• Behavioral Health
  • CaroNova

Youth Mental Health

CaroNova’s Youth Mental Health focus area is premised on the belief that all children have mental health needs just as they do physical health needs. Our strategy is to change the current systems of care for youth so that mental health is treated with the same urgency as physical health. Over the next two years, CaroNova will work with partners to normalize youth mental wellness through collaborative, cross-sector efforts in schools and in the community.

CaroNova is working with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SC DHHS) to co-design and implement a comprehensive school-based behavioral health pilot in the 2024/2025 school year. More on that is covered in the South Carolina Behavioral Health Redesign section.

Since the Fall of 2023, CaroNova has continued exploring the impact of community violence on youth mental health. Leveraging expertise from the North and South Carolina Hospital Associations the team produced a preliminary analysis of 1) the disparate impact on youth exposure to community violence in the Carolinas and 2) the main drivers of poor functioning in youth exposed to violence. We used the analysis to guide interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs) to further refine the scope of work and understand drivers of the lasting harm caused by youth exposure to violence. Key themes include generational trauma, increased economic and social stressors, and limited funding for initiatives that build resiliency among youth.  We will use the findings from the SME interviews and further research to develop a gap analysis.

Over the next year, CaroNova will work with SMEs and key stakeholders to clarify the intersection between community violence and youth mental health. We will then begin identifying where and how CaroNova can work alongside partners to drive systems change. By intervening upstream, we will be able to limit the number of youth who experience a mental health crisis, leading to youth living fuller, enriched lives.