Subject: NCSMH Newsletter - September 2020

NCSMH Newsletter
September 2020
Back to School
The National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to advance school mental health programs and policies to promote success for America’s youth.
At the National Center for School Mental Health, we support you during your transition back to school for the 2020-2021 school year. Whether virtually or in-person, we want to provide you with all the resources you need to support the mental health and well-being of your students, staff, and families. This newsletter, in addition to the COVID-19 and Equity pages of our website, are updated regularly to provide you with the most current and helpful resources to support school mental health in your school, community, district, and/or state.
The September 2020 newsletter includes:
  • The virtual 25th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health
  • *New Segment* Youth Voice: Youth Perspectives on Racism, COVID-19, and Returning to School
  • The School Mental Health Quality Improvement Spotlight
  • Welcoming new NCSMH faculty-Dr. Tiffany Beason!
  • School Mental Health Virtual Learning Series
  • Annual Conference Pre-Conference Virtual Trainings: CBITS, Bounce Back, and STRONG
  • Resources on the 2020-2021 School Year and Supporting Systemic Anti-Racism in Schools
  • Current journal articles, policy announcement, and funding opportunity!
The 2020 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health will be virtual and free this year. A formal announcement and registration information will follow in the coming weeks.
Youth Voice

The NCSMH is strengthening our commitment to youth voice with a dedicated portion of our newsletter. This month, we are highlighting our local youth response to 
COVID-19 and racism in the greater Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC region.

Our Cultural Responsiveness & Equity speciality track of the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health hosted the webinar Youth Perspectives on COVID-19, Racism, and Returning to School. This webinar is part of the School Mental Health Virtual Learning Series, developed in collaboration with the Central East MHTTC and the Danya Institute. View our NCSMH webinars for more information on this series. In this webinar, youth from Baltimore City and Prince George's County in Maryland reflected on how they are impacted by COVID-19 and racism, in addition to their thoughts on staying home from school and how they are coping and staying healthy during a time with increased stress. Check out the webinar to hear directly from youth!
School Mental Health Spotlight
School Health Services National Quality Initiatve
Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) Cohorts

Arizona, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Indiana have been working intensively this year to drive school mental health quality improvement in their states through their participation in the School Mental Health Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN), part of the School Health Services National Quality Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. These multi-level state and district teams have been using the national School Mental Health Quality Assessment (SMH-QA) on the SHAPE System to assess their comprehensive school mental health systems and using a data-driven process to advance quality improvement at the state, district and local levels.

Notable accomplishments from the CoIIN states included the development of state comprehensive school mental health system advisory groups, adoption of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for behavioral health, school mental health screening, improved mental health referral pathways, tracking systems for student served through community partners, and the development of novel programs including a social emotional advisory period for high school students and an after-school program to target student academic and social emotional development and address community need for high quality after-school programing. These states also rapidly tested and shared innovation in response to COVID-19 school closures and implemented comprehensive school mental health best practices in a virtual format. State and district participants reported that participation in the CoIIN increased state interagency collaboration for school mental health, connected local education agencies (LEAs) to state level resources and LEAs informed state level work, which resulted in synergistic micro and macro level changes to improve youth mental health in their states. Congratulations to Minnesota, Indiana, Arizona, Rhode Island and Wisconsin for their innovative work to drive school mental health quality improvement!

Massachusetts, Ohio, Nevada, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Arizona are participating in the second school mental health CoIIN cohort that has just kicked off for the 2020-2021 school year!
The NCSMH is pleased to announce our newest faculty member, Tiffany Beason, PhD. Dr. Beason served as a postdoctoral fellow from 2018-2020, and is now a faculty member and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School Medicine. Dr. Beason’s research interests relate to academic achievement, positive racial/ethnic identity, adaptive social and coping skills, and sense of community among youth and young adults. Dr. Beason currently works as a school mental health clinician in a Title I Baltimore City School, where she provides supports that promote positive mental health for all as well as early intervention and treatment services for youth experiencing significant mental health difficulties. Clinically, Dr. Beason is trained as a generalist with specialized training in providing trauma-informed treatment in schools that serve primarily low-income youth and families of color. In her role at the National Center for School Mental Health, Dr. Beason engages in research, training, and technical assistance. She is currently collaborating on projects focused on teaching educators and school mental health practitioners on how to address the mental health needs of youth through the use of culturally responsive and equitable practices.
School Mental Health Virtual Learning Series

