U.S. Surgeon General Meets with Pittsburgh Youth and Youth Organizations
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy visited Pittsburgh on April 3rd and 4th to hear from community members and teens around the issue of protecting youth mental health. These discussions were in follow-up to the national advisory Dr. Murthy issued on youth mental health in December 2021.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation participated in two roundtable discussions organized by the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania (BGCWPA) as part of his visit. JHF's program manager Deborah Murdoch, MPH participated in a community roundtable focused on the impact of violence and trauma on the mental health and wellbeing of teens and families, and PA Youth Advocacy Network member Mohammad Shedeed joined teens from the BGCWPA for a discussion with Dr. Murthy.
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General (bottom left) joins Pittsburgh advocates for teen mental health, including Deborah Murdoch (second from top right), on April 3. During discussions with Dr. Murthy, community leaders shared the innovative work happening in communities to address the impact of trauma through trusted relationships with teens and families and the need to extend the continuum of care for youth mental health by investing in these resources. Murdoch detailed JHF's work through the Teen Mental Health Collaborative to gather youth-serving organizations to share approaches and learn from one another.
Youth discussed their stressors, substance use disorder, and the impact of COVID-19 isolation and technology on mental health in discussions, youth advocated for mental health education and resources in schools, safe spaces in, and access to supportive adults. "Having the honor of meeting with the Surgeon General of the United States was a very humbling and exciting experience. It was powerful to see with my own eyes how the government is actively trying to amend the mental health crisis among the youth of the country by taking their very important perspectives into account," Shedeed said.