U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., today released an Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health, which calls for a “a whole-of-society effort to address longstanding challenges, strengthen the resilience of young people, support their families and communities, and mitigate the pandemic’s mental health impacts.” The report recommends actions that families, educators, health care providers, media organizations, communities, funders, employers, government and researchers can take to help young people:

  • 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 that every child has access to high-quality, affordable and culturally competent mental health care; 
  • support youth mental health in educational, community and child care settings; 
  • 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 AHA last month joined the Children’s Hospital Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as a partner in Sound the Alarm for Kids, an initiative urging Congress to enact legislation and increase funding to better support mental health for children and teens.

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