APA Task Force on Psychology's Agenda for Child and Adolescent Mental Health

On September 18-19, 2000, as a result of the growing recognition of the crisis in children's mental health care in the United States, the Office of the Surgeon General held a conference in Washington, DC titled "Children's Mental Health: Developing a National Action Agenda." The report produced as a result of this conference, Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health: A National Action Agenda (SGAA), addressed these critical issues, formulated a national agenda, and formulated a call to action regarding the crisis in children's mental health care.

In response to this call, the American Psychological Association (APA) Board of Directors established the Working Group on Children's Mental Health and charged the group with developing the Association's proactive, cross-directorate strategy to address issues raised at the Surgeon General's conference. The APA Working Group on Children's Mental Health (WGCMH) produced Developing Psychology's National Agenda for Children's Mental Health: APA's Response to the Surgeon General's Action Agenda for Children's Mental Health. In this report, the Working Group identified five central strategies from the SGAA to guide APA in developing and implementing activities that will promote and further the eight goals comprising the SGAA.

In order to implement the activities identified by the working group, the APA Board of Directors established the Task Force on Psychology's Agenda for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (TFPA). The mission of the Task Force was to review the five central strategies, as well as the opportunities for action, identified by the Working Group on Child Mental Health, in order to realize the goals originally set forth by the Surgeon General. The APA Task Force in collaboration with the Inter-Divisional Task Force on Children's Mental Health and the APA Public Policy Office developed the talking points below to insure that a broad range of children's mental health needs and issues would be addressed in APA's advocacy efforts.

Talking Points for Advocacy

  • Promoting Awareness of Children's Mental Health Issues

  • Strengthening the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Work Force

  • Increasing Access and Coordination of Quality Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents

  • Improving Quality and Coordination of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services