Friday Update 8-25-19

Let’s start with some Bruce Springsteen to get us through this issue of Friday Update, which includes just a few of the “unique” developments in federal government this past week, making me yearn for the E-Street Bands rendition of ‘Waitin’ on a Sunny Day.’ Put your headphones on, crank up the volume, and give it a go. I guarantee it will recalibrate your chakras. Enjoy the tune, and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

SAMSHA Wants to Address Children’s School-Based Mental Health
But are they asking the right questions?

Network Science Advisor, Dennis Embry, sits on the Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council. At their meeting on Wednesday, the group reviewed the recent joint informational bulletin from SAMHSA and CMS Guidance to States and School Systems on Addressing Mental Health and Substance Use Issues in Schools. In this Morning Zen post, Dr. Embry asks several questions of Network readers in reaction to this joint bulletin. The Advisory Council that Dr. Embry sits on was created to provide feedback to CMHS about the activities they are involved with and the products they develop. Let’s help them do their job. Share your thoughts and ideas at the end of the post.

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 Open and Waiting for You!
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!

Healing and Belonging in America: A Plan to Improve Mental Health Care and Combat Addiction
Presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, released a 19-page plan for strengthening mental health care and fighting addiction. “For years, politicians in Washington have claimed to prioritize mental health care while slashing funding for treatment and ignoring America’s growing addiction and mental health crisis,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “That neglect must end. Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal.” The Buttigieg plan imposes penalties on insurance companies who do not provide coverage for mental illness and addiction, expands access to treatment to opioid addictions, and decriminalizes mental illness and addiction through re-entry programs. Buttigieg would also establish $10 billion in annual “Healing and Belonging” grants to give communities resources to combat mental health and addiction issues.

Student-Led Gun Control Group Outlines New Gun Violence Policy Agenda 
And while we are discussing plans and policy directives, March for Our Lives has unveiled a new policy agenda directed at reducing gun violence by half over the next decade. The policy agenda calls for, among other things, appointing a national director of gun violence and establishing the Safety Corps, which would operate like a Peace Corps for gun violence prevention.

White House Considers New Project Seeking Links Between Mental Health and Violent Behavior
Speaking of mental health plans here is a certifiably scary one. How do you tie mental illness to gun violence,  even though every credible expert will tell you that the correlation is minimal at best? Well, if you are a part of the current administration, you propose creating a new agency called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency or HARPA, which would sit inside the Department of Health and Human Services. In a nutshell, the idea is to use volunteer data to identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act.” Remember that the President has said he thinks mentally ill people are primarily responsible for the spate of mass shootings in the United States. And this proposal is likely to be welcomed by politicians and gun-rights activists who have argued the same thing. Read the Washington Post article for all of the chilling details.

After Trump Blames Mental Illness for Mass Shootings, Health Agencies Ordered to Hold All Posts on the Issue
When President Trump targeted mental illness as the cause of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that killed 31 people, federal health officials made sure no government experts might contradict him. A Health and Human Services directive on August 5th warned communication staffers not to post anything on social media related to mental health, violence, and mass shootings without prior approval. And the surreal within federal government continues…

Medical Director’s Institute Releases New Report on Mass Violence
The National Council’s Medical Director Institute (MDI) just released a timely report, “ Mass Violence in America: Causes, Impacts and Solutions,” a comprehensive response following recent episodes of mass violence in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, Calif. The report examines the reasons, contributing factors, and actionable solutions surrounding mass violence in America through the lens of behavioral health.

Webinar Alert –

Moving from Trauma-Informed to Trauma-Responsive Care Through Training, Referral and Treatment for Youth and Families
Check out this webinar from our colleagues at the Implementation Science & Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC). The webinar will focus on the services and primary outcomes of the UMMS Child Trauma Training Center (CTTC) – a statewide project funded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) through the NCTSN (National Child Traumatic Stress Network) with additional funding from the Lookout Foundation and the Department of Mental Health. The webinar is on Thursday, September 5, 2019, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET.

Best Practices for Transition Planning for High School Students with Mental Health Conditions
Our colleagues at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (TACR) are out with another great webinar that you can participate in for free! This webinar will describe the content of three manuals from the “Translating Evidence to Support Transitions (TEST) ” project created to guide secondary school transition planners to use and adopt best practices for transition planning. The webinar takes place on Thursday, September 12, 2019, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT. Read more about Translating Evidence to Support Transitions (TEST) and view the manuals HERE.

