Can paediatric training improve the mental health of adolescents? According to new research published in Academic Pediatrics, the answer may well be a yes.
Improved training can help identify the onset of conditions such as depression in teenagers before serious problems occur according to the the study’s lead author Elise Falluco, a psychiatrist based at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
She said: “Pediatric primary care providers are well-positioned help identify early signs of depression, but most do not have the tools or training to do so reliably.”
The paper’s authors looked at data from over 1200 participants involved in the study, which had over 31 paediatric specialists also take part to determine the effectiveness of current practices within the US. Most of these specialists had less than three weeks training in mental health.
As part of the research, the patients were given a tool to help improve their healthcare providers screen for mental health conditions and were also asked to complete a survey to determine the effectiveness of depression screening. The results were encouraging, with over 74% of respondents being screened by their providers in the year and a half to two years following the additional training.