Program gives 200K students in New England access to intensive care

BRADLEY HOSPITAL has announced a new collaboration with Boston-based telehealth platform Cartwheel to give 200,000 students in New England access to intensive care while facing a mental health crisis. The Bradley REACH Virtual Partial Hospitalization Program collaboration will allow school counselors in more than 50 districts across Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut to refer students in crisis to a higher level of care. / COURTESY BRADLEY HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE – Bradley Hospital has announced a new collaboration with Boston-based telehealth platform Cartwheel to give 200,000 students in New England access to intensive care while facing a mental health crisis.

The Bradley REACH Virtual Partial Hospitalization Program collaboration will allow school counselors in more than 50 districts across Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut to refer students in crisis to a higher level of care.

Cartwheel provides outpatient therapy and psychiatric services through telehealth for a variety of mental health needs. But now students will also have access to more-intensive support through Bradley’s program.

The program works as a step up for students who are struggling with outpatient care and as a step down following an emergency department or hospital stay. It lasts six and a half hours a day Monday through Friday and includes individual, group and family therapy, as well as tutoring to keep up with schoolwork, according to a news release.

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After completing treatment with Bradley REACH, students will be able to transition back to school with ongoing outpatient therapy and psychiatry provided by Cartwheel.

Patients can stay in the program for as long as they need to, with the length of stay averaging three to four weeks. Bradley REACH provides care for those ages 13-18 who are facing a wide range of issues and conditions, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and self-harm.

“When a student is facing an acute mental health need, school districts and families often struggle to find effective and timely support. But most telehealth solutions can’t safely serve students in crisis,” said Dr. Juliana Chen, Cartwheel’s chief medical officer and board-certified child-adolescent psychiatrist. “We’re thrilled to now offer schools working with Cartwheel seamless access to Bradley REACH’s virtual partial hospitalization program.”

The program further advances Cartwheel’s mission to be the trusted mental health partner to schools.

Students throughout the U.S. are in the midst of a mental health crisis as almost 1 in 5 children are dealing with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder, according to a news release. Mental health-related hospitalizations are also on the rise, with rates among young people increasing by more than 120% between 2016 and 2022.

Children who are admitted to the waiting room are also left waiting for a long time. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of children who were not provided with timely care in emergency rooms tripled, according to the release.

Because of a shortage of care providers, schools have been increasingly providing mental health support for students. But more-severe mental health challenges such as self-harming and suicidal ideation require more-intensive support, according to the release. Also, providing timely follow-up care after hospitalization has been shown to lower the risk of suicide, improve medication adherence and reduce the chance of rehospitalization.

“Bradley REACH is committed to increasing access to high-quality, intensive behavioral health support for adolescents in need. We take a tailored approach to care that results in significant improvements for our patients and families and a flexible and safe environment that drives better outcomes,” said Ellen Hallsworth, director of Bradley REACH. “Partnering with Cartwheel allows us to strengthen school districts’ ability to get students the right care where and when they need it most and avoid future hospitalization.”

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Castellani@PBN.com.

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