Children, Youth & Families

The Meadows Institute ensures more mental health support for children & youth

The most effective way to make a significant, lasting impact on mental illness in Texas is to improve the quality and availability of mental health care for children and youth. Three-quarters of all mental illnesses manifest by the time a child reaches young adulthood. Treating children and youth in the earliest stages of an illness, when symptoms are far less severe, requires fewer resources and results in far better outcomes.

Did you know?
2nd

leading cause of death among youth ages 10 - 24 is suicide*

61%

children with depression receiving no treatment**

1 in 3

Texas children experience a mental health disorder in a given year***

50%

of mental illnesses begin by age 14**

350,000

Texas children and adolescents experience severe mental health needs in a given year***

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, **National Institute for Mental Health, ***Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Our challenge

No child should face mental health challenges alone

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Mental illness is a pediatric disease

While children and youth with severe mental health needs might require extensive treatment provided by specialists such as psychiatrists, many common, less severe problems can be simply treated in a primary care setting by pediatricians, family doctors, or nurse practitioners. This results in less expensive, more effective care, and also frees up specialists for the more difficult cases. Focusing on mental illness in children and youth helps limit the number of severe cases in Texas for years, and decades, to come.

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Treating children with intensive needs

When children and families are in crisis, they often end up involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The child welfare and juvenile justice systems are home to therapists and behavioral specialists – experts who know how to work with children and youth with intensive mental health needs. These caregivers are essential to the children’s mental health workforce. By helping child welfare providers implement more effective care, they can serve more children and families in need.

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Bringing communities together

All Texans – particularly children and youth – should have care available when and where they need it. The Meadows Institute works to help children and youth access care in their own community, so they can get treatment close to home. We also help schools plan for and implement tools and supports to better equip students to achieve their academic and life goals. And we work to help pediatric primary care providers provide basic mental health care, so children and youth get help sooner from doctors their families know and trust.

Our approach

Driving Change

In an ideal system, mental health support for children and youth reflects a coordinated effort among everyone connected to the multiple systems influencing a young person’s life: family, school, faith, and, in some cases, juvenile justice and child welfare. The Meadows Institute helps bridge gaps in and between these systems of support to create a coordinated, ideal system that ensures children and youth get the care they need when and where they need.

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Featured Case Study

Post-Hurricane Harvey Recovery

SUMMARY – In September 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast, destroying property, upending businesses, and devastating families. The Meadows Institute and its Texas Gulf Coast regional center, The Hackett Center for Mental Health, dedicated their efforts to helping the region – and especially its children – recover from the emotional toll the storm inflicted upon them.

Featured Projects

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Updated on:
March 3, 2020

Dallas County Mental Health Service Delivery System for Children, Youth, and Families

SUMMARY - With the generous support of The Rees-Jones Foundation, MMHPI conducted this assessment. The report provides guidance on strategies to improve access to...

Updated on:
March 11, 2021

North Texas Community-Based Care Environmental Assessment

SUMMARY - The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute partnered with the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services (TACFS) in 2019 - 2021 to...