NAPNAP Revises Position Statement on Integration of Mental Health Care in Primary Care Settings
NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2020 – Today, one in five children lives with a mental/behavioral health disorder and approximately 50% of lifelong mental health disorders begin by the age of 14, making mental health a significant public health concern. Early detection and intervention are critically important in children. To promote the best possible outcomes, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) has revised its position statement on the integration of mental health care in primary care settings.
The position statement asserts that the holistic, family-centered, longitudinal approach of care delivered at the pediatric primary care level can lead to early identification of mental health issues and behavioral factors contributing to mental health issues of children. Pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses have the education and skills to meet the increasing demand for pediatric mental health care integration in primary care settings.
“There is a stigma associated with mental health that leads to a reluctance by families to talk to primary care providers about these concerns,” said NAPNAP President Jessica Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP. “Nurse practitioners in pediatric primary care need to treat every visit as an opportunity to screen a child’s mental health and provide families with the information and resources they need.”
According to the position statement, in order to provide comprehensive mental and/or behavioral health services to all children and adolescents, pediatric-focused nurse practitioners should: use a lifespan approach to provide mental and behavioral health promotion; integrate research findings that optimize physical and mental health in childhood and adolescence lays the foundation for physical and mental well-being in adulthood; support the development of strong parental capacities; integrate anticipatory guidance, prevention strategies standardized screening and early identification into routine primary pediatric care; educate children and families about the early signs and symptoms of mental and behavioral health disorders and provide strategies to promote health; implement evidence-based interventions for common mental and behavioral health problems in primary care; promote additional education and training to obtain specialty certification in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children and adolescents with mental health disorders; advocate for reimbursement policies that support parity for mental health services provided to children in primary care settings; refer children and adolescents with complex mental/behavioral health problems to competent mental health specialists; strengthen pediatric nurse practitioner programs by adding didactic and clinical experiences in mental health assessment and promotion, early and evidence-based interventions and the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders in children and adolescents; educate the public about pediatric mental health conditions and support legislative and other interdisciplinary efforts that aim to bolster children’s mental/behavioral health needs at the local, state, and federal levels.
This position statement was published in the September/October edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. The full statement can be accessed here.
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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health. www.NAPNAP.org