BHIPP Bulletin
Volume 7, Issue 6
December 2021
A Call to Action: Protecting Youth Mental Health
“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread. But most importantly, they are treatable, and often preventable.” - Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General, 12/7/2021

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, child and adolescent mental health concerns have continued to surge as youth struggle to manage pandemic-related stressors. Recent research shows increases in depression and anxiety for children and adolescents during the pandemic, while rates of youth receiving consistent mental health treatment are estimated to be less than 30%. In response to these concerning trends, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory, "Protecting Youth Mental Health"(12/7/2021). The advisory helps explain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth mental health (see figure below). Additionally, the advisory details action steps for a wide range of community members including youth, families, educators, and health care providers.

With significant shortages in available mental health professionals, primary care providers can help address youth mental health concerns in a number of ways. The Surgeon General's advisory outlines a few key action steps for health care professionals:

Implement trauma-informed care practices - these strategies serve as a prevention mechanism and improve care for all youth, and especially those with a history of adversity.
  • Learn more about implementing trauma-informed care in pediatric primary care with this webinar from Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris at the Center for Youth Wellness.

Screen for risk factors, including adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) - children who experience adversity are more likely to experience significant mental health concerns. Routine screening through pediatric primary care can lead to early intervention and prevention of negative mental health outcomes.

Assess mental health of caregivers and family members - children who's caregivers and family members struggle with mental health and substance use are at increased risk for developing their own mental health concerns. Providers can assess caregiver parental well-being and refer families to services as needed.
  • Visit the BHIPP website to access free parental well-being screening tools appropriate for use in the primary care setting.

Engage with community partners and child-serving systems - For example, pediatric providers can collaborate with teachers and school staff to address child mental health.

Create multidisciplinary teams that provide culturally competent care - families may have different experiences and views about mental health treatment, providing culturally competent care can enhance provider-family relationships that may result in increased trust for provider recommendations.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has created numerous resources for providing culturally competent care.
  • Another BHIPP Resilience Break, "Talking about Race, Kids, and Health" presented by Dr. Jacqueline Dougé, MD, MPH, is another resource for pediatric professionals to address race in the context of health care.

However, managing a large caseload in a busy pediatric primary care practice during a global pandemic is a feat in itself. Addressing pediatric mental health concerns can be additionally challenging; but, BHIPP is here to support you! How can we help?
  • Telephone consultation provided by our team of experienced child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.
  • Referral and resource networking to help identify local resources and services tailored to your patients’ needs.
  • Continuing education opportunities, including presentations at grand rounds and for individual practices, as well as TeleECHO clinics and BHIPP Resilience Breaks. Many of these offerings include free CMEs. Stay tuned for more information about our next cycle of TeleECHO clinics, starting in February 2022.
  • Care coordination, going beyond referral services to ensure your patients are connected with appropriate mental health services.
  • Telemental health services, including telepsychiatry and telecounseling, provided by the BHIPP team to pediatric patients in a primary care office. Telemental health services have limited availability; if interested, call the consultation line.

For all services, providers must contact BHIPP. The consultation line is open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm and can be accessed by calling 855-MD-BHIPP (855-632-4477). Messages left after hours will be returned the next business day.

We will keep you informed about all our services and training events through our website ( and monthly e-newsletters. Additionally, BHIPP is on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We invite you to follow us there to stay up-to-date on upcoming training events, pediatric mental health research, and resources for providers, families and children.
Additional Resources
BHIPP Announcements
Since there is no BHIPP Resilience Break webinar session in December, now is a great time to check out the archive of session recordings, slides, and related resources all available on the BHIPP website!
BHIPP in Your Neighborhood
  • January 20, 2022 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Resilience Break Diagnosing and Managing Seasonal Depression in Primary Care presented by Alden Littlewood, MD
  • Register here!
  • February 14, 2022 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Resilience Break presented by Shauna Reinblatt, MD
  • Save the date!
  • March 13, 2022 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Resilience Break presented by Tiffany Beason, PhD
  • Save the date!

  • Interested in organizing a (virtual) training event? Need more information? Message our team!
BHIPP Holiday Closures Calendar
Please note that the telephone consultation line will be closed on the following upcoming holiday(s):

  • Friday, December 24
  • Friday, December 31
  • Monday, January 17
BHIPP is supported by funding from the Maryland Department of Health, Behavioral Health Administration and operates as a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Salisbury University and Morgan State University.

BHIPP and this newsletter are also supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $433,296 with approximately 20% financed by non-governmental sources. The contents of this newsletter are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, visit

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