How Pennsylvania Hospitals Are Meeting Child Trauma Needs

As the nation shines a light on children’s mental health this week, it’s time to take a look at what services Pennsylvania hospitals are offering to children suffering from trauma.

Last year, the U.S. passed a bill that reworked mental health services, increasing patient access to behavioral health care and fostering a stronger correlation between physical and mental health services.

Today, hospitals around Pennsylvania are providing innovative programs to meet the needs of children suffering from severe trauma.

The Western Psychiatric Institute’s Early Childhood Mental Health and Trauma Treatment Center (ECMH-TTC) and Clinic of UPMC offers services for young children (infants to the age of seven) who have experienced trauma — which may range from violence, abuse, grief or fear — often through the use of parent-involved practices to ensure that the child is healing alongside their loved ones.

Programs begin with a thorough diagnostic assessment that evaluate the child in the context of a parent-child interaction. Treatments also include:

  • Child-parent psychotherapy, a relationship-based treatment model that has been shown to positively impact children’s behavioral and mental health while fostering the parental connection
  • Parent-child interaction therapy, designed for children ages 2-7 who display challenging or disruptive behaviors
  • Child-faced individual play therapy, during which the child leads the play session while the therapist offers support and empathy

The Clinic of UPMC has connected with more than 70 community partners in order to increase access to the program, resulting in rising rates of children and families who are able to receive the support they desperately need.

While this program exemplifies one prominent figure paving the way in children’s mental health treatment, many programs exist across the state to meet the needs in local communities. Check out this list of Pennsylvania programs to see what options are available near you.