Ohio Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program

Project Profile

MCHB Program: Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program (PMHCA)
Institution: Ohio Department of Health
Location: Columbus, OH
Region: 5
Project Director:

Sara Haig
Phone: 614-728-2957
Email: Sara.haig@odh.ohio.gov



According to the 2021 Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey / Youth Tobacco Survey (YRBS/YTS), shows 43% of Ohio high school students reported feeling so sad or hopeless during the past year that they stopped engaging in normal activities, which increased from 33% in 2019. This is a significant increase for a two-year period. High school females were most likely to report hopelessness and sadness, at 56%. All behaviors related to suicide increased for Ohio high school students from 2019 to 2021. According to data from Ohio Hospital Association, the self-harm related emergency department visits and hospitalizations among youth 15-19 years in Ohio was 457.3 per 100,000 in 2021, an increase from 2020 (424.1 per 100,000) after a steady decline from 2016. Additionally, experiencing poverty has a tremendous impact on both physical and mental health. According to 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates, 13.6% of Ohioans live in poverty, slightly higher than the national rate of 12.8%. The latest ACS data show that 29 of Ohio’s 88 counties had poverty rates equal to or higher than 15% and many counties with high poverty rates are in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Finally, Ohio is one of four states that does not have a statewide child psychiatry access program, according to the National Network of Child Psychiatry Access Programs.

Goals and objectives:

  • By 6/30/2024, the Ohio PMCHA team will develop a plan for the implementation of consultation line, with the launch to align with the beginning of the 2024 Academic program year.
  • By 9/30/23, the Ohio PMCHA team will develop a catalogue of existing resources and trainings for pediatric providers, including topics, audience and inclusion of equity or cultural/linguistic content.
  • By 6/30/2026, the Ohio PMCHA team will implement a statewide consultation line.
  • By 9/30/26, the Ohio PMCHA team will develop a catalogue of existing resources and trainings for pediatric providers, including topics, audience and inclusion of equity or cultural/linguistic content.
  • By 9/30/2025, identify additional sources of funding to support sustainability of the project.


The Ohio PMHCA program will be implemented through a variety of contracts. The Ohio Department of Health will lead the work, through the Bureau of Child and Family Health. The Ohio Adolescent and Young Adult Behavioral Health CoIIN team will expand and become the advisory committee for the project. Project partners include Government Resources Center (GRC) at the Ohio State University, the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA). The planning year will include an environmental scan of related programs, trainings and resources that are currently being utilized in Ohio, in addition to obtaining feedback from providers, stakeholders and other community members. The planning year activities will guide the implementation of the consultation and care coordination system, as well as the inform the education component and evaluation plan.


In addition to contracted vendors, ODH will partner with other state and local entities, including the Ohio Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Medicaid, among others. Additionally, the Ohio School- Based Health Alliance has submitted a letter of support and coordination with SBHCs in Ohio is an important component of the project.


A thorough evaluation plan will be developed during the planning year. This will be a deliverable in a planned contract with GRC and will include all HRSA-required reporting, as well as examining existing programs and data available in Ohio to strengthen outcome reporting and measurement.