246150 Prevention and early identification of adolescent mental illness: Opportunities in health care reform

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:45 AM

Laurie Flynn , Columbia University, TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups, New York, NY
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, an estimated 20 percent of youth suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, but research cited by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that more than two-thirds of youth with mental illness are not identified and do not receive mental health services. Increasingly, primary care providers are being asked to help ease this treatment gap by screening for, diagnosing and, in some cases, treating mental health disorders. Momentum around the need to improve access to screening for mental disorders as a preventive service increased in 2009, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual depression screening for youth beginning at age 12 and the Institute of Medicine issued a report urging better screening and prevention practices for mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. This momentum continued to build in 2010, when the American Academy of Pediatrics' Task Force on Mental Health released new guidelines and tools to improve the incorporation of mental health screening into pediatric practice. The expert consensus now clearly endorses routine mental health screening. However, incorporating mental health into primary care poses the need for a significant change in clinical practice for many primary care providers, the majority of whom do not regularly screen patients for mental illness. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included several provisions that will promote access to mental health screening in the primary care setting and create new opportunities to expand access to mental health services. These provisions will be identified and discussed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the importance of early identification of adolescent mental illness. List the provisions of health reform that present opportunities to improve receipt of early identification and intervention for mental illness.

Keywords: Public Policy, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Laurie Flynn is the executive director of the TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University and has more than two decades of experience in mental health policy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.