The Surgeon General’s New Mission: Adolescent Mental Health

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In the United States, mental health has become one of the country’s top concerns, with more than 20% of adolescents affected by mental health disorders. The Surgeon General has identified Adolescent Mental Health as a new mission, seeking to raise awareness and address the issues that young people face today.

Adolescence is a period of immense change, both physically and emotionally. During this time, young people explore new experiences, relationships, and challenges that can lead to anxiety and depression. Mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, can emerge during these years, increasing the risks of self-harm, suicide, and substance abuse. This is a critical issue that needs immediate attention and action.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 50% of all mental illnesses begin by age 14, and the later the diagnosis, the greater the severity of the illness. Hence, early diagnosis and intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome.

The Surgeon General aims to promote adolescent mental health by working collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to improve the quality of care and resources for young people. Their focus is not only on treatment but also on prevention, early intervention, and addressing the social determinants of health.

One way to promote adolescent mental health is by educating young people and their families about the importance of mental health and making services accessible. Mental health education can be incorporated into schools, community centers, and primary care practices, where young people and their families can learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and what to do if they or someone they know needs help.

Moreover, The Surgeon General recognizes the importance of addressing the social determinants of mental health to reduce the prevalence of adolescent mental health disorders. Young people facing issues such as housing insecurity, food insecurity, and poverty are at increased risk of developing mental health disorders. Addressing these issues requires a broad-based approach involving public health, education, and physical and social environment development.

The Surgeon General’s mission includes creating interdisciplinary teams to work together towards promoting adolescent mental health. By combining the skills and resources of different professions such as psychiatry, psychology, and social work, healthcare providers can provide comprehensive mental health care for young people. Healthcare providers must also use evidence-based practices and develop standards of care to ensure that they provide quality services.

Moreover, The Surgeon General recognizes that not all young people access healthcare through traditional means. As such, The Surgeon General is partnering with organizations to develop online and remote resources and technologies that can reach young people of varying age groups and racial identities. Developing resources that are accessible through digital platforms is as crucial as traditional healthcare services, especially during a global pandemic like COVID – 19.

Additionally, The Surgeon General’s mission aims to reduce the stigma associated with adolescent mental health disorders. This stigma often prevents young people from seeking help and worsens the condition due to a lack of proper treatment. By reducing stigma, young people can access mental health services without fear of judgment or discrimination.

In conclusion, The Surgeon General’s new mission emphasizing adolescent mental health is a significant step forward towards promoting the well-being of young people. Addressing the social determinants of mental health, developing comprehensive care standards, improving access to care services, and reducing stigma will help vulnerable groups most affected by mental health disorders. The Surgeon General’s mission is not only to improve public health but also to improve health equity and social justice, ensuring that all young people have the best chance for healthy and fulfilling lives.