Research: Precision dosing for mental health medication

With a goal to continue advancing research to broaden our knowledge and practice of evidence-based care that leads to data-driven treatments and innovations, this research study seeks to understand precision dosing of mental health medications to provide the right medicine at the right time for every child. Knowing how critical time is and understanding there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for depression, this research dives in to address the leading question of why some medications work for some and not for others.

Emergency mental health crisis center at the Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus

Construction of an emergency mental health crisis center within the emergency department of Children’s Mercy will ensure families have access to the safe, healing environment they need in an acute mental health crisis. There has been a sharp increase in youth experiencing acute mental and behavioral health crisis and presenting to the emergency room. With construction anticipated to begin this Spring, the Emergency Mental Health Crisis Center will include nine exam rooms as well as support rooms.

Camber Mental Health inpatient psychiatric campus

Set to open in late 2024, this new hospital will serve as an inpatient mental health healing campus, including 48 pediatric beds and 24 adult beds, six private courtyards, walking paths, and dining and activity space. A collaboration between Children’s Mercy and Camber Mental Health, this joint venture will expand inpatient pediatric and adult mental health treatment capacity and access in the greater Kansas City area and across the region. The design and healing environment are centered on staff and patient safety, supportive care and treatment spaces, patient wellness and connection with nature.

School‐based mental health pilot program with the Center School District in Kansas City, Mo.

This new pilot program with Center School District, Kansas City, Mo., launched in 2024 and will test a behavioral health preventative care model aimed to reduce the number of kids in mental health crisis. This first-of-its-kind shared decision-making collaborative was created after careful and intentional consideration of Center School District, which serves 2,700 students from pre-kindergarten to high school in their eight schools, and their specific needs, strengths and desires to improve access to behavioral health education and services in the school setting. The pilot program, in part, will incorporate education on and, implementation of, restorative practice training, providing students and staff with training in unique skills aimed at strengthening student-to-student and teacher-to-student relationships, increasing empathy and personal accountability, and fostering community.

Integration of behavioral health support in primary care practices

This new pilot program embeds behavioral health clinicians in primary care practices to facilitate early intervention and improve access to treatment. Knowing that nearly 30 to 40 percent of primary care visits are for behavioral health reasons, community providers shared they were looking for solutions to better support patients. By placing our behavioral health clinicians in these practices to address mental health needs, it frees up pediatricians to focus on providing medical care. We currently have two community-based primary care offices participating in the pilot program – Children’s Mercy Pediatric Care Clinic on Broadway and Pediatric Partners (Overland Park and Olathe).