Mental Health

Pediatricians are critically important partners in addressing child and teen mental health disorders. The challenges to preventing, identifying and managing mental health concerns are many. Few of us have received training or have adequate office-based support to address these issues. Time pressures and trust issues make it difficult to sort out the many factors interwoven into their expression, including family dynamics, developmental stage of the child, chronic illnesses, sleep, social stressors, and cultural and economic issues. Referrals to a failing system of therapy and support are fraught with frustration for families and providers alike. 

Despite these barriers, pediatricians bring incredible compassion and communication skills to our visits, making our profession the most trusted source for addressing these complex issues. The AAP Chapter 1 Mental Health committee was formed to use the resources and best practices of our members to assist us all in recognizing, preventing and managing mental health concerns as early as possible for children and teens in our practices.

This website is a compilation of the best practices and resources that our committee members have found useful in addressing these issues. If you’re looking for information, please refer to the following sections:

      • General Tools for Improving Your Mental Health Skills
      • Identifying Pediatric Mental Health Concerns in Your Practice
      • Courses, Trainings and Fellowships
      • Mental Health Integrated Care and Telepsychiatry

Committees

Mental Health Committee

The California Chapter 1 Mental Health Committee is composed of pediatricians, mental health practitioners and researchers dedicated to improving both prevention and treatment of mental health issues for children and teens. Our committee members work together to enhance the mental health and behavioral health skills of practicing pediatricians, advocate for improved access and quality of services for behavioral health concerns, and connect pediatricians to available resources relevant to behavioral health issues. Our recent initiatives include putting on two sold-out Pediatric Mental Health Day CME conferences supporting providers in San Jose and Madera and making legislative and regulatory recommendations for California AAP advocacy in the field of mental health access. We are also exploring quality improvement and training initiatives to integrate ACEs screening and screening for other social determinants of health into pediatric practice.

Chair(s): Diane Dooley, MD, MHS, FAAP

 

 

 

 

 

Contact: info@aapca1.org

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Committee on Substance Use and Prevention (COSUP)

The Committee On Substance Use and Prevention (COSUP) is concerned with the prevention, early recognition, and appropriate management of substance use by young people; initiates professional and public education in this area, including best screening, assessment, and treatment practices; makes appropriate policy recommendations to the membership; and is involved in state-wide advocacy efforts.

Chair(s): Seth Ammerman, MD, FAAP

 

 

 

 

 

Contact: info@aapca1.org

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School Health

The School Health Committee works with the local First 5 Commissions, the public school system and other health care professionals to ensure that school children have appropriate medical care and a safe learning environment in their schools. The committee advocates for proper nutrition, physical exercise, mental health services, and a positive learning experience for all children.

Chair(s):
Renee Wachtel, MD, FAAP

Contact:
info@aapca1.org

Join

Child Abuse Prevention, Education and Treatment Committee (CAPET)

The AAPCA1 CAPET Committee aligns with the AAP Resilience Project and COCAN to improve care and outcomes of children and families through the prevention, education, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The committee will engage our local providers, families, and communities to build partnerships with child- and family-serving organizations, educate the pediatric community, support policy and research activities, and promote a strengths-based and trauma-informed approach.

The committee will utilize a trauma-informed, strengths-based, public health approach to Prevention, Education and Treatment:

  • Primary Prevention: “Prevent”
    • Awareness campaigns, family-focused, family strengths, resilience, social/community connectedness/supports, parenting support (Period Purple Crying, Triple P), Home Health/NFP, corporal punishment (“Hit No More”, “No Hit Zones”), SDOH/ACEs screening
  • Secondary Prevention: “Protect”
    • “Pink flags”, high risk children/families, siblings/contacts with abuse and/neglect, family violence, high SDOH/ACEs
  • Tertiary Prevention: “Heal”
    • Identify children with suspected maltreatment, community and family linkages, prevent future maltreatment (therapy, community and family support and engagement, high-risk behaviors)

The committee meets quarterly.

Chair(s):
Casey L. Brown, MD, MPH, FAAP, Rachel Gilgoff, MD, FAAP & Aparna Kota, MD, FAAP

 

 

 

 

 

Contact: info@aapca1.org

Join

 

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Committee on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Chair(s):
Renee Wachtel, MD, FAAP

Contact:
info@aapca1.org

The Committee on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics is composed of AAP Fellows who are subspecialists with expertise in developmental and behavioral pediatrics or neurodevelopmental disabilities and primary care pediatricians. The Committee is dedicated to the optimal care and development of children with disabilities and special health care needs and to the support of their families. Children with special health care needs are those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and require health and related services beyond those required by children generally. Committee issues include early intervention, developmental screening, access to developmental and behavioral services, childhood behavior problems, physician education regarding developmental and behavioral screening and referral to resources, medication management of developmental and behaviorally related disorders, biopsychosocial issues, genetic disorders related to impairments in sensory function, development and behavior, and advocacy issues.

Take Action

Improve Your Practice – Mental Health Skills and Practice Management

Whether you're looking for a book, webinar, or mini-fellowship, the first section on this page walks you through the range of educational tools to help you build up your skills on mental health care for your patients and families. Keep scrolling for the second section on changes you can make on a practice-level.

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Connect With Your Community

Connecting with your community can improve children's and teens' access to mental health care. Even when children have mental health coverage through their insurance, community programs help families and pediatricians as they navigate the complex web of services and providing other outlets and activities.

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Advocate, Advocate, Advocate

Pediatricians feel challenges to helping their patients access appropriate mental health care. Here are some action steps and how to get involved.

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Resources

ACEs, Trauma Informed Care, and Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Whether you want to boost your understanding of California ACEs screenings or become a more trauma-informed provider, this section offers resources to help you and your families during difficult times.

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Behavioral & Emotional Concerns (Attention, Emotional Dysregulation and Aggression)

Behavioral concerns are the bread-and-butter in pediatrics. In this section, you will find more resources to help you help your families better understand how to help your patients with behavioral and emotional concerns.

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Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide Risk

These resources for pediatricians help bridge the gap between seeing the patient and the therapist for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide Risk.

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Surveillance, Screening and Psychosocial Assessment for Behavioral Health Concerns

A wealth of information regarding mental health concerns can be obtained by establishing trusted primary care relationships and utilizing AAP-recommended components...

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Identifying Common Mental Health Concerns

The most common mental-health related diagnoses seen in the primary care office are anxiety, depression, ADHD and eating disorders. This case walks you through a common presentation with links to the mental health resources on our website.

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