On the last day of Women’s History Month, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein hosted a roundtable at the White House with young women leading their communities in improving mental health. Participants were joined by the leadership of national girl’s advocacy organizations, each of which have prioritized mental health policy and supported young women leaders tackling this issue.
With studies continuing to highlight the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on youth mental health, participants shared their experiences and insight into the unique mental health challenges that women and girls face. The young women leaders also shared policy recommendations for strengthening mental health for girls, including the need to meet girls where they areand the importance of reducing stigma and other barriers that make it difficult for young women and girls to access mental health services.
Senior White House officials reinforced the Administration’s commitment to addressing our mental health crisis, a core pillar of the Unity Agenda that President Biden outlined in his State of the Union Address. This commitment includes: increasing the size and diversity of the mental health workforce; expandingcoverage and reducing costs for mental health services; and integrating mental health care and services across settings, from schools to community centers. Senior White House officials emphasized that the President’s FY23 budget proposes a historic$829 million to strengthen and advance youth mental health. They also discussed the Administration’s work to address the mental health impacts of social media, including addressing the intersection of online harassment and abuse and gender-based violence, a commitment that is part of the first-ever U.S. government National Gender Strategy released by the Biden-Harris Administration last fall.
Young women leaders that participated in today’s roundtable include:• Belen Buckley, Youth Advisor, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality; California
• Enshalla Dunlop, National Agenda for Black Girls (NABG) Advisor, Girls for Gender Equity; New York
• Marley Dias, Author and Literary Activist; New Jersey
• Elmirah Marcus Garcia, Youth Advocate, National Crittenton; New Mexico
• Kiran Kadiyala, Girls Inc. National Teen Advocacy Council Alumna; Florida
• Ava Macomber, Youth Leader, Girl Scouts of the USA; District of Columbia
• Mahogany Morris, Health and Education Intern, Justice for Black Girls Community Organization; New York
• Delgracia Sainvil, Young Women’s Advisory Council Member, Girls for Gender Equity; New York
The following organization leaders also joined for the roundtable:• Lisette Engel, Vice President for Policy and Systems Change, National Crittenton
• Rebecca Epstein, Executive Director, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality
• Stephanie Hull, President and CEO, Girls Inc.
• Margaret Mitchell, President and CEO, YWCA
• Monique Morris, President and CEO, Grantmakers for Girls of Color
• Sue Santa, Senior Vice President for Public Policy & Advocacy, Girl Scouts of the USA
• Joanne Smith, President and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity