Telehealth Targets a Niche in Mental Health Care for Urban Youths

As a company dedicated to expanding access to care, we at SimpleVisit want to celebrate others who are also making that vision a reality. One program in New Jersey is connecting pediatricians and mental health experts with the intent to improve access to mental health care for urban youth. This program offers phone and online consults as well as training in behavioral health screening and assessment techniques to about 60 pediatricians in 30 primary care practices in Essex County. What these organizations are doing is essential to addressing the lack of child and adolescent psychiatrists that these youths are in need of.


The following article is originally featured on

“If we can increase pediatricians’ capacity to identify and treat their patients’ emotional and behavioral challenges, it would fill a need for many families who are not getting services,” Evelyn Orozco, the program’s director, said in a news release provided by Rutgers. “In a perfect world, you would have a psychiatrist who works at every pediatric office. That’s not realistic, but this model comes close.”


The program builds on two trends expected to drive telehealth and telemedicine this year: the growth of telemental health services to address provider shortages and a new emphasis placed access issues in urban settings, where the challenges of distance and travel are replaced by traffic and specialist availability.


Access to child and adolescent psychiatrists is even more challenging. Some estimates have said the field will be will be only 70 percent filled in just two years.


“The lack of psychiatrists in this specialty is staggering,” Orozco said. “We cannot meet this tremendous need, so we have to shift how we are thinking and get creative.”


Read more about how Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) and New Jersey Medical School are using telehealth to close the gap of mental health care for urban youth, here:

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