Recap: A Conversation with UPMC Children’s

On April 6, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation hosted an interactive discussion on the current state of children’s behavioral health and the effects of the pandemic, including how philanthropy is delivering improved care for our patients. Invited guests had the opportunity to engage with experts and ask questions about youth behavioral health, and how they can support kids with behavioral health needs.

This virtual presentation was held for members of our giving societies. For access to the latest information, opportunities to engage with our physicians, and exclusive invitations to events like these, consider joining a giving society today. Check out the full program here. For highlights, see below:

The Impact of the Pandemic on Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of kids, adolescents, and parents over the past two years. Since 2020, experts have seen:

  • A 24% increase in depression among kids and teens
  • A 16% increase in youth suicide risk
  • Decreased sleep quality and physical activity
  • Increased screentime and social media use

In the spring of 2021, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital saw:

  • A 24% increase in emergency room visits in five to 11-year-olds
  • A 31% increase in twelve to 17-year-olds.

What is UPMC Children’s Doing to Meet These Challenges?

Programs at UPMC Children’s are working to meet the challenges above, preventing behavioral health crises, training providers, and identifying potential risk.

Whole Child Wellness Clinic disrupts the current care model with an innovative, integrated approach

Children with developmental and behavioral health needs often experience a difficult journey toward wellness due to services that are fragmented or inaccessible. The Whole Child Wellness Clinic (WCWC) disrupts the current model of care by combining primary care and behavioral health in a fully integrated model for children ages 3-12, creating a “one-stop-shop” of coordinated care.

Children’s TiPS helps pediatricians make instant referrals close to home

Children’s TiPS is a free service to help primary care clinicians (PCC) deliver high quality mental health services for kids and adolescents. When a PCC calls, the Children’s TiPS team will connect him or her with a child or adolescent psychiatrist within the same day, often within thirty minutes. Children’s TiPS psychiatrists can answer questions about medications, diagnoses, screening tools, resources and other topics.

SMART Choices Program Provides Improved Identification of Youth at Risk

The Substance Misuse and Referral to Treatment (SMART) Choices program at UPMC Children’s helps children avoid the long-term consequences of substance abuse by working with providers and directly with families to identify risk, provide interventions when necessary, coordinate care, and empower youth to make smart choices.

The Pittsburgh Study Works to Promote Equity in Access and Outcomes

The Pittsburgh Study brings community leaders, individuals, and organizations together from throughout the region to find out what works to help kids thrive. A first-of-its-kind initiative, the Study will follow children in Allegheny County from before birth through high school to track defined indicators of health and address the root causes of inequity.

Your support of UPMC Children’s helps support critical mental wellness initiatives like these and others!


Get Access to Future Events Like This

This is just a highlight of the one-hour, interactive talk hosted by UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation and led by Abigail Boden Schlesinger, MD, and David A. Brent, MD. If you want first access to events like this in the future, join a giving society today!