U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory "Protecting Youth Mental Health"

Scott Maloney, Executive Director of Family Service Rochester issued the following statement today on U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s new advisory, Protecting Youth Mental Health:

Family Service Rochester is encouraged to see U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calling the public’s attention to the growing concern we have observed over the last 18 months of pandemic and heightened racial tensions.

There is a youth mental health crisis in America. We need to take action to address it.

We urge local leaders to review this report and recognize how the risk factors and higher risk populations are evident and present throughout our communities.

We agree with the report’s observation that even with the responses we have been able muster to date more needs to be done, including:

  • Recognizing that mental health is an essential part of overall health.
  • Empowering youth and their families to recognize, manage, and learn from difficult emotions.
  • Ensuring that every child has access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally competent mental health care.
  • Supporting the mental health of children and youth in educational, community, and childcare settings.
  • Addressing the economic and social barriers that contribute to poor mental health for young people, families, and caregivers.

As the report suggests, at Family Service Rochester we provide trauma informed care, educate families on their role in healthy child development, and work with other sectors e.g., schools, childcare, justice, social services, and public health. Our work addresses risk factors and higher risk populations. Nevertheless, we need to do more. We also need to be part of a broad, comprehensive community strategy.

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