The Jed Foundation joins The Path Forward to Address Growing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Challenges for Nation’s Teens and Young Adults
WASHINGTON — April 20, 2021 — While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far reaching, young adults have been significantly impacted with school closures, loss of income and isolation. To close gaps in access, quality, and affordability of care for mental health and substance use disorders among teens and young adults, The Jed Foundation (JED), a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, has joined The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use (The Path Forward).
The Path Forward stakeholders — leading national groups representing business, government, nonprofits, and health care providers and plans — are working to re-focus the nation’s healthcare delivery systems through early detection and broad access to effective mental health and substance use care.
“We are thrilled to be joining a coalition of organizations working together to create a more comprehensive network of mental health care for teens and young adults,” said John MacPhee, executive director and CEO of JED. “As the country faces the impacts of the pandemic, we must ensure access to affordable quality care for mental health and substance use disorders for our young people.”
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, during the pandemic, a larger than average share of young adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder (56%). Compared to all adults, young adults are more likely to report substance use (25% vs. 13%) and suicidal thoughts (26% vs. 11%). Prior to the pandemic, young adults were already at high risk of poor mental health and substance use disorder, though many did not receive treatment.
“Given that a majority of teens and young adults are covered through their parents’ health benefits, the growing crisis for our youth is of significant concern for employers,” said Michael Thompson, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and The Path Forward partner. “Affordable access to mental health and substance use care even for those with coverage has been a growing concern even before the pandemic. It is critical that all stakeholders come to the table to reform our broken system.”
To achieve the systems-level change required, The Path Forward is working with employers and other healthcare purchasers around five key priorities:
- Improve in-network access to behavioral health specialists
- Integrate behavioral health into primary care settings through the Collaborative Care Model
- Increase use of measurement-based care to drive early detection of behavioral conditions and improve patient outcomes
- Expand tele-behavioral health
- Ensure equitable access to care for all Americans
The Path Forward is a multi-stakeholder group implementing a national initiative to improve the delivery of affordable and effective behavioral healthcare. Two major employer coalitions, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and the HR Policy Association, have joined with behavioral health providers and experts through the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation Center for Workplace Mental Health, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and The Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 to further expand the implementation of evidence-based reforms in both the general medical system and the specialty behavioral health system.
About The Jed Foundation (JED)
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health. Learn more at jedfoundation.org. Check out our programs including: JED Campus, Set to Go, ULifeline, Half of Us, Love is Louder, and Seize the Awkward.
About The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use
The Path Forward is a first-of-its kind private sector initiative to drive market-based improvements in behavioral health treatment and health equity for all Americans. Stakeholders are implementing five evidence-based reforms to improve access to effective, affordable and timely behavioral health treatment, and reduce total healthcare costs. To leverage the influence of business coalitions, Regional Employer Stakeholder Engagement Teams (RESET) have been established in key regions across the country (CA, FL, KS, MD/DC/VA, MN, NY/NJ/CT, TN and TX).
The Path Forward’s partners are the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, American Health Policy Institute, American Psychiatric Association Foundation Center for Workplace Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association, The Bowman Family Foundation, HR Policy Association, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and The Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19. Learn more here.
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