What Would Real Mental Health Access Look Like?

In Connecticut today, the issue of mental health access, particularly for children and adolescents, is being discussed in the State House.  I hope the problem of high deductibles insurance plans will be brought up, as this is a major barrier to mental health care for the poor and middle class.

The day after a gun control hearing that lasted until nearly 3 a.m. state legislators will take up what may be an even tougher topic: addressing mental health problems in children and adolescents. – Courant.com.

Support National Children’s Mental Health Funding

An email from the Children’s Mental Health Network about an upcoming Action:

ACTION ALERT

The federal government supports many programs that benefit all Americans, including mental health and social services; public health; housing; public safety and law enforcement; medical and scientific research; and education and job training. In Washington, these programs are collectively referred to as “nondefense discretionary” or simply “NDD” programs. On January 2, 2013 these programs will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of 8.2 percent through an arcane budget tool known as “sequestration” unless Congress works together to prevent these cuts through a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction.

On September 20th please join us in a National NDD Community Call-in and Tweet Day and ask your member of Congress to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs, including children’s mental health.

NDD programs represent a relatively small and shrinking share of the federal budget and our overall economy—already reduced to levels not seen since President Eisenhower held office. They are not the drivers of the debt. In fact, even completely eliminating all NDD programs would still not balance the budget. Yet to date NDD programs have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts. If sequestration is allowed to take effect, core services upon which Americans have come to rely will be greatly curtailed or even eliminated.

Email, Call, Tweet, or Facebook your Members of Congress on September 20th to let them know that NDD programs, including children’s mental health and research, have already done their part to help reduce the deficit – it’s now time for a balanced approach! We have made links on the Network website to send an email, sample Facebook posts, Tweets, and information about how to call your Members of Congress and are also included below to help you advocate to protect public health and research from further cuts! These materials are also available on the Coalition for Health Funding’s website.

Email Your Congressman

Take approximately five minutes and send an email to your Members of Congress: http://www.cmhnetwork.org/share-your-voice. You’ll simply click the “Take Action” button, scroll to the bottom of the page, enter your name, address, and contact information. Click the blue Send Message button and you’re done!

Call Your Congressman

For those not familiar with calling the offices of your Members of Congress, you can call the Capitol Switchboard and asked to be connected to your Members’ offices. The phone number is (202) 224-3121. You can also go to http://www.Congress.org to find the office’s direct line and to look up your Members of Congress.

Suggested Facebook Posts

This January, essential jobs and services will face more deep cuts through sequestration. There is bipartisan agreement that these cuts would be devastating to the nation. Only through a balanced approach can we avoid sequestration, balance the budget and restore the nation’s economic stability. Take action!

Suggested Tweets

How to Tweet Your Members of Congress:
Use the Children’s Mental Health Network Tweet Your Legislator tool to get in touch with your member of Congress via Twitter. For those relatively new to Twitter, this is a great Twitter 101 Guide from the folks at Half in Ten/Center for American Progress.

Template
Invest in public health, mental health, medical research, & infrastructure [insert Member Twitter handle]. Support balance to stop #sequestration! #NDDUnited.

Sample
Invest in public health, mental health, medical research, & infrastructure @MaxBaucus. Support balance to stop #sequestration! #NDDUnited

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Template (links to NDD national sign-on letter)
Remember [insert Member Twitter handle] over 3000 groups want you to support a balanced approach to stop #sequestration! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

Sample
Remember @MaxBaucus, over 3000 groups want you to support a balanced approach to stop #sequestration!http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

———————————-

Template
#Sequestration means an 8.2% cut to #mentalhealth funding in 2013. [insert Member Twitter handle] support a balanced approach! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

Sample
#Sequestration means an 8% cut to #mentalhealth funding in 2013. @MaxBaucus support a balanced approach! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

———————————-

Template (links to The Hill editorial by American Federation of School Administrators)
#Sequestration devastates medical research, education, & infrastructure. [insert Member Twitter handle] find a balanced solution! http://bit.ly/OPmbSl #NDDUnited

Sample
#Sequestration devastates medical research, education, & infrastructure. @MaxBaucus find a balanced solution! http://bit.ly/OPmbSl #NDDUnited

———————————-

Let us know what you need from the Network! We love feedback so let us know how we can improve the website to better meet your needs. Contact us here. As always, thank you for your continued support of the Children’s Mental Health Network, and remember to take action on September 20th!

Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

http://cmhnetwork.org

Self Defense for Children

So, about a century after the rest of the cyberworld I got on Twitter, perfect for the short attention span. If the net is monkey-mind, Twitter is gerbil-mind.

I’m tweet-buddy with about 500 sites and get some really cool links from across the spectrum.

Modern Family Life posts an excellent short review of effective self-defense techniques that can be used by children to deter and defuse potential dangers.

