Media Statement: The Jed Foundation Response to the 2024 State of the Union Address

March 8, 2024, New York City —The Jed Foundation (JED), a leading nonprofit organization that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, applauds the Biden administration’s continued commitment to addressing mental health in America, as highlighted in yesterday’s State of the Union address.

During the State of the Union, President Biden signaled his support for safeguarding youth mental health by creating safer digital spaces. As part of his Unity Agenda, President Biden emphasized the importance of passing bipartisan privacy legislation to protect our children online, and to “harness the promise of A.I. and protect us from its peril.”

President Biden also acknowledged the key role that proactive mental health supports can play in creating safer communities, highlighting the need to “help cities and towns invest in more community police officers – more mental health workers – and more community violence intervention.”

“We are grateful to have committed partners in President Biden and the White House, who prioritize youth mental health and well-being. Their dedication underscores the critical importance of addressing youth mental health challenges, in order to ensure all young people receive the support and resources they need to thrive,” shared Dr. Zainab Okolo, JED’s Senior Vice President of Policy, Advocacy & Government Relations. “Together, with this shared commitment, we can make meaningful strides in enhancing youth mental health, preventing suicide, and fostering a brighter, healthier future for all.”

Over the last year, the Biden Administration has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to youth mental health, providing hundreds of millions of dollars to connect youth and families to behavioral health services. This essential investment included expanding access to mental health care in schools by applying the mental health parity requirements to Medicaid beneficiaries.

We are particularly encouraged by the administration’s dedication to creating more equitable access to mental health care. In a March 6th statement from the White House, President Biden committed to expanding access to health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and taking additional steps to protect consumers by:

  • Finalizing the mental health parity rule to close existing loopholes.
  • Ensuring health plans evaluate access to mental health care in their networks.
  • Calling on Congress to expand coverage in Medicare and private insurance for mental health care.
  • Applying mental health parity requirements to Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Extending Medicare incentive programs to address mental health provider shortages.

In alignment with the national strategy announced before lawmakers and the American public, JED reaffirms its dedication to strengthening educational institutions, empowering individuals, and mobilizing communities to improve mental health outcomes for young people across the country. JED further advocates for:

  • A White House policy agenda that advances a comprehensive public health approach to promoting mental health and preventing suicide for teens and young adults.
  • Passage and presidential signature on the bipartisan legislation, “Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act,” which would require the U.S. Department of Education to encourage institutions of higher education to develop and implement evidence-based comprehensive campus mental health and suicide prevention plans.
  • Continued collaboration between federal agencies and youth advocacy organizations to improve mental health and suicide prevention knowledge, programs, and environments, with a particular emphasis on preK-20 institutions and the students they serve.

JED believes that through our nationally recognized programming, collaborative partnerships, and community engagements, we can complement federal and statewide efforts to make a significant impact on the mental health of teens and young adults. JED’s academic programs create comprehensive and life-saving support networks in over 1,000 schools, districts, and campuses, serving nearly 6.5 million children, to boost resilience, promote social connections, teach life skills, and encourage proactive help-seeking behavior. By contributing to a community and culture of care that values mental health as a key component of overall health, together, we can create environments where young people flourish.

For more information on JED and our life-saving programs, please visit jedfoundation.org.


About The Jed Foundation (JED)
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
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Media Contact
Justin Barbo
Director of Public Relations, The Jed Foundation

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