A new guide designed to help employers improve the delivery of child and adolescent behavioral services, and provide services for family caregivers, was officially released today by the National Business Group on Health, a national non-profit organization representing more than 280 mostly large, U.S. employers, according to a press release.

"Like other chronic health issues, the effects of child and adolescent mental health disorders can be far reaching for those affected, their caregivers and the workplace," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. "The direct and indirect costs associated with adolescent mental health disorders are staggering. Parent caregivers, for example, are more likely to report increased work absences, reduced productivity, and job termination."

The National Business Group on Health is strongly committed to helping employers address the impact of child and adolescent behavioral health disorders. DevelopingAn Employer's Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Healthrepresents an important step to help achieve that goal.

An Employer's Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Healthcontains employer-based strategies for health plans, employee assistance programs (EAP), and workplace policies that can help:
  • improve the delivery of behavioral health care services in both the general medical and mental health sectors,
  • improve employee health and productivity,
  • improve the health state of the future workforce,
  • reduce unnecessary healthcare expenditures, and
  • reduce the use of family medical leave.
An Employer's Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Healthis divided into two parts. Part I provides an overview of the most prevalent behavioral health disorders experienced by children and adolescents, the impact on the workplace, and the treatment and cost trends of these disorders.

Part II contains a review of the current state of treatment and challenges facing providers, and provides specific recommendations for health plans, employer oversight, and the workplace. It is intended to guide employers as they review the structure, purpose, coordination, and integration of their behavioral health benefits.

"Today's youth are tomorrow's business and civic leaders. We supported development of this guide because we know that improved delivery of mental health and substance abuse services for youth is good for America's business. Quality care for youth improves caregivers' health and productivity, reduces unnecessary healthcare expenditures, and ensures a healthier future workforce," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde J.D. "We encourage employers to embrace these strategies designed to improve child and adolescent health and the workplace environment."

An Employer's Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Healthwas developed by the Advisory Council on Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, which was created in 2008 by the National Business Group on Health through a contract from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Electronic copies of the guide are available to the public at no charge by visiting www.businessgrouphealth.org