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The Youth Mental Health Crisis

U.S. children and teens have struggled with increasing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior for much of the past decade. With the losses and disruptions of COVID-19, the onslaught of social media, and escalating gun violence, the youth mental health crisis has exploded. The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared it a national emergency, and the U.S Surgeon General has issued a public health advisory calling for a comprehensive, coordinated response to the needs of young people. More than one in three high school students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, and nearly half report persistently feeling sad or hopeless. Racial trauma, discrimination, hostility and barriers to care have compounded the struggles for young people of color, especially Black children and LGBTQ+ youth. Counseling, outpatient therapy, hospital beds and residential facilities for children and youth are in severely short supply. In this webinar, we’ll explore the systemic causes and policy failures that have accelerated the crisis and its inequitable impact, as well as promising community-driven approaches and evidence-based practices. The webinar will provide fresh ideas for reporting on the mental health of youth and investigating the systems and services.

WHEN: Aug. 24, 2022, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PT / 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET

REGISTER: [Click here]


Julie Kaplow, Ph.D. is the executive vice president of trauma and grief programs and policy at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. She is the executive director of the Trauma and Grief Centers at The Hackett Center for Mental Health in Houston and the Children’s Hospital New Orleans, and a professor of psychiatry at Tulane University School of Medicine. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who oversees the development and evaluation of novel treatments for traumatized and bereaved youth. She is also CEO of the Lucine Center, a group practice that provides no-cost tele-therapy to youth across Texas and Louisiana who have been exposed to traumas and losses. Dr. Kaplow and her team are currently assisting in coordinating the mental health response for children and families in Uvalde, Texas, following the Robb Elementary School shooting. She is lead author of “Multidimensional Grief Therapy,” co-author of “Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents,” and co-author of “Collaborative Treatment of Traumatized Children and Teens: The Trauma Systems Therapy Approach.” Dr. Kaplow received her BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University. She completed her internship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and postdoctoral training at the Center for Medical and Refugee Trauma at Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, Ph.D., is the Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor of Social Work at NYU Silver School of Social Work. He is a noted scholar in the fields of child and adolescent mental health, as well as a leader in the search for knowledge in and solutions to generational poverty and inequality. He leads the working group of experts supporting the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health, which created the report “Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America.” Dr. Lindsey is an Aspen Health Innovators Fellow, a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice in Social Work, and a Fellow for the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. He serves on the editorial boards of the influential journals, including Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Psychiatric Services, School Mental Health, and Prevention Science. Dr. Lindsey was appointed by CDC to serve on the Community Preventive Services Task Force. He holds a Ph.D. in social work and an MPH from the University of Pittsburgh, an MSW from Howard University, and a BA in sociology from Morehouse College.

Abigail Kramer is a journalist in New York City, where she writes about public policy and its impact on vulnerable people. Most recently, she has been writing about kids and access to mental health care for ProPublica and THE CITY. Before that, she was a senior editor at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, where her work led to policy reforms and increased oversight of the city’s child welfare, juvenile justice and early education systems. 


This webinar is free and made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kristy Hammam Fund for Health Journalism.

Find Dr. Julie Kaplow's slides here.

Suggested reading

 Crisis Point: How New York Wrecked Mental Health for Kids,” series by Abigail Kramer, ProPublica in partnership with THE CITY, March-June 2022

Do connectedness and self-esteem play a role in the transition to future suicide attempts among Latina and Latino youth with suicide ideation?” By Carolina Vélez-Grau, Michael A. Lindsey, Children and Youth Services Review, August 2022

Adolescent suicide attempts in the United States: When suicide ideation and suicide capability interact,” by Carolina Vélez-Grau, Meghan Romanelli, Michael A Lindsey. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Feb. 14, 2022

Racial, ethnic, and neighborhood income disparities in childhood post raumatic stress and grief: Exploring indirect effects through trauma exposure and bereavement,” by Robyn D. Douglas, Julie B. Kaplow, et al., Journal of Trauma and Stress, July 1, 2021

‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens,” by Matt Richtel, New York Times, April 23, 2022

The Mystifying Rise of Child Suicide,” by Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker, April 11, 2022

When a Teen Tried Repeatedly to Kill Herself, Her Mother Discovered Why Americas Mental Health Crisis Keeps Getting Worse,” by Jessica Lee, Center for Health Journalism, May 25, 2022

“‘The Kids I See Have Been Flattened — Lifeless, Listless, Bored.’” By Donna C. Moss, Center for Health Journalism, Jan. 7, 2022.

Why are Black Kids More Suicidal? A Search for Answers,” by Christina Caron, The New York Times, Nov. 18, 2021, updated Nov. 23, 2021.

Protecting Youth Mental Health,” The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory, December 2021

American Academy of Pediatrics Declaration of a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health,” AAP, October 2021

Additional resources on trauma, grief and resilience in children, teens and families.

‘A cry for help’: CDC warns of a steep decline in teen mental health,” by Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post

America's School Mental Health Report Card” (report) 

Targeted by Politicians, Trans Youth Struggle With Growing Fear and Mental Health Concerns,” by Sandy West, Kaiser Health News

Pandemic’s impact on youth mental health ‘devastating’: Surgeon General,” via ABC News

Coalition of state attorneys general launches probe into whether TikTok harms children and teens,” by Cat Zakrzewski, The Washington Post

Kids’ mental health is getting worse. But that predated the pandemic.” By Aaron Blake, The Washington Post

‘Is this what a good mother looks like?’ After struggling to get treatment for her mentally ill son, a mother’s act of desperation: Giving up custody,” by William Wan, The Washington Post

The pandemic didn’t increase suicides. That shouldn’t be a surprise,” by Craig Bryan, STAT Opinion

Best Practices and Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide


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