Readout of the Youth Behavioral Health Roundtable

This afternoon, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted a virtual roundtable discussion to hear different perspectives from organizations helping tackle the nation’s youth mental and behavioral health crisis. Secretary Becerra emphasized that HHS is not waiting to act; the Department is working to advance behavioral health for children, youth, and their families, with a focus on promoting equity, improving access, and fostering innovation.

The roundtable addressed topics including access, capacity, and equity to support services; health care coverage; workforce challenges; the upcoming 988 lifeline; Medicaid funding for services in schools; telehealth; and improved data collection. Participants, listed below, included pediatricians, psychologists, mental health advocates, and children’s afterschool program leaders.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  • Children’s Hospital Association (CHA)
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
  • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
  • AASA, The School Superintendents Association (AASA)
  • YWCA
  • YMCA
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCMH)
  • The Trevor Project

A top priority for the group, according to participants, is to reduce the youth suicide rate. The roundtable underscored the importance of providing children and youth with meaningful access to behavioral health services, including in school and community settings. Secretary Becerra invited participants to recommend specific programs that HHS could engage to achieve measurable progress against this unprecedented crisis.

Today’s roundtable discussion builds on Secretary Becerra’s longstanding commitment to improving youth mental and behavioral health. HHS has invested approximately $190 million to support youth behavioral health services. The Department is working to increase resources for Native and LGBTQ youth, combat the mental health impacts of the pandemic, and expand telehealth access for mental health services.

In his closing statement, Secretary Becerra thanked organization leaders for participating in the roundtable and for their expertise on this important issue: “Together, we can give young people the resources they need to survive and thrive—both during this pandemic and beyond.”

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