The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) launched the Adolescent Behavioral Health Initiative in the spring of 2016 to improve access to effective services from crisis to stabilization among adolescents experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis in Allegheny County.  It is guided by a 40-member advisory committee, and is supported by JHF, the Staunton Farm Foundation, and The Pittsburgh Foundation. The multi-year initiative includes a one-year planning phase through July 2017.

To date JHF and its partners, including the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), have:

  • analyzed data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council
  • conducted on-site observations at crisis to stabilization services in Allegheny County
  • collected stories through the Patients' View Institute about families' experiences accessing behavioral health services for their adolescents
  • organized focus groups with the University of Pittsburgh on families' and adolescents' experiences with crisis to stabilization services
  • researched best practices for crisis evaluation and response 

This information is being captured in a white paper to define the extent of the problem, increase awareness of the available resources, and describe a community action plan to implement a demonstration. 

The next phase of the initiative will focus on implementing the community action plan at one to three sites in the community to expand crisis evaluation and support services in Allegheny County. The aim is to reduce the time from the onset of a mental health or substance use crisis to stabilization, and to improve the adolescents’ and parents’ experiences through this process.

For more information about why the initiative was started, please see the May 2016 Health Affairs Blog by Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, president and chief executive officer of JHF and PRHI.

Contact: Robert Ferguson