Globally, nationally, and at home in West Virginia, increasing numbers of adolescents seek mental health care. When there are no local providers, kids go without care until there’s a crisis point, and they wind up in emergency rooms. Sometimes, they languish in those ERs for days, even weeks.
A study in the journal Academic Pediatric found during the COVID-19 pandemic, pediatric patients sought care for suicidal thoughts or self-injury. It’s a striking reliance on ER doctors and nurses to help their children in mental health crises.
What’s unique to West Virginia in this continuing national crisis is that we’re missing community-reported data and a collaborative approach. Consider the work happening in Massachusetts, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, and especially Illinois.
Think Kids is working with UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc. to foster a collaborative dialogue around this critical issue. With collected, aggregated data, we can see clearly, educate, and respond better.
Over the next few months, we’re working on planning our first stakeholder meeting and taking important next steps.
Our upcoming stakeholders meeting is scheduled for 10/10 at 2 pm EST. Our topic for discussion is school-based mental health services, since many stakeholders at our last meeting were eager to learn more about what services are provided, where they fall on the continuum of care, who pays for them, and if new initiatives are potentially duplicating services.
If you’re a mental health provider interested in joining the project, please let us know.
Read about it on our blog
More than 3,000 kids went to WVU Medicine emergency rooms for mental health care last year by Amelia Knisely (February 2023)
Telehealth therapy is expanding in West Virginia, but not all kids are connecting with virtual care by Amelia Knisely (January 2023)
West Virginia’s Emergency Room Data Key to Addressing Kids’ Mental Health Care by Amelia Knisely (December 2022)
West Virginia emergency room data isn’t public information. But the data is key to addressing the youth mental health crisis by Amelia Knisely (September 2022)