Bolstering Pediatric Mental and Behavioral Health Services

Too many children across the country are unable to access timely, quality mental healthcare. When they can, too often it is far from home. Our mental healthcare system is not equipped to support children’s needs and government action crucial in order to address these challenges. Our team works closely with CHOP’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to be a leading voice advocating for change.

CHOP is a proud partner of the Sound the Alarm for Kids awareness campaign, launched by the Children’s Hospital Association, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, to highlight the need for immediate federal, state and local support to help providers meet the demand for mental health services.

Learn more about federal legislation we drive forward in Washington, in partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association, here.

Tami Benton, MD, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Testifies in Front of U.S. Senate Regarding National Mental Health Crisis

Dr. Benton discussed the pediatric mental health crisis and steps we can take to address barriers to access with members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in February 2022. Through written testimony, she highlights that if the right interventions are put in place, they would build on our children’s remarkable resilience and place them on a better trajectory. Our children are in crisis, which means we are in crisis as a nation.

CHOP collaborated with Pennsylvania and Delaware Congressmembers to encourage introduction of federal legislation in response to the growing mental health crisis.

These bills did not become law in the 2021-22 Congressional cycle but were nevertheless groundbreaking as they garnered the most attention this topic has received to date in Congress. CHOP will continue to work with bipartisan allies to make a difference for children as we look ahead into 2023 and beyond.

Working an issue through Congress is frequently not a swift process. These advances were groundbreaking for pediatric mental health, and hold promise for implementation of future reforms that would benefit families.

  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation to Strengthen Children’s Mental Health along with Rep. Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
  • Fitzpatrick press release; Blunt Rochester press release
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) held a hearing on youth mental health in the Senate Children and Families subcommittee
  • Sen. Casey (D-PA) along with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), introduced bipartisan legislation would expand youth mental healthcare to meet high demand for support mental health disorders affect about one in five children

CHOP testified in Harrisburg, Pa., to encourage legislators to act amidst the ongoing pediatric behavioral health crisis

Experts from CHOP’s Department for Pediatric and Adolescent Behavioral Services (DCAPBS) and Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) testified at the Pennsylvania General Assembly Children & Youth Committee Meeting on “Child & Adolescent Fatality Trends & Community Responses" highlighting the needs to address the growing pediatric mental health crisis in our nation.

  • Moderate funds were allocated to support pediatric behavioral health in 2022, and a much larger investment was seen in the adult population. We continue to advocate for the needs of children in Pennsylvania, particularly those who are most vulnerable, into the 2023 legislative cycle.