Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) aims to strengthen CHOP’s youth suicide prevention efforts and increase patients’ access to mental health services. Suicide is consistently among the three leading causes of death among adolescents and young adults ages 10 to 24 years in the United States.
Working with multidisciplinary teams from across CHOP, our work improves our ability to identify and treat patients with mental health needs within the emergency department as well as inpatient, primary care, and specialty care settings.
Funded by a CHOP Department of Pediatrics Chair’s Initiative, this project seeks to improve CHOP patients’ access to mental health services by identifying and addressing care coordination needs for mental health referrals. A multidisciplinary team of CHOP experts, including representatives from CVP, are assessing the current state of mental health referral patterns, focusing first on primary care sites, developing consensus recommendations on appropriate practices for referrals, and using quality improvement methods to conduct a gap analysis for what is needed to move from current practice to ideal practice. The team has implemented tests of change in July 2020, including dedicated Social Work care coordination, enhancements in the electronic health record, and education for providers.
Since 2007, CHOP has utilized a behavioral health screen of patients ages 14 to 19 in the Emergency Department (ED) to aid in identifying and providing appropriate care to youth with mental health and social concerns. The behavioral health screen is a 7-10-minute, electronic survey that covers domains of depression, suicidal ideation, emotional trauma, firearm access, and substance abuse. Following the screening, patients are connected with resources and consultations as appropriate.