Statement on the Surgeon General’s Advisory Regarding Youth Mental Health
Alexandria, VA (December 7, 2021) – Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of Mental Health America issued the following statement today on U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s new advisory, Protecting Youth Mental Health.
“Mental Health America is pleased to see U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calling the public’s attention to something we have known to be true prior to, and throughout, the COVID-19 pandemic — there is a youth mental health crisis in America and we need immediate action to address it.”
“In 2020 and 2021, Mental Health America provided free, online, anonymous mental health screenings to nearly 3 million youth ages 11-17. These young people were more likely to score with moderate-to-severe symptoms of anxiety and depression on our screenings than any other age group. Rates of suicidal ideation were also higher for youth, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, than any other age group. It is clear that our young people are experiencing alarming levels of distress and are desperately in need of mental health support and services.
“It is imperative that we work to make the topline recommendations in this advisory a reality. To do this, the Biden administration and Congress must focus on ensuring that every young person has access to high-quality, affordable mental health care that meets diverse cultural and language needs. This will require increased funding for prevention and early intervention strategies, improving financing of the delivery of mental health services in integrated settings like communities, schools, and pediatric practices, and promotion of youth leadership and peer support. At the same time, the administration and Congress must also work to address the economic and social barriers that contribute to poor mental health, including child poverty, early childhood education, access to healthy food, affordable health care, stable housing, and safe neighborhoods. We must not wait to take action. Our youth need help now.”
About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal.