Mental health is not a state of being, but a state of action. Having devoted over 100 years to treating the mental health of children and families, we have seen the profound impact that various challenges can have on our mental health and wellbeing. Recent events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted our overall mental health. The impact of such mental health challenges is not confined to a small subset of people; rather, it has far-reaching implications for the entire population.

In 2021, the office of the U.S. Surgeon General, which is focused on the most pressing public health issues, declared a national crisis on youth mental health. In 2023, for the first time, the office also released an advisory on the epidemic of loneliness and isolation, which states that about one-in-two adults in America reported experiencing loneliness. The lack of social connection poses a risk for health and longevity, increasing the risk for premature death by over 25%. Loneliness is just one factor affecting the population. Anxiety, trauma, stress, depression and grief are among other challenges many adults are experiencing every day.

Studies such as the Surgeon General report and the ACE study show that mental health also affects our physical health across the lifespan. Much like efforts to decrease smoking, substance use and risk factors for heart conditions, we must also make efforts to prioritize our mental health.

This toolkit is built upon decades of evidence-based research in neuroscience and the leading mental health theories and practices.

It is our hope that this toolkit provides a basic understanding of mental health and offers practical strategies and accessible resources to achieve our vision of seeing a world full of emotionally thriving people.

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