As Prepared For Delivery:
Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the White House!
I’m Susan Rice, President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor. It’s my job to drive the President’s domestic policy agenda, from health care and education to racial justice and housing policy. In this role, every day I see how mental illness—often exacerbated by social media and other factors—is a force multiplier across so many of our most pressing challenges as a nation. And, I see the urgency of tackling our youth mental health crisis not only as a White House official, but also as the mother of two young adults.
Recently, I sat down with another group of young mental health champions. One young woman—a high schooler who’d watched her friend struggle with thoughts of suicide—said to me, “Mental health is treated as an alien concept. We need to normalize it.”
Today, we’re here to normalize. We’re here to mobilize. We’re here to take action to address our nation’s youth mental health crisis.
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are deeply committed to tackling this crisis—a commitment reflected in our national strategy for transforming how we understand, access, and treat mental health in America.
But, this is not a problem government can solve alone. That’s why the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services have spent months teaming up with your organizations and the incredible group of young advocates here today. Mental health leaders who have launched podcasts and designed apps. Advocates who have elevated this issue on social media and at the UN. Courageous young people who have taken their experiences with an eating disorder or bipolar disorder and found new and innovative ways to help others who may be going through the same thing.
As we head into Mental Health Action Day tomorrow, our Administration will continue acting urgently to address this youth mental crisis. And, with your help, we can meet this moment and get Americans the care they need and deserve. Now, let’s check out this video and get ready to meet our outstanding youth leaders.