Invest in early intervention and prevention approaches that treat root causes of suicide and mental health problems.

We must invest in early intervention and prevention approaches in multiple settings, including schools, places of employment, and community spaces. 

The impact of COVID-19 is compounded by an upended economy, shaky or lost employment, hunger, homelessness, and isolation, among other factors. Thus, mental health care can only be effective if supported by a comprehensive national response and the proper environmental and emotional supports to sustain and maintain mental health.  

Dr. Arthur Evans

We must also assess and care for the needs of essential and frontline service providers and first responders impacted by COVID-19. Researchers must measure the mental and emotional effects of this pandemic on these individuals. Evidenced-based approaches must be deployed to mitigate or respond to distress from those experiencing COVID-19 much more severely than others, including certain populations due to where they work or where they live. 


Advancing Priority 6

To accomplish Priority 6, the National Response is seeking to accomplish the following: 

  • Call on policymakers to invest in those communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and to invest early in a wide range of settings, including housing, schools, places of employment, and other institutions that are social determinants of health outcomes
  • Build a trained workforce to conduct interventions at the earliest possible moment in an individual’s lifespan, often during childhood and adolescence. 
  • Call for increased research and additional evidence-based programs to shift the focus from crisis intervention to earlier intervention. 

The mental health impact of COVID-19 has not only hit marginalized communities hard but has unduly strained the lives of those fighting on the frontlines, from delivery workers to health care professionals to first responders. Thus, the National Response is also mapping out intervention strategies for essential and frontline workers, as well as for those working in senior living and care facilities, hospitals, and public safety, to mitigate their risk from the mental health impacts of the pandemic.


Priority 6 Work Group

Priority 6 is one of six strategic imperatives the National Response has identified to help transform mental health and suicide prevention nationwide in the wake of the pandemic and beyond. 

The co-leaders of the multi-sector Priority 6 Work Group are: 

  • Dr. Arthur Evans, Chief Executive Officer, American Psychological Association
  • Dr. Jerry Reed, Senior Vice President, Practice Leadership, Education Development Center

Please visit this page often for progress updates and for information on how you can get involved.


Priority 6 specific resources:

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