Children’s mental and behavioral health continues to be one of the biggest concerns for parents, doctors, and educators across the country. Prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), as many as one in six U.S. children and teens between the ages of 6 and 17 had a treatable mental health disorder. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a surge of anxiety and depression among young people, caused by added stressors like uncertainty, stress related to family and economic hardship, and grief due to the loss of loved ones. More than a third of high school students in the United States experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, with more than two out of five students feeling persistent sadness or hopelessness that caused them to stop participating in usual activities. Kids with poor mental health are more likely to struggle in school, have trouble concentrating, remembering information, and maintaining relationships with their peers. With support, families, children, and teens can navigate mental health challenges through treatment and access resources to aid in prevention and early intervention of mental illness.
Managing mental health in youth and teens is an ongoing journey, but when families have access to mental and behavioral health services, children can get the care they need. Early intervention and continued care are critical for improving mental health among youth. With free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), mental and behavioral health services are covered for kids and teens up to 19 years of age.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken a multifaceted approach to increase access to equitable behavioral health services and improve outcomes for people covered by Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and private health insurance, including efforts through the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign. Campaign resources focused on mental health are available on InsureKidsNow.gov for organizations to use in their outreach, including short digital videos, live reads, social media messages, graphics, newsletter templates, and more.
Available Now – “Prioritizing Childhood Mental Health: Encouraging Use of Mental and Behavioral Health Benefits Covered Under Medicaid and CHIP” Webinar Recording
The recording, slides, and transcript of the Campaign’s May 4, 2022 webinar, “Prioritizing Childhood Mental Health: Encouraging Use of Mental and Behavioral Health Benefits Covered Under Medicaid and CHIP,” are now available at InsureKidsNow.gov.
This webinar featured speakers from CMS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of School and Adolescent Health, the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These experts discussed the impact of the Public Health Emergency on mental health among youth, strategies for improving access to and use of mental and behavioral health services, resources for suicide prevention, and practices to support mental health within schools.
Check out these resources mentioned on the webinar by speakers:
- The Blueprint for Suicide Prevention, created by AAP, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institute of Mental Health, is an educational resource to support pediatric health clinicians and other health professionals in identifying key strategies and partnerships to support youth at risk for suicide.
- Sound the Alarm for Kids, a campaign developed by CHA, AAP, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, features the latest news and resources focused on child and adolescent mental health, and an advocacy toolkit for engaging policymakers and spreading the word about youth mental health.
- The Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, conducted by the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health following school building closures in 2020, assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent health and wellbeing. The survey provides insight surrounding responses from youth and promotes comprehensive strategies to improve mental health among youth during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health has resources for supporting mental health in schools and information on creating safe and supportive environments for children.
- In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report for the Supporting Mental Health in Schools Project, detailing trends in poor mental health among youth and adolescents, and highlighting the value of data and resources to combat the ongoing mental health crisis.
Current & Upcoming Observances:
- National Mental Health Awareness Month (May)
- Healthy Vision Month (May)
- National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month (May)
- National Safety Month (June)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month (June)
- Family Health & Fitness Day (6/11)
- National PTSD Awareness Day (6/27)
Stay Connected with the Campaign
- Share our Campaign materials. Our ever-growing, multi-lingual Outreach Tool Library features a variety of targeted resources to use in your outreach and enrollment efforts, available in multiple formats.
- Contact us. To get more involved with the Campaign, contact us via email at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov.
- Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Remember to re-tweet or share our messages from @IKNGov with your social network and be sure to use our #Enroll365 and #KidsEnroll hashtags in your posts.
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