More than 14 million children and adolescents in the United States, or 1 in 5, have a diagnosable mental health disorder that requires intervention or monitoring and interferes with daily functioning.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made improving the mental health of children one of its top strategic priorities. A Task Force on Mental Health (TFOMH) has been established and has produced many wonderful tools, programs and resources to educate parents, pediatricians, healthcare professionals and communities on the need to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children's mental health disorders.
Soon, TFOMH will present an on-line training on primary-care, mental-health collaboration and skills development. TFOMH is also developing a health toolkit for the medical home and an agenda for mental health research.
There is still more work that needs to be done. Top, identified priorities include:
- Greater distribution of TFOMH guidance and tools
- Development of a mental health education module for implementing competencies
- Ongoing clinical guidance
- Technical assistance in creating new models of care
This is just one of the many ways the AAP illustrates its committment to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.