Behavioral Health and Psychology

Understanding How Youths With Autism Make the Move to Adult Health Care
Understanding How Youths With Autism Make the Move to Adult Health Care 1024 683 Mary Bates, PhD

Study finds overlap in the utilization of pediatric and adult health care is the norm. In a new study, researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University teamed up to better understand how adolescents and young adults with autism navigate the transition from pediatric to adult health care. “We wanted to characterize the…

Opportunities to Reduce Stress for Parents of Kids With Autism
Opportunities to Reduce Stress for Parents of Kids With Autism 1024 683 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Research suggests parenting self-efficacy and family resources influence parental stress levels, offering potential modifiable targets for clinicians aiming to help families thrive.   A study led by pediatric psychology experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has confirmed that parenting self-efficacy is associated with parental stress levels in families of children with autism, and that parenting self-efficacy…

Featured Researcher – Jamie Jackson, PhD
Featured Researcher – Jamie Jackson, PhD 150 150 Alaina Doklovic

Jamie Jackson, PhD, is a principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health in the Abigail Wexner Medical Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, an assistant professor of Pediatrics and Psychology in the College of Medicine and Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University, and a licensed clinical health psychologist. Dr. Jackson attended graduate…

Introducing Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Behavioral Health Learning Library
Introducing Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Behavioral Health Learning Library 1024 683 Pam Georgiana

Access the free educational resource for health care providers interested in evidence-based courses. Jennifer B. Reese, PsyD, is a clinical child psychologist at Nationwide Children’s and manages behavioral health and training at Big Lots Behavioral Health Services. She is concerned about the national shortage of experienced behavioral health support for children. “Because there is a…

Building Hope, Recovery, and Life Beyond Substance Use Disorder
Building Hope, Recovery, and Life Beyond Substance Use Disorder 1024 702 Abbie Miller

Five years ago, Pediatrics Nationwide dedicated its fall issue to a comprehensive look at the effects of the opioid crisis on children and families. At that time, Sarah Parker was working hard to stay sober, recovering from the very crisis holding the nation’s attention. Parker grew up in Chillicothe, Ohio, halfway between Portsmouth, Ohio, the…

Whole Child, Whole Family Care
Whole Child, Whole Family Care 150 150 Abbie Miller and Jeb Phillips

Meeting the needs of children and caregivers with evidence-based programming and intentional support for access. Parenting a young child can be tough in the best circumstances. But when you overlay poverty, inequity, and concerns about employment and education on top of it, parenting a young child can feel overwhelming. Whitney Raglin Bignall, PhD, has dedicated…

Recent Trends in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety in US Children and Adolescents
Recent Trends in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety in US Children and Adolescents 1024 683 Lauren Dembeck

In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association joined together to declare a national state of emergency in children’s mental health. The declaration was motivated by steadily increasing rates of childhood mental health concerns and suicide between 2010 and 2020. Among those concerns are anxiety…

Exploring Disordered Eating Beyond Binge Eating in Youth with Obesity
Exploring Disordered Eating Beyond Binge Eating in Youth with Obesity 150 150 JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM

Youth with obesity can suffer from various disordered eating behaviors beyond binge eating. A holistic approach to caring for these youth can help improve their long-term physical and psychological health outcomes. A literature review recently published in Nutrients shed light on eating disorders beyond binge eating in youth with obesity. In this review, Eileen Chaves,…

Adding Telehealth Solutions to the Autism Toolbox: What Really Works?
Adding Telehealth Solutions to the Autism Toolbox: What Really Works? 1024 535 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES
Collage of health technology tools

The COVID-19 pandemic forced autism diagnostics and follow-up care to digital, remote platforms. Now that telehealth is no longer required, what’s worth keeping as a digital service option?   It may be hard to imagine successfully observing a child over video — or even just having responses to prompts relayed over the phone — in…

Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care Increases Access and Equity
Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care Increases Access and Equity 1024 683 Mary Bates, PhD

With mental health concerns on the rise, more primary care providers are integrating behavioral health services in their practices.  Despite increasing demand for behavioral health care, multiple barriers still exist that limit access for pediatric patients. In recent years, primary care settings across the country have responded by integrating mental health specialists into their practices.…

