Advocacy to Address Pediatric Mental Health Crisis in a Pediatric Urgent Care Setting

Dr.Ravneet Dhaliwal

Pediatric urgent cares are uniquely staffed with pediatricians and/or pediatric trained providers. Pediatric urgent cares have also gained more popularity in the past decade, as it has proven to be a good alternative to emergency departments when it comes to after hours and weekend care for urgencies.  

An area where pediatric urgent cares still need to grow and expand is pediatric mental health crisis.  

There has been a significant escalation of pediatric patients at the Emergency Department seeking care for emotional and behavioral crises. There is an inadequate community mental health resource. We need to target for emergent mental health advocacy which includes implementing suicide screening and increasing mobile mental health crisis services and furthermore. This can be easily made accessible at the Urgent Care Centers. Also, implementation of urgent care telepsychiatry programs can help pediatric patients significantly.

There are numerous ideas and example of advocacy efforts which can lead to meaningful change in mental health care systems. Urgent care physicians and pediatricians can be an advocate for change and implementation.