Childhood Mental Health

Austism Spectrum Disorder:Parents' Medication Guide from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Families USA Fact Sheet on ACA Replacement Proposals
Our friends at Families USA have put together a very user-friendly fact sheet that highlights many of the important issues with ACA Replacement. Please utilize for the Town Hall meetings that are occurring and as you speak with your Congressional representatives. Download the report HERE.
Excellent children's mental health report from the Child Mind Institute. Easy to read and "useable" report HERE.
Our schools are in a mental health crisis. They also provide a remarkable opportunity for transforming the lives of millions of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders, if we are willing to make a commitment to them and to creating meaningful change in our schools. The 2016 Child Mind Institute Children's Mental Health Report explores the magnitude of the mental health problem in schools and potential solutions

Christie Administration's Effective Reform Of New Jersey's Child Welfare System Results In Historic Agreement To Transition From Federal Oversight

Exit Plan Provides For Responsible, Attainable End Of Federal Oversight Building On Record Of Improving Services, Care and Positive Child Outcomes.
Read the press release HERE

CDC - Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Adolescents Aged 5-17 Years with Diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), by Race and Hispanic Ethnicity - National Health Interview Survey, United States, 1997-2014

Items of Interest

FRANKLIN - Sometimes, through tragedy, opportunity presents itself. That is exactly the case for a pair of Sussex County mothers who after losing their sons came together to plan a walk to "change the face of addiction," with each having a different definition of what that means.

"I was thinking it meant for people to understand addiction. To understand it's a disease. And I thought maybe if I stepped forward more people would be able to face addiction head on and say, "I"m an addict. I have a child who is an addict and move forward" said Elaine Tizzano, of Franklin, whose son George died last year at the age of 27.

Read More from the New Jersey Herald

Speak Up For Kids 2015

Creating change in children's mental health requires that many people and organizations work together for a common cause - helping the millions of children facing mental health and learning challenges get the care and support they need and deserve. The Child Mind Institute is part of a diverse community of organizations, advocates, and activists dedicated to transforming children's lives and to creating change in children's mental health.
We invite you to learn more about us and to get involved by sharing accurate information, starting a conversation and helping create a better world for our children.
The Change Maker Awards are made possible through the generous sponsorship of our national partner, Hunter.

Data Brief: Psychiatric Medication Use Among NJ Children

One of the most controversial areas in children's mental health includes the use of psychotropic medications in children and youth. Currently, more than six percent of American children and youthare estimated to take some kind of psychiatric medication, and the usage rates continue to rise. With the exception of ADHD drugs, many of those medications are not yet approved by the FDA for use with children, but prescribed by medical practitioners based on their judgment and experience. In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a "black box" warning--its strongest safety alert--linking antidepressants to increased suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and youth. Read More..

DDD Will Hold Family Focus Groups in February

Click HERE to download an invitation to participate in a Focus Group on Quality. The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is undergoing a great deal of systems change and is inviting families to share their ideas. If you're interested please register for the event by emailing Diane Flynn, DDD communications.

Fee for Service System

The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities, which serves individuals 21 years of age and older, is moving closer to implementing a fee for service system. To prepare you for this shift, The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute has begun to develop materials and trainings. Over the next couple months The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute will be sending out materials to keep you informed, and holding webinars and workshops to give you the training necessary to navigate this new service delivery system.

We strongly encourage you to carefully review the fee for service materials below. It is important to understand how the changes will affect your loved one so that you can better advocate on their behalf.

These materials are just the beginning.

Growing Up With Addiction and/or Mental Health Disorders: Prevention by Targeting Troubled Families

is the newest video from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Road to Recovery Television Series, delving into the relationship of addiction and trauma, acknowledging the long-term impacts on children and families. This episode features strategies for identifying and working with troubled families to break the cycle of addiction. Watch the trailer for the show below and download the complete program:

ADHD Diagnoses Increased More Than 50% in a Decade

Posted courtesy of Federation of Families of South Carolina:

In 2011, eleven percent of school-age children had been diagnosed with ADHD. That's sixteen percent more than in 2007 and 53 percent more than a decade ago, according to a New York Times analysis of new data from the Center for Disease Control.

This comes out to a grand total 6.4 million children in the US, up to 4 million of whom have prescriptions for Adderall, Ritalin, or other medication, a class of drugs that brings in an estimated $9 billion in sales annually. The Times found that boys, particularly teenage boys ages 14-17, have the highest rates of diagnosis, though no one knows why:

The New York Times

The director of the CDC told the New York Times that "The right medications for A.D.H.D., given to the right people, can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate." The CDC estimates that we spend $31.6 billion annually in health care and work absence costs for children and adults with ADHD and their families.

Clearly, more and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD. What the new study doesn't tell us is whether more and more kids actually have it. Another recent CDC study, that both surveyed parents and screened children, suggested doctors are over-diagnosing ADHD in some kids while overlooking the condition in others. The survey, which focused on South Carolina and Oklahoma, found that of children taking ADHD medication, only 40 percent in South Carolina and 28 percent in Oklahoma actually met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

In other words, the current system for diagnosing kids with ADHD is probably not working very well. Meanwhile, as another recent story in the Times demonstrated, concerns over the potential side effects of ADHD medications - which can include addiction and anxiety - are mounting.

MentalHealthCares Helpline Offers Anxiety Disorder Screening

If you or someone you know may be suffering from generalized anxiety or depression, call the MHANJ's NJMentalHealthCares Helpline and take the anxiety disorders screening or depression screening. The number to call is 1-866-202-HELP (4357) (TTY 1-877-294-4356). The screening only takes a few minutes and provides confidential results and information on where to find treatment.