Telehealth Has the Potential to Bridge Gaps in Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Care
Telehealth Has the Potential to Bridge Gaps in Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Care 1024 535 Jessica Nye, PhD
Collage of health technology tools

A growing body of evidence supports telebehavioral health delivery for children, adolescents and their families, as outcomes are comparable to in-person treatment delivery. Despite evidence of efficacy, regulatory and financial concerns and technology barriers continue to impede widespread uptake of telebehavioral health. “There have definitely been silver linings to the pandemic, and this is one…

Self-Harm Risk Among Youth With First-Episode Psychosis
Self-Harm Risk Among Youth With First-Episode Psychosis 1024 575 Mary Bates, PhD

Study narrows down period of acute risk and finds shared and unique risk factors among adolescents and young adults. Although it is known that young people with psychosis are at an elevated risk for suicide and suicide-related behavior, it has not been clear which patients are at the most risk and when. In a new…

Strategies and Resources for Managing Anxiety in Pediatric Patients
Strategies and Resources for Managing Anxiety in Pediatric Patients 1024 575 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health diagnoses affecting children, making regular assessment and robust care resources essential to both primary and specialty care practices. Data from 2016-2019 report indicates that nearly 1 in 10 children ages 3-17 have ever been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder — a number believed to have…

What Psychosocial Interventions Are Well Established for the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Youth?
What Psychosocial Interventions Are Well Established for the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Youth? 150 150 Lauren Dembeck

Clinical psychology researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently published a comprehensive review of evidence-based psychosocial treatments for bipolar disorder in youth.  Bipolar spectrum disorders (BPSDs) are chronic, recurrent conditions characterized by episodic mood disturbance alternating between periods of depression and (hypo)mania. These conditions are associated with considerable impairment, reduced quality of life, high rates of…

Zero Suicide: A Comprehensive Framework for Pediatric Hospitals
Zero Suicide: A Comprehensive Framework for Pediatric Hospitals 1024 683 Mary Bates, PhD
Sad black teenage girl

Key elements of the program include leadership support, practical tools and training for staff, and a quality improvement infrastructure. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds, and the number of youths presenting to pediatric hospitals for suicide-related concerns has doubled in recent years. Suicide is more than just a mental…

Study Finds High Mortality Rates of Youths Previously Incarcerated in the Juvenile Legal System
Study Finds High Mortality Rates of Youths Previously Incarcerated in the Juvenile Legal System 1024 683 Rebecca Cybulski
silhouette girl portrait

Recent data links youth incarceration to early mortality by homicide, overdose and suicide. New research from the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital finds that youth aged 11 to 21 years, who have been previously incarcerated in the juvenile legal system, are 5.9 times more likely than the general population to experience early mortality.…

Validity of the WISC-V Intelligence Testing in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Validity of the WISC-V Intelligence Testing in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder 1024 575 Mary Bates, PhD

Evaluating thinking and reasoning abilities for children with autism using conventional intelligence tests can be done, but with some caution. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V) is one of the most widely used intelligence tests for children. However, little is known about the validity of this test in children with autism spectrum…

Impulsivity, Not Inattention, Predicts Externalizing Disorders
Impulsivity, Not Inattention, Predicts Externalizing Disorders 1024 683 Natalie Wilson
Black and white image of five smiling kids/adolescents

Without early intervention, children with hyperactive-impulsive symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may be vulnerable to developing other externalizing behavior disorders. Contributing to a small but growing body of litera­ture evaluating trait impulsivity theory, a team of researchers led by Mary A. Fristad, PhD, ABPP, director of Academic Affairs and Research Development in the Division of Child…

Featured Researcher — Leena Nahata, MD
Featured Researcher — Leena Nahata, MD 150 150 Natalie Wilson

Pediatric endocrinologist Leena Nahata, MD, is the founder and medical director of the Fertility and Reproductive Health Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. Although fertility-related decisions can seem far away for children, adolescents and their families, many…

Improving Suicide Prevention by Examining Characteristics and Precipitating Circumstances Among Children Aged 5 to 11 Years
Improving Suicide Prevention by Examining Characteristics and Precipitating Circumstances Among Children Aged 5 to 11 Years 150 150 Natalie Wilson

