Prevalence of behavioral or mental health disorders in New Hampshire's pediatric population is high compared to national averages. The National Survey of Children's Health (2020-2021) results showed that New Hampshire has the highest rate nationally of children ages 3-17 having one or more reported mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral health problem at 31.3%, compared to the national average of 23.3%. Of those children in NH with a mental health condition, only 54.1% received mental health treatment or counseling within the past year. NH counties identified as having mental health provider and child/adolescent psychiatrist shortages are also the most rural communities with the highest percentages of children living in poverty.
Goals and Objectives:
The goals are to promote behavioral health integration in pediatric primary care as well as expand into the school setting by supporting the existing statewide NH Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program. The objectives are 1) Provide training and support to NH's health care providers and school staff to increase their ability to identify and care for children with pediatric mental health conditions that incorporates equity and culturally/ linguistically responsive care; 2) Increase the number of front-line health and school providers who receive teleconsultation services about the identification, treatment, and care coordination for children with mental health conditions; 3) Enhance delivery of services through the administration of a referral directory of all pediatric mental/behavioral health services and supports.
For this project, NH DHHS will continue to partner with academic, health care and family support organizations to establish a statewide pediatric mental health team to implement a teleconsult access program and to provide training and technical assistance to primary care providers and school staff.
This project will continue to expand providers' training, knowledge and skills in screening and treating these mental health conditions by using evidence-based practices and methods such as Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model. The NH Pediatric Mental Health Team will work to increase pediatric providers' and school staff capacity for the timely detection, assessment, treatment and/or referral of children and adolescents with mental and behavioral health disorders through telehealth especially for those living in rural and underserved areas. Project activities will be coordinated in partnership with healthcare, academic, and family support organizations to ensure seamless provision of services funded by this grant.
Data and experience gathered from NH providers will be especially valuable both for cross-sharing among practices and among a larger audience in NH. Project evaluation will be conducted by analyzing data on HRSA proposed outcome measures and provider self-efficacy surveys.