By Laurel L. Williams, DO
Medical Director, Centralized Operational Support Hub
Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium
Clinical vignette: It’s 3 p.m. on a busy Thursday. Kevin and his mother zoom into your office for the third time in six weeks. Today’s chief complaint is stomach pain and mild diarrhea. Kevin is 9 years old and has had some stomach issues in the past. Mom has been reading up on COVID-19 and heard that children more often present with stomach versus respiratory symptoms. The history does not really fit COVID-19 and you are starting to wonder about anxiety. But how to talk with mom without looking like you are brushing off the COVID concern? You wish you had a child psychiatrist on speed dial.
What’s faster than a pizza delivery and better for your physical and emotional well-being? The new state-funded Child Psychiatry Access Network at (888) 901-2726.
CPAN is three services in one phone call. Your CPAN team is here to assist you in locating mental health resources for your patients, help you think how to collaborate with a family on a brief behavioral plan, and finally give you access to child and adolescent psychiatry colleagues when you need physician educational consultation. Our psychiatrists can help you consider how to assess for a psychiatric condition in a busy clinical practice, what types of treatments might be recommended, and then provide education on how to utilize those treatments and monitor for efficacy and adverse events. You can call the team as many times as you need on the same patient. CPAN’s goal is to help increase your knowledge and skills in managing mild to moderate mental health conditions and help you locate resources for those young people whose conditions are moderate to severe.
CPAN operates Monday through Friday, except major holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can expect a callback from the team within five minutes and that first team member can generally help address any resource or brief behavioral intervention plan questions. If you would like to consult with the child psychiatrist, CPAN commits to a return call within 30 minutes of your request.
The creation of the new Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, by Senate Bill 11 was a major legislative success in 2019, in part because physicians like you effectively called for change. CPAN is one of four significant programs within the TCMHCC addressing the mental health concerns of our Texas families. We know that one in four children have a mental health condition, and that by age 14, 50% of all adult psychiatric conditions have manifested. There are evidence-informed care models effective for youth that you can provide with a little coaching and mentorship in partnership with our CPAN team.
CPAN is free and easy to use, simply call (888) 901-2726. We can register you on the spot or, if you are too busy, send you an email link that walks you through the enrollment process. Our CPAN team is building a website that will provide you with helpful curated information on the whole continuum of mental health disorders. We are hoping in the future to additionally provide webinars, team-based learning projects, and CME activities beyond the individual calls.
I grew up the daughter of a family physician. I know first-hand the challenges you face in caring for the families in your practice. You are such a valuable member of a family’s life and very commonly Kevin’s mom is going to turn to you first for empathy, concern, and collaborative care. Let CPAN help you as you help Kevin. Give us a call — it’s easy, free, and faster than a pizza delivery!