Three people died in a Houston Flea Market and a California church today. And yesterday, an 18-year old targeted a black neighborhood in Buffalo and killed 10 people.
We are the most successful country in the world, or so we try to tell ourselves. But how successful are we if we allow 7000 shootings in five months, 149 mass shootings, and all the machine guns anyone can buy? And we also allow our politics to fail our medical response to COVID-19 as we surpass all other countries with a million dead.
High School Warning
The need for perceived freedoms that restrict other people’s freedoms or even their lives is shocking. The shocking hate crime was carried out by a young person who had already been on the radar of the New York State Police
This early warning, when the suspect was in high school, ties back to the article written here on the K-16 students mental health crisis. The pandemic didn’t cause this crisis, it only fueled it, and educators and professional organizations around the country are well aware of the decade-long decline in student health.
What Can We Do Right Now?
Although the ideas below are recommendations, the essential solution is to take action on behalf of student health.
Increase federal funding dedicated to ensuring all families and children, from infancy through adolescence, can access evidence-based mental health screening, diagnosis, and treatment to appropriately address their mental health needs, with particular emphasis on meeting the needs of under-resourced populations.
Address regulatory challenges and improve access to technology to assure continued availability of telemedicine to provide mental health care to all populations.
Increase implementation and sustainable funding of effective models of school-based mental health care, including clinical strategies and models for payment.
Accelerate adoption of effective and financially sustainable models of integrated mental health care in primary care pediatrics, including clinical strategies and models for payment.
Strengthen emerging efforts to reduce the risk of suicide in children and adolescents through prevention programs in schools, primary care, and community settings.
Address the ongoing challenges of the acute care needs of children and adolescents, including shortage of beds and emergency room boarding by expanding access to step-down programs from inpatient units, short-stay stabilization units, and community-based response teams.
Fully fund comprehensive, community-based systems of care that connect families in need of behavioral health services and supports for their child with evidence-based interventions in their home, community or school.
Promote and pay for trauma-informed care services that support relational health and family resilience.
Accelerate strategies to address longstanding workforce challenges in child mental health, including innovative training programs, loan repayment, and intensified efforts to recruit underrepresented populations into mental health professions as well as attention to the impact that the public health crisis has had on the well-being of health professionals.
Advance policies that ensure compliance with and enforcement of mental health parity laws.American Academy of Pediatrics