The NCSMH, in collaboration with the Central East MHTTC & the Danya Institute, is pleased to offer the School Mental Health Virtual Learning Series: a free monthly webinar series through Summer 2021. This series focuses on advancing high-quality, sustainable school mental health from a multi-tiered system of support, trauma-sensitive, and culturally responsive and equitable lens. Check out our flier to learn more information about the fall series. Upcoming webinars include:
To view all upcoming and previous webinars, visit the Webinars page of our website.
Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health
Pre-Conference Trainings: CBITS, Bounce Back, & STRONG

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Center for Safe Supportive Schools (CS3) is inviting applications for school or district teams to participate in free virtual training and follow-up implementation support for school-based group trauma interventions. Preconference trainings will be held October 26th-28th as part of the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health. The three trainings offered are Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Bounce Back, and Supporting Transition Resilience of Newcomer Groups (STRONG). The CS3 aims to better integrate culturally responsive and trauma-informed policies and practices into comprehensive school mental health systems nationwide through a partnership between the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), the NCTSN Center for Trauma Care in Schools (CTCS; Massachusetts) and the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR; Illinois). Applications are due September 14, 2020. Click here for more information.
School Mental Health the 
2020-2021 School Year During COVID-19

Planning for the Next Normal at School: Keeping students, staff, and families safe and healthy
Kaiser Permanente and partners present “Planning for the Next Normal at School playbook: Keeping students, staff, and families safe and healthy” as a resource for schools during the 2020-21 school year. This resource aims to assist schools in proactively addressing the health needs of the school community and to equip school and district leaders with specific, evidence-informed guidance and operating procedures for keeping school communities mentally and physically safe as we shape a new approach to learning. Each chapter of the playbook includes five “starter plays” that provide practical strategies and actionable steps to improve health in both in-person and virtual school environments. The playbook provides a framework to understand, assess, and implement strategies for COVID-19 prevention, social drivers of health, physical activity and physical education, staff and teacher well-being, and mental health and well-being.

Responding to COVID-19: Simple Strategies anyone can use to foster an emotionally safe school environment
The Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH) at the University of Connecticut present “Responding to COVID-19: Simple strategies anyone can use to foster an emotionally safe school environment” as a resource to help schools create emotionally safe environments upon re-opening. The document describes the importance of utilizing evidence-based strategies in supporting students’ emotional development as well as education around common reactions to trauma and stress across the life course. Detailed strategies and resources to improve coping, increase adaptive responses and decrease maladaptive responses are included.

Trauma-Informed School Strategies during COVID-19
Trauma-Informed School Strategies during COVID-19, a guide presented by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, provides strategies for educators and school staff on how to create a trauma-informed school approach during COVID-19. The guide discusses the importance of the physical and emotional well-being of staff in addition to providing suggestions for creating a trauma-informed learning environments through identification of traumatic stressors and the inclusion of trauma education and awareness. The guide also addresses partnering with families and communities as well as how to incorporate cultural responsiveness into the trauma-informed approach. 

Systemic Anti-Racism in Schools

Supporting School Mental Health in the Context of Racial Violence
The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (MHTTC) hosted a two-part forum titled Supporting School Mental Health in the Context of Racial Violence (see links below). This series is intended for students, families, educators and school mental health professionals who are navigating the impact of racial violence on student mental health. Each learning session featured a moderator who engaged advocates, leaders and the school mental health workforce in a conversation focused on strategies for supporting students’ mental health while navigating racial violence (in and out of school), opportunities for the field to improve its commitment to fostering a workforce ready, able and willing to hold racial violence as a mental health issue, and steps we might take to advance school mental health supports for students experiencing racial violence. Links for each session are provided below:

Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom: A Resource for Educators
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has created “Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom: A Resource for Educators,” which focused on how educators can address the intersectional impacts of race and trauma in the classroom. This 11-page document defines key terms, explains how racial trauma may impact children of different ages, and offers specific actions that teachers can take to discuss systemic racism in a safe and supportive classroom environment. A list of supplemental resources is also provided.

Building Racial Justice and Equity
The Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development has compiled a collection of articles, books, and webinars for educators interested in building racial justice and equity in their schools.

Racial Trauma
Mental Health America provides an overview of racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS) and provides a list of resources for accessing care, preventing RBTS and helping communities heal from RBTS.

