Over the past decade, providers, policy makers, and stakeholders across a range of disciplines have taken various approaches to addressing the rising incidence of mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) health concerns in children and adults. With the recent opioid crisis affecting young people and families across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic level, and thus adding to the national concern, new efforts and interventions have emerged. However, an overarching system is lacking for the collection of data on these efforts and their efficacy. A strong system for evaluating programs and distributing information could create more opportunities to improve efforts and reduce inefficiencies across programs. Additionally, through engagement of an array of stakeholders from all sectors involved with youth and families, more possibilities for solutions can be realized.
To bring together some of these relevant stakeholders and to highlight some of these potential solutions, the Forum for Children’s Well-Being convened a workshop in October 2019 on The State of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health of Children and Youth in the United States. The workshop planning committee’s statement of task is found in Appendix A. The workshop objectives are in Box 1-1.
Prior to the workshop discussions, a public dialogue was held to review the recently released consensus report Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2019). The report calls for a broad-based national initiative, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to improve MEB health for children and youth. While there has been much research in this area over the past decade,
the committee members noted that there has not been an adequate translation of the research to practice. Many children and families still struggle with MEB health challenges, and rates of depression, suicide, and mental health conditions have been increasing. In addition to the creation of the national initiative, the report’s authoring committee also recommends an improved national system for data collection and coordination on important indicators of MEB health, as well as outcomes from interventions and promotion efforts. More details on the recommendations of this report can be found at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25201/fostering-healthy-mental-emotional-and-behavioral-development-in-children-and-youth.
This Proceedings of a Workshop is organized into four chapters based on the workshop agenda (see Appendix B). Following the introduction with background on the Forum’s work in this area and the overview of the consensus report, Chapter 2 discusses the state of MEB health for children from a variety of perspectives. Chapter 3 presents discussions on methods to promote MEB health for children across different sectors. Finally, Chapter 4 summarizes the commonalities across sectors and highlights barriers and opportunities to dissemination and scaling of successful practices and interventions. All of the presentations at the workshop, as well as the ensuing discussions, have been summarized for this proceedings. Copies of the speaker slides and archived recordings of the workshop can be viewed on the Forum website at https://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/ccab/DBASSE_195656.
This proceedings has been prepared by a workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the proceedings are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.
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