Supporting Children Through a Successful Integrated Behavioral Health Program

  • 18 May 2022

As we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month, CTC-RI is highlighting our impactful, targeted program that has been engaging pediatric practices over the last 3 years to pilot an integrated behavioral health model to help address the mental and behavioral health needs of children and families.

Funded by the Rhode Island Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare, practices were given resources to fully integrate behavioral health clinician, with the goal of increasing the identification and treatment of behavioral health conditions before children and families are in crisis.

“The CTC-RI led project, supported through the Foundation’s Behavioral Health Fund, which focused on early identification and intervention of behavioral health issues affecting children, could not have come at a more crucial time,” said Zach Nieder, Senior Strategic Initiative Officer for Health at the Rhode Island Foundation. “While the need for more focus and resources on children's mental healthcare predates the COVID-19 pandemic, the last 2 years have only deepened and reinforced the need for supporting and expanding such an integrative approach to health promotion, prevention, and treatment.”

Pediatric practices were selected to test developmentally appropriate and evidence-based screening tools and treatment models that address early intervention in childhood social-emotional challenges. Over 3 years, 8 practices have been part of this program. The 1st cohort ran July 2019-July 2021, including Anchor Pediatrics, Comprehensive Community Action Program, and Hasbro Pediatric Primary Care. The 2nd cohort ran April 2020-April 2022 with Coastal Waterman, Coastal Bald Hill, Hasbro Medical Pediatric Clinic, Northern RI Pediatric Clinic, and Tri-County Community Action Agency.

Practices selected at least 3 of 5 behavioral health screeners to implement, measuring postpartum depression, psychosocial functioning in children, adolescent depression, adolescent anxiety, or adolescent substance use. Practices discussed their successes, lessons learned, and plans for sustaining their new IBH programs last month.