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Heidi Baskfield, seasoned public affairs expert, will lead Speak Our Minds in advocating to end the youth mental health crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) announced that the Sound the Alarm for Kids campaign will shift to Speak Our Minds: Ending the Youth Mental Health Crisis, under the leadership of Executive Director Heidi Baskfield. Baskfield brings years of experience in state and federal advocacy, and will lead a refined strategy to reflect the evolving policy landscape and focus on creating an effective and integrated system to address the youth mental health crisis.

Sound the Alarm for Kids launched in October of 2021 by the CHA following a national emergency declaration on the kids’ mental health crisis by CHA, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists (AACAP). Sound the Alarm for Kids raised awareness of the national mental health emergency amongst children and teens. Having successfully brought national attention to children’s mental health concerns, Sound the Alarm for Kids’ goals have now evolved. Speak Our Minds will kick off the next chapter by ensuring that tangible changes are enacted to address this growing crisis through creating a working system of mental health care for youth and families, and calling on all governors to build a system of youth mental health care in each state.

“The Children’s Hospital Association will continue to advocate alongside our children’s hospitals and with our partners in the Speak Our Minds coalition to end the youth mental health crisis and support children and families across the country. This crisis affects every child, and we are committed to working together to invest in the health and well-being of our youth – the adults of tomorrow,” said CHA president Amy Wimpey Knight.

Speak Our Minds’ first initiative is to call on governors to pledge to create a working system of youth mental health in their state. As a powerful example, Speak Our Minds will launch a new documentary covering the national pediatric boarding crisis and highlighting the impact of the absence of a functional youth mental health system.

“Sound the Alarm for Kids united health care organizations in elevating children’s mental health needs brought to a crisis point during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Heidi Baskfield, Executive Director of Speak Our Minds. “While pandemic restrictions are easing, young people’s emotional and behavioral health concerns are not. As rates of depression, anxiety, self-injury and suicide amongst our kids increase, Speak Our Minds will work to ensure policymakers at the state and federal levels take swift, durable action to address our continuing youth mental health crisis.”

If you are an individual or organization interested in pushing the pledge and continuing to lay the groundwork for youth mental health, consider becoming a partner. Learn more about Speak Our Minds.

Elleni Almandrez
(202) 753-5364

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