Strengthening Youth Mental Health

The United States faces a nationwide youth mental health crisis. The roots of this crisis existed before COVID-19, but the pandemic has both exacerbated and highlighted the scope of the challenges in addressing this issue. The time is right and the need has never been more apparent to discuss proven and innovative solutions for states.

Governor Phil Murphy’s 2022-2023 Chair’s Initiative will focus on four key pillars to address youth mental health:

Addressing Prevention and Resilience Building

Providing youth with the supports and tools necessary to cope with stressors and challenges, helping them to thrive and reduce likelihood of engaging in unhealthy or damaging behaviors.

Increasing Awareness and Reducing Stigma

Promoting awareness of mental health resources and foundational mental health knowledge by expanding easy access points to education, helplines and state services.

Insuring Access and Affordability of Quality Treatment and Care

Addressing the barriers that prevent youth from accessing care including ensuring high quality care is available in the places, spaces, and timeframes that youth want and need, and that costs and lack of insurance coverage do not prevent access.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides 24/7 connection to confidential support. There is Hope. Just call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org

Training and Supporting Caregivers and Teachers

Examining not just the core issues around youth mental health, but also considering the impacts of youth mental health challenges, including the tie into academic recovery.

Expanding existing training and supports so that those caring for and interacting with youth daily have the tools and understanding to identify mental health needs and how to facilitate access to supports for youth

At the same time, First Lady Tammy Murphy will lead an effort focused on maternal and infant health (MIH). This has been a significant area of focus in New Jersey throughout the Murphy Administration and this effort will seek to elevate and expand the conversation around maternal and infant health nationwide. This effort will also have four key pillars, with roundtable discussions organized around each one:

  • Centering Women’s Voices in MIH Policy – This area will focus on the importance of integrating the voices of mothers and women of color in the policymaking process, making sure they have a seat at the table before the table is even built.
  • Elevating Innovative MIH Polices, Programs and Technologies – Identify and highlight innovative and novel approaches to MIH policy, including highlighting effective programs and examining the role of technology to improve MIH outcomes.
  • Improving and Utilizing Maternal and Infant Health Data – Improving data systems by incorporating qualitative data on maternal health experiences, linking state data and increasing accessibility to data to improve accountability.
  • Expanding Access and Quality of Care – Identifying ways for states to ensure citizens have access to high quality maternal and infant care, including various MIH Medicaid policies that states can look to implement.