COVID-19 has exacerbated many risk factors for youth depression and suicide, leading three of the U.S’s top pediatric healthcare organisations to recently declare a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health.
“Years of isolation and loss stemming from COVID-19, combined with our social media culture and other factors, have led adolescents to feel more alone, and more stigmatized, in their mental health challenges,” said Cara McNulty, DPA, President, Behavioral Health and Mental Wellbeing, CVS Health. “As a result, we are targeting several programs and services directly toward youth as part of our steadfast commitment to mental wellbeing and suicide reduction.”
Aetna – a CVS Health Company, and mental health education platform Psych Hub have launched an Adolescent Treatment Training Series to meet the urgent needs of youth and young adults.
This joint effort arms the 283,000 behavioural health and employee assistance programme providers in Aetna’s commercial network, Aetna’s internal clinicians and CVS Health’s licensed counsellors at MinuteClinic in select HealthHUB locations with access to a no-cost, evidence-based curriculum.
This is in the form of courses and resources to identify and treat adolescents and young adults along a full continuum of care, from prevention through to intervention, for those at risk of suicide.
Marjorie Morrison, Chief Executive Officer, Psych Hub said: “When working with adolescents, it is important to accept and validate their experience while also offering hope that they unfortunately cannot see.”
This programme builds off the adult specialty suicide prevention continuing education series that Aetna and Psych Hub launched in 2021. The new, youth-focused programme is concentrated on concepts from dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT). This is a highly structured type of treatment that that has been adapted successfully for adolescents with extreme emotional instability, including self-harm and suicidal ideation.
Additionally, mental health practitioners complete learning modules on how to partner with parents, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for adolescents and the best therapies for high-risk communities such as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth.
Candid conversations with youth on mental health
To further engage and support adolescent mental health, Aetna and Psych Hub will soon launch a limited, joint podcast series, Real Talk with Gen Z, in which youth and young adults lead candid conversations with some of the nation’s leading mental health organizations.
Over three episodes, the conversations will focus on the specific experiences of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth and mental health challenges such as loneliness and isolation. Featuring guests from The Trevor Project, the JED Foundation and more, the podcast aims to demonstrate to these critical populations that they are heard, understood and that services are available to support them.
Meeting the needs of employees and their families
At Make A Difference Media and Events, our focus is primarily on how employers can support their people’s mental health and wellbeing. But this news from Aetna and Psych Hub caught my eye as there is increasing interest in how employers can ensure they are ready to meet the needs of the next generation entering the workforce.
Furthermore, as we outlined in this article: “Should Employers Provide Mental Health Support For Individuals AND Their Families?”, offering family support bundles to employers could be a trend set to grow.