Regional Adolescent Mental Health Program
PAMF and Mills-Peninsula collectively provide ambulatory and hospital-based health care services to more than 70,000 adolescents (ages 12-18) within our four-county service area, which includes Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Cruz. When the City of Palo Alto was rattled by a rash of teen suicides in late 2009 and early 2010, it became apparent that there was a need to establish a new benchmark for integrated behavioral and medical health services in our communities. Suicide kills about 4,500 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 annually and is the third leading cause of death among adolescents.
The search for the solution rests upon recognizing the magnitude of this problem. One of the primary reasons that timely, effective intervention isn’t available to those most in need of it is that within the private health care sector in the United States, mental health services and the treatment of substance abuse are often disconnected from the routine medical care of the patient. Unfortunately, the lack of integrated behavioral and medical health services is common. Economically-motivated insurance models that “carve-out” behavioral health from general medical coverage and decades of cultural stigmatization are the primary barriers.
At PAMF and Mills-Peninsula, we have nationally-recognized teams of psychiatrists, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, licensed clinical social workers, licensed psychiatric technicians, mental health workers, occupational therapists and marriage and family therapists. But despite our reputation for providing high-quality care, including well-developed and well-respected psychiatric services, our region lacks an integrated system of behavioral health care delivery.
Five-Year Pilot Program to Expand Mental Health Care for Adolescents
We recognize that a coordinated action plan needs to be developed with innovative partnerships between primary care clinicians, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, as well as professionals associated with schools, public agencies, and community organizations. We have assembled a collaborative team, including key organizational stakeholders, with complementary skills and capacities needed to design and implement a coordinated plan of action for the next several years. This team has outlined a five-year plan with the specific goal to establish a nationally-recognized model of care that will transform the health care of our region, beginning with our adolescent population.
The five-year program seeks to achieve the following two objectives:
- integrate mental health into the primary care setting and expand community partnerships; and
- contribute to burgeoning research on mental disorders and integrated primary care.
With your help, we can build upon a solid foundation of quality care, continue our efforts to overcome the stigma of mental health services and providers and tailor mental health treatments to diverse age, gender, racial, and cultural needs. For more information on how you can support this project, please contact Lisa Scoffield, regional director of corporate and foundation relations, at 650-691-6279 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a donation to the Mental Health Program for Adolescents