Children's Mental Health Emergencies-Part 1: Challenges in Care: Definition of the Problem, Barriers to Care, Screening, Advocacy, and Resources

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At a time when there has been a reduction in mental health resources nationwide, the incidence of mental health disorders in children has seen a dramatic increase for many reasons.


A review of the literature was done to identify the epidemiology, barriers to care, useful emergency department (ED) screening methods, and resources regarding pediatric mental health disorders in the ED.


Although there are many challenges to the provision of care for children with mental health emergencies, some resources are available. Furthermore, ED screening and intervention may be effective in improving patient outcomes.


Collaborative efforts with multidisciplinary services can create a continuum of care, promote better identification of children and adolescents with mental health disorders, and promote early recognition and intervention, which are key to effective referral and treatment.

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