. Comments are accepted through September 13, 2017.

Public Comment for Healthy People 2030
HHS is soliciting written comments on the proposed framework for Healthy People 2030, developed by the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030. The framework refers to the Healthy People 2030 vision, mission, foundational principles, plan of action, and overarching goals that will guide the selection and prioritization of objectives for Healthy People 2030. Members of the public—including individuals, stakeholders, and organizations—are invited to provide comments on the Healthy People 2030 framework. This round of public comment will be open until September 29, 2017 at 5:00 PM.

Is Friday Update workin’ for ya? 
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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
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