Thank you to everyone who helped make this year's Children's Mental Health ACCEPTANCE Week a success! We heard from so many great leaders in children's mental health during SAMHSA's event series, were blessed with inspiring stories from the Dennises during NFF's intimate conversation, and saw so many in our community advocating for acceptance now!
This June, we want to put the spotlight on the fathers and father figures who support their children across the lifespan with mental health and/or substance use challenges. They are our heroes everyday, but during this month of Father's Day, we want to say a special thank you for all that you do to support your families.
We have some wonderful events where you'll hear directly from fathers themselves about how they are including and elevating fathers and father figures in their organizations' mental health support. Join us to learn from Nelson Rascon of Dads M.O.V.E., George Fleming of Allegheny Family Network, and James C. Rodriguez of Fathers and Families Coalition of America for some inspiring events.
To all our superhero fathers and father figures, THANK YOU for all that you do!
Lynda Gargan, PhD
Executive Director, National Federation of Families
Children's Mental Health:
We Accepted, Advocated, & Acted!
From webinars to proclamations to events, May was inspirational. If you are looking for inspiration, take time to watch our May 18th Parent Panel.
What a month! We saw new Children’s Mental Health Acceptance proclamations in Hawaii, New Jersey, Alabama, West Virginia, and twelve Massachusetts communities joining New York, Tennessee, Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Delaware, and Idaho. We loved seeing school districts like New York State Education Department, Hawaii Public Schools, Tulsa Public Schools, Wisconsin’s Racine Unified School District, and Maryland's Prince George's County Schools all celebrating Acceptance Weeks for children in their community.
Above (from top left, clockwise): Southwest Florida Wellness Network with Florida proclamation; Nevada PEP's social media campaign; TN Voices and System of Care Across Tennesseeaccept proclamation from Clarksville, TN mayor; and Racine Unified School District's CMHAW campaign
National Federation of Families News & Highlights
You can now register for the 2023 NFF Annual Conference in Chicago, IL November 9-11!
Get your ticket now to take advantage of our early bird pricing! Explore our conference webpage to learn more about our theme, focus areas, tracks, and conference site!
Come to our conference this November to hear Hasan's lived experience of overcoming hardships to graduate college and law school, success leading comprehensive juvenile justice reform in Kentucky as the Commissioner of Juvenile Justice, and his work helping young people and adults to find their voice, personal power, sense of self-respect, and dignity. Hasan will also be doing a special session just for youth!
Making travel plans for our conference? Make sure to come to Chicago a day early for our FREE Pre-conference Training on the soon-to-be published Family Peer Support Curriculum! Check out our full tentative conference schedule so you'll know when to see all of the excellent full conference speakers, presentations, and exhibitors, as well as when you'll be able to enjoy some delicious meals with us.
Dr. James C. Rodriguez and his team at the Fathers and Families Coalition of America have used their extensive lived experience and expertise as clinicians and family members to create a variety of professional development opportunities and an international conference to increase the knowledge and skills around family mental health and substance use support not only for fathers and families, but also for those who support them. Learn about the programs that Fathers and Families Coalition of America offers, including specific strategies that Family Peer Specialists, clinicians, and others working in the mental health and substance use fields can use to better support fathers.
On May 24th, NFF Project Specialist Dana Asby led a panel of phenomenal family members who wear multiple hats in a discussion of how they support their own and others' family members through the challenges of a co-occurring diagnosis. Listen to the inspiring conversation between Muriel Jones, Executive Director of the Central FL Federation of Families and the mother of a son with a co-occurring diagnosis; Rachael Craig-Dunn, the Family Program Supervisor for South FL Wellness Network who has supported families as a family peer; and Dr. Mark Thomsen, an Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry Department of both University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University where he supports individuals with co-occurring diagnoses and their families.
New Leadership at the Association for Children's Mental Health
The National Federation of Families welcomes the new Executive Director of the Association for Children's Mental Health, Carla Pretto. In addition to her lived experience as a parent, Ms. Pretto brings more than 25 years of experience as a manger and mentor with a history of project planning and implementation, as well as professional experience as a researcher and nurse. We look forward to seeing ACMH continue to grow under Ms. Pretto's leadership.
