Due to a national shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists, primary care providers often treat children’s behavioral health issues, though they may lack training in such treatment or familiarity with evidence-based alternatives to psychotropic medications. Psychiatric consultation is one method of ensuring that primary care providers have access to the tools necessary to determine the appropriate treatment for a child needing care. Resources in this section provide information on psychiatric consultation models and explore alternatives to psychotropic medication.

Psychiatric Consultation Programs by State (March 2018) – This directory outlines telephonic psychiatric consultation programs from across the U.S. — highlighting the background, funding, and structure of each program.

Better Behavioral Health Care through Psychotropic Medication Consultation (March 2017) – This video explores how primary care providers can use psychiatric consultation to discuss evidenced-based treatment options with a child psychiatrist.

Telephonic Psychiatric Consultation Models: Providing Clinical Expertise to Primary Care (June 2014) – This presentation describes how telephonic psychiatric consultation programs can be a core component of regional or statewide efforts to reduce inappropriate use of psychotropic medications among children and youth.

The Use and Financing of Non-Pharmacologic Evidence-Based Practices: Alternatives to Psychotropic Medications (September 2013) – This webinar explores the interface between evidence-based practice approaches and care coordination using high-fidelity wraparound for children with significant behavioral health challenges, including those in foster care.

State Highlight: Oregon

As part of its goal to improve the effectiveness of the consent process for psychotropic medication use, Oregon launched the Oregon Psychiatric Access Line about Kids (OPAL-K). Supported by the Oregon Health Authority’s Addiction and Mental Health Services, OPAL-K is a collaborative effort between Oregon Health and Science University, the Oregon Pediatric Society, and the Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. OPAL-K provides free, same-day child psychiatric phone consultation to primary care providers throughout Oregon, regardless of a child’s insurance status.

Learn more about Oregon’s efforts »