A national call to innovate children’s mental health services, by Patrick J. Kennedy and Linda Rosenberg

One in five children in the United States show signs of a mental health condition. In a class of 25 students, it’s likely that five of them will deal with depression, anxiety, substance use disorders or other adverse childhood experiences that make learning a serious challenge.

Most children — almost 80 percent — don’t get the mental health services they need. The professionals who are best trained to help are in short supply. The average school nurse is responsible for more than 1,000 students. A typical school psychologist divides her time among 1,400 students.

Nothing is more important to us, as parents, advocates and practitioners, than ensuring all children have the opportunity to thrive physically, mentally and emotionally. That is why, together with other parents, educators and mental health professionals, the Kennedy Forum has developed a framework for building a comprehensive, integrated system to improve mental health services for children and adolescents across the country.

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