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State Program Seeks To Fill Void For Lack Of Child Psychiatrists In Wisconsin

New Program Involves 15 Counties In N. Wisconsin, Milwaukee County

Inside a hospital room
Photo: DoNotLick (CC-BY)

Wisconsin has a shortage of child psychiatrists, especially in northern Wisconsin and Milwaukee County. To overcome that obstacle, state officials are providing $1 million for a program which links a child’s regular doctor to mental health specialists.

It’s estimated that half of all mental health disorders are evident by the age of 17. Often, children are seeing a doctor more familiar with physical ailments than psychological. The Child Psychiatry Consultation Program aims to bridge that gap.

Dr. Robert Chayer, is the lead psychiatrist involved in the project, which is a collaborative effort with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

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“The pediatricians aren’t well-trained in mental health issues. And have a hard time feeling comfortable working with these kids,” Chayer said. “So, the child psychiatry project will allow them to pick up the phone, get a child psychiatrist to answer their questions about diagnosis and treatment and medication management.”

The pilot project involves 15 counties in northern Wisconsin and Milwaukee County.

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