June 22-26, 2001

 
 
ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH

WHEREAS, between 12 percent and 22 percent of America's youth under age 18 are in need of mental health services and an estimated 7.5 million children and adolescents suffer from one or more mental disorders ("Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General", 1999); and

WHEREAS, younger people - age 15-24 - are more likely to have mental health disorders than other age groups; and

WHEREAS, among children one in five may have a mental health problem that can be identified and treated; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the personal suffering experienced by children with emotional or behavioral problems and their families, untreated mental health disorders also have a tremendous cost to society; and

WHEREAS, to reduce the incidence of childhood mental illness, preventive interventions need to be provided prior to the development of significant symptoms; and

WHEREAS, according to the report, recent findings in behavioral epidemiology indicate that mental health problems, social problems, and health risk behaviors often co-occur as an organized pattern of adolescent risk behaviors; and

WHEREAS, we now know that programs, which truly make a difference in children's lives must address prevention, early and intensive, comprehensive interventions. Moreover, they must include not just the child, but the families, schools, and communities in which individuals live; and

WHEREAS, schools are particularly well positioned to foster healthy development and help prevent youth violence by promoting pro-social, cooperative behavior and a culture of learning. Effective prevention, intervention, and crisis response strategies operate best in schools that do so,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges increased support and coordination between mental health services, human services, and public health service entities in the delivery of comprehensive mental health services to children within the school settings; and the community at large; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Congress and the Administration to increase funding for community-based, urban programs for the prevention and treatment of mental illness and to insure that federally funded public health efforts be funded to expand and to include mental health components when serving populations with dual or multiple needs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors advocates that reimbursement for mental health services should adequately support the need for care coordination and outreach activities among school staff and teachers, parents, mental health providers and children.