Click on the image to visit the map on the CBS News website.

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. 

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.

Project Updates

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. 

Project stakeholders convened for our first meeting on July 24 in South Charleston. The event was facilitated by the Ethos Leadership Group. Read the notes and one-pager of collaborative next steps to move the project forward. 

Read about it on our blog

Dr. Elizabeth Scharman
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