How We Can Improve Mental Health Outcomes for Young People in 2017: Highlights from Lincoln Policy Panel

“How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  That piece of advice has been showing up in many different parts of my life lately, including at a recent youth mental health forum in Oakland, hosted by Lincoln on January 6th.  The event featured a wide range of presenters, including child advocates, legislative staff, young people with lived experiences, clinicians, policy experts, and educators.  Panelists discussed common barriers to quality mental health care for kids and young people and proposed solutions that we all can pursue in 2017 to ensure that every child is valued and receives appropriate mental health services when needed.

"It's time to change how we view addiction."

"It's time to change how we view addiction."

Addiction is a very real issue that affects several families at Lincoln. For the first time ever, a sitting U.S. surgeon general has declared substance abuse a public-health crisis. “It’s time to change how we view addiction,” Vivek Murthy said in a statement last week, which was accompanied by a lengthy report on the issue. “Not as a moral failing, but as a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency and compassion. The way we address this crisis is a test for America.”

Murthy’s statement is a major victory for those advocates who have long hoped addiction would be viewed through a physical- and mental-health lens. 

An Open Letter to Lincoln Children and Families

Dear Lincoln Youth and Families, 

When someone says that you do not matter, we will remind you that you do.

When someone says that you do not belong, we will show you how you do.

When someone says that you are less worthy because of the color of your skin, we will tell you that you are beautiful and perfect as you are.

When someone tries to tells you who you can and can’t love, we will stand with you in that love.

When someone says that you have no reproductive rights, we will fight to ensure that you do.

When someone blames you for the problems that exist in our world when you are just trying to make it through one more day, we will remind you just how important you are.

We know that many of you are feeling uncertain, fearful, and hopeless about how our governmental policies may impact you and your families in the coming months. Lincoln has stood by the children, youth and families we serve for 133 years, through catastrophes and political shifts, always being guided by our mission and values. We will continue to stand on our values of diversity, integrity, respect, courage, compassion, and excellence in our service to you. For it is these shared values that provides us with a beacon to bring us together as we try to make the world a better place for our children.

Standing with you in solidarity, 

Christine Stoner-Mertz
Lincoln President & CEO