The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, fueled by a one-year $280,000 bi3 grant, will partner with Beech Acres Parenting Center and St. Joseph Orphanage to pilot options for a single point of access for children who are experiencing a mental health crisis in Cincinnati.
The partnership among the community agencies has been named the Mental Health Crisis Care Collaborative (MHC3).
“This is a major, and presently unmet, need among children in Greater Cincinnati,” said John Banchy, president and CEO of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati. “ER visits and hospitalization rates have continued to increase steadily for children ages 5 – 17, who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Simultaneously, suicidal ideations or attempts are also rising.
“This is a community problem, and it made sense to partner with other community experts who operate in this space to tackle these issues,” Banchy said.
This community collaboration has the potential to systematically change the way families access mental health services for their children following a crisis, according to Jill Miller, President of Bethesda Inc. and creator of bi3.
“We need to make it easier for people to navigate our complex health systems to ensure they receive the right care at the right time,” Miller said. “bi3 funds new ideas to transform health and healthcare. This program has the potential to change the care model for kids and their families at a time of stress, creating warm handoffs and connections, making it easier for them to get children the help they need in a timely way.”
How it works
“Families in crisis are frequently unable to navigate and/or access mental health services,” Banchy said. “Matching a child’s needs, insurance coverage, community providers and availability is overly complex.”
According to Banchy, current data shows families often seek care in the emergency department when they lack access to immediate services. The work over the next year will help children and families with urgent mental health care needs gain timely access to a provider best-suited to meet their needs.
“Essentially, to the end-user, the pilot will start with a phone number to get connected to the right care provider at the right time,” Banchy said. “The planning phase of this project will explore technology options to simplify access to care for families by immediately connecting them to a network of specialists and providers.
This can, according to research conducted by MHC 3, improve overall access to specialized care, especially to an underserved population, lower health-care costs overall, result in better outcomes for the patient, and lead to change in how the vulnerable population of children in Greater Cincinnati can access mental health care.
“bi3 provides the resources people need to think differently about health and health care. We need new solutions to our community’s most pressing health issues,” Miller said. “We believe the Mental Health Crisis Care Collaborative could be one of those solutions that has the potential to be replicated nationally.”
The partner agencies said they are confident this project will provide convenience and access to care for families who may experience significant challenges accessing available mental health crisis care, and they feel their only recourse is to visit already overburdened emergency rooms.
The first phase of the new single point of access program will launch in the next few months.