Pediatric behavioral health integration (BHI) represents a promising approach to address unmet child mental health need but little research exists to guide BHI implementation. Through in-depth interviews with 38 professionals involved in a comprehensive pediatric BHI initiative at 3 community health centers, we explored perceptions of the impact of BHI on clinical practice, and facilitators and barriers to BHI implementation. Professionals identified 2 overarching themes about the impact of BHI on clinical practice (greater interdisciplinary collaboration/communication and enhanced provider wellness); 5 themes about facilitators of BHI (staff buy-in for BHI, leadership support, staff belonging to the same team culturally and/or structurally, co-location with close physical proximity, and data-driven quality improvement); and 5 themes about barriers to BHI (inadequate clinician staffing, insufficient space, limited provider time, billing/reimbursement issues, and care coordination challenges). Future pediatric BHI efforts may consider these findings to develop strategies to promote facilitators and reduce barriers during implementation.
Keywords: behavioral health; behavioral health integration; implementation; mental health; pediatrics.