Virginia Mental Health Access Program

THE PROBLEM:

Virginia children cannot access the mental health services they need. We suffer from a severe shortage of child psychiatrists- only two counties have sufficient numbers of child psychiatrists. Over half the counties do not even have one child/adolescent mental health professional. 1 in 5 children has a diagnosable mental disorder & 1 in 10 suffers from a serious mental health problem. The majority of these children have nowhere to go for help.

THE SOLUTION:

Provide more children with mental health services by expanding the existing workforce. With the severe shortage of these services, we must make them available in places where children already access health care. The VMAP will do this by giving providers the training and tools they need to serve children with mental health needs. This program will ensure that more children have access to providers who are better able to screen, diagnose, manage and treat mental health.

WHAT IS VMAP?

  • A statewide mental health access program specifically for children designed to give children’s health care providers access to child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and care coordination
  • Once fully implemented, the VMAP will consist of 5 regional teams that each have their own psychiatrist, psychologist/social worker, and care coordinator
  • Every region will have a centralized program director, program manager and medical director
  • Providers will have access to a phone number, website, and telephone/video consults with their regional VMAP teams.Care coordinators will identify regional mental health resources for children who need them
  • 30 other states have already seen success with similar programs and increased the mental health services available to their children

WHAT CAN THE STATE DO?

VMAP has received three separate grants and has partners and supporters throughout the state committed to helping children get the treatment they need. The program is already providing services in some regions. The $1.23 million allocated in the Governor’s budget will get VMAP off the ground and enable it to fully expand statewide.

 

Dr. Sandy Chung is serving as the Chair of the Steering Committee and may be reached at schung@fairfaxpeds.com.