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Governor Phil Murphy

ICYMI: Governors Murphy, Polis Join Forces to Tackle Youth Mental Health Crisis


Santa Monica, Calif. – National Governors Association (NGA) Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Colorado Governor Jared Polis held a roundtable discussion with those on the frontlines of youth mental health care to advance the NGA Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper also spoke at the event, highlighting holistic efforts to support children and parents – including Tammy Murphy’s Nurture NJ initiative focused on maternal and infant health.

“The youth mental health crisis isn’t unique to New Jersey or California – it’s an issue that transcends both state and party lines,” said Governor Murphy. “From small towns to big cities, parents, children, and educators are confronting this struggle in their everyday lives. We need a comprehensive approach to not only connect young people with resources, but empower parents and teachers to identify signs of mental health challenges and provide positive support. By holding these convenings with Governors from across the country and across the aisle, we are working to raise awareness, encourage action, and find real mental health solutions that any state can make their own.”

“Improving mental health and putting people first have been a top priority in Colorado where we’ve been working on bipartisan policies to give our young people the tools they deserve to help manage their mental health, including through our, which offers six free mental health consultations for students, and improving our behavioral health system," said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “Governor Murphy’s timely and important initiative provides an important forum for Governors and states to come together to share examples of what’s working and learn ways we can reach more young Americans in need of mental health support.”

“Both youth mental health and maternal and infant health are crises that have affected our nation’s families for far too long,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy. “We are grateful that our platforms allow us to shed light on these issues and make necessary change that will positively benefit our constituents. Regardless of political party, we all must come together to find and provide solutions and resources for each of these communities in every state.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic pulled back the curtain on the severe mental health challenges confronting our nation, especially with regards to our children,” said California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “As a country, we have a responsibility to ensure our youth are supported and cared for mentally and physically so they can get the best start in life. Here in California, we are working to address the youth mental health crisis through a $4.7 billion investment in transforming our state’s behavioral health system so every child can be routinely screened and supported and have access to best-in-class mental health services. I’m grateful to Governor Murphy and First Lady Murphy for prioritizing this issue - along with maternal and infant health - so all of us in the NGA can share best practices and work together to address these overwhelming crises.”

In response to rising rates of mental health distress among young people, Governor Murphy introduced his NGA Chair’s Initiative in July. Through the Strengthening Youth Mental Health initiative, Governors from across the nation are collaborating to develop bipartisan solutions.

During the two-day roundtable event in Santa Monica, hosted by Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Governors Murphy and Polis held discussions with parents, physicians, pediatric psychologists, educators, policymakers and other mental health experts. Conversations focused on challenges and solutions connected to raising awareness and reducing stigma.

At the event, Governor Murphy unveiled a new video about the Chair’s Initiative, which will be shared in a multi-state outreach campaign.

The California event is the second of four roundtable discussions Governors will convene in multiple states in support of the Strengthening Youth Mental Health initiative. A previous roundtable was hosted in Utah by Utah Governor and NGA Vice Chair Spencer Cox.