As many as 1 in 5 children experience mental health issues and unfortunately less than 30% seek treatment. Pediatricians are in a unique position being one of the few medical providers who regularly see children for well visit check ups. Taking advantage of this position, new research published in Pediatrics shows when pediatricians provide mental health screening during a check up, they found of those with modifiers, approximately 12.0% were positive. Predictors of having a positive modifier included being male, age 5–7, in foster care, having recent mental health history, and being of Hispanic ethnicity. Among those continuously enrolled in the study, 43% with positive modifiers had no prior mental health history and were more likely to be female, younger, minority, and from rural residences. As the authors of the study point out, pediatricians are not only able to provide mental health screenings during well visits, but they reach typically under-identified groups, referring them to appropriate care, as well as re-identifying children with previous issues, ensuring they are still seeking treatment if needed.
If you provide medical care to pediatric patients, in what ways do you also screen them for mental health issues?