Training Needs of Peer and Non-Peer Transition Service Providers: Results of a National Survey
Members of the amazing team at Pathways to Positive Futures collaborated with Youth MOVE National on a research project designed to identify transition service providers’ self-reported training needs to serve young people more effectively. A total of 254 peer support providers and non-peer providers reported their areas of greatest training need, their preferred training modalities, and barriers to their participation in training opportunities. Findings will be of particular interest to trainers, educators, and administrators. Now, for the excellent news. Their article was published in The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. Way to go, you bunch of rock stars!

Pathways Transition Training Video Briefs Evaluation Report
The Pathways Transition Training Partnership is out with a new report on an evaluation of the Pathways Transition Training Video Briefs. The video briefs may be useful for individual skill development or in team-based workforce development activities. The 5–7-minute video briefs are accompanied by discussion questions and online resources that address topics such as trauma-informed care, promoting family support, and working with LGBTQ youth.

Informed Immigrant
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, millions of undocumented immigrants faced increased uncertainty and anxiety about their futures in the United States. Immigrant-serving organizations across the country received a sudden spike in demand for help. Immigrant rights leaders, service providers, lawyers, and technologists from across the country banded together, pooled hundreds of resources, and collected a list of more than 1,000 organizations offering on-the-ground legal support, healthcare services, and more to undocumented families. The creators of Informed Immigration listened to the questions from undocumented friends, partners, family members, and coworkers. They sought answers and resources and compiled them into one easy-to-access online resource. Since then, Informed Immigrant has become both a digital hub and offline network offering the most up-to-date and accessible information and guidance for the undocumented immigrant community.

Changes To “Public Charge” Inadmissibility Rule: Implications For Health And Health Coverage
The Trump Administration has announced a final rule that changes the public charge policies used to determine whether an individual applying for admission or adjustment of status is inadmissible to the U.S. Under longstanding policy, the federal government can deny an individual entry into the U.S. or adjustment to legal permanent resident (LPR) status (i.e., a green card) if he or she is determined likely to become a public charge.” The changes will create new barriers to getting a green card or immigrating to the U.S. and likely lead to decreases in participation in Medicaid and other programs among immigrant families and their primarily U.S.-born children beyond those directly affected by the new policy. Nationwide, over 13.5 million Medicaid and CHIP enrollees, including 7.6 million children, live in a household with at least one noncitizen or are noncitizens themselves and may be at risk for decreased enrollment a result of the rule.

Trump Administration Rule Will Harm Immigrant Families and Ill-Serve America
Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, speaks out about the “Public Charge” rule. “The rule reflects a dark vision of the United States — as an unwelcoming nation that wants to keep out people who seek to join their family, work hard, and climb the economic ladder — based on the erroneous assumption that they won’t contribute to our communities, our economy, and our nation.” Well said, Mr. Greenstein. Read the full statement here.

CMS Issues Guidance to Curb Immigrants’ Use of Health Benefits
CMS has outlined procedures for states to determine whether certain immigrants are eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The move built on a memo that President Donald Trump signed in May directing federal agencies to ramp up enforcement of laws that require individuals sponsoring immigrants to reimburse the government if the immigrant receives safety-net benefits, and to consider the income of the sponsor when determining a non-citizen’s eligibility. The guidance addresses methods for determining a sponsor’s income and resources, reimbursement obligations, and data collection. It comes in the wake of the administration’s “public charge” rule that aims to reduce legal immigration from individuals who are deemed likely to qualify for safety-net benefits. Immigration advocates have already sued to block the regulation.

Undercounting Hispanics in the 2020 Census Will Result in a Loss in Federal Funding to Many States for Child and Family Assistance Programs
Another great brief from our colleagues at Child Trends!
This brief examines the potential reduction in funding to states for five critical federal programs that could result from an undercount of Hispanics in the 2020 Census. More than 300 federal programs allocate funding based on Census-derived data. The five programs we examine serve children and families and account for almost half of all federal funding to states. Hispanics are the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the United States and are especially at risk for being undercounted, a problem which research indicates may be exacerbated by ongoing concerns about efforts to link citizenship status to Census respondents.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

My passion is helping to shape policy and practice in children’s mental health. 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 for the exchange of ideas on how to continually improve children’s mental health research, policy and practice.

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