BHIPP Bulletin
Volume 6, Issue 11
May 2020
Volume 6, Issue 11 | May 2021
The Importance of Children’s Mental Health
During COVID-19 and Beyond
This month’s BHIPP Bulletin is a guest contribution from the Mental Health Association of Maryland. For more than 20 years, the statewide Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign, coordinated by Maryland Coalition of Families and the Mental Health Association of Maryland, has brought together nonprofits, schools, and other partners with the goal to raise public awareness of the importance of children’s mental health and substance use, and connect Maryland families with the resources they need. 
In mid-March 2020 as parents and children went to sleep, their worlds were turned upside down due to COVID-19. With grit and grace, families have been coping as best they can over the past 14 months. All family members have been trying to manage uncertainty, social isolation, fear, and the dismantling of their life’s stabilizing routines.
Youth have been challenged in ways unfathomed before and normal development has been largely disrupted. Days that had been structured by school, time with peers and friends, homework and after school activities, are mostly non-existent now. School is now computers on kitchen tables, connection with others is minimal at best, and young minds are occupied with fears of illness and the future.  The stress is also felt by parents and caregivers who also are trying to juggle work and schooling while simultaneously caring for their children. 
The protective factor of predictability has been diminished since COVID-19 began. Add high levels of parental stress and the result is an unfortunate spike in children’s mental health concerns.  There is no doubt that COVID-19 is having a negative impact on youth mental health including increased rates of anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and emergency room visits according to recent research. A national poll of parents found that nearly half noticed increased or new mental health concerns.

We encourage parents to monitor their children for mental health concerns.  Whether the signs are obvious or not, COVID-19 can and does have a real impact. If parents have any concerns at all about their children or themselves, please seek an evaluation. Early intervention may help prevent longer term impacts of the pandemic at any age. There is no better time than now to invest in self- care for the entire family. It is not a luxury but a necessity during these very stressful times. The Children’s Mental Health Matters! Family Resource Kit is an excellent resource for more information and to help connect families with mental health services. Families should also discuss their child’s mental health concerns with their pediatrician.
Pediatric primary care providers can help identify patients’ mental health concerns by conducting routine screening for anxiety (GAD-7, SCARED), depression (PHQ-9) and social determinants of health (WECARE). Now more than ever, it is important to be regularly screening and following-up with families regarding youth mental health. In a recent report, the American Academy of Pediatrics offered detailed guidance for supporting the emotional and behavioral well-being of youth. Their recommendations include assessing parental/caregiver wellbeing (Pediatric Intake Form), checking in about experience with remote learning, and monitoring those with ongoing health care needs.
If you are looking for resources for the families you serve, check out The Campaign offers resources on basic children’s mental health (in English and Spanish), information for mental wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic and curated links to other behavioral health information.

Highlighted below are just some of the Campaign resources that may be of interest to you and the families you care for:

BHIPP Announcements
Looking for COVID-19 resources to support children, families, and providers?

As the pandemic continues children, families, and providers may struggle with mental health concerns. BHIPP has compiled resources to support the needs of patients and providers. These resources are continuously updated.

As always, we welcome you to call the BHIPP line at 855-MD-BHIPP (632-4477), open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, for consultation support or for information about local mental health resources for your patients.
BHIPP in Your Neighborhood
  • June 17, 2021 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Resilience Break: Helping Families Manage Anxiety in the Pediatric Primary Care Setting presented by Sneha Jadhav, MD
  • Register here!
  • June 25, 2021 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Resilience Break: LGBTQ+ Youth presented by Elyse Pine, MD
  • 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):

  • Monday, May 31, 2021
  • Friday, June 18, 2021
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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