American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Declaring a Children's Mental Health Emergency

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) together representing more than 77,000 physician members and more than 200 children's hospitals, declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health and are calling on policymakers to join them.  

Tell state and federal lawmakers today that children’s mental health is suffering, and that urgent action is needed to help identify and promote efforts to improve mental health access. 

You can easily write to your elected officials, who need to hear from you--physician leaders in children’s mental health. Please take a moment to write to your lawmakers today. A pre-written, editable letter has been made available, and can be sent with just a few clicks.

In the declaration, the groups emphasize the disproportionate toll on young people in communities of color and how the ongoing struggle for racial justice is inextricably tied to the worsening mental health crisis.  

“We were concerned about children’s emotional and behavioral health even before the pandemic. The ongoing public health emergency has made a bad situation worse. We are caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, their communities, and all of our futures. We cannot sit idly by. This is a national emergency, and the time for swift and deliberate action is now," said AACAP President, Gabrielle A. Carlson, MD.  

We call on state and federal policy makers to improve access to children’s mental health in the following ways:

  • Increase federal funding dedicated to ensuring all families and children, from infancy through adolescence, can access evidence-based mental health screening, diagnosis, and treatment to appropriately address their mental health needs, with particular emphasis on meeting the needs of under-resourced populations.
  • Address regulatory challenges and improve access to technology to assure continued availability of telemedicine to provide mental health care to all populations.
  • Increase implementation and sustainable funding of effective models of school-based mental health care, including clinical strategies and models for payment.
  • Accelerate adoption of effective and financially sustainable models of integrated mental health care in primary care pediatrics, including clinical strategies and models for payment.
  • Strengthen emerging efforts to reduce the risk of suicide in children and adolescents through prevention programs in schools, primary care, and community settings.
  • Address the ongoing challenges of the acute care needs of children and adolescents, including shortage of beds and emergency room boarding by expanding access to step-down programs from inpatient units, short-stay stabilization units, and community-based response teams.
  • Fully fund comprehensive, community-based systems of care that connect families in need of behavioral health services and supports for their child with evidence-based interventions in their home, community or school.
  • Promote and pay for trauma-informed care services that support relational health and family resilience.
  • Accelerate strategies to address longstanding workforce challenges in child mental health, including innovative training programs, loan repayment, and intensified efforts to recruit underrepresented populations into mental health professions as well as attention to the impact that the public health crisis has had on the well-being of health professionals.
  • Advance policies that ensure compliance with and enforcement of mental health parity laws.
    Subject
    Message Body
    Tweet
    Suggested Message
    Post
    Remaining: 0
  • Hide
    • Please call this number:

      Please do not close this window. You will need to come back to this window to enter your code.
      We just sent an email to ... containing a verification code.

      If you do not see the email within the next five minutes, please ensure you entered the correct email address and check your spam/junk mail folder.
      Enter Your Info
      Your Information
      Home Information
      Business Information

      Enter Your Info