Program Will Improve Access to Mental Health Care for Children

Adolescent boy

The University of Missouri’s Department of Psychiatry has received a nearly $3 million grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to increase access to mental health care for the state’s children.

The grant funds the Missouri Child Psychiatry Access Project (MO-CPAP), a pilot program aimed at supporting and strengthening primary care providers’ ability to provide mental health care to young patients with mild to moderate behavioral health issues. Primary care physicians, family physicians, pediatricians, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses can enroll in the project. They will be able to access support services such as:

• Telephone consults with child and adolescent psychiatrists regarding screening, diagnosis and management of behavioral health issues

• Linkage and referral services to connect their patients to community-based mental health care and other resources

• Education and training in identification, assessment and treatment of mild to moderate behavioral health issues.

“I am grateful to be leading such an innovative and exciting new program,” said Laine Young-Walker, MD, chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the MU School of Medicine. “We know Missouri’s children need more access to behavioral health services. We also know from previous research that about 75 percent of children and adolescents receive behavioral health care from a primary care provider. This new program will enable those physicians to get additional training and support to better care for their patients’ mental health needs.”

MO-CPAP will roll out first in the St. Louis region and later in the central Missouri region. Currently, co-directors Young-Walker and Ujjwal Ramtekkar, MD, MBA, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Compass Health Network, are enrolling physicians to participate in the first phase of the program in St. Louis. They plan to introduce participating physicians to the consultations and educational services by July 1, 2018. The second phase will begin in Mid-Missouri in 2019.

To learn more about the program or to enroll, visit the website.

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