Department of Pediatrics

Mental Health Research


The role of mental health research in emergency departments for pediatric and adolescent patients is of utmost importance, particularly considering the increased rates of death by suicide and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health disorders among young individuals have been steadily rising, and unfortunately, suicide has become one of the leading causes of death in this population. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated mental health challenges, with many children and adolescents experiencing heightened stress, anxiety, and depression due to social isolation, disrupted routines, and the overall impact of the pandemic on their lives. Inadequacies in the mental healthcare system contribute to patients seeking care in emergency departments. Long wait times, limited access to mental health professionals, insufficient community-based resources, and stigma surrounding mental health are some of the existing gaps that push individuals to present to emergency departments for immediate assistance. Therefore, mental health research in emergency departments is crucial for developing effective interventions, identifying risk factors, improving screening and assessment tools, and implementing appropriate referral systems to ensure timely and comprehensive mental health support for pediatric and adolescent patients in crisis. By addressing these gaps, we can strive to provide better care and ultimately save lives.

At TCH,  investigators have collaborated with other mental health experts to conduct research involving screening youth for suicide, alcohol and drugs in the emergency department. This research has included developing and validating a novel computerized adaptive screen for suicidal youth (CASSY) for use as a universal screen for suicide risk in medical emergency departments. Other research has involved comparing suicide screening measures for their predictive validity, identifying profiles of adolescents at risk for suicide and describing the risk and protective factors for suicide among subgroups at elevated risk for self-harm. Rohit Shenoi has been the PECARN site PI for several studies on mental health, including studies on teen suicide and on substance abuse.

Faculty with a research focus on mental health:

Brent DA, Horowitz LM, Grupp-Phelan J, Bridge JA, Gibbons R, Chernick LS, Rea M, Cwik MF, Shenoi RP, et al. Prediction of suicide attempts and suicide-related events among adolescents seen in emergency departmentsJAMA Netw Open. 2023. PMID 36790810.

Shenoi RP, Linakis JG, Bromberg JR, Casper TC, Richards R, Chun TH, Gonzalez VM, Mello MJ, Spirito A. Association of physical activity, sports, and screen time with adolescent behaviors in youth who visit the pediatric emergency department. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2022. PMID 35152770.   

Linakis JG, Thomas SA, Bromberg JR, Casper TC, Chun TH, Mello MJ, Richards R, Ahmad F, Bajaj L, Brown KM, Chernick LS, Cohen DM, Dean JM, Fein J, Horeczko T, Levas MN, McAninch B, Monuteaux MC, Mull CC, Grupp-Phelan J, Powell EC, Rogers A, Shenoi RP, Suffoletto B, Vance C, Spirito A; Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. Adolescent alcohol use predicts cannabis use over a three-year follow-up period. Subst Abuse. 2022. PMID 34236277.

Chang CD, Saidinejad M, Atanelov D, Dietrich AM, Lam SH, Rose E, Ruttan T, Shahid S, Stoner MJ, Sulton C, Chumpitazi CE; ACEP Pediatric Emergency Medicine Committee. Emergency department strategies to combat the opioid crisis in children and adolescentsJ Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2021. PMID 34322681.

Lavingia R, Mondragon E, McFarlane-Johansoon N, Shenoi RPImproving opioid stewardship in pediatric emergency medicinePediatrics. 2021. PMID 34851415.

Brent DA, Grupp-Phelan J, O'Shea BA, Patel JS, Mahabee-Gittens EM, Rogers A, Duffy SJ, Shenoi RP, et al. A comparison of self-reported risk and protective factors and the death implicit association test in the prediction of future suicide attempts in adolescent emergency department patientsPsychol Med. 2021. PMID 33947480.

Chun TH, Chernick LS, Ahmad FA, Ranney ML, Shenoi RP, et al. Adolescent substance abuse risk: a comparison of Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network emergency department patients and 2 nationally representative samplesPediatr Emerg Care. 2021. PMID 30893225.

Yin HS, Heuspeil DR, Paul IM, Franklin W, Tieder JS, Adirim T, Alvarez F, Brown JM, Bundy DG, Ferguson LE, Gleeson Sp, Leu M, Mueller BU, Connor Phillips S, Quinonez RA, Rea C, Rinke ML, Shaikh U, Shiffman RN, Vickers Saarel E, Spencer Cockerham SP, Mack Walsh K, Jones B, Adler AC, Foster JH, Green TP, Houck CS, Laughon MM, Neville K, Reigart JR, Shenoi R, et al. Preventing home medication administration errorsPediatrics. 2021. PMID 34851406.

King CA, Brent D, Grupp-Phelan J, Casper TC, Dean JM, Chernick LS, Fein JA, Mahabee-Gittens EM, Patel SJ, Mistry RD, Duffy S, Melzer-Lange M, Rogers A, Cohen DM, Keller A, Shenoi R, et al. Prospective development and validation of the computerized adaptive screen for suicidal youth. JAMA Psychiatry. 2021. PMID 33533908.

Horowitz AG, Grupp-Phelan J, Brent D, Barney BJ, Casper TC, Berona J, Chernick LS, Shenoi R, et al. Risk and protective factors for suicide among sexual minority youth seeking emergency medicine servicesJ Affect Disord. 2021. PMID 33074141.