A $100,000 grant will help Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) enhance its ability to identify, treat and support children who are at risk of suicide.
CHOC is one of 16 children’s hospitals and systems nationwide to have been named a recipient of The Preventing Youth Suicide: A Cardinal Health Foundation National Collaborative grant. The collaborative is a partnership with Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), Cardinal Health Foundation and the Zero Suicide Institute (ZSI) at the Education Development Center (EDC).
With grants totaling $2.1 million, the collaborative will provide support to awardees to implement a framework developed by ZSI and commit to a system-wide transformation to support pediatric patients at risk of suicide. This program is the first national collaborative with the intent to develop a pediatric-specific, data-driven approach to improve identification and care of children at risk for suicide in children’s hospitals and health systems.
“We are so honored to be a part of this national collaborative that will help further CHOC’s ongoing efforts to support pediatric mental health and our goal of zero deaths from youth suicide in our community,” said Dr. Heather Huszti, CHOC’s chief psychologist. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the urgency to ensure our children are protected against death from suicide. We are grateful for the support of this national partnership.”
CHOC has convened a team of specialists to move this initiative forward, including Dr. Wayne Nguyen, CHOC’s medical director of psychiatry, and Dr. Dani Milliken, director of CHOC’s Cherese Mari Laulhere Mental Health Inpatient Center.
The grants are an expansion of Cardinal Health’s previous two-year, $1.6 million commitment to suicide prevention that launched in 2020. Cardinal’s initial commitment was in partnership with ZSI, who helped the grantees build a preventive system within their own hospital.
This funding is an additional boon to CHOC’s robust pediatric system of mental healthcare designed to facilitate early diagnosis, intervention and treatment of pediatric mental health problems, as well as serve as a model to health systems nationwide.
CHOC’s system of care includes its 18-bed inpatient center, which provides care to children in crisis ages 3 to 17; an intensive outpatient program for high school-age youth; mental health screenings in primary and specialty care settings; pediatric mental health training for community health care providers, school personnel and therapists; a co-occurring clinic for patients with mental health challenges complicated by physical illnesses; and more.
Learn more about CHOC’s commitment to pediatric mental health.