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CYFC Monthly

CYFC Monthly — June 2015

New Video Examines "Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours"

Cari Michaels, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

At the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC), we work to improve the mental health of children and families. The term “mental health” is often misunderstood in our society. Many people think it means the same as “mental illness,” or they think it’s the exact opposite of mental illness. But the meaning of “mental health” is more complex than these popular views indicate.

Furthermore, health is, by definition, a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being — and not merely the absence of disease. So, while an individual’s state of mental health may require a diagnosis at times, it exists independently of a diagnosis and is influenced by the ongoing and complex interactions of genes, relationships, environments, and experiences. This broad and preventive understanding of mental health reflects a public health approach and is used by a growing number of professionals in many disciplines. Our new CYFC video, “Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours,” defines and explains this public health framework for improving children’s mental health.

In this 6-minute video, you will learn about public health approaches to improving mental health for all children, not just those diagnosed with some kind of mental illness. In contrast to a disease approach, which focuses on intervention at the individual level, the public health approach is broad-based — encompassing environmental factors and systems that affect entire populations of children. The video also outlines a model for understanding optimal mental health, which can be attained despite diagnoses of mental health problems. Finally, it outlines a wide range of possible interventions that can improve the mental health of large groups of children, as well as their families.

What do you think is needed to promote optimal mental health in children? Share your thoughts about the video and this topic on our CYFC YouTube channel.

To learn more about children’s mental health as a public health issue, see:
Michaels, C., & Hagen, E. (2014, July). Social and emotional learning: Implications for enhancing children’s mental health (Youth Development Issue Brief). St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Extension.

Miles, J., Espiritu, R. C., Horen, N., Sebian, J., & Waetzig, E. (2010). A public health approach to children's mental health: A conceptual framework. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health.

Follow CYFC on Facebook (UofMNCYFC) and Twitter (@CYFCumn), and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Consortium News

Parents and Stress: Understanding Experiences, Context and Responses — Children’s Mental Health eReview
Sponsor: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development Children, Youth & Family Consortium
How do parents experience stress? How do the social environment, economic hardship, and the very nature of parenting contribute to a parent's stress and coping skills? Learn how parents and their families are influenced — physically, cognitively, and emotionally — by their experiences with stress. Learn coping strategies and ways to help families as they navigate stressors in their environment.

Read then evaluate the latest issue of Children’s Mental Health eReview.

Register now for the next Lessons from the Field!
Children in Common: Ensuring the Emotional Well-Being of Children When Parenting Apart — Conference
Sponsor: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development — Children, Youth & Family Consortium
Date: October 22, 2015
Cost: $25-$50
Location: Minneapolis U of M McNamara Alumni Center and live web stream

This year's Lessons from the Field conference, “Children in Common: Ensuring the Emotional Well-Being of Children When Parenting Apart,” features two nationally known research and practice professionals: Kathryn Edin, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and James McHale, Ph.D., director of the Family Study Center at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. Edin’s studies on poverty have influenced research, practice, and policy; McHale is the nation's leading researcher on coparenting dynamics in diverse family systems. Joining them will be four panelists from Minnesota who will help participants:

Attend in person at the McNamara Alumni Center or watch on the web. Register here. [no longer active]

Attachment Matters: Raising the Bar for Child Well-Being — Conference
Sponsor: Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh)
Dates: September 24-27, 2015
Cost: $75-$520
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children will host a conference for parents and professionals from across North America to learn from one another and receive cutting-edge training from leading speakers in the field of trauma and attachment. University of Minnesota Extension is a co-sponsor of this conference, and CYFC staff Sara Langworthy, Cari Michaels, and Judy Myers will be presenting on CYFC's work creating trauma-sensitive contexts through community partnerships. Find more information and register here.

University & Community Announcements

SNAP-Ed Community Partnership Funding Project to Issue RFP
Sponsor: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed)
University of Minnesota Extension will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) on June 29 in order to partner with organizations on projects to improve the health of Minnesota communities. Current SNAP-Ed partners, as well as new partners, are invited to respond to the RFP. Successful applicants will receive funding for working with Extension SNAP-Ed staff to develop and implement practical strategies for combining direct education with changes in policies, systems, and environments to improve health in communities. Projects to be developed are intended to break down barriers and pave the way for individuals and families with limited financial resources to make healthy food and physical activity choices. As part of the initiative, tools will be developed to measure and document the success of projects.

Find more information here and check back June 29th for the RFP.

Online Course Addresses Using the Internet for Parent Education
Sponsor: University of Minnesota Center for Family Development
Dates: Ongoing through August 1, 2015
Cost: $50
Location: Online
This online course offers a research update for professionals to explore differences in Internet use by age, gender, socio-economic status, and other demographic variables. You will also investigate current research on how professionals have incorporated technology into parent education and analyze current best practices in reaching parents using technology. Register here. [link no longer active]

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Matters Conference: Across the Life Span
Sponsor: Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Dates: November 19-20, 2015
Cost: $80-$125
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Susannah Cahalan, best-selling author of “Brain on Fire,” will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Matters conference, “Across the Life Span,” sponsored by the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS). The conference also will feature John McAndrew, a singer, songwriter and pianist who has personal experience with FASD, as the MOFAS Annual Celebration Speaker. Preconception prevention efforts, diagnosis, treatment, and support for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder will be among issues discussed at the conference. Register here.

Conference: Beyond Consequences — Helping Children Heal
Sponsor: Minnesota Thrive Initiative
Dates: October 29-30, 2015
Cost: $125-$175
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN
This training session sponsored by the Minnesota Thrive Initiative will focus on children from age 3 through third grade. Negative early life experiences can impact a child’s development, creating disorganized behavior, mood swings, irritability, anxiety and agitation. Typical life demands can overwhelm children and exhaust their stress tolerance. Heather Forbes, co-founder and president of the Beyond Consequences Institute, will present training for parents, educators, and professionals to help these children heal in both the classroom and home. More information and registration is available here.

Webinar Explores New Resilience Data from Washington State
Sponsor: Minnesota Communities Caring for Children
Date: June 25, 2015
Location: Online
Cost: Free but registration required
Laura Porter, co-founder of ACE Interface, LLC, and Senior Director of the Learning Institute at Seattle-based Foundations for Healthy Generations, will lead this webinar that offers new data on resilience from Washington State University. Participants will also hear practical ideas on how individuals and communities can come together to build self-healing communities. Register here. [no longer active]

Job Opportunities

Crisis Stabilization Supervisor — Washburn Center for Children, Minneapolis

Multiple Openings — Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome [no longer active]

Nutrition Coordinator — Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives

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