Teen Mental Health Summit Advances National “Policy Playbook” Effort

Karen Feinstein presents at the National Summit for Policy and Action on Teen Mental Health Crisis.

JHF, AcademyHealth, and ACT for Health took a big step forward on June 5 to develop a "policy playbook" to mobilize a national effort around teen mental health.

The National Summit for Policy and Action on Teen Mental Health Crises in Washington, D.C. brought together more than 50 stakeholders from across the nation to develop a crisis safety net from the bottom up, with national policy support from at the top. JHF President and CEO Karen Feinstein, AcademyHealth Lisa Simpson, and ACT for Health President and CEO Richard Wittenberg provided an overview of the mental health struggles confronting American teens. Suicide is on the rise, as is self-injury, problematic drug use, and violent crime.

Practitioners, policy analysts, researchers, educators, and other stakeholders prioritized policy recommendations based on their effectiveness and feasibility and developed advocacy strategies for the high-priority items. Policy recommendations include best-practice models of care; the application of information and communication technology; workforce development; performance improvement; financing and funding; teen-centeredness and family engagement strategies; and research and evaluation.

As a next step, AcademyHealth will draft a policy playbook by the end of the summer. Meanwhile, JHF is working from the bottom up via the 15217 initiative, a community-wide effort that will provide a neighborhood crisis safety net and help build teens' emotional resilience. 

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