Teaching child psychiatric assessment skills: Using pediatric mental health screening tools

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2015;50(1):60-72. doi: 10.1177/0091217415592358. Epub 2015 Jun 26.


This article describes the workshop "Teaching Child Psychiatric Assessment Skills: Using Mental Health Screening Instruments," presented at the 35th Forum for Behavioral Sciences in Family Medicine on 20 September 2014. The goals of the presentation were (1) to teach family medicine behavioral health educators to use both general and problem-specific mental health screening tools (MHSTs) in their work with trainees to help satisfy the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) mandate for behavioral and mental health experience during family medicine residency, (2) to reflect on how MHSTs might be integrated into the flow of family medicine teaching practices, and (3) to exemplify how evidence-based methods of adult education might be used in teaching such content. One general MHST, the Pediatric Symptom Checklist-17 and one problem-specific MHST for each of the four commonest pediatric mental health issues: for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, the Vanderbilt; for Anxiety, the Screen for Childhood Anxiety-Related Emotional Disorders; for Depression, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 for teens; and for Aggression, the Retrospective-Modified Overt Aggression Scale, were practiced at least twice in the context of a clinical vignette. All of the selected MHSTs are free in the public domain and available for download from the website: www.CAPPCNY.org. Participants were asked to reflect on their own office practice characteristics and consider how MHSTs might be integrated into their systems of care. This workshop could be replicated by others wishing to teach the use of MHSTs in primary care settings or teaching programs.

Keywords: Mental health screening; medical education; primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry / education*
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching