MedPage Today editor-in-chief Jeremy Faust, MD, talks with Admiral Rachel Levine, MD, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about how HHS is addressing mental health issues among U.S. kids and adolescents.

Faust: Let’s turn to a discussion of mental health. It’s an area that you’ve spent a lot of time and expertise on — it was your fellowship training, so long before your government service.

The teen mental health crisis in this country is not new. The pandemic made it worse. I feel like maybe social media is not helping. If you were just to give me the napkin pitch on what is the root cause of this is? What would you say?

Levine: Well, there’s no simplistic answers to that, in terms of root causes. Again, there are many different factors.

Youth mental health was challenged before the pandemic, you’re right. I’m an adolescent medicine specialist and a pediatrician, and my whole career has been treating children, adolescents, and young adults, particularly with that intersection between physical health and mental health. That was in academic medicine, primarily at Penn State College of Medicine, and then as the physician general […]

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