Suicides among children aged 11 or younger are on the rise. In response to this trend and a call to action by the National Institute of Mental Health task force on child suicide research, researchers have identified common themes across coroner’s and police reports on suicide deaths in this age group to identify warning signs…

Can Neurocognitive Functioning Tests Help Predict Future Suicide Attempts?
Can Neurocognitive Functioning Tests Help Predict Future Suicide Attempts? 1024 683 Mary Bates, PhD
Sad black teenage girl

Researchers identify sex-specific deficits in measures of working memory and affective processing associated with suicidal behavior in youth with depression. To prevent youth suicide, researchers are working to identify factors associated with suicide attempts in adolescents at elevated risk for suicidal behavior. In a new study, researchers from Nationwide Children’s examined neurocognitive functioning in suicidal…

One Year Reflection: Behavioral Health Pavilion Adds to Industry-Leading Model of Care During Pandemic
One Year Reflection: Behavioral Health Pavilion Adds to Industry-Leading Model of Care During Pandemic 1024 538 Kaitlin Hall

The full impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health likely won’t be known for some time. But even before the pandemic, pediatric mental health was in a national crisis, with one in five children living with a mental illness, and suicide the second leading cause of death for children 10 and older. That means the…

Does Psychosocial Functioning Differ Among Children With and Without Differences of Sex Development?
Does Psychosocial Functioning Differ Among Children With and Without Differences of Sex Development? 1024 575 Lauren Dembeck
Parent and child holding hands

A multidisciplinary team of researchers recently found that children with differences of sex development (DSD) appear to be at greater risk for psychosocial problems relative to children with cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) and unaffected peers. The study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, highlights the increased need for integrated interdisciplinary care with…

More to Telehealth Than Meets the Screen
More to Telehealth Than Meets the Screen 1024 535 Abbie Miller
Collage of health technology tools

Telehealth has become essential to American health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is it really the solution to our biggest access-to-care problems? When COVID-19 ignited stay-at-home orders, public and private insurers quickly relaxed the rules for covering telehealth visits. Health care systems responded in kind by rapidly expanding their telehealth capacity and training. Expanding…

The New Emergency Department — for Behavioral Health
The New Emergency Department — for Behavioral Health 1024 575 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

How pediatric hospitals are creatively tackling the unique care needs of a growing population of youths in crisis. From attention deficit disorder to anxiety or depression, mental health conditions affect about 1 in every 5 children. While some of these cases resolve, many children go on to adulthood with mental or behavioral health disorders, and…

Emotion Regulation and Family History: Examining the Intersection of Two Risk Factors for Suicidal Behavior
Emotion Regulation and Family History: Examining the Intersection of Two Risk Factors for Suicidal Behavior 1024 575 Test Author

First pilot study exclusively focused on early vulnerabilities in youth with maternal history of suicidal behavior sets the foundation for future research. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for persons ages 10-24. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), youth suicide rates have nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017.…

How Practical COVID-19 Education for Community Providers Sprang From a Pediatric Behavioral Health Project ECHO
How Practical COVID-19 Education for Community Providers Sprang From a Pediatric Behavioral Health Project ECHO 1024 575 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

When Partners For Kids® (PFK) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital launched Project ECHO in 2018, they did it to help community providers cope with common behavioral health conditions in their patient populations. Unexpectedly, it became a tool to supply Ohio physicians with some of the most proactive education in the nation about adapting their business practices to accommodate COVID-19-related…

Beyond A Bigger Workforce: Addressing the Shortage of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Beyond A Bigger Workforce: Addressing the Shortage of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists 1024 575 David Axelson, MD

How can the psychiatrists we have make the greatest impact for the most children? The United States does not have enough child and adolescent psychiatrists. Nearly anyone who works in the field knows about the months-long wait times for new appointments that families can face, or the great distances that some must travel for those…

Using an Evidence-Based Parenting Program to Engage a Community
Using an Evidence-Based Parenting Program to Engage a Community 1024 575 Abbie Miller

Given the similar size and distribution of Asian and Hispanic populations in central Ohio, Michael Flores, PhD, clinical team coordinator in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was puzzled about why significantly fewer Asian families were seeking mental and behavioral health services at Nationwide Children’s. Roughly 4.9% of the Columbus population…

