Mental Health Training Opportunities, Policy News and More from the Texas Children's Mental Health Forum

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Mental Health Training Opportunities, Policy News and More from the Texas Children's Mental Health Forum - Friday, July 27, 2012
The updates below were shared with listserv members of the Texas Children's Mental Health Forum.
Opportunities to ACT
Public Hearing on Children, Families & Communities - Aug 9, Austin
The Texas Council on Children and Families will hold a public hearing on August 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Public Hearing Room of the Brown-Heatly Building, 4900 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin.The Council seeks written or oral testimony on current needs and resources for children and families in the areas of education, health and human services, workforce, and juvenile justice, as well as innovative approaches to addressing coordination of resources. The Council is interested in in hearing about:
  • Specific examples of the opportunities and challenges families and communities may be facing;
  • Specific examples of innovative efforts and approaches, including local collaborative initiatives and partnerships;
  • Status and dynamics of local trends across systems, agencies, level of governments, and community resources; and
  • Developments in cross system/agency coordination for services to children and families.
If you are unable to attend the hearing, you can submit written testimony no later than Monday, August 6, 2012, via email to For additional informationcontact Sherri Hammack, Office of Program Coordination for Children and Youth, HHSC (512) 420-2856.
Public Comment on Draft Options for Reforming the Public Behavioral Health System
Draft options have been released as part of a legislatively directed comprehensive analysis of the public behavioral health system in Texas. You can submit comments on these draft comments by attending one of the upcoming public stakeholder meetings (click here) to view meeting details for El Paso, Lubbock, and Dallas) or by emailing PCG consultants at
Teachers & Counselors Needed to Help Develop Middle School Suicide Prevention Curriculum
The Texas Department of State Health Services and Mental Health America of Texas are collaborating with Kognito Interactive to create an online training course to assist middle school educators. To ensure the training is effective, advice from experienced teachers and counselors is being sought. If you join the focus group, you will receive up to five emails over the course of 3 months, requesting brief feedback on course characters and story lines (scripts). In total, these reviews will amount to roughly two to three hours. Information is confidential and will not be shared with any third parties. Click here to participate in this focus group.
Texas Mental Health Code Project - Draft Code Revision Available for Comment
The Texas Mental Health Code has not been substantially revised in more than 25 years, and a review process is underway to recommend changes to reflect today's behavioral health care standards, practices and services. The draft revision of the Texas Mental Health Code is now available for comment.Please forward your comments to Dr. Susan Stone, Already, about 1,500 people have attended more than 30 public forums held to solicit input on Code revisions. Click here for more information about the project.
Online Petition Supporting Mental Health of Texas Children
Did you know that some estimates indicate that co-occurring mental health issues for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are as high as 80%?To help recognize National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (May 9), the Texas Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities and the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health have teamed up to raise awareness of children's mental health needs in Texas. Click here to read their petition calling for increased attention to children's mental health and sign on in support.
Community Demonstration for Systems of Care Expansion - ASSET Initiative
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announces the issuance of Request for Interest (RFI) # 529-12-0060 for the Community Demonstration for Systems of Care Expansion - Achieving Successful Systems Enriching Texas (ASSET).A system of care is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families and youth work in partnership with public and private organizations so services and supports are effective, build on the strengths of individuals, and address each person's cultural and linguistic needs.Find out more about the RFI by clicking here. In the upper left hand corner of the webpage is the link to the RFI document.
House Interim Charges Released
The Texas House of Representatives released its Interim Charges for the 82nd Legislature, which direct House Interim Committees to examine various issues before the 2013 legislative session. You can view the full list of Interim Charges, or you can just read a listing of charges related to mental health which could impact children. Stay tuned for information on how you can provide input into this process, as hearings are set by the interim committees to carry out their charges.To learn more about the legislative interim and ways to make your voice heard, please visit Texans Care's webpage on the Texas Legislative Process in our online Advocacy Center.
