The year 2022 brought increased awareness and concern to the mental health crisis among children and adolescents in the United States. While this year’s urgency is directly linked to the social and physical disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the evidence we reviewed suggests that the emergence of the current crisis in children’s mental health pre-dates the pandemic by a decade. There is therefore a new sense of urgency to address mental illness in children and youth.

The President, members of Congress from both political parties, governors, and mayors have all come to recognize that addressing the mental health needs of American children requires mobilizing all levels of government, civil society, and our community institutions. In this paper, our focus is on actions that can be taken by the federal government. The President, through a set of proposals made this year, has sought to draw attention to measures that would holistically address mental health in children. Congress has proposed several bipartisan efforts to expand services and intervene early to promote mental health in children.

Read the full article about youth mental health by Richard G. Frank, Vikki Wachino and Karina Aguilar at Brookings.