Mental Health Highlights from the 2024 State of the Union

Randy Moore
Randy Moore

In his 2024 State of the Union address, President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the ongoing youth mental health crisis in the United States. As the nation continues to grapple with the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing prevalence of mental health disorders among young people, the Biden administration has taken significant steps to prioritize mental health and expand access to critical resources and support. This is especially important in the face of the youth mental health crisis: nearly 20% of children and young people ages 3-17 in the United States have a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder, and suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10-24.

The President’s remarks underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to tackling the youth mental health crisis, involving collaboration across government agencies, community organizations, and the private sector. By highlighting the progress made over the past year and outlining a vision for the future, President Biden has demonstrated a clear commitment to improving mental health outcomes for young people and ensuring that every individual has access to the care and support they need to thrive. Key updates included:

President Biden also called on Congress to take additional steps to support youth mental health, including passing legislation to ensure mental health parity in insurance coverage and increasing funding for community-based mental health programs. These updates demonstrate a significant commitment to addressing the youth mental health crisis at the federal level and provide a strong foundation for continued progress in the years to come.

During the 2024 State of the Union, the President also acknowledged that addressing the youth mental health crisis will require sustained effort and commitment from all sectors of society. This a continued focus on addressing the root causes of mental health challenges, such as poverty, discrimination, and trauma, and on building resilient communities that support the well-being of all young people. It also reflects, as the President shared, the need for cities and towns to invest in more mental health workers as they are on the front lines of supporting community health. While this may seem like a daunting challenge, resources like Cause + Career can help those entering or navigating the workforce find mental health-centered careers with ease.

Throughout the speech, President Biden made explicit references to a variety of topics that we know impact youth and young adult mental health, including reproductive freedom, climate change, gun control, and LGBTQ+, specifically Transgender peoples’, rights. He also stressed the importance of adapting to the evolving needs and challenges youth face, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid changes in technology and social media. 

As we look to the future, it is clear that the road ahead will be challenging but also filled with opportunity and hope. By continuing to prioritize and invest in youth mental health and working together to create a society that supports the well-being of all young people, we can build a brighter future for future generations. Active Minds remains committed to being a leading voice in this effort, working alongside the Biden administration and other partners to change the conversation about mental health and ensure that every young person has access to the support and resources they need to thrive. We invite you to stay up-to-date on all of our forefront policy-related initiatives here.