The 2023 Mental Health Services Conference of the American Psychiatric Association featured a discussion of the pediatric Collaborative Care Model that was led by a team from the Meadows Institute.

Dr. Andrew Carlo, the vice president of health system integration at the Meadows Institute, said that primary care providers are willing to provide mental health care, but “they often lack the resources or training to provide longitudinal care at scale, and that’s one of the things that leads primary care mental health outcomes and pediatric mental health outcomes to not be as good as they could be.”

Carlo explained that pediatric collaborative care, whose effectiveness is supported by more than 90 randomized clinical trials, expands children’s and adolescents’ access to mental health care by integrating mental health care into primary care settings.

Clare McNutt, the Meadows Institute’s Vice President of Primary Care Innovation, discussed how Meadows is spearheading the effort to expand the evidentiary basis for collaborative care. It recently convened a roundtable on pediatric and adolescent collaborative care at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School this past January.

Dr. Laura Richardson, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, discussed the data on pediatric collaborative care. In particular, she cited a 2014 JAMA study that found, “Among adolescents with depression seen in primary care, a collaborative care intervention resulted in greater improvement in depressive symptoms at 12 months than usual care. These findings suggest that mental health services for adolescents with depression can be integrated into primary care.”

During the Q & A session following the panel, Richardson added, “A ton of pediatricians want to do behavioral health. They do a lot of training on promoting healthy development. We should lean into promoting this as healthy development, like sleep.”