DSHS MHSA Stakeholder Communications Survey – Results to be released early December
The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division (MHSA) of DSHS conducted a survey to get input on improving communications to individuals engaged in various internal and external stakeholder groups coordinated by MHSA.  A compilation of the survey results will be shared on the agency's website in early December.
MeandMyDoctor Blog
The Texas Medical Association has launched a new blog called MeandMyDoctor to promote a conversation between patients and doctors. Patients and consumer advocacy groups are encouraged to submit guest posts, articles, photos, and videos - what a great opportunity to raise awareness around the need for integrated care practices and the need to improve developmental and mental health screening rates in primary settings! To find out more, visit
Opportunities to LEARN
Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium - August 1, San Marcos
This statewide suicide prevention symposium is sponsored by the Texas Suicide Prevention Council and Mental Health America of Texas (MHAT) with funding courtesy of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Topics include suicide care in systems, Latino suicide and suicide attempts, epidemiology of youth suicide and evaluation of youth suicide prevention programs, follow-up with suicidal callers, suicide grief support, integration of health and mental health services, and a panel on safe schools – bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and HB. Free registration but space is limited. Click here for more information:
The Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities Statewide Health Summit - August 15-17
The Summit will offer attendees opportunities to examine and build on best practices in health, mental health, child welfare, education, and juvenile justice that effectively and efficiently address disproportionality and disparities; engage stakeholders to continue identifying and bridging gaps in disproportionality and disparities strategies; and interact with an interdisciplinary audience in a setting designed for effective interchange of ideas and information. For more information, visit
Nurturing Connections for Young Children - October 11-12, San Antonio
Save the Date! The First Annual Early Childhood Mental Health & Wellness Conference and Texas Association of Infant Mental Health (TAIMH) Annual Meeting will be held on October 11-12, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. The keynote speaker will be Joy Osofsky, Ph.D. Conference will include sessions on Early Childhood Mental Health; Addressing Trauma with Young Children & Their Families; Early Childhood Education; and Child Health & Nutrition. Stay tuned for more information! Click here for more information.
Webcast: Toxic Stress in Early Childhood
The Harvard School of Public Health recently hosted a webcast, "The Toxic Stress of Early Childhood Adversity: Rethinking Health and Education Policy," which examined how health and education policies can be used and revised to counteract early childhood adversity. It also discussed the recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science into Lifelong Health." You can watch the webcast here.
Free Online Suicide Prevention Training for College/University Faculty & Staff in Texas
Mental Health America of Texas has partnered with the Texas Department of State Health Services to offer the "At-Risk" interactive online training at no cost to colleges and universities across Texas. With both University Faculty and University Student versions, At-Risk is a one-time interactive training that can be completed in about 45 minutes (even over the course of multiple sittings, if preferred.) To learn more or sign up today to receive FREE licenses for your faculty and/or students to take advantage of this training opportunity, please contact Valerie Kusler at
              - Early Care and Education Post Session Analysis- Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition
Opportunities for FUNDING
Competitive RFP for School Based Health Centers
The Department of State Health Services School Health Program announces the expected availability of Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Funds to provide access to health care services to a school-age population. The RRP document and all attachments can be found by clicking here.
Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care Planning and Implementation Grants
The Hogg Foundation invites nonprofit behavioral health and primary care providers in Texas to submit proposals for integrated health care planning and implementation activities. The foundation is funding this program to support behavioral health and primary care providers as they integrate behavioral and physical health care services, with the ultimate goal of making integrated health care the standard practice in Texas. View proposal details, including eligibility, deadlines and submission information here.
Mental Health Research Grants for Tenure-Track Assistant Professors in Texas
The Hogg Foundation invites tenure-track assistant professors conducting mental health research at institutions of higher education in Texas to submit proposals for mental health research grants. View proposal details, including eligibility, deadlines and submission information here. Please read the request for proposals thoroughly before submitting a proposal. Feel free to forward this invitation to others who may be eligible or interested.


