Psychiatric disorders in children attending a primary mental health service
A number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) have established primary mental health worker (PMHW) posts. Their objective is to enhance service provision on the interface between primary care and specialists services. This is to be achieved by a combination of direct assessment and intervention, in addition to consultation, training, liaison, and joint work with Tier 1 professionals.;The aim of this study was to describe socio-demographic characteristics, and the rates of psychiatric disorders of the children attending the primary mental Health Service. The K-SDAS-P IVR semi-structured interview, the Eyberg Behavioural Inventory, and the Parental Stress Index were used to collect this information. During the year of the study, 427 children were referred to the Primary Mental Health Service. Of these referrals, 117 (27.4%) were allocated for direct work. From the 117 cases, 97 children and their families agreed to participate in the study. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) was the most common diagnosis. Other diagnoses were Anxiety (39.2%), Mood (35.1%) and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorders (28.9%). There was a substantial rate of psychiatric co-morbidity, as 61.8% of the children who participated in the study fulfilled diagnostic criteria for more than one diagnosis. The study also found that 76% of their parents had clinically significant stress levels.;It is concluded that children and adolescents attending Primary mental health Services often have complex psychiatric disorders, which may be masked by behavioural problems. Training in the recognition of likely psychiatric co-morbidity and integration of PMHWs in specialist CAMHS are important implications in the planning and implementation of such services.