Yesterday, The Kennedy Forum announced the launch of its Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, “Ensuring Coverage of Youth Mental Health Treatment.” CGI convenes global and emerging leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
The Forum’s Commitment focuses on breaking down insurance barriers that inhibit youth access to evidence-based mental health treatment services and critical prevention measures. Amid warnings from the U.S. Surgeon General and major medical associations—and with youth mental health challenges increasing significantly during the pandemic—the need for systematic change is stronger than ever. And given that the onset of about half of mental health disorders occur by age 18 and more than 60% by the age of 25, a special emphasis on youth-based strategies and solutions is both timely and strategic.
In pushing to advance parity (i.e., equal coverage of mental health and addiction treatment services), The Kennedy Forum will work with Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Inseparable to increase enforcement, educate policymakers on needed changes, and build grassroots support for prioritizing youth mental health. The goal is to directly address the fact that many critical services are rarely covered by insurers: mental health therapies in schools, consensus treatment modality for early psychosis, emergency/crisis response services, routine prevention and early identification services, and key intermediate levels of treatment.