Not About Us Without Us: Family and Youth Voice
Originally aired on June 7, 2012, this archived webinar by Texas System of Care provides an overview of the role of family and youth voice from the systems, practitioner, family, and youth points of view. Click here to view the webinar or download presentations and files.
Texas Public Policy Journal Launched
The Texas Public Policy Journal (TPPJ) is a collection of reports, studies, and news articles concerning public policy in Texas maintained as an online reference library, complete with a searchable database that makes searching public policy reports as easy as shopping online. Includes policy topics such as children's issues, budget and finance, health care, disabilities, education, and more.
The Teen Brain: What it Means for Treating Adolescents
This archived videocast of the NIMH-sponsored panel of children's mental health researchers held in observance of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day features panelists discussing neuroscience research findings related to: teen brain development, cognition, and emotional and behavioral growth, and treatment for teens.
Department of Education: PBIS to Avoid Restraint and Seclusion
The U.S. Department of Education issued a publication that outlines principles for educators, parents, and other stakeholders to consider when developing or refining policies and procedures to support positive behavioral interventions and avoid the use of restraint and seclusion. The goal of this resource document is to help ensure that schools are safe and healthy environments where all students can learn, develop, and participate in instructional programs that promote high levels of academic achievement.
FDA Database: One-Stop Resource on Kids' Medications
This new Food and Drug Administration database pulls the science on drug labels for kids into one place for parents and healthcare professionals looking for information on medications for children.
RTI and Classroom &Schoolwide Learning Supports: Four Units for Continuing EducationThe UCLA Centerfor Mental Health in Schools has developed a curriculum intended to help increase coordination and broaden the focus of Response to Intervention activities in school.
Bringing Families Together: Models of Hope and Recovery
This video features the 10-Element Framework: Elements of System Linkages, developed by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare to help states and tribal and local communities overcome barriers and identify strategies to facilitate effective partnerships between mental health services, substance use treatment, child welfare, and family courts. Watch it online.
Health Care Reform:What School Mental Health Professionals Need to Know
 This brief highlights changes to health care availability under the Affordable Care Act and the potential impact of these changes on mental health services for children and families. The brief was published by the Center for School Mental Health with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Update Alerts for DSHS Mental Health Substance Abuse Website
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has created a new page on its site to provide an easy way for stakeholders to sign up for updates on many of its major Mental Health and Substance Abuse initiatives. Through this service, you will be able to opt in to receiving emails when they make major changes to any of these pages (including scheduled meetings and the posting of agendas). To sign up, visit and click on any of the options listed on the chart. From this link, you will be directed to the HHSC website where you're able to enter your email and sign up to receive updates to any pages at MHSA, DSHS, or HHSC.
Toolkit for Agencies Planning a Mental Health in Schools Conference
A collaborative of agencies in Williamson County, led by the Williamson County Juvenile Services, has developed a toolkit to assist other communities in planning for a community-based school mental health conference. The Williamson County Mental Health in Schools conference had participation from all 12 Independent Schools Districts in the county, led to 29 conference participants volunteering to serve on a community taskforce, and resulted in 444 school and juvenile justice staff completing the Kognito At-Risk Suicide Prevention training. Learn from their success! They've also shared additional resources and a resource video.
Effects of Deployment on Children
A 2011 federal report on miliary families cites an11% increase in outpatient visits for behavioral health issues among a group of 3- to 8-year-old children of military parents and an increase of 18% in behavioral disorders and 19% in stress disorders when a parent was deployed.The report outlines a government-wide approach to military family support and details an interagency effort to strengthen families and enhance their well-being and quality of life.
New Information and Resource Kit for LGBT Populations
SAMHSA has released Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information & Resource Kit to inform health care providers and prevention specialists about the health experiences of LGBT populations. Understanding the health issues of LGBT individuals is a significant step in improving access to care and the quality of behavioral health services.
Guide to SAMHSA's Resources
Their site describes the many resources SAMHSA offers in its efforts to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. It describes the agency's call center and help lines; publications and resources; e-mail updates; and quarterly newsletter.
NCTSN Newsletter: Culture and Trauma
This special Issue of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) newsletter is devoted entirely to the relationship between culture and trauma. It describes the work being done across the NCTSN by members with informed perspectives on the cultural dimensions of trauma at multiple levels: the individual, including both the client and practitioner, the organization or system, and the broader community.
Role of Pediatricians in Addressing Toxic Stress and Promoting Family Support
The American Academy of Pediatricshas recently released three new documents to help pediatricians and others understand how to reduce the precipitants of toxic stress in young children and mitigate their negative effects on health across the lifespan.
Promote Access to Early, Regular and Comprehensive Screenings
CLASP released a new resource, " Promote Access to Early, Regular and Comprehensive Screenings," which provides research documenting the importance of screening, as well as policy recommendations states can use to improve their screening rates. It also provides a listing of online resources for state policymakers.
Latest DSHS Behavioral Health NEWS BRIEF Vol. 7 Issue 2
The most recent issue of the news brief includes results of the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Division Communications Survey for Funded Providers; Client Satisfaction Surveys Help to Evaluate Performance of Mental Health System; Alcohol and Tobacco Use among Adolescents Reach Record Lows according to Texas School Survey of Substance Use; What Prevents or Pushes Young People to Seek Mental Health Treatment; Key Elements of Effective Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Programs: Lessons Learned from a National Survey; Clinical Management for Behavioral Health Services (CMBHS) Project Update;as well as Upcoming Events.
The earliest years play a critical role in a child's healthy social and emotional development. To support infant-toddler advocates in their work to promote programs and policies that help improve lives of infants and toddlers, ZERO TO THREE has developed a set of Baby Facts. These fact sheets show how babies are faring in each of the 51 states and the important role federal programs play in supporting their healthy development. Click here to see how babies are doing in TexasYou can also click here to see how babies in other states are faring.
SAMHSA Launches Twice-Monthly E-News Alert
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ( SAMHSA) has recently launched SAMHSA Headlines, a twice-monthly, e-news alert that provides the latest information on SAMHSA's news, events, and resources to help the behavioral health community stay informed. Click here to sign up to receive these e-newsletters.
Toolkit: Early Childhood Systems of Care
The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health at Georgetown University's Center for Child and Human Development recently released Putting the Pieces Together: A Toolkit on Developing Early Childhood Systems of Care, a repository of tips, strategies, resources, and lessons learned regarding systems development from the Early Childhood System of Care Communities and national technical assistance providers. You can also view other resources related to serving infants and young children with mental health concerns.
GAO Report on Psychotropic Medication Usage in Foster Care
A recent report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that children in foster care in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Texas were prescribed psychotropic medications 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than children who were not in foster care, with children in the Texas foster care system being the most likely to receive these types of medications compared to the other four states. Texas has made significant efforts to address the overutilization of psychotropic meds within foster care; however, these findings suggest Texas can do a better job of ensuring children and youth in foster care are being provided the care needed to improve their overall well-being and secure a path to permanency.
Suicide Prevention: Videos, Apps and Blogs!
This Suicide Prevention Presentation provides an overview of suicide prevention initiatives currently underway at the Texas Department of State Health Services with a focus of new social media strategies and how MHSA and Title V offices are working together. The social media information involves youth documentary style videos called "Real Stories of Help & Hope” available on YouTube, and two new Smartphone Apps for suicide prevention. The videos are sponsored by the Texas Suicide Prevention Council and Mental Health America of Texas in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

