The restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic have created unique challenges for children and teens, including isolation from friends and classmates, uncertainty about the future, and concerns about health and safety.
If you need help treating pediatric patients with mental health and substance use problems – related to COVID-19 or in general – free expert advice is now a phone call away.
Starting today, pediatricians, family practice physicians, and other primary care professionals can contact the Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN), a statewide initiative that offers same-day help on topics such as best practices, medications, counseling options, and community resources for patients under age 18.
Texas has a shortage of psychiatrists, counselors, and others who can provide behavioral health services. The state ranks last among the 50 states and District of Columbia in access to mental health care, according to the nonprofit Mental Health America. CPAN’s goal is to equip physicians to better help their patients to help overcome their problems despite this shortage.
In Central Texas, CPAN is managed by Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and Ascension Connect.
CPAN is a key part of a much larger mental health initiative the 2019 Texas Legislature created with support from the Texas Medical Association. The initiative, called the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, also will help public schools respond to mental health needs among students, expand the psychiatric workforce by paying for psychiatric positions and fellowships, and provide money for research on mental health in Texas.
Find more information, and register, at (512) 843-3007 or by email at CPAN@austin.utexas.edu.
Once registered, you can use the service by calling (888) 901-CPAN. A pediatric psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or social service resource specialist will return your call, usually within about 30 minutes, David Lakey, MD, vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer for The University of Texas System, told Texas Medicine magazine.