Project ECHO Launches Program to Improve Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Care Across New Mexico
New Mexico ranks 47th the nation for youth mental health and has just one mental health provider for every 240 residents. To help solve this problem, Project ECHO at The University of New Mexico Health and Health Sciences is launching an innovative program to provide the state’s health care professionals with the tools and resources they need to diagnose and treat children with mental health issues, regardless of where they live.
Using the ECHO Model, which empowers practitioners and professionals from rural and under-resourced areas to improve the wellbeing of people where they live, this new program will bring together a multidisciplinary team of mental health experts in monthly sessions beginning June 23.
These sessions will give primary care providers strategies and tools for screening, triage, assessment, acute management, safety planning and referrals to specialized behavioral health services for children and youth engaged in risky behavior or experiencing mental illness.
Program leads Dr. Kimothi Cain, Assistant Professor, UNM School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Avi Kriechman, Director of Continuing Education Division of Community and Behavioral Health and faculty at the School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, have leveraged decades of pediatric psychiatry expertise to create the program curriculum.
According to the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health, only 59.3% of children in New Mexico with a mental or behavioral health condition currently receive appropriate treatment or counseling.
Through regular videoconferencing sessions, health care providers will receive education and support to help them identify, diagnose, and treat common mental health conditions in children, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD. The program will also cover topics such as trauma-informed care, suicide prevention, and cultural competency.
“Access to mental health care is a critical issue, especially for children in rural and underserved areas,” said Dr. Sanjeev Arora, founder and director of Project ECHO. “Through the Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health ECHO Program, we hope to empower health care providers with the knowledge and resources they need to provide high-quality care for children with mental health issues, no matter where they live.”
The Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health ECHO Program is open to health care providers across New Mexico and beyond. Continuing education credits will be available for physicians, nurses, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers and other healthcare professionals who participate in the program.
For more information or to register for the program, visit the Project ECHO program page.
About Project ECHO
In 2023, Project ECHO is celebrating 20 years of disseminating knowledge in rural and under resourced areas. Founded and headquartered at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, N.M., Project ECHO empowers local community providers to improve the well-being of people in New Mexico and around the world.