As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, we are constantly reminded of how much more awareness and action is needed to make progress, particularly for our youth. As one elementary school counselor said in a recent New York Times survey on the pandemic’s effect on children, “Kids have the highest level of anxiety I’ve ever seen: anxiety about basic safety and fear of what could happen.” Yes, elementary school. Add in the news of their peers being gunned down and is it any wonder? Our children need us now more than ever to keep them safe – physically and mentally. We can’t just change the channel to protect them from bad news.

Last year, the Center for Strategic Philanthropy published Moonshots for Youth Mental Health and Well-Being. The report outlined audacious goals that if realized, would improve the mental wellbeing of youth by at least tenfold. They include:

  • Ensuring multiple “open doors” for access to emotional support and mental health care across ALL health and social systems;
  • Ensuring every young person has access to a mental health professional who understands their unique culture context; and,
  • Implementing objective and evidence-based practices for well-being that are grounded in research done in partnership with youth.

Our children are our hopes, our dreams, our promise for a better world, but they are hurting and left without tools and support. Together we can -- and we must -- shoot for the moon and create a world that conspires to support our young people’s mental health and well-being.