SAMHSA Announces New Media and Suicide Prevention Blog - the New Media blog is a focal point for discussion about the uses of new media to advance the field of suicide prevention—to expand the usage of new media with the goal of saving lives. The blog will illuminate best practices, disseminate innovations, and inspire creativity. Please feel free to access the blog and post comments. Click here to visit the blog.

Combined Block Grant for Community Mental Health (CMH) and Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention (SAPT)
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) submitted an application on 9/1/2011 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Block Grant funding for the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012-2013. This document is now available on the MHSA Block Grant web page. The application is now combined for Community Mental Health (CMH) and Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention (SAPT) services for youth and adults throughout the state's 11 health and human services regions. While the application was combined, block grant funding will remain separate. The block grant federal funds provide approximately $33 million dollars a year to Texas for the provision of CMH Services and approximately $135 million dollars for SAPT services.
"Action Signs" Toolkit for Identifying Children With Unmet Mental Health Needs
A paper published in Pediatrics, Overlooked and Underserved: 'Action Signs' for Identifying Children With Unmet Mental Health Needs, reportson an analysis of many of the best available US epidemiologic data sets that yielded 11 easy describable symptom profiles, based on child and parent reports. The presence of any one of these symptom profiles, called "action signs," indicates that any child with the action sign has a high probability of having a severe mental health disorder. Accompanying the paper is also a free " Action Signs Toolkit" that provides dissemination tools, materials, and training guidelines for a wide variety of stakeholders including physicians, teachers, and parents as well as advocacy organizations.
New Free Teen Alcohol Risk Screening Guide Available
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has recently released a guide for health care professionals to help identify children and teenagers age 9 to 18 who are at risk for alcohol-related problems, provide brief counseling, and refer them to treatment resources if that is indicated. 
Better Integration of Mental Health Care Improves Depression Screening and Treatment in Primary Care
This one pager from the American Academy of Family Physicians summarizes the value/barriers of screening for depression and current lack of same in primary care. Improving screening and treatment for depression in primary care will require better mental health care integration. Depression is common in primary care, yet screening for the condition remains low. Enhanced, coordinated financial support for the integration of mental health care into primary care could improve identification and treatment of depression.
Report: PBIS and Social Emotional Learning Avoids Unnecessary Student Arrests
Having school resource officers (SROs) and other police in schools causes more harm than good, according to Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools, a report released recently by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI). When schools have law enforcement on site, students are more likely to get arrested by police instead of having discipline handled by school officials. Additionally, SROs and harsh, zero-tolerance policies are more likely to affect youth of color and youth with disabilities. Education Under Arrest recommends investing in schools and implementing practices like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Social and Emotional Learning; these result in better outcomes without negative effects of SROs such as unnecessary arrests and involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Promoting Youth Development in Schools
The UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools released an information brief for decision makers and planners about the fundamental importance of promoting youth development through enhancing student assets and improving settings and pairing it with an agenda to address factors interfering with such development. Click here to view the brief.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Guide for Policymakers
This guide was created in 2008 to educate policymakers about the scope and impact of childhood trauma, offer effective solutions that can be implemented with the support of informed public policy, and provide information about additional resources. Click here to download the report.
Breaking Schools' Rules: A Statewide Study on How School Discipline Relates to Students' Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement
The CSG Justice Center, in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, has released an unprecedented statewide study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students, followed for at least six years. Among its startling findings are that the majority of students were suspended or expelled between seventh to twelfth grade. The study also found that when students are suspended or expelled, the likelihood that they will repeat a grade, not graduate, and/or become involved in the juvenile justice system increases significantly. African-American students and children with particular educational disabilities who qualify for special education were suspended and expelled at especially high rates. Click here to read the full report or here for the Austin American Statesman article covering it.

