Addressing Teen Mental Health Crises: A National Policy Playbook

Addressing Teen Mental Health Crises: A National Policy Playbook

This Policy Playbook presents the results of the National Summit, identifying the top policy priorities recommended by the participants across seven policy domains: financing and funding; teen-centeredness and family engagement; models of care; building the workforce; information and communications technology; research and evaluation; performance improvement.

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Today’s teens are experiencing unprecedented and growing levels of mental health crises – defined as situations involving suicide, psychiatric symptoms, drug and alcohol use, and violence that are highly and imminently likely to cause teens to harm themselves or others. 

Working with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and under the guidance of a National Advisory Panel, AcademyHealth partnered with Adolescents and Children Together for Health (ACT for Health) to identify best practices, barriers, and policy priorities for creating a teen mental health safety net. This work culminated in the National Summit for Policy and Action on Teen Mental Health Crises (National Summit), which brought together 45 researchers, health system leaders, policymakers, advocates, and other thought leaders to develop a national policy and advocacy strategy to create a safety net for teen mental health crises.

Participants identified advocacy strategies to support the following conclusions: 

  • A fresh approach to financing and funding is essential.
  • New models of care must cover all the sectors engaged in crisis response.
  • These models must be teen-centered and engage families.
  • Models should take advantage of digital health information and communications technology.
  • Value-based payment approaches should be tailored to teen mental health.