Sesame Street's - "Little Children, Big Challenges,"

New resource that is intended to help parents and educators to build resilience in young children. This initiative provides "free resources designed to help children navigate everyday challenges such as separating for the day, sharing, and overcoming mistakes." The website features links to material including guides for families, lessons for educators and activities for children.

Click HERE for the website which has a wealth of information and links.

Mental Illness Risk Higher for Children of Older Fathers, Study Finds

Children born to middle-aged men are more likely than those born to younger fathers to develop any of a range of mental difficulties, including attention deficits, bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia, according to the most comprehensive study to date of paternal age and offspring mental health.

In recent years, scientists have debated based on mixed evidence whether a father's age is linked to his child's vulnerability to individual disorders like autism and schizophrenia. Some studies have found strong associations,while others have found weak associations or none at all.

Read New York Times article HERE

Vice President Biden Announces $100 Million to Increase Access to Mental Health Services

As part of the Administration's ongoing commitment to help individuals experiencing mental health problems, today Vice President Biden announced that $100 million will soon be available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities. "The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable. The President and I have made it a priority to do everything we can to make it easier to access mental health services, and today's announcements by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture build on that commitment," said Vice President Biden. Over the past several years, the Administration has taken steps to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illness, and to ensure that millions of Americans have access to health insurance that covers mental health and substance abuse disorder services at parity with medical and surgical benefits. Also, the President has proposed an additional $130 million in his FY 2014 Budget for efforts such as helping to ensure teachers and other adults who work with youth can recognize signs of mental illness and connect children and their families to the treatment they need.

Georgetown University's 2014 Institutes Call for Proposals Now Available

Georgetown University has released their call for proposals for their upcoming 2014 Training Institutes. It will be held from July 16 - 20 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside of Washington D.C. The theme for this year's conference is "Improving Children's Mental Health Care in an Era of Change, Challenge, and Innovation: The Role of the System of Care Approach". If you have a family-driven or youth-guided presentation you would like to submit for consideration, please do so HERE.

Promoting Recovery and Independence for Older Adolescents and
Young Adults Who Experience Serious Mental Health Challenges - 2013 SAMHSA

Download the PDF

NJ Children's System of Care

DCF's Children's System of Care, CSOC, (formerly the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services, CSOCI) serves children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral health care challenges and their families; and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families. CSOC is committed to providing these services based on the needs of the child and family in a family-centered, community-based environment. Call Perform Care at 1-877-652-7624.

Eligibility Determination for Children with Developmental Disabilities

As of January 1, 2013, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families - Children's System of Care (CSOC) assumed responsibility for determining eligibility for developmental disability services of children under age 18. This eligibility process for children, which was formerly completed by the Division of Developmental Disabilities, is required under New Jersey law in order to access publicly available developmental disability services. Eligibility for individuals under 18, including life-long planning after age 18, is provided by the Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities. More information on this can be found at the Division of Developmental Disabilities Website or by calling 1-800-832-9173.


Mom2Mom offers 24/7 peer support to mothers of children with special needs.

Download the PDF for more information

County-Based Family Support Organizations (FSO's)

FSO's are family-run, county-based organizations that provide direct family-to-family peer support, education, advocacy and other services to family members of children with emotional and behavioral problems. Please click on your county to access more information:

Wraparound Process

The Wraparound Process User's Guide - A Handbook for Families. This User's Guide was created to serve as a "road map" for family members. You can use it to help make sure your family is on the right path, and make sure the process follows closely to the principles and activities of wraparound.

NJ Youth Guide to Wraparound Services.

Why Is Children's Mental Health Important?

Mental health - an essential part of children's overall health - has a complex interactive relationship with their physical health and their ability to succeed in school, at work and in society. Both physical and mental health affect how we think, feel and act on the inside and outside.

For instance, an overweight young boy who is teased about his weight may withdraw socially and become depressed and may be reluctant to play with others or exercise, which further contributes to his poorer physical health and as a result poorer mental health. These issues have long-term implications on the ability of children and youth to fulfill their potential as well as consequences for the health, education, labor, and criminal justice systems of our society.

For instance, a boy named Bobby is being physically abused by his father and often acts out aggressively at school. His behavior is a natural reaction to the abuse, but his behavior may also mark the beginning of undiagnosed conduct disorder. His teachers simply see him as a troublemaker and continually punish his behavior. Later, Bobby drops out of school as a teenager because he finds it a harsh and unwelcoming environment and is anxious to leave his abusive home and fend for himself. However, holding down a job is difficult because Bobby often clashes with his coworkers and supervisors due to his aggression. Bobby has also begun to self-medicate by abusing alcohol and has been arrested a number of times for drunken disorderliness. By the time Bobby finally receives a proper diagnosis of his conduct disorder and substance abuse, he is in his thirties and his mental health problems have become deeply entrenched. They will require extensive therapy, which Bobby probably cannot afford without a job that provides adequate health insurance. Things could have been very different if Bobby was referred to a psychologist in his childhood who could have diagnosed him, offered effective treatment, and alerted the authorities about the abuse.

All children and youth have the right to happy and healthy lives and deserve access to effective care to prevent or treat any mental health problems that they may develop. However, there is a tremendous amount of unmet need, and health disparities are particularly pronounced for children and youth living in low-income communities, ethnic minority youth or those with special needs. (American Psychological Association)


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