The Texas A&M team will expand mental health services for children

To help increase overall access to mental health care, the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) has awarded a team of researchers at Texas A&M University a four-year, $ 1.6 million grant. of dollars that will help provide inclusive health services to children and adolescents in a situation of deprivation. areas as part of a project entitled “Texas A&M University Telehealth for the Expansion of Adolescent and Child Healthcare” or Texas A&M TEACH.

Led by Carly McCord, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Texas A&M University School of Medicine, the scholarship will provide $ 10,000 scholarships annually and specialized training and support to doctoral students in psychology from the Association’s accredited programs. Texas A&M Psychology Institute.

“Our ultimate goal with this grant is to increase access to care by equipping students to work‘ cradle to grave ’throughout human life,” McCord said. “Many times in doctoral programs in psychology you will have students who will graduate and have only seen adults or only children. These future mental health professionals may end up being the only providers serving their area, so they need to be prepared to see any age group coming out the door. ”

Nearly one in five children has a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, such as anxiety or depression, attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 80 percent of these children do not receive care from a mental health provider due to various factors, such as the lack of mental health professionals in the nation, especially in Texas.

This grant will expand behavioral health services to children and adolescents in three different locations of primary care clinics: Health Point, Texas A&M Health Family Care, and Falls Community Hospital and Clinic.

Meredith Williamson, assistant clinical professor in Texas A&M Family Medicine Residency Program, will serve as co-principal investigator and help oversee the integration of behavioral health services at each primary care clinic. Whitney Garney, an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at the College of Education and Human Development, will act as co-researcher and lead the evaluation team.

“I am very excited to have this opportunity to add services for children and teens because it is very difficult for them to access these services,” Williamson said. “Our goal is to connect these children with primary care settings where they can get their medical care and behavioral health care in one place.”

The project will also expand programs already offered by Texas A&M and funded by the state, as part of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC), a plan that encourages collaboration and coordination among Texas medical schools. to solve state staffing problems related to mental health.

The project will allow the team to connect children to the Texas Health Access Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program, a project within the TCMHCC plan, and will increase children’s access to school. In addition, it will connect children with primary care services that will be reinforced with behavioral health aids through the grant.

“By partnering with these clinic sites and putting these PhD students in psychology in their primary care settings, we do both: we can connect these TCHATT children with a primary care physician and we can connect them to primary care services. advice if they need more time. term services, ”McCord said.

Through TCHMCC funding, these clinics can also enroll in the Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN). If you do, primary care providers working at partner sites will be able to receive consultations with child psychiatrists at Texas A&M at no cost.

“The two most important aspects of this grant are the training and service side,” McCord said. “I want to look back in four years and see the number of lives we impacted and change and see the number of people who were able to access services that weren’t there before. I want our project to successfully equip 40 doctoral students with funding and experience that they are able to work throughout human life and serve in underserved communities. “