Gov. Phil Murphy, chair of the National Governors Association, recently unveiled “Strengthening Youth Mental Health: A Governor’s Playbook,” which can be used as a resource for states, policymakers and stakeholders to strengthen youth mental health across the country, according to a news release.

The playbook is the culmination of Murphy’s year-long focus on “Strengthening Youth Mental Health” as his NGA Chair’s Initiative, throughout the course of which the governor brought together 500 stakeholders – including youth, governors, and other experts – at four convenings across the country to discuss the current state of youth mental health systems, best practices, and implementable, impactful solutions for all states.

“America’s youth mental health crisis is a complex issue that transcends both party and geographic lines,” Murphy said. “Over the past year, we have traveled across the country and spent countless hours meeting with those on the front lines – young people, parents, caregivers, educators and community leaders – to discuss innovative approaches, thoughtful programs and effective models for addressing youth mental health.” He added, “The pages of this playbook contain examples of successful policies and initiatives that use this all-hands approach to address youth mental health needs, and it is our hope that more states will implement similar policies to help our youth thrive.”

The Strengthening Youth Mental Health Initiative consists of four pillars that address the continuum of youth mental health — helping stakeholders address the needs of youth in crisis today, while ensuring that systems focus on holistically supporting youth mental well-being to help future generations succeed. The four pillars are:

  1. Addressing prevention and building resilience by supporting youth with the necessary tools to respond to stressors and challenges, reducing the risk of mental health conditions and proactively identifying and managing existing conditions to prevent crises.
  2. Increasing awareness and reducing stigma by promoting awareness of mental health knowledge and resources, and decreasing the social, self and structural stigma around youth mental health challenges.
  3. Ensuring access and affordability of quality treatment and care by removing the barriers to care, including unaffordable costs, lack of insurance coverage and a depleted workforce to ensure that high-quality, trauma-informed, and culturally relevant care is accessible to youth in appropriate places, spaces and timeframes to meet their needs.
  4. Training and supporting caregivers and educators by expanding training and supports, so that those caring for and interacting with youth daily have the understanding and tools to identify mental health needs to access relevant supports.

The playbook breaks down these pillars into 13 priority areas that can help stakeholders zero in on different facets of the system. The priorities are further broken down into 35 specific, nonpartisan policy opportunities for Governors that leverage their unique abilities across agenda setting, allocating funding, supporting legislation, and orchestrating stakeholders.


















View “Strengthening Youth Mental Health: A Governor’s Playbook” and the “Tackling the Maternal and Infant Health Crisis: A Governor’s Playbook” on NGA’s website.