Using Role-play Conversations to Improve the Quality of Adolescent Mental Health Care

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is a pioneer in its statewide efforts to integrate behavioral health in pediatric primary care. Identifying a need to better train pediatric primary care practitioners to address the mental health concerns of their adolescent patients, the School of Medicine engaged with Kognito and other partners to adapt Kognito’s evidence-based At-Risk in Primary Care simulation to make it relevant to those who work with adolescents. The original At-Risk in Primary Care is aimed at improving the skills and confidence of primary care practitioners to recognize and address behavioral health concerns among their adult patients. The new version of the simulation prepares primary care physicians and nurses to talk with adolescent patients about mental health concerns, address thoughts of suicide, and coordinate referrals or follow-up care. In the simulation, users assume the role of a health professional and talk with a virtual adolescent patient about stress-related symptoms and thoughts of suicide. As part of its statewide Maryland Suicide Prevention Intervention Network (MD-SPIN) initiative, the School of Medicine is providing no-cost access to both versions of At-Risk to primary care and community health practices in the state.

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