The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in March 2022 of an accelerating mental health crisis among adolescents, with more than 4 in 10 teens reporting that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless,” and 1 in 5 saying they have contemplated suicide. With this growing and persistent awareness of the complexity of mental health challenges impacting the Jewish, the Atlanta Jewish Foundation commissioned a project to understand the landscape and develop a plan to equip the community to ensure proactive support for the Mental Health and Wellbeing needs and opportunities locally. This research was designed to better understand how mental health work already underway has been going, what gaps and opportunities still exist, and how the Atlanta Jewish Foundation’s participation and philanthropic tools will build existing efforts and institutions, specifically. Dozens of interviews, focus groups and other research highlighted three overarching issues specific to the Atlanta Jewish community, and validated challenges true nationally: professionals attempting to address these issues work in siloes, stigma is a significant barrier to getting help, and access to support is extremely limited due to clinical staff shortages and a general lack of knowledge about existing resources. All current efforts could have greater impact if there were mechanisms in place to support integration of the work.
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