Behavioral Healthcare

Kansas City Desperately Needs More Child Psychiatrists

Integrated Psychiatric Consultants | November 27, 2023

How many child psychiatrists could Kansas City employ if new psychiatry graduates chose it as their home? Hundreds and hundreds.

Kansas City experienced a 67% increase in child referrals for mental health services since 2017, according to Children’s Mercy Hospital. Only 166 psychiatric beds for children and adolescents exist within 45 minutes of Kansas City. Many of those beds aren’t available for patients with neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Worse yet mental health leaders in Kansas City estimate that 50% of children and adolescents needed mental health care go unserved because lack of providers.

Child Psychiatrists Should Consider Kansas City

Are you new grad ready to start a new chapter in your career among other much needed child psychiatrists? If so, we have an immediate position for you with benefits.

No matter what stage you are at in your journey as a psychiatrist, Integrated Psychiatric Consultants (IPC) is here to support you so you can shine in your next opportunity. 

Dozens of healthcare organizations in Kansas City are looking for compassionate, care-focused child and adolescent psychiatrists. Come and join our growing care team at IPC!

Kansas City Salaries for Child Psychiatrists?

The average salary for a child psychiatrists in the Kansas City metro is $207,000, according to data by Zippia. Missouri ranks #17 in the top 20 states for child psychiatrists to find work.

Kansas City is a unique city, offering big-city amenities with a small-town feel, perfect for both individuals and family to call home. It’s a vibrant midwestern metropolitan area with a robust art scene. KC is also rich with entertainment, and beautiful scenery like 600+ parks and 24 public lakes for outdoor activities.

The housing market in KC is affordable with a much lower cost of living compared to the national average. The Kansas City metro has one of the best public and private school districts for children.

Sports enthusiasts can look forward to hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It will be held at the KC Current of the National Women’s Soccer League. 

So whether you’re seeking a fellowship program, the perfect residency fit or an ideal opportunity to advance your career, consider Kansas City home.

Child and Adolescents Struggle with Mental Health Issues

  • 1 in 5 children and adolescents struggle with serious mental health problems and/or emotional disturbance.
  • 3 out of 4 adults with mental health problems have shown symptoms before the age of 24, half of which showed signs of difficulty by the age of 14.
  • 2/3 of young people with serious mental health problems do not seek treatment

Childhood experiences impact the health and well-being of adults. Mental health issues children and adolescents face include depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and conduct disorders.

Behavioral issues, substance use and thoughts of suicide tie to underlying mental health concerns. These concerns can disrupt thoughts, emotions and behavior, making it difficult for children to cope with the challenges of everyday life. Left untreated, mental health concerns can lead to negative outcomes such as academic failure, family conflicts, substance abuse, violence and suicide.

Dozens of IPC care providers engage with children and adolescents every day to support them and their loved ones on their mental health journey. 

Keeping these statistics in mind, we recognize the urgent need for increased awareness, support and access to mental health services for children and adolescents.

Child Psychiatrists Help Youth Cope Post Pandemic

National ‘state of emergency’

The soaring rates of mental health challenges among children, adolescents, and their families prompted prominent organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association to declare a national state of emergency in children’s mental health in October 2021.

Experts are deeply concerned about the escalating rates of mental health difficulties across the country, and even before the pandemic, children’s mental health was already a rising concern in Kansas. The Kansas Communities That Care Survey, which has been continuously assessing mental health since 2016, reveals that students have reported increasing levels of mental health stress every year.

Furthermore, researchers at Children’s Mercy have found that over the past decade, the percentage of children in Kansas experiencing “fair” or “poor” mental health has been incrementally rising. This is evidenced by the increasing prevalence of anxiety and depression among children and teens, as well as higher youth suicide rates in Kansas compared to the national average. In 2012, less than 7% of children aged 5 to 17 experienced low mental health ratings, but this number has more than doubled to approximately 15% today.

