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BHIPP Bulletin

Volume 7, Issue 11

May 2022

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Children's Mental Health Awareness

This month's BHIPP Bulletin is a contribution from Carisa Parrish, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Director of Pediatric Health Psychology, Johns Hopkins Children's Center and BHIPP Consultant. Additionally, this month's BHIPP Resilience Break focused on "Avoiding Provider Burnout" and was presented by Mary Ann Booth, MD, BHIPP Consultant. To view the full session recording, slides, and related resources: click here!

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May is Mental Health Awareness month, and includes recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The pandemic and other adverse events have unfortunately prompted much-needed attention to children’s mental health, including a renewed focus on caregivers’ well-being, over the past few years. Multiple studies have highlighted the high toll that the pandemic has taken on children and families. National experts in child mental health, pediatrics, and children’s hospitals declared a National State of Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. This was followed by the US Surgeon General announcing a National State of Emergency for Children’s Mental Health for the first time in our nation’s history.

My own work has focused on the critical and powerful role that parents and caregivers can play in supporting children’s emotional health and development. In grown-up world, it can be easy to forget how much kids experiencing stress rely on adults to cope. Social determinants of health result in exposure to stress that increases a child’s risk for mental health problems. In this issue of the BHIPP newsletter, let’s consider how to support parents and caregivers. In addition to emotional support, pediatric providers can provide strategic anticipatory guidance to reduce stress and promote the well-being of children and adolescents.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) compiled an update on facts about children’s mental health over the past 10 years (2013-2019). Here is a sample of what they reported:

  • In kids ages 3-17 years, ADHD and anxiety were the most common diagnoses
  • Older children and teens are at risk for depression and suicide, with 20% of 12-17 year olds experiencing a major depressive disorder, 36% feeling sad/hopeless, and nearly 19% seriously considered attempting suicide

Research by the CDC continues to highlight the troubling prevalence of suicide among youth. Here are some sobering findings:

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Understanding the facts can help mobilize resources. For example, when state officials in Rhode Island identified an increase in suicide attempts involving over-the-counter medications among girls <18 years, they mobilized a multi-agency team to launch a campaign to provide free medication locks and other safety measures to the public. Their campaign is called: Over-the-counter does not mean on the counter. Despite myths to the contrary, suicide is preventable. More than 90% of people who attempt suicide and survive NEVER die by suicide. Preventing children’s access to lethal means of self-harm is a powerful way to keep kids safe.

So what can pediatricians and pediatric providers do? The data are troubling, the topics are delicate, and stressed out kids and teens are everywhere. When we tackle problems with babies and toddlers, we identify the risk (e.g., sleep position) and teach parents how to prevent the problem. We appreciate cultural differences and potential barriers, and with kindness, we support parents to keep kids safe. Mental health protections require our awareness so that we can act mindfully.


Keep kids safe from the top 3 suicide mechanisms





Assess safety, consistently

The number one root cause of suicide is lack of assessment for suicide risk.


Restrict access to lethal means

Prevention helps kids stay safe


Take a mindful pause

Being mindful reduces mistakes of inattention

As always, if you have questions about the behavioral health needs of your patients, we encourage you to call the BHIPP consultation line at 
855-MD-BHIPP (632-4477), open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, for resource/referral networking or consultation support.

We will keep you informed about all our services and training events through our website (www.mdbhipp.org) 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.

References and Resources

Assessing and Responding to Youth Suicidal Ideation - BHIPP Quick Tips for Providers

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day - American Psychological Association

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Children's Mental Health Awareness - National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity - Dr. Ronald Epstein, MD

Coronavirus Guide for Parents - UNICEF

Mental Health Awareness Month - American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Tip: check out the “Facts for Families” tip sheets on a wide range of topics (e.g., advocating for your child, when to seek help, how to find help, mental health insurance).

BHIPP Announcements

Talking to Children About the Tragedy in Texas

BHIPP released a special edition newsletter in light of the school shooting in Texas with compiled resources for talking to children after mass violence. Share these resources with the families you serve that may be experiencing increased emotional distress during this time.

To access the newsletter, click here.

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BHIPP provides free services including care coordination, telephone consultation with child and adolescent psychiatrists, and resource and referral networking to emergency medicine professionals. To learn more about BHIPP Crisis services, click here. To request our services, call 855-MD-BHIPP (632-4477).

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The Maryland Governor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families is looking for primary care practices to participate in the pilot launch of the Trained Military Assistance Provider Program and provide feedback on the content's applicability and usefulness in their practice. A dedicated link will be provided to participants in June 2022 to register and access the on-demand training. Interested parties should contact Hannah Rodriguez at hannah.rodriguez@maryland.gov no later than June 15th.

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Click here to register!
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Click here to register!

BHIPP in Your Neighborhood

  • June 16, 2022 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Mental Health Crisis Training: Suicide Prevention Part II: Safety and Crisis Planning presented by Robert Paine, DO
  • Register here!
  • June 21, 2022 12:30-1:30pm
  • BHIPP Resilience Break: Types of Mental Health Evaluations and When to Recommend Them presented by Antonia Girard, PsyD
  • Register here!

  • 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, June 20
  • Monday, July 4
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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 www.hrsa.gov.

Copyright © 2021 Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care (BHIPP), All rights reserved.