Psychiatry News and Blog

Pediatric Support for Mental Health

Stress and depression are found to be highly prevalent among the youth today. As many as 3 in 10 children and youth are under the clutches of mental health problems which directly affects their involvement in various activities at the educational institutions, learning abilities and maintaining proper relationships. Though they tend to visit the primary care doctors as remedial measures, only a few get the proper treatment for their mental health ailments. It usually happens that families show their reluctance in visiting the mental health care practitioners owing to lack of time, transportation, finance as well as stigma.

A brief behavioral therapy (BBT) by the pediatric primary care is apprehended to be the most effective help for the youth with mental ailments according to the researchers at San Diego University. This is evident from the fact that a three-quarter majority of Latino youth responded with notable development in their mental health conditions after being administered with the behavioral therapy.

V.RobinWeersing, a renowned professor in SDSU's Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, states that the prevailing mental health care system is not fit enough for identification and successful treatment of the mental health ailments faced by the youth.185 children and adolescents found to be experiencing mental ailments within the age limit of 8-16, hailing from ethnically distinct backgrounds were subjected to a study at different locations in the offices of various pediatricians in San Diego and Pittsburgh. The study involved half of them being administered with normal mental health care referrals making sure they are following them and the other half being administered with the brief behavioral therapy involving 45-minutes of session every day for 8-12 weeks at the physician's office. The BBT which was administered to the patients did not involve any kind of psychiatric medications but it included tactics that could train them to face the situations boldly that they used to avoid previously and get involved in various academic and curricular activities at school as well as the activities in the family and society. In short, they were trained to face their fear without retreating from anything that flusters them. These activities gradually began to instill in them the confidence to approach any situation and handle it, by doing away with the pessimism.

Upon completion of 16-weeks, it was found out that the patients who followed the normal mental health care referrals exhibited 28% development while the patients undergoing BBT exhibited 57% improvement.

The Latino youth exhibited drastic improvements of 76% development under the BBT intervention and only 7% improvement among those administered with conventional mental health care. The results were published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal.

This proved that the BBT is a practical and effective approach for the successful treatment of the youth experiencing mental ailments without any kind of side effects, the therapy being more promising among Latino youth. It is the best step that can be taken to lead the patient in the right direction!

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