Tackling Physician Burnout and Moral Injury
Tackling Physician Burnout and Moral Injury 150 150 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Across the United States, burnout and suicide rates for physicians have reached record highs, claiming the life of a doctor a day. What can be done to protect and improve the wellbeing of the people who care for everyone else? Most doctors enter their profession knowing that it is demanding, but believing that it is…

Study Shows Three-Day Intensive Crisis Intervention is Associated with Reduced Suicidality in Adolescents
Study Shows Three-Day Intensive Crisis Intervention is Associated with Reduced Suicidality in Adolescents 150 150 Jeb Phillips

When an adolescent is acutely suicidal and cannot safely remain in the community, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization is the traditional intervention. But a lack of appropriate facilities across the United States, combined with an increasing demand for inpatient psychiatric services, means many young people who are at critical risk often cannot get the help they need.…

Newspapers Overlook Best Practices When Reporting a Celebrity Suicide Death
Newspapers Overlook Best Practices When Reporting a Celebrity Suicide Death 150 150 Katelyn Hanzel

A new study shows that most articles do not adhere to suicide reporting guidelines, but experts say parents can help by starting conversations about mental health. Research shows media coverage of a celebrity suicide has the potential to increase the risk for contagion, especially among vulnerable individuals. To reduce possible harmful effects, suicide reporting guidelines…

Suicide Attempts Among Black Youth Increasing
Suicide Attempts Among Black Youth Increasing 150 150 MaryEllen Fiorino

Study finds that black youth are attempting suicide more often than all other racial and ethnic groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth 12-18 years old in the United States, and in 2017 alone, suicide accounted for more than 2,200 deaths among…

Finding the Reasons Why: Looking for Answers in Trends of Child and Youth Suicides
Finding the Reasons Why: Looking for Answers in Trends of Child and Youth Suicides 1024 575 Kevin Mayhood

Epidemiological studies are the first step to learn how to prevent suicide attempts and deaths. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds. And even as awareness grows, the suicide rate continues to climb, according to national statistics. But those national statistics don’t tell the whole story. For decades, researchers around the…

Addressing Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Primary Care
Addressing Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Primary Care 150 150 Jeb Phillips

Primary care providers play an important role in recognizing the disorder and in providing a bridge to mental health care providers.

Suicide Attempts by Self-Poisoning Have More Than Doubled in Teens, Young Adults
Suicide Attempts by Self-Poisoning Have More Than Doubled in Teens, Young Adults 1024 683 Katelyn Hanzel
silhouette girl portrait

A new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center found rates of suicide attempts by self-poisoning among adolescents have more than doubled in the last decade in the U.S., and more than tripled for girls and young women. The study, published online today in The Journal of Pediatrics, evaluated the incidence and…

Can Brain Imaging Help Predict Bipolar Disorder in High Risk Children?
Can Brain Imaging Help Predict Bipolar Disorder in High Risk Children? 150 150 Mary Bates, PhD

Patterns in connectivity in a portion of the frontal lobe called the inferior frontal gyrus appears to be an early biomarker in children of parents with bipolar disorder. Researchers report a potential neural marker of individual risk in those with a family history of bipolar disorder. The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, points to particular…

Difficult, But Essential Conversations: Talking With Kids About Suicide
Difficult, But Essential Conversations: Talking With Kids About Suicide 1024 575 Gina Bericchia

Experts say open conversations with kids about suicide could save lives. As kids head back to school this year, many of them will be struggling. According to national statistics, we lose more than 2,000 children and teens per year to suicide. Experts say parents who check in regularly with their child could have a life-saving…

The Pediatrician’s Role in Health and Hope after Trauma
The Pediatrician’s Role in Health and Hope after Trauma 150 150 Anna Kerlek, MD

A primary care provider’s ability to identify and treat symptoms associated with trauma can increase positive outcomes for patients and families. Almost two-thirds of the children and their caretakers in your office have experienced at least one trauma. Many have experienced more. As a primary care provider, you can provide early intervention and support for…

Considerations for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care
Considerations for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care 150 150 Cody Hostutler, PhD

As increasing numbers of pediatric patients require behavioral health care, primary care providers look to integrate behavioral health providers in their practice. You know the story. It’s the middle of a busy Friday afternoon, you just finished up an adolescent well-visit, your hand is on the door and you hear, “Doc, one more question?” The…

