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49.5%

of adolescents in the United States have faced mental health disorders at some point in their life

Interested in writing a bill? Leading your own campaign? Or even just learning more? As one of our organizers, you'll have access to countless resources to accomplish changes within your community and even get the chance to participate in our nationwide campaigns! We'll make sure to keep you updated with info and opportunities to fight for voting rights.

H.RES.434

A resolution that we wrote in the US House of Representatives declaring a mental health crisis among youth in the United States, and expressing the pressing need for historic investments in mental health care for students.

Interested in writing a bill? Leading your own campaign? Or even just learning more? As one of our organizers, you'll have access to countless resources to accomplish changes within your community and even get the chance to participate in our nationwide campaigns! We'll make sure to keep you updated with info and opportunities to fight for voting rights.

WHAT DOES H.RES.434 DO?

The resolution declares a youth mental health crisis in the US and urges local, state, and federal lawmakers to primarily undertake the following actions to mitigate this crisis: 

  1. Adopt policies that better support students dealing with mental illness through improving training given to educators and recognizing the importance of divesting resources towards on campus resources that prioritize recovery over penalizations against students dealing with mental health difficulties. 

  2. Recognize that mental health issues can affect those of all ages, including children as young as elementary school students, and that mental and physical health are undoubtedly intertwined and therefore must be treated together. 

  3. Encourage Federal, State, and local institutions to disseminate robust resources regarding the effects and available treatment options for various mental health disorders, acknowledge the urgency for increasing public knowledge regarding mental health disorders, and renounce the current stigmas associated with mental illness by urging states to research peer to peer mental health treatment models. 

  4. Urge federal bureaucratic agencies to devise comprehensive strategies to contact high-risk populations and isolated communities with little access to knowledge about and resources to support young people suffering from mental health disorders.

  5. Acknowledge that detained children in need have repeatedly been overlooked by medical professionals as suffering from developmental, intellectual, or other disabilities, and urge federal, state, and local criminal justice institutions to provide these children with specific educational and healthcare services tailored to their needs.  

WHY DECLARE A CRISIS?

Mental health struggles for youth significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 24 percent increase in emergency room visits for children ages 5 through 11 and > 30 percent increase in visits for those between 12 and 17 years old specifically due to mental health reasons. More than a third (37%) of high school students reported that they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported feeling sad or hopeless during the past year. 

Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds and the 2nd leading cause of death for 10-24 year olds. Unprecedented suicide levels amongst young people, which continue to increase, are just one of the many indicators of a serious mental health problem amongst American youth. Adolescent mental health crises also result in higher propensity to engage in substance abuse or face anxiety, depression, or other related conditions later in life, and also cause immense financial burdens disproportionately affecting those from lower-income or rural households. 

In order to address these and many other concerns with the current student healthcare system, the United States ought to formally acknowledge that we are suffering from a severe youth mental health crisis and thereby invest historic resources into alleviating its effects. This begins with calling upon state and local policymakers to devise solutions within education, healthcare, and criminal justice systems that prioritize mental health as a core issue. Aligned with a federal commitment to expanding existing infrastructure, US government institutions at all levels must recognize the multifaceted nature of this youth crisis within its resolve to reimagine mental healthcare. 

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