Retreat!

Ask your kids to discontinue the journey if they feel something not right even if it’s their usual route on a bright sunny day. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Stay In Numbers

Who cares if you hop into a crowd that gives you the dumbfounded stares? That’s exactly what your kids need to deter advances from any potential attackers.

Be A Whistle Blower

Assure your child that they have every reason to alert the crowd or someone who are able to assist them if they’re pretty sure of just having escaped an attack. Shouting on top of their voice such as “HELP!” or “THIEF!” are good attention-grabbers.

These techniques work for adults as well.

One new factor in daily life is the cell phone, and while we should not over-estimate the potential of the cell phone for getting help in a bad situation, it does keep us connected and cuts down on the chances of being isolated without anyone knowing where you are.

Interviews with Parents from Achievement First New York

There are two of these.  This first one is very good.  There is some unfortunate noise in the background for the first 10 minutes or so, but you can still hear the parent, and what she has to say confirms a lot of my suspicions about the way corporate-run charter schools with extreme disciplinary policies run.  As she put it at one point, children are taught that, “All of your independent thinking is not necessary.  All of your creative thinking is not necessary.”

Child Protection

Rev. Anne Grant has an alarming op-ed about the failure of the child protection system to fulfill its mandate to put the welfare of the child first. From ProJo.com…

We have a new chief judge of the Rhode Island Family Court, Haiganush R. Bedrosian, so it is time we banished the ghost of Dr. Richard Gardner, whose coercive tactics in Rhode Island courtrooms have been haunting families traumatized by domestic abuse.
Victims of terror do not present well in court. They are tense, emotional and understandably outraged. On the opposing side, tyrannical controllers can be calm and charming litigants, confident in the damage they have inflicted. Their lawyers, who are often accomplished bullies in their own right, tell astounding lies calculated to trigger a full display of symptoms in the victims.

Even recognizing that there are contentious divorces and false accusations, the picture Rev.Grant paints of Family Court is a comfortable place for lawyers and judges, but a deadly one for victims of crime.

Would Raymond A. Grundy have been walking free if those responsible for justice made him accountable? Would Staria Silva be alive today if Grundy had been prosecuted for every offense he committed against women and children?

Grundy has been in and out of the Adult Correctional Institutions for a variety of offenses. The last time was in early November, when he spent a night at the ACI before making bail on the charge of assaulting Silva.

Although Grundy has the names of his two older daughters tattooed on his body, he also has a record of assaulting their mother, Gail M. Arnold.

Arnold applied for several restraining orders against Grundy in the mid-1990s, writing about his “uncontrollable” temper and her fears for herself and their daughters. But Arnold failed to appear at hearings and the orders were dismissed.

Reading Anne Grant’s account of what she witnessed in court, it’s understandable that victims lose hope of finding justice or protection.

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of crime and needs advice and support, call
Victims of Crime Helpline
1-800-494-8100
There is help.

Talking Back to Sarah Palin

I don’t watch Family Guy, because even though Seth MacFarlane is local, he seems to have been deeply affected by Garfield cartoons. I just can’t get past that. Sorry.

He’s also offensive. I watched part of one episode and it struck me as creepy-racist-misogynist and I only lasted a few minutes. Sorry– I can’t justify it in an argument, it was just an impression. Maybe I’m wrong. Just an opinion.

We don’t all think alike. Sarah Palin took a recent episode of Family Guy as a slam on people with Down Syndrome. Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who did the voice for the cartoon character, thinks otherwise. She herself has Down Syndrome, but she is an adult and too large to carry around as a prop and old enough to speak for herself. So read what she says here.

You may agree with her or not, but it’s good to remember that people with Down Syndrome are not God’s innocent angels sent here to teach us something about life, but actual people who have their own lives to live. Trig Palin will grow up, and I hope he will have a good life. Sarah Palin better hope she doesn’t pick up the NYT some day and see a best-seller called, ‘Drafted–My Life on the Campaign Trail When Mommy Went Rogue’, or ‘Going Rough–Missed Naps and Noisy Crowds in Days that Made History’. At least it’s not ‘Vice-President, Dearest’ –not yet.

Daily Kos has the startling news that Sarah Palin’s grandson receives health care coverage from socialized medicine.

TOUGH WEEK: Palin came in third runner-up in the Conservative Popularity Awards Convention (CPAC) Pageant. It seems unfair. She has way better hair than Ron Paul, who might want to consider having a little work done– nothing drastic, just a little lift. Mitt Romney is tough competition. I think he’s encased in some kind of impermeable wrinkle-proof plastic. He’d better wear Kevlar under the suit though, because Sarah Barracuda does not forgive or forget. Except for things Rush Limbaugh says or things she needs to not recall in testimony.