All these tools are excellent for assessing mental health in the primary care setting.

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My clinical site is a primary care pediatric office that sees newborn infants and children up to 21 years old. Primary care offices are crucial in assessing and screening young children for mental health disorders. According to the CDC 2022, ADHD, anxiety problems, and depression are the most common mental disorders in children between the ages of 3 through 17 years. Moreover, depression in older adults can be very difficult to diagnose because they tend to deny symptoms of depression but instead they report physical symptoms such as lack of motivation, pain, headaches and other physical complaints (Warshaw et al., 2021).
My clinical site uses the mental tools with every well-check examination and ADD/ADHD visit. The following tools are the Child Health and interactive development system (CHADIS), Pediatric Symptom check list-17 (PSC-17), Screen for child anxiety-related disorders (SCARED), and The patient health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). All these tools are excellent for assessing mental health in the primary care setting. In addition, these are great tools that every provider should have in place for patients and their families to participate in and complete these assessments before seeing their health care provider to address any red flags. That way any positive score for depression or poor mental health can be addressed, or the patient can be referred to receive the help they need before mental health becomes an issue for the patient and family. I have noticed that my preceptor cares about her patients’ mental health. When parents fail to complete the questionnaires, she will tell them that they need to be completed before they are seen and if she sees repeated offenders that continuously fail to complete the assessment tools, she kindly reminds them to do so.
The care for mental health observed at the clinical site are excellent. My preceptors have parents and children who can read and write and are encouraged to answer cognitive and behavioral assessments before being seen. Then, she reviews the score with the parents and the child together. So far, I have not observed any biases or health disparities.
Two changes that I would recommend for the community are providing more health fair clinics and encouraging health care providers to provide mental health assessments with every patient visit to help detect mental illness early. In addition, the U.S. preventive task force (USPSTF) recommends that children between 12-18 years get screening routinely for mental health at primary care offices (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF], 2016). Another way to help detect depression and other mental health is by educating schools and teachers to recognize triggers and providing a safe and open environment for adolescents to express themselves without judgment (Mulvaney-Day et al., 2017).

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