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Friedman Key Speaker for the Collaborations in Children's Mental Health Systems of Care

Department of Child and Family Studies Chair and Professor Robert Friedman, PhD, was a key speaker at a workshop Feb. 7 by the Collaborations in Children's Mental Health Systems of Care at the Park Plaza/Westshore Hotel in Tampa.

Friedman joined presenters from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Work Group on Community Systems of Care and the Tampa-Hillsborough County Integrated Network for Kids (THINK) at the all-day workshop.

He made clear that children's mental health issues are part of their overall health concerns and that mental health issues are neither isolated nor few.

"When all kids are in transition -- such as from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college, transitions into foster care or into adoption, transitions into adulthood -- there are times of mental stress."

"The California Little Hoover Commission Report says we can't segment out children's mental health from their overall health."

"We need to not just focus on target populations, like 'THINK' kids, but all kids," Friedman said. "If the problem was with just 2 percent of all kids, then a clinical approach would probably be sufficient. But it's far greater than 2 percent."

Friedman said positive school culture, not pressurized FCAT tests, would better help children in Florida.

Among the other presenters at the all-day workshop was Larry English, head of the USF/FMHI-based office of Hillsborough County's Federation of Families, a parent-run organization focused on the needs of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders and their families.

English told several personal stories to highlight the need for society to see more than what meets the eye if it is to truly understand and treat people's mental health needs.

The Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) is a department of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. The faculty and staff of CFS are committed to enhancing the development, mental health and well-being of children and families through leadership in integrating research, theory & practice.

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