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Parents Around the World Show Support for Pediatric Mental Health Screenings in New Survey

June 30, 2023

Researchers explore the attitudes of parents and caregivers toward mental health screenings in primary care settings.

There has been a startling uptick in mental health challenges among children worldwide, prompting a race to improve early detection of mental health disorders. Studies suggest that early detection in youth plays a critical role in minimizing the severity and progression of these disorders and improving access to care.

Using existing literature and professional expertise, researchers at the Child Mind Institute conducted a novel multinational survey to examine overall views toward pediatric mental health screenings. While research on pediatric screenings has been mostly centered around the preferences of medical staff and patients, this study sought to examine the attitudes of parents and caregivers.

Results were eye-opening, with over 90% of participants reporting that they wanted their child regularly screened for mental health issues. Most preferred for the screenings to be conducted in health care offices, and the results to be interpreted and discussed by physicians or psychologists. Many caregivers showed discomfort with the idea of the screening including topics like gun violence, gender identity, and suicidal thoughts.

The results from this study have opened the door to bigger discussions about the importance of educating parents and caregivers about mental health. Given that most participants were more comfortable with physicians conducting these assessments, schools may benefit from either having medical or psychological professionals on site or referring children to their primary care provider for mental health screenings.

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