Coming soon: EMSC Pediatric Suicide Care Collaborative

  • Published May 31, 2022
Pediatric Suicide Care Collaborative1

In late 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association collectively declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health and called out the need to “address the ongoing challenges of the acute care needs of children and adolescents, including shortage of beds and emergency room boarding.” In recognition that many emergency departments (EDs) across the nation are overwhelmed by the rate at which children and adolescents are presenting mental health emergencies, the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program is gearing up to launch the EMSC Pediatric Suicide Care Collaborative to bring ED-based teams from across the nation together with nationally recognized experts in pediatric mental health to implement evidence-based best practices to optimize the care of children and adolescents presenting to the ED with acute suicidality.

The collaborative will begin this winter and is open to any hospital or freestanding emergency department that is interested in improving their care processes for children and adolescents presenting with acute suicidality. 

Hospitals or freestanding emergency departments will enroll as a multidisciplinary team of ideally three individuals. Teams should consist of individuals who regularly interact with children and adolescents presenting to their emergency department with mental/behavioral health emergencies. This might include physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, social workers, internal mental health providers, child life specialists, sitters/medical watch, patient/family advisory board representatives or community-based partners such as mental health professionals, pediatricians, or school officials. 

As mental health resources are often shared within a region, sites will be grouped into state/territory or region-based teams to encourage collaboration and efficient use of these often-limited resources.  Sites are encouraged to promote participation in the collaborative across their hospital system and/or amongst neighboring hospitals and freestanding emergency departments. EMSC program managers who participate in the collaborative will have an opportunity to work with and support participating teams. 

Participation will include monthly, one-hour virtual learning sessions as well as optional office hours for further assistance. These sessions will be recorded for those that cannot make the live events. 

In addition to attending the virtual sessions, teams will work with their internal team and regional or network partners, to ensure high quality care for children presenting with acute suicidality. Using quality improvement methodology as an underpinning of this work, teams will select  an improvement idea, implement change strategies, and monitor improvement in the care process. 

Continuing nursing education (CNE) hours will be available for participants that attend the live, virtual learning sessions and complete post-session evaluations. Maintenance of Certification Part 4 (MOC Part 4) credit will be provided to physicians who complete an improvement project as part of this collaborative.

Pediatric suicide screening tools and mental health care resources for prehospital professionals, ED-based teams, and patients and families can be found by visiting PEAK: Suicide and the New England Regional Behavioral Health Toolkit