As youth and young adult mental health worsens, the need for integrated behavioral health in pediatric primary care settings grows.
- In a 2020 national survey of parents by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, 71% of parents reported that the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health.
- In a 2021 survey of adults by the American Psychiatric Association, 53% of adults with children under 18 in their household reported being concerned about their children’s mental health and 48% percent reported that the pandemic has caused mental health problems for their children.
- In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s first nationally representative survey of public- and private-school high school students in 2021, 37 percent of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In a 2022 national survey of college students by Fortune, 56 percent of college students said they have experienced worsening stress, 53 percent heightened anxiety, and 45 percent increased depression symptoms.
An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded study published in the Annals of Family Medicine this year, found that 85 percent of primary care practices struggled with finding advice and services for children with behavioral healthcare needs.
Integrated behavioral healthcare promotes collaboration and coordination between behavioral health and primary care, and addresses each of the steps recommended by the Surgeon General for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of youth and young adults by:
- Employing patient-centered and trauma-informed care principles
- Promoting screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for youth and young adults to identify mental health disorders and risk factors, including adverse childhood experiences
- Promoting the establishment of relationships with community-based partners–these can include school-based behavioral health providers and youth and young adult-serving systems like child welfare and juvenile justice
- Promoting the creation of multidisciplinary care teams to implement healthcare services that are tailored to the needs of youth, young adults, and their families
The Biden-Harris Administration has announced new funding to address the youth mental health crisis, which includes SBIRT training for pediatric primary care providers and other initiatives to promote integration of behavioral health services in child-serving settings.
For more information see:
- American Academy of Pediatrics: AAP-AACAP-CHA Declaration of a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Protecting Youth Mental Health-The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory