U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murphy has issued a new advisory highlighting what he called the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. The advisory, a relatively rare step “reserved for significant public health challenges that need the nation’s immediate awareness and action,” notes that there have been alarming increases in the prevalence of mental health challenges among youth.

It also adds that the pandemic’s “deaths, pervasive sense of fear, economic instability, and forced physical distancing … exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced.”

“What it means to us is that people are listening and paying attention and really committed to working together to come and find some solutions to make this better,” explained American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Lee Beers. The AAP is one of several influential groups that had already declared a national emergency in children’s mental health.

Beers said the surgeon general’s advisory is a major boost, filled with page after page of what can be done by kids, parents, schools, governments – and covering everything from resources available to young people to how to get help to people who need it.