Children Now's A Behavioral Health Policy Agenda for California's Kids is now available.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and children and youth in California are in crisis:
- Nearly 1 in 3 California high schoolers reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row, so much so that they stopped doing some of their usual activities.
- Nearly 1 in 5 reported that they have seriously considered attempting suicide.
- A recent report showed there was a 34% increase in suicides among California youth between the ages of 15 and 19 over the past three years.
Children and youth are experiencing increased isolation and trauma as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the threat of wildfires and ongoing social unrest. As a result, there is a real risk that the number of children experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges will grow and, ultimately, we will see an increase in youth suicides.
We must take this crisis seriously. There are steps that California policymakers can take starting today to provide children with the behavioral health supports that they need. In A Behavioral Health Policy Agenda for California’s Kids, Children Now highlights the actions, both in the short- and long-term, that California can take to support the well-being of children and youth so that they can develop strong social-emotional skills, learn coping mechanisms for when problems arise and build healthy minds that will lead them on a bright path forward.
Local and state governments face enormous challenges as they work to support and sustain public health and safety, as well as our economy, but this cannot wait. Our children’s futures are at risk. Please use this agenda as a resource to reach out to your local policymaker and urge them to make children’s mental well-being a priority.
Full Report Attached.