AUSTIN (KXAN) — As isolation causes a rise in cases of anxiety and depression in children, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin is hoping its newly formed Child Psychiatry Access Network will assist Texas pediatricians with their young patients.
Though the timing is purely coincidental, the team believes the launch of the new center will help children in a time of need.
Dell Medical School Child Psychiatrist Dr. Roshni Koli is overseeing a team of 25 child psychologists and psychiatrists who are part of the network.
Starting next week, pediatricians and other health care providers from around the state will be able to call the network and consult with an expert.
“The treatment and the access to care hasn’t been able to keep up with how much we’re seeing from a pediatric mental health standpoint,” Koli said. “This program is basically focused on looking at that gap, and what can we do to fill it.”
Dr. Koli said, currently, many kids feel as though their whole world has been turned upside down, and in some cases, mental health issues result from it.
“Just as a result, oftentimes, of the social isolation and some of the fear related to how COVID-19 can affect their friends, family,” she said.
The lack of social interactions can also have a disproportionate impact on kids with entire schedules often structured around seeing friends at school and extra-curricular activities.
“I think that routine and schedule are important for all of us, so even if kids aren’t going to school, to have the same bedtime and to wake up at the same time every morning, to still take a shower and get dressed,” she said. “To have meals at the right time, to really kind of focus on self-care and routine.”
Last year, the Texas legislature approved $100 million to create the Child Psychiatry Access Network, which launches on May 18.
“Within 30 minutes, our psychologists or psychiatrists will give that pediatrician or family practice provider a call and we’d be able to talk about the case, talk about what’s happening,” Koli said.