Children and youth presenting to the emergency department with mental health concerns present a challenge for clinicians and system capacity. Addressing a significant system gap and sparse strategies in the literature, representative leaders from hospital and community agencies developed a novel pathway to guide efficient and doable risk assessment and ensure timely transition to appropriate community mental health services. This article describes and reflects on our innovative Emergency Department Clinical Pathway for Children and Youth with Mental Health Conditions that bridges traditional barriers between hospital and community settings to address mental health needs for this population.
Keywords: Clinical pathway; Community mental health; Emergency department (ED); HEADS-ED; Implementation; Mental health/addictions; Screening tools.
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