Our kids are counting on us. It’s time to work together to address the youth mental health crisis.

California’s kids are struggling. The pandemic and related issues have created a mental health crisis for our kids. California’s educators have been on the front lines of this challenge. It’s time for bold and collaborative action. In a recent CalMatters guest commentary, the Steinberg Institute’s new CEO, Karen Larsen takes a hard look at this issue and the opportunity we have to not only address the current crisis but put the next generation on a path to mental wellness.

There are innovative solutions to be found across the state, including the “All 4 Youth” program in Fresno County and the “Lifeguard Initiative” in Stanislaus County. There is dedicated money available for these types of solutions, but unfortunately, it’s not being taken advantage of.

Right now only a handful of California school districts and counties partner to leverage available funds for mental health services. At this critical time, leaving money on the table that could help get more resources for kids is a mistake. 

There’s hope to be found in Governor Gavin Newsom’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, dedicating more than $4 billion to addressing the crisis. But we have a serious behavioral health workforce shortage that must be addressed.

We hope you’ll read Karen’s commentary. If you have feedback or other innovative ideas to address the youth mental health crisis, please reach out to karen@steinberginstitute.org.

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