- August 29, 2016
The mental health needs of our nation’s youth have become an issue of great concern over the past decade. As the rates of mental illness among children and adolescents rise exponentially, a comprehensive and integrated approach to meet their needs must be developed.
Research has long established that a community approach to mental health is highly effective. Further, it has also been consistently documented that bringing mental health services to a community is much more successful than having children and their families go beyond their communities for services. As such, school systems become the ideal location to meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents. While some school systems across the nation have become epicenters for the delivery of mental health services, many have not. As a nation, we need to increase equitable access to mental health services for all youth.
By creating mental health systems within our schools that work in tandem with community mental health professionals and researchers, we (1) increase the likelihood of identification of students’ mental health needs at earlier stages, (2) provide a pathway to develop innovative prevention and intervention programs, (3) create an integrative system of care in which students have access to the level of treatment needed when they need it, and (4) build capacity to sustain mental health services over time.
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Just as President Kennedy rallied the nation to dream big and set audacious goals 50 years ago, The Kennedy Forum seeks to set a new standard for the future of health care in the United States.
Our mission is big, and the stakes are clear. We seek to unite the health care system, and rally the mental health community around a common set of principles: Fully implement the 2008 parity law, bring business leaders and government agencies together to eliminate issues of stigma, work with providers to guarantee equal access to care, ensure that policymakers have the tools they need to craft better policy, and give consumers a way to understand their rights.