This year, the Biden administration reaffirmed its commitment to the Unity Agenda, announced during the 2022 State of the Union, which includes a heavy emphasis on tackling the mental health crisis. The Unity Agenda includes three objectives related to supporting mental health: creating healthy environments, strengthening system capacity, and connecting more Americans to care. While tremendous strides have been made over the past year in relation to these objectives, President Biden’s second State of the Union address clearly outlined that there is still more work to be done — and Active Minds is here to help make that goal a reality.
Over the past year, there has been a significant investment in expanding access to mental health care, including expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and supporting the growth of 988, a national suicide prevention hotline. Already, these strides are having a massive impact — it was reported that 988 saw a 38% increase in calls year over year from November 2021 to November 2022, before the new three-digit number was launched. However, the work still isn’t done — we must continue to invest in these resources, and find ways to support communities most at risk for mental health struggles, including youth and young adults.
When discussing how we can continue to support youth and young adults in caring for their mental health, the strategy we put in place must be multi-faceted. The Biden Administration has committed to increased investment in school-based mental health, including more than $280 million in grants from the Department of Education to increase the number of mental health professionals in high-need districts and strengthen the school-based mental health professional pipeline. While this promise has the potential to provide incredibly beneficial results nationwide, we can’t stop here. We all have the ability (and responsibility) to help tackle the youth mental health crisis, and there are simple ways that you can get involved.
Peer support will continue to be a crucial part of protecting youth and young adult mental health. Active Minds peer-to-peer mental health model is proven effective, and we are committed to bringing these services to 1,000 new K-12 schools in 1,000 days. However, we can’t do this work without you — we encourage you to learn more about our K-12 programming, and work to ensure mental health is part of your local elementary, middle, and high school’s day-to-day. This can include:
- Facilitating the free Active Minds Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Curriculum for High Schools, created to empower and prepare high school students with the knowledge and skills to start conversations about mental health.
- Starting an Active Minds chapter, a place for students to lead peer-to-peer mental health programs and advocate for policy change within their schools.
- Sponsoring an Active Minds Speaker or training, to give students a safe space to learn about and discuss mental health with trusted experts.
The Biden Administration’s continued investment in mental health benefits us all — we are at our best when we feel mentally and emotionally healthy and cared for. As we continue to see these resources provided to our communities, we can also be part of the change by setting up the next generation for success in talking about, advocating for, and safeguarding mental health. Join Active Minds in continuing this mission today.