AAP Receives Funding to Launch Center on Social Media and Youth Mental Health

September 14, 2022

2 minute read


Del Monte, Moreno and Radesky report no relevant financial information.

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The AAP said it would launch a national center of excellence on social media and mental wellness using $10 million in funding from HHS, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. .

The AAP and others have warned that a pandemic-related worsening of pediatric mental health constitutes a national emergency.

Student using mental health app

The AAP announced the creation of a National Center of Excellence on Social Media and Mental Wellness. Source: Adobe Stock

The AAP said in a press release that the new center will serve as a “one-stop, trusted source of evidence-based education and technical assistance to support the mental health of children and adolescents as they navigate the networks.” social”.

“We are thrilled to have been selected to lead and support vital work in an emerging field that has grown in relevance, particularly in recent years,” said AAP’s CEO. Mark Del Monte, J.D.. “With our deep expertise in mental health and digital technology, and with the growing child and youth mental health crisis continuing to be an area of ​​organizational focus, there could not be a more important time for the ‘AAP to help address these challenges and use our voice to bring about the changes needed for children and adolescents.

Megan Moreno, MD, MSedMPH, FAAP, vice president of digital health in the department of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Jenny S Radesky, MD, FAAP, associate professor of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at CS Mott Children’s Hospital, were named co-medical directors of the center.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the rise of social media become a significant factor in adolescent health, and we’ve also seen digital media have a broader impact on young people,” Moreno said. “We’ve been thinking about and working on ways to better provide parents with resources and tools to be able to help their children navigate this digital space, so this hub really brings together a lot of ideas that we’ve been working on.”

Among the center’s first tasks, Moreno said, will be a scoping survey of the pediatric social media landscape.

“We know there are other great resources out there, and so our job is not to reinvent things, but to look for new ways to fill in the gaps and share content that already exists,” Moreno said.

She added that the center would like to explore the different effects of social media on children.

“It’s not something where we can say that every child who interacts with social media is going to have ill effects, or it’s going to lead to depression or make existing depression worse,” Moreno said. “But it’s also not the case that every child who interacts with him is going to feel better or feel supported or feel like his mental health is improved by his interactions with him. This idea of ​​differential effects is something that is becoming increasingly evident and it is something that we need to be able to confront as we think about creating new courses for families.

She added that parents and teenagers are the center’s primary audience.

“Our goal is to provide education, resources, and collaboration with others who interact with children daily,” Moreno said. “So that would include pediatricians, as well as educators and mental health providers. This is an opportunity for the AAP to expand its audience in certain ways to bring together all the voices of children’s mental health and ensure that we think of these different roles when designing resources.

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