Use of an Integrated Collaborative Care Model for Pediatric Mental Health Care




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This study evaluates the effectiveness of collaborative care models in pediatric psychiatry aimed at addressing the mental health (MH) needs of children and adolescents within the primary care setting. The model integrates primary care clinicians and mental health professionals to provide comprehensive, patient-centered MH care. In addition to reviewing existing literature on collaborative care models, this study aims to describe the unique collaborative care model implemented at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) Department of Pediatrics and Women’s Health.


The collaborative care model at UNTHSC involves a team structure comprising Pediatricians, Behavioral Health Care Managers, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatric consultants. Patients eligible for the model receive initial assessments, treatment plans, and routine interventions tailored to their MH needs. The treatment process involves regular case reviews, interventions, and relapse planning, with specific adaptations to align with the needs and resources available within the UNTHSC pediatric department.


Previous studies on integrated care models, including the TEAM UP and Behavioral Health Integration Program, have demonstrated improved treatment effectiveness and patient outcomes. In these models, warm handoffs, increased visits, and enhanced competence in managing MH conditions were observed. Collaborative care has been shown to significantly reduce depression scores, with 55% achieving remission in one study. The findings from the UNTHSC collaborative care model are anticipated to complement existing literature, offering insights into the specific strategies and outcomes achievable within a pediatric primary care setting.


The findings demonstrate the effectiveness of the collaborative care model in treating pediatric MH conditions within primary care settings. Patients enrolled in this model are expected to experience improved treatment outcomes, while healthcare professionals benefit from enhanced satisfaction and coordination of care. This study aims to provide detailed insights into the logistics, fiscal considerations, patient population, and staff involved, including the unique collaborative care model implemented at UNTHSC Department of Pediatrics, enabling the replication of similar collaborative care approaches in pediatric primary care settings to address MH needs comprehensively.