Eastern Area Health Education Center

Child Mental Health for Primary Care

A crisis on top of a crisis – COVID-19 has had devastating effects on the mental health of children and teens. The pandemic has accelerated rates of adolescent anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide in a time when access to mental health treatment was already limited. According to the Centers for Disease Control, during 2020, the proportion of mental health–related emergency department (ED) visits among adolescents aged 12–17 years increased 31% compared with that during 2019. According to a study published in the December 2019 issue of Pediatrics (volume 144, issue 6), as of 2016 there are 9.75 child psychiatrists per 100,000 children ages 0 to 19 in the US. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that the country needs 47 child psychiatrists per 100,000 children. As a result, primary care providers are dealing with more incidents of mental health in children and teens, and will need support to help bridge this gap. The North Carolina AHEC Program is providing funding for Eastern AHEC to take the lead on a statewide effort to provide education and resources to primary care providers focusing on screening and management of mental illness in pediatric patients.

Monthly Case Consultation
From January to June 2022, join us for six monthly case consultations led by John Diamond, MD, Head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at East Carolina University, and Melissa Harrell, LCMHC. These monthly sessions will give primary care providers an opportunity to strengthen their confidence in the management of children and adolescents with mental health concerns. This is an opportunity for participants to discuss a challenging patient or complex clinical picture with an expert in child psychiatry. Participants are asked to submit and present cases for discussion and feedback. There is no fee but advance registration is advised. You may pick and choose sessions or attend all six.  Click here for more information or to register.

Live Webinar Series
We are offering a series of 10 live webinars starting February 9 through June 22, 2022 on various child mental health topics such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and more, all geared toward primary care providers.  Click here to register. Click here to watch the recordings.

Resource Repository
We are in the process of developing a freely accessible Resource Repository with many forms of current information on this topic. Watch this space and stay tuned!

Scholarship for REACH Institute
Eastern AHEC and the NC AHEC Program offered five scholarships to primary care providers to attend the REACH Institute Patient Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care virtual training in spring 2022.  The application period closed in January 2022.

Research Guide
We’re working with NC AHEC Library Services to compile all the latest research in one place.  Click here to view.

Also check out our Wellbeing Wednesday Podcast Series! Click Here

NC Drug User Health Resource Guide
Click here to view.