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A Vision for Mental Health Systems of Care for Young People

We are facing a mental health crisis for young people, yet the nation lacks a systematic way to guide mental health funding. Through review of strategies, investments, and key questions, we identified 14 elements to re-envision the mental health system.

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We are facing a mental health crisis for young people in the U.S., presenting challenges to families, communities, and the mental healthcare system. For decades, we have struggled with an inadequate and fragmented system of services with poor access to care and outcomes—alarming trends worsened by the pandemic. Government agencies, providers, and advocates have issued calls to action to address the growing mental health challenges facing our young people and their families. The White House, Congress, states, and others continue to add resources and support new investments in mental health services nationwide.

Despite calls to action and substantial investments, the nation lacks a systematic way to guide funding and address the broad issues that range from prevention to treatment that impact young people’s mental health. The time has come to bring together the wide range of stakeholders to rethink our approach to mental health for young people and to develop a new vision designed to respond to this crisis.

Building on wide-ranging calls to action and our review of current strategies, new investments, and consideration of key questions for all stakeholders, we have identified 14 critical elements for a re-envisioned mental health system. MITRE’s report recommends short term actions and a longer term vision designed to initiate a constructive dialogue for moving forward. We join the calls to reimagine how we serve our young people and build a generation of resilient, healthy young people and adults.

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Explore related resources: MITRE’s Mental Wellness Index