Integrated Behavioral Health - A Solution for the Youth Mental Health Crisis


As youth and young adult mental health worsens, the need for integrated behavioral health in pediatric primary care settings grows.

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.

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