New podcast alert! Nice White Parents is a five-part limited-series podcast produced by Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Nice White Parents explores building better public school systems, and a powerful force that shapes them: White parents.
Journal Articles

Using a mixed-methods approach in a predominantly African-American school district, a set of qualitative studies were conducted to establish priority areas for school-based interventions to curtail the use of exclusionary practices with African-American students exhibiting disruptive behavior. Study 1 employed concept-mapping methodology with a focus group of 11 key stakeholders—teachers, school counselors and administrators—and generated five potential target areas, as well as ratings of their perceived importance and feasibility. These target areas included: social-emotional supports, parental involvement, academic support/pedagogy, policies and staff, and community linkages. Study 2 involved phone interviews with 10 parents of students placed in an alternative school setting in the same school district, and a retrospective review of their children’s school records. Triangulated data were used to develop a conceptual framework to understand the use of exclusionary discipline with troubled students and to guide intervention development in this community.

Serpell, Z.N., Wilkerson, T., Evans, S.W., Nortey-Washingon, M., Johnson-White, R., & Paternite, C.E. (2020). Developing a framework for curtailing exclusionary discipline for African-American students with disruptive behavior problems: A mixed-methods approach. School Mental Health, 1-16.
African-American males from urban communities are disproportionately exposed to community violence, placing them at increased risk for mental health problems compared to youth from other racial/ethnic groups. While risk factors for violence exposure have been identified in the literature, protective variables and competencies are studied with less frequency. The purpose of the current study is to identify the role of school belongingness as a protective factor against the deleterious outcomes associated with community violence exposure. Participants were 119 African-American male adolescents (M = 15.33, SD = .95 at Time 1) attending an all-male charter high school in an urban community. Consistent with prior research, community violence exposure showed a negative association with various measures of psychosocial functioning 12–15 months later, controlling for prior levels of functioning. Moderation analyses revealed that at low levels of school belongingness, community violence exposure positively predicted a range of negative psychological outcomes, consistent with a protective-stabilizing effect. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of fostering adaptive levels of school connectedness for youth in high-risk communities.

Pierre, C.L., Burnside, A. & Gaylord-Harden, N.K. (2020). A longitudinal examination of community violence exposure, school belongingness, and mental health among African-American adolescent males. School Mental Health, 12, 388–399.
The outbreak that was always here: Racial trauma in the context of COVID-19 and implications for mental health providers

The present commentary offers a timely exploration of the racial trauma experienced by Asian, Black, and Latinx communities as it relates to COVID-19. Instances of individual, cultural, and structural racism and implications for mental health are discussed. Evidence-based strategies are identified for mental health professionals in order to support healing and mitigate the risk of further racial traumas.

Liu, S. R., & Modir, S. (2020). The outbreak that was always here: Racial trauma in the context of COVID-19 and implications for mental health providers. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(5), 439-442.
Radical systemic intervention that goes to the root: Working alongside inner‐city school children, linking trauma with oppression and consciousness with action

Trauma can be viewed through the lens of oppression, and a radical systemic approach in groups is an example of this view in practice. Group- work in an inner-city secondary school, with twelve 13–14-year-olds the school was concerned about, and eleven 12–15 year-olds at risk of exclusion, drew on systemic, narrative and critical consciousness ideas. This approach enabled the young people to link what they understood about trauma and oppression (consciousness) with what they wanted to do about it (action). An independent qualitative evaluation suggested that participants valued being listened to, the improvement in their confidence and behavior and the opportunity to be change-makers. Recommendations were made by the participants about future groups and by the participants and group facilitators about whole-school approaches to wellbeing based on challenging oppression.

Afuape, T. (2020). Radical systemic intervention that goes to the root: working alongside inner‐city school children, linking trauma with oppression and consciousness with action. Journal of Family Therapy.
The moderating role of ethnic identity on the relationship between school climate and self-esteem for African American Adolescents

Positive self-esteem is linked to academic success for K–12 students. However, self-esteem declines during adolescence, especially for African Americans. Positive perceptions of school climate are well-studied predictors of self-esteem. Given the risk for greater declines in self-esteem experienced by African American students, this study sought to examine the moderating role of ethnic identity on the relationship between school climate and self-esteem for a sample of 1,343 African American adolescents in the Midwest. Regression analysis using the PROCESS macro indicated that ethnic identity positively influenced the relationship between perceptions of school climate on self-esteem for African American adolescents at all levels. Implications for school interventions to foster positive adolescent ethnic development are discussed.

Fisher, A.A., Fisher, S., Arsenault, C., Jacob, R., & Barnes-Najor, J. (2020). The moderating role of ethnic identity on the relationship between school climate and self-esteem for African American Adolescents. School Psychology Reviews, 10.1080/2372966X.2020.1760690
Call for Papers

Child Development invites submission of manuscripts based on original, empirical studies of the impact of the pandemic on children, youth, and families, and on efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on children. Papers that espouse a developmental framework and that deploy quantitative, qualitative, or mixed method approaches to mechanisms of COVID-19’s impact on child development are welcome. The Letter of Intent is due September 1st, 2020, and contributors will be contacted by October 1st, 2020 with request for full manuscript. Follow the link for further instructions for submission.
Policy Announcements

NASP Advocacy Action Week Resources
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) hosted its annual Advocacy Action Week in July and provided a series of resources focusing on developing advocacy skills, school safety, supporting diverse populations and mental and behavioral health. NASP provides guidance on critical policy issues (comprehensive school safety, supporting diverse populations, education funding, mental and behavioral health, etc.) in addition to handouts, infographics and position statements on key topics. NASP also released a policy playbook (advocacy guide for NASP members including communication tips, grassroots advocacy basics, and key messages to advocate for school mental health) and its Government and Professional Relations Committee created a series of webinars to assist members and state associations with advocacy on a variety of topics related to school psychology and school mental health.

NASP’s Policy Matters Blog
NASP’s Policy Matters Blog contains up-to-date policy news from the Capitol and across the country as well as helpful practice and policy guidelines. Recent posts discuss state trends in enacted legislation during 2019 and Suicide Prevention within COVID-19 pandemic. 2019 State Trends in Enacted Legislation provides a summary of recently enacted legislation related to the field of school psychology and school mental health across 18 different states in 2019. The majority of enacted bills in 2019 focused on taking steps to increase mental health in schools, including new grants or pilot programs to increase access to behavioral health services in schools and the establishment of new task forces/committees. Suicide Prevention within COVID-19 Pandemic provides a reflection of recent suicide prevention legislation and policy with an emphasis on reflecting on the such measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding Opportunities

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) in Research on Risk and Prevention of Black Youth Suicide, National Institute of Mental Health & National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
The purpose of this Notice of Special Interest is to encourage research focused on Black child and adolescent suicide. Recent data suggest that Black youth, especially those under the age of 13, appear to be at higher than average risk for suicide and suicide-related behaviors. A 2019 report released by an emergency Task force convened by the Congressional Black Caucus recommended more research related to: the identification of risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviors among Black and Black LGBTQ+ youth, research on mental health utilization and engagement in treatment for depression and suicide risk detection, and evidence-based interventions that are developmentally and culturally and linguistically relevant for Black children and adolescents. NIMH encourages research focusing on epidemiology, etiology, and trajectories; preventive interventions; treatment interventions; and services interventions. NIMHD encourages research projects covering multiple domains and levels of influence focused on community health and population sciences, clinical and health services research, and integrative biological and behavioral sciences research. Applicants are encouraged to respond to this NOSI by submitting applications under 19 specified funding opportunity announcements (FOA). This NOSI applies to FOA due dates extending from August 25, 2020 through July 31, 2022.

Innovation Grants, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) suicide research grants program announced two priority areas for its 2020-2022 grant cycle: 1. Diversity: suicide prevention research related to underrepresented communities, health and mental health disparities and inequities, as well as researchers from underrepresented backgrounds proposing research focused on understanding and preventing suicide, and 2. Evaluation of technological tools for suicide prevention: the application of implementation science methodology to evaluate technological tools available in order to expand access and overcome barriers for suicide prevention. At least one to two rigorously designed priority area grants will be funded during this cycle. Six types of Innovation Grants are available, each with unique eligibility requirements and grant awards ranging from $30,000 to $450,000 over two years. All Innovation Grant applications are due November 15, 2020. Applications for a Linked Standard Research Innovation Grant (for research involving two or more unique sites) must submit a Letter of Intent by September 15, 2020 to be eligible to apply.

National Center for School Mental Health, 737 W. Lombard St., Room 406, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States
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