For adolescents and young adults (AYAs), accessing and receiving high quality and developmentally appropriate preventive care is critical to addressing the physical and psychosocial needs of young people, especially those ages 10 to 25. The promotion of annual, comprehensive well-visits for AYAs continues to be a critical measure for state Title V/MCH programs in their efforts to support and improve outcomes in the adolescent health domain of the MCH Block Grant.
Preventive services, such as those received within the context of a well-visit, help to assess the development of the young person and identify needs that require further attention, monitoring, and if appropriate, treatment. Guidelines recommend an annual visit in a primary care setting in which AYAs receive preventive services in biomedical, emotional and behavioral areas. Clinical services in both medicine and behavioral health can provide an appropriate menu of services, including prevention and care for problems identified. However, these services are often poorly coordinated, especially between physical and behavioral systems of care.
The MCH field is adept at identifying gaps in services and systems, often taking a coordinating and convening role to assure that populations receive needed services. State MCH programs can help guide the integration of mental health care into primary care systems and community services for AYAs, to ensure access and assure maximum impact.
In this section, you will find frameworks, strategies, and real-world examples of effective approaches to integrating mental health services (such as screenings) into primary care encounters for AYAs, including the annual well-visit. The content includes in what ways state MCH and Title V investments have been instrumental in getting young people screened and treated or referred for treatment for mental health needs that may often be overlooked within primary care visits.
At the end of this section, participants will learn about:
- Strategies for increasing mental health literacy and stigma reduction for AYAs to promote expectations for and normalization of behavioral health screenings as a part of routine primary care
- Resources on confidentiality and consent laws and policies in application to AYA mental health care.
- Standardized processes for depression screening using validated tools at preventive visits.
- Stepped care treatment processes and protocols for positive screens.
- Creation and/or enhancement with partners (mental health agencies or community providers) for referrals and case management.