Support Mental Health Check-ups for Young Americans
Over 21 million young people visited a healthcare professional last year, but only a small fraction were asked any questions about the number one contributor to poor life outcomes – their mental health.
One in eight young people may have depression, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds. Yet, two-thirds of youth and young adults who have mental health problems do not get the help that they need. Increased access to mental health check-ups could lead to early diagnosis and treatment of these disorders and thus prevent worsening conditions or suicide.
Federal and state governments already play a pivotal role in a range of prevention efforts to protect the health of young Americans including child immunizations, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, and diabetes and nutrition education. The CheckUp08 campaign was developed by Columbia University’s TeenScreen Program and The Jed Foundation, and is supported by Active Minds, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and The Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (SPAN USA).
CheckUp08 is calling on elected officials and those running for federal and state offices to endorse the following principles to provide this same coverage for mental health check-ups and suicide prevention:
Principle 1: Federal and state governments should promote access to voluntary mental health check-ups for all Americans between the ages of 11 and 24.
Principle 2: Federal and state governments should support a national education effort to increase public awareness about mental health check-ups for young people and the impact of detecting mental disorders early.
Principle 3: Federal and state governments should work with healthcare providers and the insurance industry to ensure that mental health check-ups are integrated into routine healthcare for young people.
Principle 4: Young people receiving care and prevention services through federal and state supported health programs should be offered mental health check-ups.
Principle 5: Appropriate federal and state agencies should initiate priority plans to expand mental health check-up programs to populations at elevated risk for suicide and impairment.
Principle 6: Federal and state governments should support ongoing evaluation and improvement of the efficacy and impact of mental health check-ups.