Human resources

Reading: HHS leaders host roundtable on maximizing federal resources to strengthen children’s mental health

As part of the nationwide tour to strengthen mental health, HHS hears from providers about ways to collaborate and improve mental health and crisis care systems for children, youth, and families.

On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, as part of the nationwide tour to strengthen mental health, agency leaders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted a roundtable following their call to states, tribes and jurisdictions to maximize their efforts to strengthen children’s mental health and well-being. Earlier today, in a joint letter signed by officials from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and Administration for Community Living (ACL), HHS outlined department-wide plans to support and facilitate coordination at state level between federal funding sources to advance and expand mental health benefits for children.

Especially as National Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end in May, HHS is committed to staying focused on this issue and continuing the work of connecting children, youth, and families to services and supporters – at the state, local, tribal and federal levels. .

The agencies hosted the roundtable to hear directly from representatives of organizations providing mental health and addictions services about their experiences connecting their patients and clients with the behavioral health care they need. Participants were invited to join the roundtable to discuss their work in the field as it relates to the mental health needs of children and families, the behavioral health workforce and the integration of mental health and addictions into primary care and social services and supports. Participant feedback will help inform future HHS work on behavioral health and identify opportunities for collaboration between governmental and nongovernmental organizations to best strengthen mental health and crisis care systems across the country.

The participants, who represent counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, social workers, nurses and health system leaders, are listed below:

  • Community Clinic Inc.
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • New Hope Health Services LLC
  • Health Unit
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • Arundel Lodge
  • National Children’s Hospital
  • Arlington County Council
  • Sheppard Pratt
  • Unplugged foster family
  • Georgetown University
  • Regional Border Health Center
  • University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix
  • UC Davis Family Medicine/Psychiatry
  • University of California San Francisco
  • Rainbow Babies at Cleveland University Hospital
  • Whitman Walker Clinic
  • Center of Mary
  • UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and MacDonald Women’s Hospital
  • Whitman Walker Health
  • University of Maryland
  • community of hope
  • Partnership for Healthy Indigenous Communities, Inc.
  • American Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

According to data from the National Child Health Survey, the number of children aged 3 to 17 diagnosed with anxiety increased by 29% and those with depression by 27% between 2016 and 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 21% increase. in children diagnosed with behavioral or conduct problems. In light of these increases, HHS agencies are encouraging state, tribal, and jurisdictional recipients of their largest investments to coordinate the use of these funds to create meaningful and equitable approaches to children’s mental health needs and to expand the access to high quality pediatric mental health care.

Today’s announcement is part of HHS’s ongoing efforts to support President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans — a key part of the president’s unity agenda that is reflected in the President’s fiscal year 2023 budget. Following the President’s State of the Union in March, Secretary Becerra launched the HHS National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health to address mental health challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the substance use, youth mental health and suicide. Since the tour began, Secretary Becerra and HHS leaders have traveled across the country to hear first-hand from Americans about the mental health issues they face and engage with local leaders to strengthen the mental health system and crisis care in our communities.

Watch the opening remarks from HHS agency leaders during the roundtable here.

Read the full letter sent to States, Tribes and Territories here.

Learn more about the National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health here.