"I think people need to be driven by their hearts and their passions," says Dr. Scott Keel, "and mine is mental health and trying to integrate mental health into the pediatric setting."
As a complex care coordinator for Pediatric and Adolescent Health Partners, Keel believes that mental health should not be considered separate from overall health. Children with suicidal ideation, after all, are very real threats to themselves, and the physician's mission is to get young patients, their parents and health care providers meeting mental health care head-on so that the stigma of psychiatric challenges is no longer a barrier.
A milestone of his professional work has been to pilot the use of a mandatory suicide questionnaire for adolescents in the pediatric setting.
Keel admits to his own challenges as a child and teenager, so he comes to his mission with hard-earned empathy, he says. He jokes that he also needs strategies to deal with his own attention-deficit issues, and bike riding is one way. His love of casual biking inspired him to launch a nonprofit, I Am RVA, to promote bike safety, resulting in a campaign that donated $2,500 worth of helmets for children and disabled riders and $3,000 for brain injury survivors.
"I love Richmond," Keel says. "I love the people."