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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


BUHAGIAR, Kurt  and  CASSAR, Joseph R.. Common mental health disorders in children and adolescents in primary care: A survey of knowledge, skills and attitudes among general practitioners in a newly developed European country. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.3, pp.145-158. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: General Practitioners (GPs) are generally the first point of contact for children and adolescents with mental health problems. This study investigates the confidence, beliefs, and knowledge of GPs regarding common mental health problems in youngsters. Methods: A self-designed questionnaire was distributed to nearly all registered GPs in a middle-income European country in order to address the aims of the study. Results: Response rate was 58%. Many GPs reported relatively low confidence on a number of issues, including diagnosis (70.0%), initiating management (86.6%), assessing the child-caregiver relationship (72.0%) and the ability to distinguish between normal and pathological behavioural problems (75.1%). However, GPs showed greater inclination to conduct follow-up care after assessment by specialist services (53.5%). Few GPs considered psychosocial interventions to play a role in the treatment of anxiety disorders (18.5%), hyperkinetic disorders (24.2%), depression (22.9%) and disruptive behaviour disorders (18.5%) and this largely came from younger GPs (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Confidence of GPs in the management of youngsters with mental health problems is generally low. They may require significant back-up from specialist services in the form of both training and clinical collaboration.

Keywords : General practitioner; Child and adolescent mental health; Self-evaluation; Skills; Training.

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