8 Ways You Can Support Families in Need of Behavioral Health Services
8 Ways You Can Support Families in Need of Behavioral Health Services 150 150 Nancy Cunningham, PsyD

Long wait times and difficulties accessing behavioral health services cause stress for many patients and families. As awareness grows about the prevalence of behavioral health challenges for children and adolescents, more patients and families are seeking specialized care. However, due to a shortage of behavioral health specialists, wait times can seem daunting. As the pediatrician,…

6 Strategies for Incorporating Behavioral Economics in Your Practice
6 Strategies for Incorporating Behavioral Economics in Your Practice 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

Behavioral economics combines insights from psychology, economics and marketing to improve or direct decision-making. It can be used to “nudge” patients, their families and practitioners in the direction of better health if used by health care providers. While the use of behavioral economics strategies has limited study in pediatrics, the existing research indicates a number of…

Can Behavioral Economics Help People Adopt Better Health Habits?
Can Behavioral Economics Help People Adopt Better Health Habits? 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

Simple incentives may nudge patients, caregivers and clinicians to make more healthful choices. Behavioral economics has helped electricity customers cut down on usage, new employees to start setting aside money for retirement from day one and, more recently, to change health care provider and patient behaviors. The practice combines insights from psychology, economics and marketing…

Assessing Romantic Lives of Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer
Assessing Romantic Lives of Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

In some ways, the group appears more resilient than survivors of adult-onset cancer or those with other childhood-onset diseases. Adult survivors of childhood cancer appear, on the whole, to have comparable romantic lives to others their age, new studies show. Surprisingly, the group doesn’t seem to carry the same burdens as men and women with…

Identifying Characteristics Associated With Timely Follow-Up Psychiatric Care
Identifying Characteristics Associated With Timely Follow-Up Psychiatric Care 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

Nearly one in three youths with mood disorders receive no outpatient care within 30 days of psychiatric hospital discharge. More than diagnoses and demographics influence whether youths receive critical outpatient care following psychiatric hospitalization. Individual attributes and aspects of the hospital where they receive treatment as well as the community they live in play roles, researchers from The Ohio State…

Omega-3 Supplements Tied to Notable, Sustained Mental Health Improvements
Omega-3 Supplements Tied to Notable, Sustained Mental Health Improvements 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

Case study shows reduction in bipolar youth’s psychotic mania, depression and anxiety Medications unchanged, a severely bipolar girl’s depressive, manic and psychotic symptoms improved significantly during the two years her mother added omega-3 supplements to her daily diet. The case, reported by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, is…

Psychological Strategies for Pediatric Weight Management
Psychological Strategies for Pediatric Weight Management 150 150 Tyanna Snider, Psy.D

Motivational interviewing, having developmentally appropriate expectations, and behavioral strategies are among the tools needed to support pediatric weight management. Almost everyone has tried to stop a bad habit or change a negative behavior – it’s hard! Think about all the New Year’s resolutions you’ve made, and how successful you have been at keeping or reaching…

What Do DALYs Mean for Pediatrics?
What Do DALYs Mean for Pediatrics? 150 150 Dave Ghose

An emerging, innovative metric could radically change childhood health policy. A new way of looking at illness is beginning to change how public health officials view life and death. The concept — called DALYs — offers a fuller view of disease that could have a big impact on pediatrics if embraced. Unlike death tolls —…

Adolescents, Young Adults and Cancer: What Are the Issues?
Adolescents, Young Adults and Cancer: What Are the Issues? 150 150 Abbie Miller

Adolescents and young adults with cancer have unique needs that may explain their plateau in survival rates, despite improved survival rates in other age groups. At an age when achieving independence and experiencing life milestones are most important, adolescents and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis must meet unique challenges. These challenges may contribute to…

Talking to Adolescent Patients About Marijuana
Talking to Adolescent Patients About Marijuana 150 150 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

With legalization spreading across the United States, it’s hard to know what to say to teens curious about marijuana. Legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Renowned in pop culture. Affectionately called everything from “wacky tobaccy” to “hippie lettuce.” Marijuana isn’t going away. Despite its popularity and availability, many youths — and clinicians…

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