Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).
Method: Following the administration of the SDQ in medical check-ups of 4-9 year-old children (n = 2 682) the involved parents, teachers and public health nurses were asked to complete a feedback questionnaire of the SDQ.
Results: Parents took a maximum of 10-15 minutes to complete the SDQ, and only the public health nurses reported that its use was rather burdensome. The SDQ was an age-appropriate method and it was helpful in increasing information and agreement about the child's mental health and need for support. Using the SDQ was a positive experience for parents, but they expected more dialogue with the professionals about the child's situation. The respondents criticised the questionnaire somewhat for being difficult to interpret and complete.
Conclusions: The SDQ was found to be a feasible method for screening children's mental health in primary health care together with parents, teachers and public health nurses. Using the SDQ was a positive experience for parents. However, they reminded the professionals of the importance of sensitive dialogue when assessing the mental health of the child.