New Study: Mental Problems of Soldiers' Kids Tied to Wars
A recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine analyzed medical records of 307,520 children of active-duty Army personnel, aged 5 to 17 years old. It found almost 17 percent of them exhibited mental health problems. Read an article on the study here.
Post-Session Health Care Debrief Materials
This Texas CHIP Coalition has posted the PowerPoint slides and other presentation documents from its July 6th legislative debrief meeting held in Austin. You can access the materials at the bottom of their website:
The Role of Children's Coverage Programs in a Changing Health Care Landscape: EPSDT, CHIP, and Health Care Reform
This NASHP report draws on a November 2010 stakeholder meeting entitled "EPSDT, CHIP and Health Reform: A Discussion with State EPSDT and CHIP Leaders,” and focuses on opportunities for effective Medicaid and CHIP collaboration to promote seamless, quality care for children. Click here to view report.
School-Based Health Center Capital Program: July 2011 Grantees
Good news for some Texas schools! The federal government recently announced awards from the Affordable Care Act to help school-based health centers expand and provide more health care services at schools nationwide, and seven of the grants are coming to Texas. Click on the link to view a fact sheet School-Based Health Centers: On the Front Line for Mental Health.

Texas Grantees:























Legislation Affecting the Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
The Department of State Health Services has posted information on the bills that passed during the 82nd Regular Legislative Session that pertain the agency. You can view the document here.

New Report on Mental Health Needs of Incarcerated Youth in Texas
A recent report by Disability Rights Texas, the National Center for Youth Law, and Texas Appleseed, "Thinking Outside the Cell: Alternatives to Incarceration for Youth with Mental Illness,- features three case studies of youth placed in the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center, the TYC facility designated for youth with serious mental illness or emotional disturbance. The report also features effective community-based intervention strategies currently being implemented in Texas and other jurisdictions to reduce the incidence of youth with mental health needs in the juvenile justice system. Policy recommendations concerning youth with mental illness involved in the juvenile justice system included.
Federal Report Provides Statistics on Child and Family Issues
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well Being, 2011- which provides detailed information on the welfare of children and families. This year's report provides detailed statistics about youth's family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. Findings from the 2011 report suggest that fewer 12th graders engaged in binge drinking, more 8th graders reported using drugs, and fewer teens died from injuries.

National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy includes Mental And Emotional Well-Being Priority: The National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy is a recently released comprehensive plan to help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. Called for by the Affordable Care Act, the National Prevention Strategy includes actions that public and private partners can take to help Americans stay healthy and fit. It helps move the nation away from a health care system focused on sickness and disease to one focused on wellness and prevention. View the full report here.
Building Strong Systems of Support for Young Children's Mental Health -Key Strategies for States and a Planning Tool
This recently released report from the National Center for Children in Poverty describes key strategies for creating a comprehensive system of supports for young children's mental health and provides examples from states using these strategies. It also includes a tool that state planners can use to assess progress and plan steps toward building a strong system of early childhood mental health supports.

School, Home, and Community: Connecting and Collaborating to Address Barriers to Learning
"Few argue against the notion that schools, homes, and communities should work closely with each other to meet their mutual goals. The reality, however, is that many schools are islands with no bridges to the community." This brief from the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools shares some lessons learned about building a strong infrastructure to support school, home, and community collaboration.

Developmental Screening Use by Pediatricians
A recent survey published by the journal Pediatrics indicates that while the percentage of pediatricians using a formal developmental screening tool has doubled in recent years, more than half of pediatricians providing care to patients younger than 3 years old fail to do so. View the abstract here.

New Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Resources for System of Care Communities
The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (TA Partnership) is pleased to announce a new series of publications designed to help system of care communities meet the mental health and related needs of young people involved or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. The series currently features three briefs, authored by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice:

Many Children Not Receiving Needed Mental Health Services, Study Finds-
Of nearly 7.4 million children in the United States diagnosed with emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions, a disproportionate number do not get the mental health services they need because they are underinsured, according to a new report released by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Free Online Suicide Prevention Training for TX Public High School Educators Mental Health America of Texas (MHAT) has launched a new free online interactive training simulation for Texas high school educators to help stop teen suicides. With a grant funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services, the interactive training simulation helps educators build skills and confidence to identify and refer students in psychological or suicidal distress and is available only to Texas public high school educators. Visit MHAT's website for more information.

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention: How to Do It Better Published by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, this article escribes ways in which prevention of child abuse and neglect can be utilized, even with the current economy. The corresponding policy page gives suggestions for ways that vulnerable communities can receive the services they need to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring.

Mental Health in Schools: Why Focus on School Policy? UCLA's Center for Mental Health in School's most recent newsletter includes the feature article, Mental Health in Schools: Why Focus on School Policy?, as well as an article on Response to Intervention (RtI) as part of a comprehensive system of student and learning supports. You can sign up to receive this monthly newsletter by clicking here.

SAMHSA New Website! The new website launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is directed towards making information about health reform and corresponding data, outcomes and funding opportunities easy to navigate. Included on the website are links to social networking activities, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

ADHD Online Resource Center NAMI has launched a new, interactive, online resource center to support children and adults living with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Website visitors can learn about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options; get tips on managing ADHD at home, school and work; watch a "Fireside Chat" video series of leading psychiatrists discussing the condition; read personal stories about living with and managing ADHD; keep up with current ADHD research; and much more. You can access the ADHD Online Resource Center by clicking here.

