The KySS Fellowship for Nurse Practitioners: Improving Child & Adolescent Mental Health Across the United States

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Arizona State University College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation, Phoenix, AZ
Ann Guthery, MS, RN, PsychNP
College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the rationale for the KySS Fellowship Program for primary care providers.

Learning Objective 2: Describe the components of the KySS Fellowship Program and how it is unique from traditional on-line continuing education programs.

One in 4 children and adolescents (i.e., 15 million) in the United States (U.S.) have a mental health problem that interferes with their functioning at home or at school, yet only 20 to 25 percent of these children receive any treatment. Significant health disparities also exist in the receipt of mental health services, with a disproportionate number of Hispanic and African-American children affected. Furthermore, there is a shortage of 30,000 child psychiatrists across the U.S., which is contributing to the severe gap in child and adolescent mental health services. Primary care providers (PCPs), such as pediatric as well as family nurse practitioners (NPs) and physicians, are in a unique position to identify and manage common behavioral and mental health problems among children and adolescents as approximately 75 percent of children with mental health disorders are seen in primary care settings. However, although the burden of assessing and treating children and teens for mental health problems has largely fallen to PCPs, findings from recent studies have supported that PCPs report inadequate knowledge of screening and early intervention practices for these problems. This presentation will highlight the development and content of as well as unique features of the KySS (Keep your children/yourself Safe and Secure) Fellowship Continuing Education Program aimed at preparing primary care pediatric and family NPs to accurately screen for, identify and deliver early evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents experiencing common mental health problems. The fellowship program, the first of its kind in the United States (U.S.), is a collaborative initiative between the Arizona State University (ASU) College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners’ (NAPNAP) KySS Program.