On Dec. 7, the U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis that has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The advisory provides recommendations related to young people, educators, media and journalists, social media and other technology companies, employers, and government. High-level recommendations include:
- recognize that mental health is an essential part of overall health;
- empower youth and their families to recognize, manage, and learn from difficult emotions;
- ensure every child has access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally competent mental health care;
- support the mental health of children and youth in educational, community, and child care settings and expand and support the early childhood and education workforce;
- address the economic and social barriers that contribute to poor mental health for young people, families, and caregivers; and
- increase timely data collection and research to identify and respond to youth mental health needs more rapidly.
The advisory makes specific recommendations for health care organizations and health professionals:
- recognize prevention is the best treatment of mental health challenges and implement trauma-informed care principles to improve care for all youth;
- routinely screen children for mental health challenges and risk factors in a variety of settings;
- identify and address the mental health needs of parents, caregivers, and other family members;
- combine efforts of clinical staff with community partners and child-serving systems; and
- build multidisciplinary teams to implement services tailored to children and their families.
Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0127 with questions