Children’s mental health is topic of forum
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02/26/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

This week the University of South Florida’s Mental Health Institute is hosting the 21st Annual Conference on Children’s Mental Health Research. The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA provides grants and contracts to improve service delivery for mental health and substance abuse, according to the Chief of its Child Adolescent and Family Branch, Gary Blau.

Blau said the conference is an important way for mental health researchers to share information about interventions that work.

One of Tuesday’s plenary speakers was the director of the Child & Adolescent Action Center at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Darcy Gruttadaro said there are a number of reasons why NAMI focuses on what are called “evidence based practices.”

There are also political benefits to using evidence-based practices, according to another plenary speaker, Eric Bruns, who is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

SAMHSA, which Blau said has a budget of $3.2 billion, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Despite the flat funding for mental health services in general, funding for one of SAMHSA’s programs, called System of Care, is actually increasing, Blau said.

Gruttadaro said the country’s juvenile justice system for trapping children with mental health concerns is in need of treatment.

Bob Friedman is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies in the University of South Florida’s Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI). WMNF asked Friedman what could be done to address those needs.

“…Figuring out what works and bringing together all the groups in the community who care and who are involved in the care of children so they can work in a partnership.”

The Conference on Children’s Mental Health Research concludes tomorrow morning at the Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa.

Learn more:

21st Annual Conference on Children’s Mental Health Research

Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI)

SAMSHA

NAMI

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