Last Tuesday was an emotional watershed moment for many of us–including young people. Youth, especially those who identify as minority group members, expressed fear about how this election will impact them and their communities:
“I’m with some foster brothers and sisters and we’re all just getting through it. It’s triggering,” one youth texted our staff. Meanwhile, the number of people reaching out to the Crisis Text Line doubled in 24 hours. According to the program’s chief data scientist, Bob Filbin, the majority of texts came from LGBTQ teens and their friends. The most used words in the texts were “scared”.
Amidst all of the fear and uncertainty about what the future holds, one thing is clear: This election has, and will likely continue to have, serious impacts on the mental health of young people. It could also have a large impact on youth’s access to quality mental health care. Whether it’s a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or a rollback of Medicaid entitlements, changes during a Trump Administration could radically diminish young people’s right to affordable treatment. Without access to services and supports, young people with mental health needs, as well as their families and loved ones, will needlessly struggle.
Change can be scary–even the prospect of change may cause anxiety–but as advocates we know that change can also offer opportunity. It may be difficult in the moment to see the opportunity presented by this election, but one thing is clear: we have the opportunity to make our work more collaborative, more organized, and more effective than before. That’s because people are being energized by the realization that there is always a risk that the gains we have made can be taken away, and that progress is not inevitable. We have to work together unceasingly, not just to move forward, but also to avoid slipping backward.
Since 2012, Young Minds Advocacy has worked to advance young people’s access to quality mental health care–particularly care that allows them to live and thrive in their own homes and communities. Last Tuesday’s disturbing results have galvanized our resolve. The mental health community has come too far–in our fight against stigma, in the growth of community-based services and our commitment to trauma-informed care (just to name a few)–to allow regression.
Together, let’s turn fear into ACTION. Here are some ways that you can protect the rights of youth today:
- Donate to Young Minds Advocacy.
- Sign up to join our community of change makers.
- Share this message with 3 of your family members, friends, and/or colleagues and encourage them to get involved.
Visit our Get Involved page to learn more ways that you can take action today.
As another youth said, “…this is just the beginning. We will change things, especially when we stand together.” All of us at Young Minds Advocacy are proud to stand with you. With your support, we promise to do everything we can to protect and improve youth’s access to quality mental health care–today and in the years to come.