HHS Launches the Children and Youth Resilience Challenge

May 05, 2023

Children and youth in the United States are experiencing a profound mental health crisis. The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory reports rising rates of psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, and other emotional and behavioral symptoms among children and youth. Among youth ages 12 to 17 who experienced a major depressive episode, nearly half perceived that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health. Emergency department visits for mental health concerns have also increased significantly. These patterns are intensified among children and adolescents exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Promoting youth resilience—their ability to adapt in the face of adversity—is critical to avoiding long-term negative mental health outcomes.

In response, today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the launch of a $1 million Children and Youth Resilience Challenge. This first-ever Children and Youth Resilience Challenge will fund innovative community-led solutions to promote resilience in children and adolescents, birth to age 24, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters. A challenge (also referred to as a “prize competition”) is a way for federal agencies to crowdsource and engage public innovators directly to find creative ideas or solutions to important problems. The Resilience Challenge is recognized as part of the President’s Unity Agenda and Mental Health Strategy.

The Resilience Challenge will award prizes to innovative, community-led solutions that:

  • Promote resilience and advance mental health and well-being
  • Reduce the risk for negative mental health outcomes among children and youth
  • Promote positive strategies and solutions that help children and youth thrive
  • Identify and elevate promising practices that promote culturally and linguistically responsive protective factors

The Resilience Challenge will include a proposal phase and a pilot phase for selected finalists. The 14 Phase 1 finalists will receive $25,000 each in the fall of 2023. One grand prize winner will receive $300,000 and up to two runners-up will receive $175,000 each in the spring of 2024.

Apply for the HHS Children and Youth Resilience Challenge

Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 7, 2023.

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