Scott Bryant-Comstock has dedicated nearly 35 years of service to children, youth and their families. Early in his career as a therapist, he was humbled by what he learned from families. He often tells self-deprecating stories about how he was “wet behind the ears” and had to re-learn what it meant to help others. He became, what he describes as a system of care evangelist: “…irreverent…despise[ing] the status quo.” He went on to serve in multiple roles in the mental health arena, as a trainer, Special Assistant to two Division Directors of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services; Chair of the Durham County Mental Health Board; and Chair of the Durham County Human Relations Committee.
Scott Bryant-Comstock is a tireless, selfless advocate with a fierce compassion for children, youth and their families. A forward thinking risk-taker, Scott has committed talent, sweat, and soul to the creation of at least three significant national advocacy organizations, including the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, InterTribal Voices, and most recently the Children’s Mental Health Network.
As an early supporter of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Scott volunteered for many years to help get it going. He served as one of the board members and took over management of the annual conference in its second year. He managed the conference for years, contributing thousands of hours to this critical work. During the conferences he did everything from logistics and coordination to quietly buying breakfast for a grandmother with diabetes who was embarrassed to ask for help. He often cashed checks for family members out of his own bank account so they would have cash on-site. He got up at 3:00 a.m. when someone arrived without a credit card to secure their room. He oversaw numerous medical emergencies and jumped a car battery for a family member stuck in the hotel garage. He helped screen, hire and mentor some of the first Federation hires. He eventually took responsibility for technical assistance to the Statewide Family Networks and organized their early meetings. All of this he did with grace and humility, always taking a back seat and supporting families to be at the forefront. The Federation’s founding Executive Director, Barbara Huff has said about Scott: “The Federation never could have supported families in the way they needed to be supported had it not been for Scott. His attitude was always do whatever it takes.”
With the same humility and respect, Scott supported the rising leadership of InterTribal Voices insisting on appropriate responses to the their cultural needs. One example is when he replaced a hotel meeting room in Portland, Oregon with a bus trip to the coast. The meeting was held on the beach for dozens of Tribal families who had never before seen the ocean.
Today, Scott is dedicating his time and talent to the Children’s Mental Health Network, providing a single source of information to draw attention to the issues requiring action and involvement. He continues; He is unconditionally dedicated to children, youth and their families.
Elaine Slaton, Children's Mental Health Network Advisory Council
Pat Baker, Children's Mental Health Network Board of Directors