The field of positive youth development (PYD) is at an important crossroads in scope and future research directions. This paper describes an effective consensus building process that representatives from 16 federal agencies used to develop a PYD product and research agenda.
Social and emotional well-being and positive mental health are essential to overall health and are affected by many factors—the family, school, and community environments in which we are raised—our genetics, physical health, coping skills, and the unexpected traumatic events we may experience. Social exclusion, bullying, and poverty are known risk factors affecting mental health. One in five children are reported to have a behavioral or mental disorder, yet, only one-third needing services is ever referred for care.
Addressing the full continuum from mental health promotion to prevention, treatment, and recovery, our work promotes social emotional learning and positive mental health through curricula and experiences for young people to learn coping skills and by assessing and improving school and community environments to reduce violence and bullying.