Recently, the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) cited a critical lack of pediatric residency training for behavioral and mental health problems and proposed more education in preventing, recognizing, and managing these conditions. Here’s why any change needs to start with a hard look at what our priorities are.
As Election Day nears, the intensity of the campaign and level of emotion continues to rise beyond anything remembered. Children are remarkably resilient to all this input, at least on the surface, but one has to wonder what they are thinking and likely worrying about just below the surface.
I was reading the causes of mortality and morbidity in children and noticed that beyond age 2 years, many of the most likely serious harms to children, especially death, are considered “accidents.” I began wondering about all those situations that we so readily call “accidents.”
I want to commend the new Clinical Report, “Suicide and Suicide Attempts in Adolescents,” issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Adolescence. The lead author, Benjamin Shain, MD, and the Committee wrote a clear, concise, well-referenced report that is highly relevant to the practicing primary care pediatrician.
I believe we have an opportunity to improve the care of our children by overcoming the stigma of mental health disorders and other barriers, and by applying professional standards in the pediatric medical home for the provision of mental health services to children.
Pediatricians are most likely the first clinicians to discover that a teenager is engaging in self-harming behavior, and it’s their evaluation of the context and severity of the self-injury as well as their empathetic relationship with the patient that sets the stage for treatment.