Take Action for Adolescents – A Call to Action for Adolescent Health and Well-Being

#TakeActionForAdolescents

Overview of Take Action for Adolescents

Take Action for Adolescents ‒ A Call to Action for Adolescent Health and Well-Being (“Take Action for Adolescents” or “the Call to Action”) aims to ensure that all adolescents in the United States have the safety, support, and resources they need to thrive, be healthy, and have equitable opportunity to realize their full potential.

Take Action for Adolescents is the result of extensive collaboration and input from allies and partners, including numerous agencies across the federal government, nongovernmental organizations and experts, and young people. The document provides actionable guidance to support and build on the strengths, talents, and potential of the 64 million young people in the United States. OPA hosted a webinar on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, to discuss the Call to Action, watch the recording to learn more and hear from policy makers, researchers, and youth panelists. 

The Call to Action outlines eight goals and aligned initial action steps that can help create coordinated systems, services, and supports that young people need to thrive.

What is the Call to Action? 

Many adolescents in the U.S. face challenges in obtaining the health care and services they need to thrive, be healthy, and realize their full potential. 

Take Action for Adolescents is a call to action for adults—including policy makers, health care and human service providers and organizations, youth-serving professionals and organizations, researchers, parents, legal representatives, and caregivers—to work collaboratively for change that benefits young people. It details initial action steps that can be customized to help achieve each of the goals. The Call to Action and accompanying Take Action Toolkit include examples of federal programs and resources that support adolescent health and well-being.

The goals and action steps in Take Action for Adolescents are designed to inspire individuals and organizations to develop innovative approaches that break down silos, improve systems that impact young people, and identify policies and programs that support young people and help them thrive. These types of investments in adolescent health and well-being can generate "triple dividend": health for adolescents now, a healthy adult life, and better health for the next generation.

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Read HHS' Statement about Take Action for Adolescents

Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs and Director of the Office of the Adolescent Health Jessica Marcella released the following statement. Additionally, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine released the following letter on Take Action for Adolescents. Read more about this new Call to Action and share the two-page overview.

The Goals of Take Action for Adolescents

Learn more about the goals and how to take action in your community.

Documents are pending final review for Section 508 compliance. For immediate assistance, please contact opa@hhs.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following information addresses questions about Take Action for Adolescents and can be used as talking points if you are sharing the Call to Action with people in your community. Watch the launch webinar to learn more about how the Call to Action is important to OPA and their partners. 

What is the Call to Action?

Take Action for Adolescents – A Call to Action for Adolescent Health and Well-Being acknowledges the diverse experiences of young people ages 10-24 and prioritizes their needs. It promotes the vision that all adolescents in the United States should have the safety, support, and resources they need to thrive, be healthy, and have equitable opportunity to realize their full potential. The Call to Action reflects the idea of the “triple dividend”: investments in adolescent health and well-being lead to health for adolescents now, a healthy adult life, and better health for the next generation.

Who is Take Action for Adolescents for?

Take Action for Adolescents is designed to motivate, energize, and inspire anyone who has a role in providing adolescents with the safety, support, and resources they need to thrive during the transition to adulthood. It offers suggestions for policy makers, health care and human service providers and organizations, youth-serving professionals and organizations, parents, legal representatives, caregivers, and researchers. While there are no action steps for adolescents, young people can use Take Action for Adolescents and the Take Action Toolkit to collaborate with other youth and adults in their communities.

The action steps included in the Call to Action are a starting point; they can be tailored and expanded to reflect the needs and priorities of local communities and people who are historically underserved by health care and human services systems. The Call to Action is designed to be a catalyst for allies and partners to create their own strategies to address the needs of the adolescents they serve. The Take Action Toolkit will facilitate that process.

Why do we need a Call to Action?

Investment in the diverse health needs of young people is critical, as the number of adolescents in the U.S. is predicted to grow from approximately 64 million in 2023 to approximately 67 million by 2050 and 68 million by 2060. It is critically important that all sectors take action to improve their ability of young people to thrive into adulthood. Implementing the Call to Action will also help improve health outcomes, reduce health disparities, encourage healthy behaviors and lifestyles, and improve health literacy. And it will result in the “triple dividend” of health for adolescents now, a healthy adult life, and better health for the next generation.

What are the goals in the Call to Action?

