Behavioral and Mental Health

Studies show that many pediatricians and pediatric trainees feel unprepared to prevent, identify, or treat behavioral and mental health problems.

Prevalence of Behavioral and Mental Health Diagnoses up to Age 18

Yet, too many children, adolescents, and young adults today are struggling with these issues, and the prevalence of diagnoses is increasing.

Because we must increase our efforts to promote emotional health and resilience, increase early intervention, and improve treatment for all ages, the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Strategic Planning Committee recommended in 2014 that the ABP rank behavioral and mental health as its highest strategic priority.

With funding from the ABP Foundation, the ABP is committed to supporting pediatric trainees and practicing pediatricians through:

  • Supporting innovative curricula for education and training
  • Addressing behavioral/mental health topics through its certification processes
  • Helping pediatricians to address behavioral and mental health in practice 
  • Partnering with parents and patient groups
  • Partnering with other organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC), and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)

ABP Foundation-Supported Projects

The ABP Foundation funds a targeted group of projects to advance the emotional health and resilience of children and their families.

Roadmap Project

The Roadmap Project is a national effort that aims to support the resilience, emotional, and mental health of pediatric patients with chronic conditions and their families. The ABP is working with patients, parents, and the Learning Networks Program of the Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence to increase awareness for patients, families, and clinicians and provide ways to help.

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The ABP works with a number of organizations through the Forum on Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health.

Behavioral and Mental Health Entrustable Professional Activity

The ABP partners with pediatric educators and leaders to develop and pilot test “entrustable professional activities” (EPAs). EPAs are essential competencies that a medical professional must demonstrate across a range of domains that are essential to the practice of medicine. One of the 17 general pediatrics EPAs focuses specifically on behavioral and mental health competencies (PDF) for the pediatric resident. The ABP Foundation is planning to study implementation of the behavioral and mental health EPA in seven pediatric programs.

ABP Foundation-Supported Publications


Recent ABP Foundation-Sponsored Events and Associated Materials

The ABP Foundation has co-sponsored several events, in collaboration with other pediatric-serving organizations and NASEM, addressing training the next generation of providers to promote resiliency and emotional well-being, identify children and families at risk for intervening early, and treat identified disorders.

Preparing Future Pediatricians to Meet the Behavioral and Mental Health Needs of Children, 2018

DATE: April 2018
SPONSORS: ABP Foundation and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

This two-day meeting brought together pediatric department chairs and program directors as dyads to engage with other critical stakeholders in discussions about advancing pediatric training in behavioral and mental health. Participants were asked to identify a commitment or change strategy that they intend to implement within their organization or as an individual in the six months following the meeting.

The Mental Health Crisis: Preparing Future Pediatricians to Meet the Challenge, 2017

DATE: April 2017
SPONSORS: ABP Foundation and the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD)

This day-long workshop was convened at the APPD 2017 Annual Spring Meeting. The workshop aimed to enhance recognition of the magnitude and urgency of the behavioral and mental health crisis, identify barrier and facilitators to incorporating robust experiences in behavioral and mental health into pediatric training programs, and encourage innovation and networking to achieve resident and fellow competence in providing appropriate care.

Training the Future Child Health Care Workforce to Improve Behavioral Health Outcomes for Children, Youth, and Families, 2016

DATE: November 2016
SPONSOR: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)

This two-day workshop focused on the need for workforce development, innovative training models, and mechanisms for change to enhance training for the wide range of healthcare professionals working with children, youth, and families. It is part of a broader effort at NASEM focused on promoting children’s cognitive, affective, and behavioral health and funded by multiple sponsors, including the ABP Foundation. To access materials from the workshop, see the workshop web page.