Achieving the Pediatric Mental Health Competencies

Pediatrics. 2019 Nov;144(5):e20192758. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-2758. Epub 2019 Oct 21.


Mental health disorders affect 1 in 5 children; however, the majority of affected children do not receive appropriate services, leading to adverse adult outcomes. To meet the needs of children, pediatricians need to take on a larger role in addressing mental health problems. The accompanying policy statement, "Mental Health Competencies for Pediatric Practice," articulates mental health competencies pediatricians could achieve to improve the mental health care of children; yet, the majority of pediatricians do not feel prepared to do so. In this technical report, we summarize current initiatives and resources that exist for trainees and practicing pediatricians across the training continuum. We also identify gaps in mental health clinical experience and training and suggest areas in which education can be strengthened. With this report, we aim to stimulate efforts to address gaps by summarizing educational strategies that have been applied and could be applied to undergraduate medical education, residency and fellowship training, continuing medical education, maintenance of certification, and practice quality improvement activities to achieve the pediatric mental health competencies. In this report, we also articulate the research questions important to the future of pediatric mental health training and practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services
  • Mental Health*
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Societies, Medical
  • Specialty Boards