Greetings from the Youth Health Connection desk
Summer is a wonderful time in New England. I am struck by how alive and relaxed everyone appears. Beach walking on Nantasket and the Rocky Mountains of Montana have given me the opportunity to reflect and consider some of the things to be cherished during this very special season. All too soon the calendar will flip over to September so I want to encourage all of you to enjoy and be in the moment. Use your mindfulness and breathing to take the time to restore, revitalize, rejuvenate, relax, refresh, revisit, restock. The days of summer give us the chance to spend time with friends and family we may not see during the rest of the year. Allow yourself to laugh and to languish while doing something that gives back to you and takes you to a “place” of soulfulness. That can sometimes be difficult to do when tending to all those regular day to day needs that arise from September to June. Let yourself play and do something that makes you soar……We look forward to hearing about it when we return in the fall…..
Mental Health Screenings
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new recommendations calling for Pediatricians to screen children for possible mental health issues at every doctor visit. In addition, the AAP suggests doctors should develop a strong network of mental health professionals in the community to facilitate referrals for children, teens and families. The guidelines call for physicians to systematically ask parents a number of questions pertaining to social and emotional well being. AAP also recommends a more detailed screening using a checklist at critical age and development points to evaluate for disorders which may be more noticeable at certain ages, such as autism.
YHC has recommended screenings by pediatricians as one of our core elements since our founding in 1984. The research is clear that children fare better if they receive early intervention and referral for behavioral and mental health problems. While we all respect time limitations, which are a reality during check ups, it is our belief that regular conversations between physicians and parents and their children and teens helps to establish a relationship and connection around these issues. This can accelerate the process for intervention and referral should it be necessary. Massachusetts supports pediatricians with the MCPAP program for psychiatric consultation. We see this as another aspect of connection, collaboration, communication with the goal of helping reduce risk and increase resiliency in children and teens.