Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that as many as 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the United States have a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, but only about 20% of this population ever receives care from a specialized mental health provider.

Now, as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for accessible, high quality behavioral health care for children and adolescents is even greater. From March 2020 to October 2020, mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% for children ages 5-11 and 31% for those ages 12-17, as compared with 2019 emergency department visit data.

Hospitals and health systems can play an important role in ensuring children and adolescents receive the behavioral health care they need to thrive. As part of AHA’s behavioral health initiatives, this webpage is designed to provide information, resources, and best practices to better support hospitals and health systems in addressing child and adolescent mental health.


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Resources

Jun 22, 2022
In this Members in Action podcast, Julia Resnick, director of strategic initiatives at the AHA, and Thomas Harris, Jr., Executive Vice President of Operations at Gillette Children’s in Saint Paul, Minnesota, discuss how Gillette Children’s virtual rehab program has enabled them to better serve their patients.
May 27, 2022
Between 2011 and 2015, the number of children presenting to the ED for behavioral health concerns at Rady Children’s Hospital increased by 500%.
May 3, 2022
1 in 5 children experience a mental illness. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased mental health challenges and suicide risk among children. In this Members in Action podcast featuring maternal and child health efforts, Aisha Syeda, senior program manager at the AHA is joined by Chanda Chacòn, president and chief executive officer at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center to discuss the hospital’s investment in establishing a pediatric mental health urgent care center.
May 3, 2022
Five years ago, Shodair Children's Hospital embarked on a project to build a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital. Designed by providers, patients and families who worked with leadership, architects, and designers, it will provide patients with individual rooms and restrooms; adaptable flexible spaces; a spiritual space with a smudge room; a pool; state-of-the-art security and safety; and quiet rooms with windows and recorded music.
Oct 4, 2021
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH), part of Spectrum Health, is a 234-bed comprehensive children’s hospital in downtown Grand Rapids, that not only serves the needs of the local community, but also is a regional referral center for Spectrum Health and western Michigan. During the pandemic, HDVCH and community partners responded quickly to the increased need for behavioral health services and found new ways to provide them.

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one are experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, support is available. The following services provide free, confidential support and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For emotional support related to COVID-19, call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

For those experiencing a suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.


In the News

Sep 23, 2022
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living this week released its first National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers, developed by two congressionally mandated advisory councils to foster public-private collaboration to support the millions of Americans who provide assistance to a family member with a health condition or functional limitation.
May 25, 2022
States encouraged to coordinate their federal funding streams to expand access. 
May 12, 2022
Nearly 30 organizations, including the AHA, urge congressional appropriators to increase funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program to $718.8 million in fiscal year 2023.

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