Psychiatric disorders among youth (0 to 21 years of age) are at record highs. This crisis is not unique to Kansas, but concerns are particularly intense as a primarily rural and frontier state. Access to mental health care can be extremely limited for youth in rural areas and suicide rates are higher and increasing at a higher rate than for urban youth. In Kansas, over 65% of youth with major depression do not receive mental health treatment, and only 27% of youth with severe depression receive consistent treatment. Along with rising rates of mental and behavioral health problems in youth, there is a shortage of mental health professionals, especially those with the greatest expertise, child and adolescent psychiatrists; 99 of the 105 counties (94%) in Kansas are designated as mental health professional shortage areas. According to the State of Mental Health in America 2023 Report, Kansas ranked last (51st) in the overall ranking and 50th in youth ranking. Due to the mental health professional shortages, many families seek treatment in the primary care setting. Primary care physicians and clinicians (PCPs) have become frontline providers in the identification, treatment, and management of mental disorders of youth.
Goals and Objectives:
KSKidsMAP, an existing, statewide program, aims to: 1) Strengthen the PCP workforce's capacity to screen, diagnose, and treat youth with developmental, behavioral, and mental health disorders through trainings that incorporate equity and culturally and linguistically responsive care standards; 2) Increase utilization of realtime psychiatric consultations and care coordination support services, especially utilization by PCPs who serve individuals who experience health disparities (e.g., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, Medicaid, rural or frontier); 3) Improve equitable access to referrals and quality treatment (in-person and via telehealth) for youth, with particular emphasis for those residing in rural and underserved areas; and 4) Further program impact through effective leadership and partnerships to achieve program goals, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and sustain program components.
KSKidsMAP works directly with PCPs statewide, providing tailored resources to ensure confidence in delivering evidence-based mental health care to youth. Goals of KSKidsMAP include increasing PCPs' capacity to screen, diagnose, treat, and refer youth with psychiatric disorders through established trainings (KSKidsMAP TeleECHO Clinic), continuation of its centralized access point (Consultation Line) for case consultation and resource and referral support, increasing timely access to quality mental health services for youth, especially those in rural, frontier, and other underserved areas, and supporting PCP wellness through resource sharing and wellness coaching to ensure a healthy, well-trained PCP workforce is available to appropriately identify and treat pediatric mental health conditions.
Oversight will be provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Family Health (BFH), which manages the state's Title V MCH Program. The BFH will ensure the program aligns with the MCH vision and is collaborative to maximize efficiencies, awareness, and system impact.
The BFH will contract with the University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute for the PMHT and program evaluation.