National Governors Association (NGA) Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continued his nationwide listening tour on youth mental health issues with an event hosted by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Governors held a roundtable discussion with those on the frontlines of youth mental health care in the third of a series of conversations to advance the NGA Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper and North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Burgum also spoke at the event, which also focused on expanding access and quality of care for maternal and infant health.
“The youth mental health crisis and the relentless toll it takes on families, educators, providers, and communities can be felt in cities and states across the country,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Systemic challenges have depleted the national mental health workforce, which has led to barriers to access due to expense and distance, preventing children from receiving the care they need. This convening focused on the solutions needed to remove these barriers and build a robust system of supports by leveraging innovative funding opportunities that can supplement and amplify existing state investments and programs. As Governors, we remain committed to working together and sharing best practices to ensure that our young people, as well as their families, communities, and schools, have access to the critical youth mental health support they need and deserve to thrive.”
“In Michigan, we’re working together to ensure all children can thrive by investing in their overall well-being, including mental and behavioral health,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “We know we have more work to do in Michigan and across the nation, and we recognize this crisis will take an all-hands approach. This roundtable serves as an opportunity for all of us to learn more and to consider ways we can build on the good work taking place.”
“Fixing dual issues that are plaguing our country – maternal and infant health and youth mental health – will require us all to work together. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the lived experiences of our experts and discuss further steps that can be taken in each of our states to address these crises nationally,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy. “In New Jersey, the success we have seen in the maternal and infant health space is a result of collaborative efforts among many stakeholders. Together, we will move our country in the right direction with respect to each of maternal and infant health and youth mental health.”
In response to rising rates of mental health distress among young people, Governor Murphy introduced his NGA Chair’s Initiative last July. Through the Strengthening Youth Mental Health initiative, Governors from across the nation are collaborating to develop bipartisan solutions.
During the two-day roundtable event in Detroit, Governors Murphy and Whitmer will hold discussions with First Spouses, private sector leaders, and policy and subject matter experts. Conversations focused on the role of states in ensuring access and affordability of quality youth mental health treatment and care.
At the event, Governor Murphy unveiled a new video, featuring American professional stock car racing driver William Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr., to help raise awareness about mental health and seeking help.
The Michigan event is the third of four roundtable discussions Governors will convene in multiple states in support of the Strengthening Youth Mental Health initiative. Previous roundtables were hosted in California by Governor Murphy and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and in Utah by Governor Murphy and NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox.