Mid-America MHTTC Newsletter
July 2020

June has come and gone, but we have much to show for the weeks that have passed.

At the beginning of the month, we saw much of the nation rally in support of Black lives, a long overdue shift in public resolve to build a racially equitable society. Our Center strives to improve access to quality mental health services for all, and we know that Black Americans in particular endure a unique set of mental health concerns stemming from systemic and overt racist structures. With this in mind, we pledge to improve and increase our training and technical assistance offered in relation to these issues.

One of our first actions was meeting with our regional Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) and Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) partners and committing our collective energy and resources to these efforts. Our three centers issued the following statement on the matter:
To start, our centers produced a Racial Equity Resource Packet that can be downloaded for free here. The handouts, videos, websites and more listed in this document pertain to behavioral health, SUD, working with children, and discrimination, race and privilege. Please share widely, and note that this resource packet and our pledge mark only the beginning of our commitment to increasing our impact in addressing racial disparities.


Also in June, we saw our work transition from immediate-term pandemic-related programming to planning for future webinar series, learning communities, training modules and more. Read on for more information on a few of these upcoming opportunities, new resources from the past month, and a picture-perfect staff spotlight.
Be well,

The Team at the Mid-America MHTTC
We hope to connect with you through one of our events!
Trauma Informed Schools Conference
June 29-July 1 | ONLINE
Providing Mental Health Telehealth Services in Farming and Rural Communities
July 9 | ONLINE
Midwest School Mental Health Virtual Conference
August 6-7 | ONLINE
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month - July 1-31
Independence Day - July 4
International Self-Care Day - July 24
Grief counseling products, training events available this summer
The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences have caused significant loss, including lives, livelihoods and social/physical connections — and it has impacted how we grapple with death and mourning.

In response, the Mid-America MHTTC and MHTTC partners from across the country are developing grief, loss and bereavement resources, and training opportunities. For one, the MHTTC Network will kick off a Virtual Learning Institute on grief sensitivity and grief counseling during COVID-19. More information on this will be available in the coming weeks.

In July, the Network will publish a series of grief fact sheets to help mental health professionals and school mental health personnel support patients, students and families who may be experiencing grief related to the loss of a loved one.

NEW RESOURCE: Addressing Mental Health Workforce Needs
The U.S. has seen a major shortage of mental health providers as well as barriers to accessing evidence-based and culturally and linguistically responsive care among diverse subpopulations. Curated by the MHTTC Workforce Development Working Group, this document defines the mental health workforce and workforce development, identifies major needs of the mental health workforce, and highlights projects of the MHTTC Network designed to address those needs. Download the report here.
SAVE THE DATE: New webinar series to shed light on family peer support systems
Families of persons with serious mental illness play an important role in the lives of their loved ones. In addition to being caring siblings, parents or spouses, they often function as caregivers and can be an asset to any mental health team to assure optimal benefit of treatment.

A new workforce is emerging to support these families.  Family Peer Support   workers  are persons with a lived experience trained to provide support to other family members who are caring for a person with a serious mental illness.

In our upcoming webinar  Family Peer Support: An Emerging Workforce , we will introduce family peer support as a profession, explore its roles and functions, and highlight specific training needs.

Register now  for the webinar airing  12-1 p.m. Thursday, August 20 .

The recording of the webinar as well as additional resources will be posted  on the web page
NEW RESOURCE: School Mental Health Program Overview Video
The Mid-America Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) serves the four states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri with a focus on integrated care, schools and mental health training programs. This video provides an overview of the Center's school mental health program. Watch the video embedded above, or click here.
Integrated Care
Our Center's integrated care team regrouped in June after organizing and supporting numerous immediate-term pandemic-related trainings. We have much in store for the coming months, including a new monthly webinar series on topics in pediatric integrated care and the first course in a series of online modules covering the basics of integrated care, including how to build systems of integrated care, choosing the right business model, how to treat specific disorders in a clinical setting, and more. The content for the modules will form the basis for more in-depth learning communities we will lead for our region in 2021. Applications for these will begin to go out this fall.

In the meantime, be sure to tune in at 12 p.m. Thursday, July 9, to Providing Mental Health Telehealth Services in Farming and Rural Communities, the second webinar in the series Improving Mental Health Service Access for Farming and Rural Communities co-hosted by the Mountain Plains MHTTC and American Psychological Association. In the July 9 webinar, our integrated care faculty trainer Dr. Holly Roberts will lend her expertise throughout a presentation designed to meet the following goals:

  1. Describe the impact of COVID-19 on access to telehealth in rural communities.
  2. What are the unique issues related to access to telehealth in rural communities?
  3. How can telehealth address concerns about stigma in access to treatment?
  4. How can we work best with schools to advance telehealth in rural communities?

For more information about our integrated care program, click here.
Each newsletter we highlight our work in one of our core training areas: school mental health, integrated behavioral health in primary care, serious mental illness and behavioral health workforce development.
Brenda Bassingthwaite, Ph.D., BCBA
Brenda Bassingthwaite, PhD, BCBA, is an associate professor at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a faculty trainer for the Mid-America MHTTC. Passionate about school mental health, Dr. Bassingthwaite was trained in school psychology and applied behavior analysis at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. She was a school psychologist for Iowa’s Heartland Area Education Agency and a licensed psychologist and behavioral health manager for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Bassingthwaite also contracts with Omaha Public Schools, providing direct service and training to educational teams serving students with persistent challenging behaviors, mental health concerns, and/or developmental disabilities. As part of this work, she consults with educational leadership teams in promoting and implementing a multi-tiered system of support in behavioral health.

Dr. Bassingthwaite says she is looking forward to “working with districts in navigating supports for teachers and students in these times that are ever-changing (and challenging) with the COVID-19 pandemic."

"We will all be learning together, but through the MHTTC Network, we will be able to provide supports and assistance that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible to our region,” she says.

When she's not working, Dr. Bassingthwaite enjoys digital photography — especially nature photography.
"Photography is one of my forms of meditation," she says. "Most of my life’s stressors are put aside while I begin to focus on nature’s beauty. I listen for what my subject may want to say to me as I’m choosing where to focus and what areas to blur into the background. The true messages are revealed when I am focusing on one aspect, and all of a sudden something else appears in my view that takes me to a new creation. The new subject is often a visiting butterfly or dragonfly, but even just as special is when it is another flower that had been going unnoticed."
Each newsletter we shed light on an exceptional contributor to Mid-America MHTTC's mission.
You have reached the conclusion of this issue. Thank you for reading!
Mid-America MHTTC | 402.552.7697 | MHTTCnetwork.org/midamerica
The Mid-America Mental Health Technology Transfer Center is a SAMHSA-funded program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The Mid-America MHTTC provides training in evidence-based practices to the four-state area of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. 
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