Mental Health: Growing Needs, Growing Need for Improvement
Mental health is the foundation of physical, emotional, and social well-being and it impacts how we think, feel, and act on a daily basis. Mental wellness promotes productivity and effectiveness in everyday activities such as work, school, and caregiving. Mental health also plays an important role in relationships and how we adapt to changes in life and cope with adversity.
The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns about mental health and exacerbated an already existing mental health crisis in the United States. Isolation, fear, grief, and loss are just a few factors that impacted people as they tried to navigate the pandemic.
Access and Services for Crisis Help
The mental health needs of children and families cannot be met with the current workforce, services, and supports available. Allies for Children is working to advance policies that can result in more access and creative solutions to mental health services and supports.
We are also advocating for policies to ensure people in crisis get help, not handcuffs. One vital step is the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline that can be utilized in a mental health crisis instead of calling 911.
A Safe Space for Teens
In 2022, Allies for Children joined the Teen Mental Health Collaborative facilitated by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. The Collaborative is working to identify opportunities to better integrate community health with traditional health systems by leveraging their strengths, including involving youth voice; creating safe spaces for teens; and their commitment to supporting holistic, equitable teen mental health to combine efforts and make the case for the community’s role in promoting teen mental health.
Allies for Children also collaborated with 1Hood Media and The Grable Foundation to produce Student Voices PA, a documentary featuring Black and Brown Allegheny County students sharing how COVID-19 has impacted them.