You can find part I of my interview with Dr. Blau by clicking here.
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary M. Blau, Ph.D., who is involved in wide variety of programs designed to improve the lives of children and families and has been working to raise awareness of Children’s Mental Health.
In my interview with Dr. Blau, I asked about the treatments that are available for children with mental health challenges.
There are numerous evidence based treatments, Dr. Blau said. There is hope and children do recover. With grant money through SAMSA and other programs and coordinated networks of care, such as the National Traumatic Stress Network, support services provide children with helpful and necessary services. Dr. Blau states that varying forms of specific kinds of treatments such as trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy, which is a short term treatment focused on becoming aware of thoughts and traumatic event might effect reactions and behavior are highly effective. Other promising treatments include SPARCS for teenagers and ARC. Dr. Blau emphasized the importance of becoming aware of a child’s mental health challenges, early intervention, addressing problems, finding and effective treatment approach.
What are barriers to receiving services?
People have a hard time thinking of children's experiences as traumatic, says Dr. Blau, and people often believe children will not remember traumatic events. But, he goes on, even infants have visceral reactions to violence. Adding to our difficulties in acknowledging a child’s traumatic experience, is the stigma that is attached to being identified with mental health conditions. Some have little access to treatment or to qualified treatment providers, while others simply don’t recognize the symptoms of trauma.
Awareness Day Web page: http://www.samhsa.gov/children/index.asp
List of Awareness Day Collaborating Organizations: http://www.samhsa.gov/children/participants.asp
2011 SAMHSA Short Report: http://www.samhsa.gov/children/SAMHSA_Short_Report_2011.pdf
Community Conversation: http://www.samhsa.gov/children/cc_home.asp
How to be a Hero of Hope: http://www.samhsa.gov/children/cc_howto_hero.asp
Blog post about the Twitter chat with the Surgeon General of the United States that Dr. Blau mentioned with links to the Storify archives of the chat: http://blog.samhsa.gov/2012/05/02/awareness-day-2012-twitter-chat-highlights-cmhchat/
Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
You can find strategies to cope with the anxiety and pressures that come with parenting a child who has mental health challenges in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.
About Gary M. Blau, Ph.D.
Dr. Gary M. Blau is a Clinical Psychologist and is currently the Chief of the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services. In this role he provides national leadership for children’s mental health and is responsible for implementing the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Program, the Circles of Care Program, the National Children’s Mental Health Social Marketing Campaign, the National Technical Assistance Programs, and a wide variety of other programs designed to improve the lives of children and families. Through the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services and the SAMHSA Administrator, he is also responsible for translating the President’s New Freedom Commission Report for children and families, and for implementing the children’s portion of the CMHS Action Plan.
Prior to this, Dr. Blau was the Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Quality Management at the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). In this capacity Dr. Blau had responsibility for DCF’s oversight of child welfare, juvenile justice, substance abuse and mental health service providers, including outpatient psychiatric clinics for children, extended day treatment programs, emergency shelters, group homes and residential treatment centers. Dr. Blau was also responsible for DCF’s administrative case reviews, child fatality investigations, program planning and development, policy and regulation and the DCF Training Academy. Dr. Blau also served as DCF’s Director of Mental Health and provided leadership and oversight to Connecticut’s mental health service delivery system for children and adolescents.
Dr. Blau was formerly a member of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Director’s Division of Children, Youth and Families, and from July 1, 1998 through June 30, 2000 he was the Division’s Chairperson. Dr. Blau has received several awards including the prestigious Governor’s Service Award, the Phoebe Bennet Award for outstanding contribution to children’s mental health in Connecticut, and the Making a Difference Award presented by Connecticut’s Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. He currently holds a clinical faculty appointment at the Yale Child Study Center. Since receiving his Ph.D. from Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama) in 1988, Dr. Blau has worked in children’s mental health with a primary emphasis on issues of victimization, child custody, permanency planning and innovative service models. He has held an appointment on the editorial board of the Journal of Primary Prevention, and has numerous publications and presentations in the areas of child custody, primary prevention, managed care and clinical service delivery.