Launching Forward: The Integration of Behavioral Health in Primary Care as a Key Strategy for Promoting Young Child Wellness

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In 2008, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created a national grant program, Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health), to improve behavioral health and developmental outcomes for young children through the incorporation of prevention and wellness promotion practices in key early childhood settings. Project LAUNCH supports states, tribal nations, and territories to improve coordination across early childhood systems and implement 5 core strategies of prevention and promotion. This article focuses on the lessons learned from 1 of the 5 core strategies: integration of behavioral health into primary care for young children. This paper analyzes the experiences of a sample of Project LAUNCH grantees, describing 10 common elements of integration approaches and exploring some of the challenges of promoting health and preventing social, emotional, and behavioral problems at a population level.

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