RICHMOND, Va. – As part of Virginia’s May observation as Mental Health Awareness Month, a new statewide initiative designed to improve access to mental health services has been launched.
Gov. Ralph Northam and Dr. Daniel Carey, Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources, officially unveiled the new statewide initiative, the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP).
VMAP has been in development since 2018.
According to a press release, VMAP is a state initiative that provides education to primary care providers on pediatric mental health management; increases their access to child psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers; and helps their patient families navigate the availability of additional mental health resources.
“Virginia ranks 41st in the country for our mental health workforce, which is unacceptable,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD, MHCM. “Virginia’s mental health access program, which has been in development for more than three years with existing partners and resources throughout the community, is a significant step in helping Virginia families access the type of care they receive. mental health they need for their children. “
Virginia’s mental health access program focuses on four core components:
· Education: The program provides continuing education to primary care providers (including pediatricians, GPs, NPs, and APs) that allows these health care providers to better examine, diagnose, manage, and treat their pediatric patients. to various mental health conditions. .
· Access to Behavioral Health Consultation: VMAP connects primary care providers who treat children and adolescents by telephone with VMAP regional centers with child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers available for consultation.
· Care Navigation: There is care that helps patient families identify and navigate the additional mental health services offered in their community, outside of primary care when needed.
· Telehealth: Telehealth services will be available for VMAPs to help them make inquiries later in 2021. This will allow VMAP consultations to provide better support to PCPs.
According to VMAP, more than 500 primary care providers across the state have signed up to the VMAP consultation line and more than 1,000 consultations have already been provided to primary care providers treating children and adolescents through the VMAP query line.
More than 450 providers have also received training in pediatric mental health through the VMAP educational program.
“This day during mental health awareness month marks an important milestone for the Commonwealth of Virginia and I am proud of the role VMAP has played in developing this statewide response to the lack of critical health resources mental health in all parts of the state. ” said Sandy L. Chung, MD, the medical director of VMAP, a former board member of the Medical Society of Virginia and herself a pediatrician. “In Virginia, there are only 13 child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 children, a proportion that threatens the well-being of many of our younger citizens. We thank Governor Northam and Sec. Carey for his leadership, as well as the leadership of Virginia lawmakers, who helped provide VMAP’s core funding for this critical initiative. “