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U.S. Surgeon General in Minneapolis for convention on youth mental health

Dr. Vivek Murthy will discuss the government's role in curbing the youth mental health crisis at the University of Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS — The U.S. Surgeon General is in Minneapolis Friday, Aug. 5 for an annual event highlighting the current mental health struggles of youth in America. The conversations are hosted by the University of Minnesota in partnership with the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Vivek Murthy's first stop will be the APA Fireside Conversation: "The Kids Are Not Alright" at 11 a.m. in the Minneapolis Convention Center's main auditorium.

In a panel hosted by Soledad O'Brien, the pair plan to discuss how to ensure the well-being of youth struggling with mental health issues in America, especially after the increase in mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will also explore potential solutions and resource expansion. 

Dr. Murthy's second stop will be the University of Minnesota's Bierman Field Athletic Building where he will attend the "Mental Health Conversation" hosted by UMN student athletes. The idea is to give Murthy an opportunity to hear about the pressures young athletes face and how people who are struggling can maneuver the world of sports.

Before heading to the U of M, Dr. Murthy stopped by the KARE 11 studio Friday morning to talk about monkeypox and mental health. 

Dr. Murthy noted that this new pandemic is a virus, but unlike COVID-19 the death toll isn't very high in the U.S. as of now. He said monkeypox should be on peoples' radar, and the Department of Health and Human Service issued the public health emergency on Thursday for several reasons. 

"This is a declaration that frees up more resources and authorities to allow us to accelerate our work on monkey pox." Dr. Murthy said. "Now, we need to be clear about what it is monkeypox? [It] is a virus that can cause fever and chills, swollen lymph nodes, and a very painful rash. Thankfully, very, very few people historically have died from monkey pox here in the United States. But it's something that we want to take seriously."

RELATED: US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

He explained that even though studies have shown that everyone is susceptible to getting and transmitting the virus, officials have noticed that certain groups are testing positive more frequently than others. 

"We're accelerating our work. And on this front, we want people to know the facts about how to stay safe. And just to remember that this is a virus that spread through close physical contact. And so we want to be people to be mindful of that." Dr. Murthy said good hygiene is something that needs to be continued to stop the spread of monkeypox as well as other viruses. 

In terms of vaccines, Dr. Murthy says that right now a vaccine is not a priority for everyone. Unless you have been exposed to monkeypox or are at high-risk, the vaccine isn't imperative. However, he did say the administration is working to get more vaccines quickly. 

You can read Dr. Vivek Murthy's full advisory on protecting youth mental health here.

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