Mental Health Screening for Children and Adolescents



Pediatr Nurs. 2020;46(1):27-31. 

In This Article

Implications for Health Care Providers

Health care providers have a huge responsibility for children and adolescents in their care. Developmental, behavioral, and mental health screening requires time and follow up. Fifteen-minute clinic appointments, even with a 5-minute parental check-list before, are poor climates for the kind of attention needed in this endeavor. Computerization, pre-visit questionnaires, and development of client-friendly interventions can help. However, as Chaffin and colleagues (2017) noted, these efforts require diligence and follow up to be effective.

Research and clinical application of findings, such as those in the special issue of the Journal of Pediatric Nursing and the study by Mason and colleagues (2019), are needed to achieve the goal of identifying children with mental health needs. The discussion on defining newer roles and their interface with mental health professionals (Hawkins-Walsh & Van Cleve, 2019) is an action professions can take to increase accessibility to care. The nursing profession's ability to meet the challenge of recognizing a child's mental health needs and being ready to intervene is crucial. Commitment to enrolling in and expanding the scope of continuing education by individual groups and agencies is necessary, along with mentoring experiences in practice.