Advancing Behavioral Health Care

Advancing Behavioral Health Care

Twenty ways children’s hospitals and health systems are addressing the national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.
Parent and child on basketball court.

Amid a national crisis in child and adolescent behavioral health, children’s hospitals and health systems are rising to the challenge. Despite facing unprecedented staffing and volume pressures over the last few years, they have advanced behavioral health care through innovative and proven programs, partnerships and workforce solutions. These stretch the typical boundaries of hospital care, meeting kids before, during and after a mental health crisis to ensure they receive essential care at every point in their journey.

“Children’s hospitals have been doing tremendous work to address the crisis, not only thinking outside the box but expanding the box itself,” says Jeff Sperring CEO of Seattle Children’s and chair of CHA’s Board of Trustees. “Whether devising creative labor strategies, reimagining community partnerships, or integrating behavioral health where kids spend their time, children’s hospitals have changed the paradigm for how we provide behavioral health care and build a workforce to sustain it.”

Find a collection of these strategies below. If your hospital has a program making an impact, we'd love to hear from you

About Behavioral Health

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


A Resourceful Way to Meet Behavioral Health Staffing Demands

An unlikely labor pool provides timely relief for the behavioral health crisis amid staffing shortages.

A Behavioral Health Solution With Proven Outcomes

An internal nursing team empowers the frontline staff to care for behavioral health patients—and the results speak for themselves.

Training Pediatricians in Behavioral Health

Program increases early intervention efforts by equipping providers to identify and treat mental health conditions.

Building Tomorrow's Behavioral Health Workforce Today

How one children’s hospital is addressing the mental and behavioral health workforce shortage by investing in training and educational programs.

Simulations Train Residents to Identify Behavioral Health Needs in Routine Virtual Visits

As one children’s hospital moved to more telehealth visits, it incorporated new simulation exercises into the its training program to better prepare residents for patient encounters.

Early Intervention

Integrating Behavioral Health for Better Outcomes

This children’s hospital initiative seeks to erase barriers to care by aligning behavioral health with primary medical homes.

Expanding Behavioral Health Care for Kids in Crisis

Children’s hospitals are leveraging programs, partnerships and technology to expand behavioral health care for kids.

Prevention Through Intervention: A School-Based Behavioral Health Program

A system of behavioral health centers increases access and intervention for students in more than 280 New York schools.

Tackling the Youth Mental Health Crisis Through Integrated Care

Rady Children’s has developed a mental and behavioral health integrated care model focusing on early identification, proactive interventions and promotion of whole child care and family wellness.

Exploring Strategies for Wraparound Behavioral Health Services in Schools

Learn how two children's hospitals are working with schools to provide behavioral health services.

Early Intervention Strategies for Behavioral Health

External programs at Driscoll Children’s Hospital help curb behavioral health issues before they become crises.

Emergency Department

Strategies to Reduce Behavioral Health Boarding Time

One children’s hospital reduced boarding times of behavioral health patients by 36% with changes to processes, technology, and staffing.

Improve Behavioral Health Outcomes With a Standardized Toolkit

This five-part behavioral health toolkit significantly reduced the use of patient restraints, OSHA-recordable staff injuries and DART injuries.

Reduce Boarding in the Emergency Department With In-Home Care

An emergency department program collaborates to get mental health patients quickly connected to at-home care.

Emergency Care: 3 Strategies for the Mental Health Crisis

Wisconsin has the fifth-highest increase in adolescent self-harm and attempted suicide. Here’s what Children’s Wisconsin’s emergency department is doing to address the problem.

Adapting to Meet the Behavioral Health Crisis

How one children’s hospital is expanding behavioral health services to meet rising demand.

Preventing Mental Health Crises and Emergency Department Visits

A crisis response program reduces emergency department visits by meeting patients in their homes during a crisis.

Community Collaborations

How to Help Parents Talk to Their Children About Mental Health

A pediatric psychologist offers strategies clinicians can share with parents to help children talk about how they’re feeling.

Legal Services Program Addresses Gaps in Mental Health Care

Health Law Advocates’ Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital ACO to help families navigate the complex systems around mental health services.

Bridging the Gap in Children's Behavioral Health Care

A large multi-disciplinary collaborative offers children and their families a one-stop approach to care.

Making Behavioral Health a Community Endeavor

A preventive mental health program enlists community collaboration to execute interventions.

Text Message Hotline Helps Kids in Crisis

Wolfson Children’s Hospital partnered with a text crisis hotline to provide approachable, accessible mental health care for young people.

A Community Approach to Improving Access to Behavioral Health Services

Learn how one children's hospital sought to build community solutions to address both mental and behavioral health needs, as well as social determinants of health.