It has been one year since 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. While progress has been made in the past year, more work needs to be done.
Tell 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 three national organizations 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 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.