A crisis exists regarding the number of children and adolescents who require psychiatric/mental health treatment. According to the 2018−2019 National Survey of Children’s Health, 24.4% of children, age 3−17 years, experienced one or more reported mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral (MEDB) problems.
Transitioning from child/adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services (AMHS) requires a model of care that includes flexible policies and treatment options to accommodate individual developmental needs. Comprehensive and integrated psychiatric/mental health services are needed to improve the well-being of children and adolescents.
The Steps to Care Model (STCM) provides a transition plan for adolescents into adult psychiatric/mental health services. The STCM consists of six overlapping segments: development of social and human capital, strategies for the promotion of mental health awareness and care, a shared electronic information system, comprehensive mental health care services in community-based settings, implementing education for all providers, and planned transitional services for youth.