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From our partner Kaiser Permanente.

There is a silent epidemic. Globally, in increasing numbers, young people are facing mental-health issues. Depression is a leading cause of illness among young people. Anxiety is on the rise. Suicide ranks third as a cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds and is increasingly becoming a health equity issue: African-American girls in grades nine to 12 were 70% more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared with non-Hispanic white girls of the same age.

Unless we act, we will face the repercussions of this epidemic for years. Lives will be shortened, and generations will struggle. Our economic outlook will inevitably be impacted as we collectively face a range of long-term health issues for our workforce.

Twenty years ago, Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a landmark study linking childhood trauma to long-term health consequences. This groundbreaking research into adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) continues to inform clinical best practices and approaches that are making a difference.

With the crisis at hand, we recognized a need to go deeper and continue our work in this area. We have recently announced plans to update the ACEs research to identify knowledge gaps, successful programs, emerging best practices and interventions ready to be scaled.

An entire generation is counting on us. We are asking leaders from across health care, business, nongovernmental organizations and academia to make youth mental health and wellness a priority.

Adams is chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.

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