Mental Health 911: Advocating for the Integration of Behavioral Health Services in Pediatric Hospital Emergency Departments

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Eraina Schauss, PhD Sydnie Allen Chi Li, PhD Kiersten Hawes, PhD Mary Neal Courtney Loveless Nicole McHugh Haley Zettler, PhD Melanie Burgess, PhD Jihan Rashed Brian Ahern


The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has led to increased awareness of mental health needs among pediatric populations. As the number of pediatric mental health emergency department visits have increased, so has the need for integrated behavioral health services in hospitals. This paper describes a standard of mental health care and the benefits of providing mental health services in pediatric hospital settings. The Trauma Mental Health Counseling Program, Hurt-2- Healing (H2H™) was developed and implemented in a Level-1 pediatric hospital and has served a total of 1,523 pediatric trauma patients and their caregivers since 2021. This program established a new hospital-based standard of mental healthcare for pediatric trauma patients and their caregivers. A questionnaire was developed to evaluate the efficacy of the Hurt-2-Healing program within domains such as openness to seeking counseling, psychoeducation, helpfulness of counseling, and ability to cope with the traumatic injury. The majority of (83%) patients/caregivers had no previous counseling experience prior to hospital admittance. Questionnaire responses indicated that after receiving mental health services, caregivers felt more aware of their children’s mental health needs and reported being more open to seeking future mental health counseling services for their child. Further, most respondents were in strong agreement that receiving mental health counseling services during the hospital stay was helpful. These results highlight the need for, and benefit of, providing a standard of care integrating behavioral health services in pediatric hospitals.

Keywords: integrated behavioral health, mental health standard of care

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How to Cite
SCHAUSS, Eraina et al. Mental Health 911: Advocating for the Integration of Behavioral Health Services in Pediatric Hospital Emergency Departments. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 5, may 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 july 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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