SAMHSA's new youth behavioral health crisis care strategy: 3 things to know

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released updated guidelines for treating youth mental health crises in the U.S.

The National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care were designed to help communities improve their behavioral health crisis services, according to the organization's website.

The nonprofit organization recommends every community have three services in their respective crisis response systems to provide the best care possible to children and their families experiencing a behavioral health crisis, according to the guidelines released by the organization Nov. 10.


  1. Someone to talk to: Every community should have regional, local and statewide crisis centers with toll-free crisis lines that are accessible 24/7 that connect patients to experts in child and adolescent behavioral health treatment. 


  1. Someone to respond: Mobile crisis response teams with the capacity to respond 24/7 to homes, schools, primary care centers or any location where a young person is in crisis that include social workers, psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers. 


  1. A safe place to be: Crisis care facilities that offer round-the-clock access to crisis de-escalation care for youths with significant need beyond what the mobile response teams can provide, and that may include providing long-term stabilization care.


These resources are essential to avoiding overcrowding in emergency departments and hospitals amid rising rates of mental illness in young people, according to SAMHSA.

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