When parents suspect a child may be showing signs of mental health issues, they often turn to their child’s pediatrician for answers and support. And based on a 2008 study by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the majority of pediatricians agree they play an important role in assessing the mental health needs of their young patients. The AAP study showed that 80% of pediatricians believe they should be responsible for “identification, especially for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, child depression, child substance abuse, and behavior problems” and 59% agreed they were “responsible for identifying learning problems”  as well.
The AAP  and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion  have both urged pediatricians to consider their patient’s mental health and regularly screen for mental health issues. Recognizing and dealing with these issues early on can help prevent more serious mental health issues down the road. And with the lack of access to mental health providers in many areas (which you can read more about in our article entitled “Barriers to Mental Health Services: Beyond Mental Health Parity”), the importance of the role that pediatricians play in providing mental health care support cannot be overstated.
Screening can be as simple as checking in with parents, asking how their kids are doing in school and how they’re getting along with other kids. But since many parents might view those questions as merely small talk, more and more pediatricians have begun utilizing screening tools such as the Y-PSC (Pediatric Symptom Checklist), which is designed to help providers recognize potential cognitive, emotion and behavioral problems.
For pediatricians who want to take that screening to the next level, the MHT App is a perfect tool for their needs. The MHT App allows pediatricians to maintain data on patients, viewing past scores to identify any changes in their responses over time. And it helps streamline the screening process by automating everything from requesting the information to sending out reminders and making it easy for patients to respond via the app. Patients can fill out the questionnaire electronically before coming in for their appointment and pediatricians can review the information before the patient arrives. And since it makes it easier to compare results over time, it’s also a more effective tool in assessing patient’s mental health risks.
In addition to the Y-PSC, the MHT App also includes a number of other screeners that can help providers hone in on specific issues their patients may be having such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and more. Contact us to find out more about the MHT App or to request a demo.