What Works for Home Visiting Programs. A new Child Trends fact sheet, What Works for Home Visiting Programs,synthesizes the findings from 66 rigorous evaluations of programs with a home visiting component. Overall, 32 programs had positive impacts on at least one child outcome, 23 had mixed reviews, and 11 were not proven to work.

Integration of Health and Behavioral Health Services Workgroup - Report to the 81st Legislature The Integration of Health and Behavioral Health Workgroup, established by House Bill 2196 during the 2009 legislative session, has filed its report to the Legislature, recommending best practices in policy, training and service delivery to promote the integration of health and behavioral health services in Texas.

Resources for Military Families The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has web-based resources available to help military families, including Military Families Knowledge Bank, which includes tips for talking with healthcare providers, tips for talking with your children, tips for talking about injuries of war with family members, and resources to help educate families, medical professionals, and school personnel about how to better serve military children who are experiencing traumatic grief.

Tracking Federal Investments in Children: First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions, has published two new reports regarding federal investments in children.The Children's Budget 2010 provides an analysis of the over 180 federally funded programs that are aimed at enhancing the well-being of children, and how their appropriations levels have changed over the past five years. Kids' Share 2010 is the fourth annual examination of the federal spending trends and tax policies that support and affect children and families.
Advocates Round Table (ART) - A group of cross-disability advocates (both individuals and organizations), has come together to create the Advocates Round Table (ART) to carry a common message to the legislature regarding the impact of the impending health and human services budget reductions. That message is "Invest in Community: Real People, Responsible Solutions.- ART would very much like to have the mental health advocacy community join their efforts by participating in their meetings and distributing the survey. If you are interested and would like to get involved, you can contact Sarah Watkins at or Dennis Borel at
Healing Invisible Wounds: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense was a policy brief released by theJustice Policy Institute.The brief examines the relationship between childhood trauma and involvement in the juvenile justice system. According to the brief, while research shows that up to 34 percent of children in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic event, between 75 and 93 percent of youth entering the juvenile justice system annually are estimated to have experienced some degree of trauma.
New Series of Studies Show Suicide Attempts Constitute a Significant Portion of Drug-Related Hospital Emergency Department Visits. A new series of studies analyzing drug-related hospital emergency department visits throughout the country during 2008 reveals a substantial percentage of these visits involve suicide attempts. According to these studies conducted by theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) more than one in every twelve (8.8 percent) drug-related hospital emergency department visit by an adolescent is a suicide attempt--double the rate found among cases involving those age 25 and older (4.4 percent). Among cases involving young adults aged 18 to 25 the attempted suicide rate was 6.6 percent.

State Considers Tougher Child Care Requirements was an article released by The Texas Tribune. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is considering stricter standards for its Child Care Licensing division. DFPS proposes that two caregivers can oversee up to 18 two-year-olds and up to 28 three-year-olds as opposed to the current standard, 22 two-year-olds and up to 30 three-year-olds for two caregivers. Child care professionals have differing views about the proposed standards. Some believe the new standards will improve care for Texas children while others believe that the proposed standards will result in less income for their businesses and higher tuition for families.

A Healthy Mind Makes a Healthy Body in Teens was an article in Science Daily that highlights the report, "How Adolescents' Mental Health Predicts their Physical Health: Unique Contributions of Indicators of Subjective well-being and Psychopathology." According to Emily Shaffer-Hudkins and her team, from the University of South Florida, adolescents' positive emotions and moods, as well as their satisfaction with life, could be more important than their anxiety or depression levels for predicting their physical health. Looking at teenagers' so-called 'subjective well-being' could help identify those likely to develop health problems in the future and target them with appropriate prevention strategies.

Helping Child Welfare Workers Support Families with Substance Use, Mental, and Co-Occurring Disorders is a set of training modules from the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. The modules are intended to provide learning opportunities and baseline knowledge on substance abuse and mental health problems and interventions; motivate and facilitate cross-systems work; and incorporate cultural awareness and facilitate cultural competency in child welfare practice.

One in Five Preschool Children in the U.S. Demonstrates Mental Health Issues When Entering Kindergarten was an article in Science Daily that highlights two reports: "Prevalence of DSM-IV Disorder in a Representative, Healthy Birth Cohort at School Entry" and "Minding the Transition to School." Social competence and behavior problems that are evident at kindergarten and first grade are known to be strong predictors of a child's academic and social functioning. However, findings reported in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggest that psychosocial risk factors can be identified even earlier and can be observed during the transition from preschool to formal schooling.

Some Medicaid Doctors Rely Heavily on Potent Drugs was an article in The Texas Tribune. The article highlights increasing trends of antipsychotic prescriptions to Texas Medicaid patients and how several physicians are profiting from the increase in prescriptions. Although psychotropic drugs only represent 2 percent of the 30 million Medicaid prescriptions filled every year, 70 percent of Medicaid patients are under age 19. These types of medicines have serious side effects in kids and therefore, prescriptions should be heavily monitored.

Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium Presentations are now accessible online. Presentations include various topics from suicide prevention training, substance use and mental health on college campuses, to at-risk training for high school educators.

DSHS Behavioral Health Data Book: The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Behavioral Health Data Book is now available online. You can view information from the second quarter of FY2010 by clicking here. (Thanks MHSA Division!)

Most Medicaid Children in Nine States are Not Receiving All Required Preventative Screening Services. Texas was included in this federal study which found three out of four children did not receive all required screenings. In 9 States, 76 percent of children did not receive 1 or more of the required EPSDT medical, vision, or hearing screenings. Forty-one percent of children did not receive any required medical screenings. Click here to read the full report.

State Early Childhood Policy Profiles provides a comprehensive view of state policies that promote health, education, and strong families to help early development and school readiness of America's youngest citizens. The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) released the early childhood profiles in order to improve the odds for young children. These profiles highlight states' policy choices alongside other contextual data related to the well-being of young children.Texas' profile is also located on the site.

Call for the Inclusion of MH and Addiction Services in Federal Health Information Technology Provisions.The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health(HITECH) Act was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in January of 2009, creating new Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement incentives to encourage a wide array of providersto adopt and utilize electronic health records. Mental health and addiction services were not included in the act, whichis intended topromote widespread adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) to increase healthcare quality, reduce medical errors, andpromote care coordination.The Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010 (HR 5040) wouldextend provisions to include mental health and addiction services to improve care coordination and integrated care. To learn more, including how you can support this effort, please view background sheet from the National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care.

Invitation to Open Dialogue about Words Used in the Mental Health Community: Pam Hyde, head of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has opened a dialogue about words that are used--or avoided--in the mental health community. For example, some believe "consumer" is too vague or demeaning for a person who lives with mental illness, but "patient" and "client" are too medical or subservient in nature. Other terms that may lack clear definition include "mental health" and "recovery." Read Hyde's invitation for dialogue and the list of terms she mentions. Send your comments to

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Seeking Public Comments (Dallas, San Antonio hearings)
The Texas Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program will be holding public hearings in June and July to give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed changes in both our state rules, as well as on our proposed standards manual for our local contractors. Click here to see the hearing schedule as well as the items posted for comment. Items that may be of particular interest to stakeholders include changes in the system of collecting fees from those families found eligible to pay for some services, and new requirements for criminal background checks for employees of local ECI programs. Interested persons who are unable to attend a hearing are also invited to submit written comments.
Child Care Licensing Seeking Feedback From Parents
The Child Care Licensing division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services wants parents' input to improve child care.They have released a 10 minute survey. Click here to complete the survey.
Survey - Improving Child/Youth Placement Outcomes: A System Redesign (Foster Care Redesign) explains how the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and others in the system are working to redesign the Texas foster care system. The website describes guiding principles, objectives, and pieces and recommendations for the redesign effort. DFPS seeks input about the project through their online survey.
2009 DFPS Annual Report and Data BookTexas Department of Family and Protective ServicesAnnual Report/Data Book is an overview of the department's programs, services, performance, and accomplishments, and a comprehensive statistical resource of DFPS services. This report and databook cover the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1, 2008 through Aug. 31, 2009.

Building Better Beginnings: Improving Texas Child Care StandardsReportfrom theTexas Association for Infant Mental Health (TAIMH) on Texas child care standards

Early Childhood Mental Health Services: Four State Case Studies. Policy analysis of early childhood mental health services in Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. Released by the Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE).

New SAMHSA Initiative Heads to Region VI in Dallas, TX In support of theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s efforts to mobilize and coordinate behavioral action in partnership with key leadership in States and communities, SAMHSA is establishing a Regional Office in Region VI inDallas, Texas beginning in May 2010 in partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Find out more here.

Active and Healthy Schools Get Kids Moving: MU researchers implement program to increase student's activity was an article released by U.S. News and World Reports. A Missouri elementary school recently adopted the Active and Healthy Schools Program, a program aimed to help increase kids' activity levels, improve their attention span and reduce discipline problems. As a part of the program, students participate in 3-5 minute activity breaks throughout the day, including games such as jumping, walking or climbing stairs, and may occur inside or outside of the classroom. After breaks, teachers resume schoolwork and students' attention levels are restored.

Attitudes Toward Mental Illness: 35 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, 2007was recently released by the Center for Disease Control.The report provides in-depth look at attitudes surrounding mental illness in 35 states, including Texas.CDC analyzed data using the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which included two questions on attitudes toward mental illness. Most adults (88.6%) agreed with a statement that treatment can help persons with mental illness lead normal lives, but fewer (57.3%) agreed with a statement that people are generally caring and sympathetic to persons with mental illness.

