Alexandra Bettis, Ph.D.

Fellow In Access To Care

Project Details


Margaret Benningfield, M.D.
Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D.


Vanderbilt Medical School


Mobile Health Intervention to Improve Access to Care After a Psychiatric Emergency Department Visit


The primary objective of this Klingenstein Access to Care Fellowship grant is to develop and pilot test a mobile health intervention (Intervention for Parent Education About Care after the ED; iPEACE) for parents of youth presenting to the ED for psychiatric care. Psychiatric emergency department (ED) visits have increased substantially among adolescents in the past two decades. Thus, EDs play a critical role in providing mental health care to a large number of youth experiencing mental health problems and offer an important opportunity to facilitate future engagement in mental health treatment. Parents/guardians are often gatekeepers to adolescents’ access to mental health services. However, parents’ low perceived need for services, beliefs that mental health services are unhelpful, and difficulty navigating mental health systems, may account for reduced rates of help seeking or follow through. In addition, parents’ difficulties regulating their own emotions in the face of their child’s distress and low perceived self-efficacy managing their child’s mental health may further reduce engagement in mental health services. Previous mobile health interventions in the pediatric emergency setting have primarily targeted adolescents, neglecting the role of parents in supporting their teens access to and engagement in care following a mental health crisis. The current proposal aims to address this significant gap in the literature. The long-term goal of this research is to develop a scalable, cost-effective mobile health intervention that improves outcomes for high-risk youth by engaging parents across healthcare settings to improve adolescent access to and engagement in mental health treatment.

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