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The Pediatric Forum
August 2004

Integrating Pediatrics and Mental Health: The Reality Is in the Relationships

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(8):833-834. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.8.833

One in 10 children in the United States suffers from mental health problems that affect their lives. The surgeon general has specifically called on pediatricians to improve screening and referral for child mental illness.1

In response to this national call, numerous studies have examined mental health screening in pediatric practices.2,3 However, little has been written about the realities of implementing an integrated model of primary care and mental health. Today, pediatricians are faced with increasing demands on their time. Productivity requirements, reimbursement dilemmas, and growing expectations for anticipatory guidance make success difficult.2,4 Yet, the need to identify mental health issues at the primary care visit is imperative in order to address the growing number of children with mental health issues.