PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLANDBradley Hospital, the first psychiatric hospital in the U.S. devoted to children and adolescents, today announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Cartwheel, a Boston-based telehealth platform helping school districts tackle the student mental health crisis. Available today to 200,000 students in more than 50 school districts across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, the collaboration allows school counselors to refer students in crisis rapidly to a higher level of care through the Bradley REACH virtual Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).

Cartwheel already provides outpatient therapy and psychiatry services via telehealth for a range of common mental health needs. Now, students will also have access to more intensive support through Bradley’s fully virtual program that allows teens to get the psychiatric care they need in their own homes. The program works as a step-up for students who are struggling in outpatient care, and as a step-down following an Emergency Department visit or hospital stay. It lasts six and a half hours a day, Monday through Friday, and consists of individual, group and family therapy, and tutoring to keep up with school work. Patients can stay in the program as long as they need to, with the length of stay averaging three to four weeks. Bradley REACH provides care for adolescents ages 13 to 18 experiencing a wide range of issues and conditions, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and self-harm. The evidence-based model provides individualized care that meets children and families where they are.

“When a student is facing an acute mental health need, school districts and families often struggle to find effective and timely support. But most telehealth solutions can’t safely serve students in crisis. We’re thrilled to now offer schools working with Cartwheel seamless access to Bradley REACH’s virtual partial hospitalization program,” said Juliana Chen, MD, Cartwheel’s Chief Medical Officer and board-certified child-adolescent psychiatrist. The program further advances Cartwheel’s mission to be the trusted mental health partner to schools.

“Bradley REACH is committed to increasing access to high-quality, intensive behavioral health support for adolescents in need. We take a tailored approach to care that results in significant improvements for our patients and families and a flexible and safe environment that drives better outcomes,” said Ellen Hallsworth, Director of Bradley REACH. “Partnering with Cartwheel allows us to strengthen school districts’ ability to get students the right care where and when they need it most and avoid future hospitalization.”

Students across the country are in the midst of a mental health crisis that continues to grow, with almost 1 in 5 children dealing with a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. Mental health-related hospitalizations are also on the rise, with rates among young people increasing by more than 120% between 2016 and 2022. Children admitted to the emergency room are also often left waiting for extended periods without receiving the care they need. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of children who were not provided with timely care in emergency rooms tripled.

Due to a well-documented shortage of care providers, schools are taking the lead on providing mental health support for students. But more severe mental health challenges, such as self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideation, require more intensive support. Students will now be able to access this support through the Bradley REACH Partial Hospitalization Program.

Ensuring timely follow up care after a hospitalization has been shown to lower the risk of suicide, improve medication adherence, and reduce the chance of rehospitalization. A growing body of evidence suggests that virtual PHP is effective and delivers good outcomes for patients. After completing their treatment with Bradley REACH, students will be able to transition back to school with ongoing outpatient therapy and psychiatry provided by Cartwheel.

Kelly Brennan

Senior Public Relations Officer
Rhode Island Hospital
[email protected]