Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health recently awarded Children’s National Health System with a contract to implement the DC Mental Health Access in Pediatrics (DC MAP) project.  DC MAP is a psychiatric consultation program that connects pediatric primary care providers to a mental health consultation team.

The contract from the DC Department of Behavioral Health provides approximately $500,000 per year with the option to renew for four years. DC MAP will provide pediatric primary care providers near-immediate access by telephone to a mental health consultation team.  The consultation team provides clinical consultation to enhance pediatric primary care providers’ abilities to evaluate, treat, co-manage, and refer children with mental health problems.  In addition, the project aims to increase the number of mental health screenings conducted during a child’s annual well check.

“Early identification and intervention can prevent a lifetime of struggling with mental health disorders,” said Barbara J. Bazron, Interim Director of the Behavioral Health Department.  “This project supports our work to make sure children and their families have access to high quality mental health services.”

The project is a partnership between the Departments of Psychiatry at Children’s National and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, who will share clinical responsibilities.  Staffing for DC MAP will include a multidisciplinary team made up of child psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists, and a care coordinator.

“Our team is very excited to lead this project. We believe this program will have a significant impact on access to mental healthcare for children in the District,” said Lee A. Savio Beers, MD, Director of the DC MAP program and Medical Director for Municipal and Regional Affairs, Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National. “Mental illness affects one in five children and teens nationally, and this program will go a long way toward ensuring children receive proper mental health care.”

DC MAP is supported by the DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care, a partnership between District Government agencies and non-governmental organizations  including the DC Departments of Health, Behavioral Health, and Health Care Finance, Children’s National Health System, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Children’s Law Center, and the DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The District joins more than 25 states that have begun implementing child mental health access projects.