We believe that the most effective way to improve the mental health of children in Colorado is by utilizing a public/population health approach. As illustrated in the Public Health Pyramid (Frieden, 2010), services for children can range from advocacy and policymaking at the bottom of the pyramid, to prevention programs (most often in schools), mental health services in primary care settings (such as community pediatric practices) as well as in specialty behavioral health settings (such as our hospital’s behavioral health outpatient program), and all the way to tertiary services (such as crisis and inpatient services) at the top of the pyramid. A public health approach emphasizes that services lower down on the pyramid can have a greater impact on more members of the community at a much lower cost per individual served than services at the top of the pyramid. For example, for the cost of one day of inpatient treatment for one child, we could serve the same child with home-based services for two weeks or in an outpatient behavioral health program for twelve weeks. The same investment could provide behavioral health preventive services to an entire classroom for a year.

Community-based programs

  • Partners for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) works to improve youth mental health services in Colorado by increasing capacity, access, and quality. Through collaboration with partners across the state, PCMH works to identify, scale, and sustain best practices that will help save lives and ensure that children Colorado receive excellent mental health treatment.
  • Colorado Healthy Steps is an evidence-based program that places a child development specialist within a primary care team. This approach supports healthy development in babies and toddlers by promoting nurturing parenting behaviors.
  • Our Children’s Mental Health Speaker’s Bureau works to educate the community about children’s mental health through community seminars and through local, regional, and national media.
  • Primary care-based programs
  • The Colorado Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation and Access Program provides pediatric care providers with consultations by licensed child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, and specialized community resource navigators.

Project CLIMB provides innovative, fully integrated mental health services in the pediatric primary care clinics at Children’s Hospital Colorado.


Judy Reavan, PhD, Professor


Bruno Anthony, PhD, Professor


Sarah Kennedy, PhD, Assistant Professor


Douglas Novins, MD, Professor

Integrated specialty care

Our Division provides fully integrated mental health services for a number of specialty programs at Children’s Hospital Colorado, including programs for Down syndromecystic fibrosisneurologyurology, and transplant. 

Ambulatory specialty mental health services

We provide outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization services at Anschutz Medical Campus, Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Highlands Ranch and North Network of Care locations, and via telemedicine. This includes specialty programs in perinatal mental health, stress, anxiety, externalizing problems, mood dysregulation, eating disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Specialty mental health services

We provide emergency mental health services throughout Children’s Hospital Colorado’s emergency departments and urgent care programs, both in-person and via telemedicine. Our consultation-liaison program serves children with behavioral problems who are receiving inpatient medical-surgical care across the Children’s Hospital Colorado system, including in Colorado Springs. Our inpatient program serves children and adolescents experiencing significant mental health crises and includes a specialty inpatient service for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.