Take Action for Adolescents outlines eight goals to achieve the vision that all adolescents in the U.S. should have the safety, support, and resources they need to thrive, be healthy, and have equitable opportunity to realize their full potential. The eight goals are to:

  1. eliminate disparities to advance health equity, 
  2. increase youth agency and youth engagement, 
  3. ensure access to safe and supportive environments,
  4. increase coordination and collaboration within and across systems, 
  5. expand access to health care and human services,
  6. strengthen training and support for caring adults, 
  7. improve health information and health literacy, and
  8. support, translate, and disseminate research. 

Is the Call to Action one-size-fits-all?

The Call to Action is not a standalone, one-size-fits-all, or prescriptive solution for the challenges that young people face. Instead, it offers a flexible framework that allies and partners can adapt to their specific context. The action steps are designed to inspire both organizations and individuals to work collaboratively to tailor their efforts to meet community needs. Youth-serving professionals and organizations can work with youth, parents, and others in the community and use Take Action for Adolescents and the Take Action Toolkit to develop solutions that make sense for them.

Who participated in the development of Take Action for Adolescents?

Take Action for Adolescents is the result of extensive collaboration and input from a diverse group of allies and partners. The HHS Office of Population Affairs (OPA) worked closely with numerous federal partners through the federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP) and its subgroup, the Adolescent Health Action Team. OPA also convened non-governmental allies and partners including researchers, clinicians, state policy staff, advocates, parents and caregivers, as well as community-based, faith-based, and other youth-serving professionals, along with a diverse group of young people who work with adolescent-focused organizations across the U.S. OPA prioritized the voices of young people from the beginning of the process and compensated them for their time. 

How will the Call to Action be implemented?

Take Action for Adolescents is a Call to Action in service of our nation’s young people. OPA launched this effort to create awareness, deliver guidance, and inspire action among allies and partners across the U.S. OPA will share information, technical and resources to encourage policy makers, youth-serving professionals and organizations, health care and human service providers and organizations, researchers, and parents, legal representatives of young people, and caregivers around the country to customize and implement the action steps that will best benefit the adolescent populations they serve. OPA created the Take Action Toolkit as a resource for those who would like to work collaboratively to tailor elements of the Call to Action to fit their contexts.

Is there funding attached to this Call to Action?

There is no funding attached to Take Action for Adolescents. It is intended to motivate and inspire allies and partners to adopt and implement action steps in states and communities. OPA will offer support, some technical assistance, and resources to help allies and partners with progress toward meeting the goals set forth in the Call to Action.

Is current grant funding dependent on participation in implementing this Call to Action?

Participation in implementing the action steps in Take Action for Adolescents is completely voluntary. Whether an individual or organization implements the Call to Action does not have any bearing on whether they will receive funding for current or future grants.

Are there any resources available to support my organization with implementing the Call to Action?

OPA has provided resources to support implementation. These include:

  • Take Action for Adolescents highlights federal government programs that can provide resources or inspiration. 
  • The Take Action Toolkit: A separate companion resource with tips to help select and customize action steps, plan activities, and evaluate progress towards achieving goals.

Are the Call to Action, Take Action Toolkit, and other materials available in Spanish?

Currently, the Call to Action and associated materials are only available in English. OPA is exploring options for translating these materials into Spanish.

The Call to Action doesn’t mention my area of expertise. How can I learn more about how the Call to Action is relevant in my field?

Take Action for Adolescents is intended to inspire adults to work collaboratively for change that benefits young people. Your agency or organization can use the Call to Action and the accompanying Take Action Toolkit and its resources to tailor the initial action steps to address the needs of young people in your setting and community.

What is your definition of adolescence?

Take Action for Adolescents is focused on improving the health and well-being of young people between the ages of 10 and 24. With this broad definition in mind, some older adolescents may find themselves both as a young person who could use support and as a caring adult in the position to support younger adolescents.

Is OPA working with state health departments or other state and local entities?

OPA is planning regional meetings with adult and youth allies and partners as part of the implementation of Take Action for Adolescents. OPA hopes to engage with state and local health agencies, community-based organizations and advocates, and parents and young people as part of this effort.

What is the plan for continuing youth involvement?

Youth engagement is one of the eight goals of Take Action for Adolescents. OPA plans to include young people in regional engagement meetings and expert panel meetings related to building an adolescent health research agenda.

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