How Children's Hospitals Are Improving Behavioral Health Care

How Children's Hospitals Are Improving Behavioral Health Care

Explore how Children’s Hospital Association and our members are improving behavioral health care amid a crisis.
A mom and son sitting together.

Families, providers, hospitals and health care systems are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. By bringing together pediatric leaders from across the country in our online behavioral health community and sharing experiences at the 2022 Behavioral Health Summit, our members have identified challenges and solutions to drive national change.

By improving mental and behavioral health, we are establishing a healthier future for our children. Here are a few ways Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), and our members, are improving behavioral health care for kids.

Training the workforce

Workforce challenges persist in health care—and training health care professionals to appropriately care for kids with behavioral health issues remains a priority.

  • CHA’s Pediatric Learning Solutions offers online courses for clinicians dedicated to children’s mental, behavioral and emotional health.
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta built an “ecosystem” dedicated to improving outcomes, reducing stigma and increasing access to behavioral health care—but they had to build workforce capacity first.
  • CHA and our members are working to safeguard the pediatric workforce through advocacy, shared learning, and improvement initiatives this year. Here’s how.

Advocating for access and care

Pediatric health care needs urgent action and investments to address the behavioral health care crisis.

  • A new documentary highlights the growing issue of children in crisis boarding in emergency departments. The film challenges lawmakers to acknowledge this crisis and act now.
  • States have a distinct ability to tailor programs to meet the specific needs of their communities. CHA is tracking these initiatives to support future advocacy efforts.
  • Members can use CHA’s fact sheet to summarize and highlight how children’s hospitals are addressing the crisis.

Telling the story

Through data and collaboration, we can learn from one another and gain a better understanding of the crisis.

  • Data from 2022 reveals disconcerting trends in pediatric mental health: mental health cases among emergency department discharges were 20% higher in 2022 than 2019.
  • The Behavioral Health Virtual Learning Series focuses exclusively on the progress made in caring for children. Each session is designed to learn from a member, with time allotted for discussion and implementation.

Focusing on quality

As children’s hospitals and health systems work to improve health outcomes, they must rethink their role in broader health issues. This includes digging deeper into areas such as behavioral health.

About Behavioral Health

Children's hospitals are working together to tackle the behavioral health crisis in the communities they serve.

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