Pediatric Virtual Visits: A New Approach to Pediatric Mental Health Service

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Telehealth can help healthcare providers expand their pediatric mental health services to clients and patients across the US through pediatric virtual visits and pediatric telemedicine. Mental health issues in children, adolescents, and young adults have become a significant cause of concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, pediatric mental health-related visits increased 24% in just seven months among children between 5 and 11 years old.

How Can Pediatric Virtual Visits Close the Gap?

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reports a shortage of pediatric mental health service providers. According to the report, there were only 8,300 practicing pediatric child and adolescent psychiatrists in the US in April 2019, yet more than 15 million children are dealing with mental health problems. The report explains that despite the availability of effective treatment, there can often be average delays of 8-10 years between the onset of symptoms and intervention. This period represents critical developmental years in a child’s life. The longer the delay between symptom onset and effective treatment, the more difficult and costly it is to treat mental illness. The societal burden on the nation’s public health system is apparent when these children leave home and find it difficult to maintain gainful employment. All too often, they succumb to societal pressures that lead to addiction and incarceration, further creating strain on the system. 


A significant reason for the delays in treatment is the lack of access to trained pediatric psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. The number of pediatric psychiatrists retiring is more than those joining pediatrics, resulting in a wide gap between demand and supply. This is where pediatric telemedicine plays its part. With more patients opting for telehealth interventions, the stigma around mental health has reduced. However, children’s mental health services are still not as widely available as other healthcare services.


Nevertheless, people and organizations in some states have been taking steps to reduce the risk of mental health problems in children. For example, the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) involves school staff evaluating and recommending pediatric virtual visits to multiple types of practitioners. This innovative collaboration of pediatricians, psychologists, and other healthcare service providers is vital for the early diagnosis of mental health problems in children when parents need help. Pediatric virtual visits are prevalent when children can access pediatric mental health services in the comfort of their homes.

Pediatric Mental Health Services Expansion Challenges

Lack of Wi-Fi access and tools for conducting pediatric virtual visits are often the most significant barriers to pediatric mental health expansion. While these services are designed to make pediatric mental health care available to all patients, this expansion doesn’t intend to increase the disparity between people with poor economic status and those with access to the latest technology. Despite the uncertainty around pediatric telemedicine and its future uses, experts believe it plays a crucial role in expanding pediatric healthcare services. The problem is worse than the shortage of healthcare providers. The biggest challenge in the pediatric telemedicine industry is the inconsistencies in knowledge about anxiety, depression, and other mental health symptom patterns among parents, school personnel, and other professionals who routinely come into contact with children. Telemedicine can be used to overcome these challenges.


See TBHI’s previous article related to pediatric telemedicine for more information below.

Pediatric Telemedicine, Telehealth & Teletherapy: Practicing with Children & Adolescents

This workshop aims to bring the pediatric telemedicine and telehealth evidence base to you in ways that are practical, predictable, and doable.

Disclaimer: The Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI Telehealth.org) offers information as educational material designed to inform you of issues, products, or services potentially of interest. We cannot and do not accept liability for your decisions regarding any information offered. Please conduct your due diligence before taking action. Also, the views and opinions expressed are not intended to malign any organization, company, or individual. Product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks or images are the property of their respective trademark holders. There is no affiliation, sponsorship, or partnership suggested by using these brands unless contained in an ad. We do not and cannot offer legal, ethical, billing technical, medical, or therapeutic advice. Use of this site constitutes your agreement to TBHI Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

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