May is National Adolescent Health Month

Published April 2022

Join OPA this May in celebrating National Adolescent Health Month

The HHS Office of Population Affairs’ (OPA) annual May observance is now called National Adolescent Health Month (NAHM). In 2022 and going forward, the observance will emphasize the importance of building on young people’s strengths and potential, encourage meaningful youth engagement in adolescent health activities, and highlight key topics in adolescent health.

Adolescent health is a broad term that encompasses many aspects of health and well-being, including sexual and reproductive health, mental health, physical health, and the amount and type of care that young people access and receive.

NAHM’s four weekly themes explore factors that contribute to adolescent health.

  1. Empower youth with sexual and reproductive health information and services
  2. Support mental health and well-being
  3. Encourage physical health and healthy decision making
  4. Sustain equitable, accessible, youth-friendly services

OPA recognizes that making investments in adolescent health and well-being will generate a “triple benefit” for society: healthier youth today, healthier adults in the future, and healthier future generations when today’s adolescents become parents, guardians, and caretakers. HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel L. Levine invites everyone to celebrate NAHM by supporting adolescents’ health now and into the future.

Parents, caregivers, and youth-serving adults—including clinicians, teachers, mentors, counselors, coaches, and community program managers—can support adolescents and engage in efforts to provide the information, skills, and tools young people need to be healthy. Parents and other adults who care for and work with adolescents should learn about adolescent development and continuously educate themselves about the realities of adolescent lives today.

Adolescents are willing and able to make healthy decisions about their health when they are equipped with information and appropriate supports. Programs that employ positive youth development principals can engage young people in intentional, productive, and constructive ways.

Young people should be empowered to make decisions about their own health, and they should have access to the resources, tools, and skills they need to make informed decisions. During NAHM and all year long, we must strengthen relationships with young people and connect them to services and opportunities that support and promote their health and well-being.