We also want to thank Jane Shank, ACMH's outgoing Executive Director who led the organization in their efforts to make a positive change in mental health and related systems for the past 10 years. In addition to connecting families to each other and resources, Ms. Shank made sure families' voices were heard at all levels of advocacy. We wish her the best as she transitions into a new role.
QUESTION: How do you involve fathers in mental health support work?
NFSTAC has collaborated with the Partnership to End Addiction on a series of TAC Talks—short videos to introduce practical strategies to family members of loved ones with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Check out our second TAC Talk about managing feelings of loss and seeking support.
NFSTACinvites you to submit requests for free technical assistance from our network of partners and subject matter experts. NFSTAC is driven by the needs of families and the workforce that supports families. You'll find education, training, and family support resources tailored specifically to families, the family peer workforce, communities, healthcare systems, clinicians, and educators.
Join our first of two Family Connections this month. The concept of “fathering” can be described as someone who responds readily and consistently to a child's developmental needs over time. But “fathering” is also a movement across the country, providing peer support and training for people who may not have had a role model to emulate, fathers who’ve not parented their children, or to simply connect with other fathers.
In our last Office Hour of this series, John Ferrone shares his experience guiding leaders to reach their goals and achieve sustainability. Mr. Ferrone will help leaders and emerging leaders of family-run organizations to understand the nuances of when, what, and how to share their successes to secure funding, grow their audience, and increase impact.
The National Federation of Families is pleased to welcome its newest affiliate Indiana Family to Family and their Executive Director Holly Wheeler to our community of advocates and family peers!
INF2F is the statewide organization that providesfamily peer support, resources, andtrainingto families of children and youth with special health care needs—including mental health and substance use challenges. They have an impressive collection ofFact Sheets—many of which are available in Spanish and other languages—that anyone can share. If you're in Indiana, make sure to register for their Heart to Heart Conferenceon 9/28!
We are excited to have this impressive group as a part of the NFF Family!
This month the Pursing Equity in Mental Health Actwas reintroduced by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ), Representative Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Representative Napolitano (D-CA). The bill advocates for $995 million in grants to combat Black and brown suicide rates and mental health disparities among diverse children and adolescents. NFF as part of the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) worked in support of this legislation to address disproportionate realities for children and adolescents of color. This legislation includes provisions to address Black youth suicide rates and mental health disparities among children and adolescents of color.
The Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act would authorize $995 million in grants and other funding to support research, improve the pipeline of culturally competent providers, build outreach programs that reduce stigma, and develop a training program for providers to effectively manage disparities. It includes:
$750 million annually for 5 years for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
$150 million annually over 5 years for the National Institute of Healthto build relationships with communities and support clinical research, including on racial or ethnic disparities in physical and mental health
$15 million annually over 5 years for the Department of Health and Human Services to develop an outreach and education strategy to promote behavioral and mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental health conditions and substance abuse among minority groups
Updates to the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Grant Program to ensure that special consideration is given to serving a high proportion of racial and ethnic minority groups
Amendments to Section 597 of the Public Health Service Act to allow funds to be used to promote best practices or core competencies addressing mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minority groups for training students in the behavioral health field
Directions for the National Institutes of Health to enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine or another body to study mental health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups and submit the result to Congress.
Keep an eye out for our new Legislation & Policy Updates Newsletter coming soon!
Keep Up with the Latest Legislative News
NFF's Legislation and Policy News for Family Advocatesis the place to find the details on the bills, policies, and opportunities for input that family advocates need. Visit for the latest news and releases, proposed legislation and policies, and what's being implemented in both policy and legislation. It's updated monthly to give you the latest information in one place.
University of Massachusetts's Chan Medical School runs the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research where they provide a wealth of information for young adults and their parents as they transition into legal adulthood. Many parents have questions about how to remain involved in their child's physical and behavioral healthcare when they and their children want to remain partners in care. Transitions ACR has resources like the My Must Have Papers tip sheet.
As high school seniors enjoy their last summer at home before college, they might be wondering how best to find mental health support when they get to their new school. MHA has compiled a report with lessons from successful higher education peer programs with key themes and recommendations for young adults to start their own programs.
California State University Monterey Bay is seeking working parents of children with a mental or behavioral health challenge for a paid virtual advisory group. Invited parents will be compensated $50 per meeting from June 2023 until Spring 2024. You can learn morehereand sign up to join the advisory board here.
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