To prevent and treat youth mental illness and substance use disorder by bringing together thought leaders from both the private and public sectors to create innovative and actionable solutions.
Today’s youth are facing unprecedented challenges. From social and political unrest to cyberbullying and financial uncertainty, they have dealt with issues that few generations before them have. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, youth mental health issues were on the rise. According to a report released by the CDC, a 2019 national survey of young people found that one in three high school students and half of female students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, an overall increase of 40% from 2009. The pandemic has exacerbated these statistics and if something is not done soon, the results will be catastrophic.
There is no doubt, the mental health challenges that our nation’s youth are facing are pervasive and grim. But they are also treatable and, in many cases, preventable. The Innovation HUB will serve as a central focus of cutting-edge advances in behavioral health – a place where respected voices in the field gather to share best practices, develop new technologies, and provide youth with access to universal screenings to facilitate early intervention and prevention.
ERPHealth INNOVATION HUB
The Innovation HUB is a bipartisan initiative composed of thought leaders from the public, non-profit and private sectors dedicated to creating innovative solutions to prevent and treat youth mental illness and addiction.
The Innovation HUB’s strategic agenda will be based around four pillars:
Identify behavioral health issues through universal screenings for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and other common mental health conditions in schools, pediatrician offices and social and human service settings.
Integrate behavioral healthcare across early childhood systems to ensure all children, adolescents and young adults have equitable access to evidence-based, person-centered and culturally appropriate care. Establish a technological infrastructure that facilitates health integration throughout the individual’s entire sphere of influence.
Inspire change and promote resiliency through peer programs for individuals and families. Build psycho-social protective factors through social emotional learning and mentorships that offer academic and professional development and establish reward programs to positively reinforce behavior change.
Ensure that all solutions are inclusive and equitable. A primary driver of the significant behavioral health issues amongst children, adolescents and young adults are disparities in access to care for racial and ethnic minority groups as well as for those who identify as LGBTQI+ and people with disabilities.
SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
- Individual – Understand the importance of and learn how to apply self-care practices. Learn the importance of positive self-talk. Cultivate self-efficacy through mentorship and academic/professional development programs.
- Family/Caregivers – Understand interpersonal communications in family dynamics. Recognize the importance of and and be rewarded for family involvement.
- Community – Understand the role that community organizations can play in mental well-being. Connect with community. Identify positive role models.
- Society – Recognize the role that they play in society and cultivate hope for the future.
In addition to increases in youth mental illness and addiction, suicide rates amongst young people have gone up. In 2020 E.R. visits for suicide attempts were up 51% for adolescent girls compared to the year before. The innovation HUB will be committed to leveraging technology to identify suicide ideations and make accessible SAMHSAs recently established 988 suicide and crisis lifeline.
The Innovation HUB will set out to enhance the entire youth sphere of influence by creating protective factors.
This brief is meant to provide a general overview of the principles and directives that will guide the Innovation HUB. It is to be expected that as thought leaders from the public, non-profit and private sectors congregate, the processes summarized here will evolve. These evolutions will be welcome. The Innovation HUB is designed to serve as a place where the seeds of solutions can be planted, nurtured and grown into actionable steps that can be taken to improve the health and well-being of all children, adolescents and young adults.