Barriers to pediatric mental health care
Today in Colorado, responsibility for kids’ mental health care is dispersed across many local governments, health care providers, nonprofits, school districts and more. Each work independently, causing inconsistencies, doubling of work, lacking of key programs and services, and more.
All of this trickles down to the families who try to navigate the mental health system. Care is patchy and inconsistent. Every facility uses different prevention, screening and treatment. This is confusing for families. They face barrier after barrier to finding the right care. Some never find the help they need.
Centralized information and resources
To align all of the initiatives and create best practices, we established Partners for Children’s Mental Health, the first-ever Center of Excellence for pediatric mental health in Colorado’s history. It launched in 2018 thanks to an incredible $2.8 million grant from the former Colorado Office of the Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman.
Partners for Children’s Mental Health is committed to helping young people who are struggling with mental health. It serves as the first-ever hub for information and resources. Because mental health affects many parts of a child’s life, the organization brings together a range of youth-serving professionals at all levels, including Children’s Hospital Colorado, Mental Health Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Kempe Center, Action on Youth Mental Health and more.
The team of experts started by doing an assessment of the pediatric mental health services available statewide to create a standard for the delivery of care and identify where our kids are falling through the cracks. Suicide prevention in primary care settings and schools was identified as a big need.
Partners for Children’s Mental Health is now educating primary care providers in both urban and rural communities across Colorado so families get answers at the first stop.
Partners for Children’s Mental Health is also implementing evidence-based suicide training in schools and creating mental health tool kits that will be distributed across Colorado, thanks to an additional gift from Mental Health Colorado.
While Partners for Children’s Mental Health has made unprecedented strides in pediatric mental health, the work has only begun. Our state’s mental health system is a complicated and costly web to untangle and rebuild. We’ve raised $6.1 million and are seeking an additional $3.4 million to sustain Partners for Children’s Mental Health long-term.
We recognize this initiative is an ambitious undertaking, but we believe it is necessary for the future of our kids’ mental health. Join us.