Pediatric Mental Health Assessment in the Primary Care Setting

  • Nicole CottonEmail author
  • Arden Dingle


Pediatric primary care providers play an important role in promoting mental wellness, as well as identifying, assessing, and, at times, initiating treatment for youth with mental illness. Being able to effectively evaluate children and adolescents who present with psychiatric issues is essential for the pediatric provider. A thorough assessment includes an interview with the youth, guardian(s), and potentially other people with whom the youth interacts. Rating scales, which can be completed prior to the appointment, can be helpful in the assessment process. After assessment, the clinician should complete a biopsychosocial case formulation. The case formulation will guide the treatment plan. There are several ways to integrate mental health services into the primary care setting, including increased training for the pediatric practice, coordinated care, collaborative care, full integration, and direct referral to specialty care. The method will vary depending on the patient’s presentation, the pediatric practice’s level of comfort with providing mental health services, and the availability of mental health resources.


Children and adolescents Mental health Pediatrics Assessment Treatment 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMorehouse School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.UT Rio Grande Valley School of MedicineHarlingenUSA

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