Mental health is an essential part of our overall health and well-being. It is as important as our physical health needs and affects how we think, feel, and act.
Youth served by child welfare may have experienced trauma, frequently changing life situations, and a lack of access to quality mental health services. Youth in care should be involved in decisions about their mental health care, including the prescription of psychotropic medications.
Child welfare and related professionals should provide screening to identify early, tailored intervention services that support a youth’s emotional well-being. Supporting youth mental health should include assessments that consider the youth’s culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and special needs.
Young people may experience increased stress in times of uncertainty or crisis, such as when entering care, being placed in an unfamiliar environment, or exiting the foster care system. These are the times when accessing resources to support their mental health is most important.
Use the resources on this page to find strategies to help child welfare professionals support the mental health needs of youth.
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Can’t find what you need in the filtered results? Try searching our Library catalog to access a large selection of peer-reviewed journal articles, evaluation reports, Children’s Bureau grant materials, research studies, and more.
Mental and Behavioral Health Needs of Children in Foster Care
Provides information on a number of topics that relate to the mental and behavioral health of children and teens in out-of-home care.
For Young People Looking for Help
Explains how your mental health can impact your daily life and how to get help when you need it.
A Guide to Toxic Stress
Offers a guide on toxic stress and how to lessen its effects on mental and physical health.
Mental Health: Poor Mental Health Impacts Adolescent Well-being
Provides information and resources on COVID-19, including resources for supporting your mental health.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Offers a variety of mental health and well-being resources, including perspectives from youth about managing their mental health.
Mental Health of Adolescents
Provides information and data surrounding different types and determinates of youth mental health as well as initiatives and interventions to help respond to the mental health needs of youth.
Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory
Includes recommendations of how child welfare professionals can better support and address the mental health needs for youth and children, which is a public health issue needing awareness and action.
Supporting Child, Caregiver, and Family Well-Being in Times of Crisis: Strategies to Promote Effective Virtual and Phone Engagement
Explore this bulletin for child-serving professionals outside of child protective services that discusses ways to support children and their caregivers and connect them with appropriate resources to mitigate risks for harm during crisis situations.
Tip-Sheet on Responding to Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Needs
Provides child welfare and related professionals with tips, resources, and tools to use when responding to the mental health and wellness needs of youth and young adults in foster care.