Similarly, rates of depression and anxiety diagnoses among the same age group have seen alarming increases. Depression rates have risen from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.1% in 2021, while anxiety diagnoses have more than tripled from 8.1% to 25.6% over the same period. These statistics highlight the urgent need for attention and action to address the worsening mental health crisis among children in Kansas.

Children from lower-income backgrounds in this district are facing a multitude of challenges. Social-emotional problems, hunger, housing instability, and job losses among parents are just a few of the factors related to poverty that these children are struggling with. Additionally, teenagers are grappling with broader societal issues, such as global warming and racial inequities in the U.S.

Concerned professionals have noticed a disturbing trend of children and adolescents experiencing a pervasive “sense of doom,” leading to a profound disappointment with the current socio-political environment. This disillusionment has even caused some students to question the importance of graduation. The untreated mental health problems these children face not only hinder their ability to focus and participate in school but also increase their risk of substance abuse. Furthermore, these issues can have long-term effects, impacting their chances of attending college or finding employment.

Child Psychiatrist Shortages Is Nationwide

The shortage of mental health professionals continues to rise in the US. The pandemic exacerbated the issue. Not surprisingly, mental health conditions strain resources and overwhelm physicians in Kansas and beyond.

Researchers from Children’s Mercy report a spike in the number of youth and their families struggling to access mental healthcare. The hospital sees a surge of kids with mental health needs, as well as those affected by issues such as nutrition and poverty.

Unfortunately, the existing welfare structure outside of school is ill-equipped to respond to these needs. Current policies fail to support wellness checks or mental health services for students without individualized education plans. They lack adequate staffing to improve the professional-to-student ratio.

Consequently, students face limited options for assistance, mainly when referred to services outside the school system. Shockingly, approximately 99 out of 105 counties in Kansas are designated as mental health professional shortage areas, highlighting the dire situation.

As a result, an alarming 70% of Kansas children and adolescents are left with unmet mental health needs. The CEO of Children’s Mercy, Paul Kempinski, revealed that more than 3,000 children arrived at the hospital’s emergency department during a mental health crisis.

However, there are only about 166 inpatient psychiatric beds for children in the entire region, according to Kempinski’s estimates. Dr. Rachel Brown, a child, and adolescent psychiatrist and professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, pointed out that there are only 60 out of the 500-600 child psychiatrists the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends for the region, with just five located in Wichita. This severe shortage of mental health professionals underscores the urgent need for intervention and support in addressing the mental health crisis in Kansas.

Improving access to mental health services in the state has become crucial due to the shortage of psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Mental health specialists across the state have been collaborating in innovative ways to meet the sustained demand for these services. Additionally, there is a growing need for primary care physicians to play a more active role in early identification and addressing unmet needs to prevent the escalation of mental health issues and the requirement for higher levels of care. Primary care physicians are often the first point of contact for children in need of mental health services, making their involvement essential in providing timely support and intervention.

Connect with an IPC Child Psychiatry Recruiter

Proud to call Kansas home, IPC values our locally rooted connections throughout the Midwest. That’s why we’re here to address the dire need for mental health professionals in the Kansas City area, especially those specializing in child and adolescent care. We are seeking child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners to support the youth in need in our community.

IPC has served patients of all ages for over twenty years, utilizing telepsychiatry and on-site services in various practice areas. We offer psychiatric evaluations, therapy, and medication management services. We understand mental health providers’ obstacles, such as credentialing with managed care organizations and low reimbursement rates. We support credentialing, licensure, billing, collections, and other office management tasks. This allows providers to focus on serving their patients and making a difference in the community.

Our team at IPC consists of board-certified and board-eligible general adult psychiatrists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, behavioral health clinicians, licensed social workers, and more. We are dedicated to expanding the collective network of services and providing enhanced access to evidence-based screening, diagnosis, and treatment for children in Kansas.

If you are a talented and passionate individual, whether you specialize in child and adolescent care or want to make a difference in the behavioral health field, open your doors to new opportunities in behavioral health and apply and join the ever-growing IPC team today!

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