The Youth Mental Health Project.

We empower families and communities to act with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to support the social, emotional, mental, and behavioral health of youth.

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Download our Guide: Understanding Youth Mental Health – Questions Parents Frequently Ask and get the answers to important and common questions.


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The Opportunity.

All children have mental health – just like physical health

Important at every stage of life, mental health affects the way a person thinks, feels, relates to others, and behaves. By inspiring open conversations about mental health, The Youth Mental Health Project creates opportunities for communities to promote education, awareness and understanding of how to care for and support the whole child.

  • Mental health lies on a continuum and includes our emotional, psychological and social well being.
  • 1 in 5 children have a diagnosable mental health condition.
  • 5 in 5 children have mental health.
  • A healthy mind is as important to a child’s development as a healthy body.
  • Research is clear that brain development begins in the womb.
  • Mental health plays a critical role in shaping a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development.

We have an opportunity to shift perceptions about the mental health of youth. Through mental health literacy, we can reduce the number of children who struggle with a diagnosable mental health disorder and improve lifelong outcomes. Mental health doesn’t have to be a difficult topic; The Youth Mental Health Project has the tools to help.


“Emotional wellbeing, social competence, and cognitive abilities together are the bricks and mortar that comprise the foundation of human development. When parents, informal community programs, and professional early childhood services pay attention to young children’s emotional and social needs, as well as to their mastery of literacy and cognitive skills, they have maximum impact on the development of sturdy brain architecture and preparation for success in school.”
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child

The Problem.


1 in 5 kids has a diagnosable mental health condition


Half of all cases of mental illness begin in childhood.* As research has consistently proven, early detection and intervention dramatically improve the long-term outlook for anyone with a mental health disorder. In addition, early detection and treatment can prevent an escalation of symptoms and possible co-occurring disorders, which are oftentimes more difficult to treat. Stereotypes, discrimination and fear, however, cultivate deafening silence around youth mental health. This makes identification and treatment extremely difficult. Families cannot seek help for a problem if they do not know it exists.

“In the 1950’s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. Because of research, today about 90% of kids with the most common type of cancer will live. Before they turn 20, about 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer.”** Brave people who began to speak up made a difference. Now society recognizes that cancer is a medical condition that does not discriminate and is not the fault of the patient or the family. With this change in attitudes, people seek help sooner and more money has been invested into scientific research, resulting in better outcomes and substantially lower death rates. It is clear that reducing fear and misunderstanding of an illness can save children’s lives.

Untreated mental health conditions can lead to desperate situations. In fact, suicide remains the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 24. Just like with childhood cancer, we can solve this problem. At the Youth Mental Health Project the solution starts today.

* * National Institute of Mental Health, ** St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10–24 years in the United StatesCenter for Disease Control 2015
OF ALL LIFETIME
CASES OF
MENTAL ILLNESS
0%
BEGIN BY AGE 14
and 75% BY AGE 24*

OF STUDENTS AGE 14 OR OLDER WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
0%
DROP OUT OF
HIGH SCHOOL*

OF YOUTH IN STATE & LOCAL JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEMS
0%
HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESS*
OF THOSE
WHO DIED BY
SUICIDE
0%
HAD UNDERLYING MENTAL ILLNESS*

*National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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