Department of Family and Protective Services Updates Online Handbooks. Handbook and Operating Policy revisions for June 1, 2010 have been published by DFPS. Handbooks include: Child Protective Services Handbook, APS MH&MR Investigations Handbook, Statewide Intake Policy and Procedures Handbook.

Far From Home was an article published by The Texas Tribune that discusses the life of 16-year-old Richard DeMaar. Richard was one of roughly 900 out-of-state kids sent to a Texas residential treatment center in the last five years,part of a national compact that allows states that do not have adequate psychiatric or mental health services to send kids to states that do. The practice is designed to help troubled kids get the level of care they need, regardless of where they call home. The practice has increasingly come under fire from children's health advocates, who say it takes kids away from their families and their communities --two things they need to make a full-fledged recovery.

Helping Child Welfare Workers Support Families with Substance Use, Mental, and Co-occurring Disorders.SAMHSA's NCSACW is proud to announce the launch of the Helping Child Welfare Workers Support Families with Substance Use, Mental, and Co-Occurring Disorders Training Packagetoolkit. Developed for child welfare professionals, it is intended to provide learning opportunities and baseline knowledge on substance abuse and mental health problems and interventions; motivate and facilitate cross-systems work; and incorporate cultural awareness and facilitate cultural competency in child welfare practice. The toolkit covers six modules and provides a range of training materials that were developed to be adapted to meet the needs of child welfare trainers for in-person workshops or training sessions.

Juvenile Justice, Mental Health and Youth of Color: A Framework for Action in Texas is a report recently published by Southwest Key Programsand the Inter-American Institute for Youth Justice at the University of Texas at Austin. Funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the report describes findings from a symposium with national and local experts, as well as stakeholder focus groups with youth, parents and providers. The study confirmed disparities in access, quality of treatment and aftercare for minority youth in the Texas juvenile justice system and provided a set of policy recommendations to address these issues.

Substance-Exposed Infants: State Responses to the Problem assesses state policy from the broadest perspective: prevention, intervention, identification, and treatment of prenatal substance exposure, including immediate and ongoing services for the infant, the mother, and the family. In the study , NCSACW reviews states' policies regarding: pre-pregnancy prevention efforts; screening and assessment in the prenatal period; testing at birth and notification of child protective services (CPS) in cases in which infants are identified as substance-affected; the provision of services to SEI and their parents after a CPS referral is made or other agencies become involved; and the processing of SEI-related referrals to developmental disabilities agencies.

Economic Impact of Emotional Problems in Childhood. A new study published online in the journal Social Science and Medicinesheds light on the economic consequences of having a childhood emotional or psychological problem, such as depression, attention deficit disorder, or substance abuse. Researchers have discovered that such concerns can diminish a person's ability to work, significantly impacting their lifetime earnings - people who reported having psychological problems during childhood averaged $10,400 less income per year when compared to siblings who did not have similar problems. The lower income was partly a consequence of working an average of seven weeks fewer per year.

Corporal Punishment and Aggressive Behavior in Children was a study published in the journal Pediatrics. The study examines the association between mothers' use of corporal punishment (spanking) against three-year-old children and subsequent aggressive behavior among those children. Participants were a part of the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (1998-2005), a population-based, birth cohort study of children born in 20 large US cities. The study authors assessed maternal reports of corporal punishment, children's aggressive behaviors at three and five years of age and many key demographic features and potential confounding factors. They found that a mother's use of spanking more than twice in the previous month when the child was three years of age was associated with increased risk for higher levels of child aggression at age five, among other findings.

Passage of Pospartum Depression Legislation will help provide support services to women suffering frompostpartum depressionand psychosis. The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act will also help to educate mothers and their families about these conditions and supports research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression and psychosis. The initiative was signed into law after being included as part of the health insurance reform legislation.

Child and Family Mental Health: Research and MessagingTheFrameWorks Institute has created a web page featuring resources developed from a multi-year study of public perceptions about child and family mental health. The research is intended to inform effective framing strategy related to mental health by gaining a better grasp of the gap between frames used by the media, expert knowledge and public understanding. Lots of good stuff here!

Positive Youth Justice: Framing Justice Interventions Using the Concepts of Positive Youth Development is a new report released by theCoalition for Juvenile Justice. The report promotes a framework rooted in Positive Youth Development (PYD), a "strength-based, resilience-oriented perspective on adolescence." The report provides ideas of how to use PYD to design interventions and create outcome measures for youth justice agencies.

Texas School-to-Prison Pipeline, School Expulsion Report was recently released by Texas Appleseed. The report documents the trends in expulsion of students to Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEPs) and to the streets. The report finds that a disproportionate share of minority and special education students are being expelled from Texas public schools for non-criminal, non-violent offenses. Being expelled from school increases these students' chances of advancing farther in the school-to-prison pipeline. The Texas Tribune also featured an article discussing the reports' major findings.


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