Importance of Child Psychiatric Epidemiology in Developing Access to Care for Mental Health Problems


EHESP EA 4057 Paris Descartes Fondation Deniker, Paris, France


Background. In the United States, only half of the children with mental health problems receive mental health services . In Europe, the proportion of children with unmet need is even greater. The surprisingly high level of unmet need found in countries that have well-developed health care systems raises concern and stimulates questions about the status of unmet need in less affluent countries . In addition differences in service use by children from the same country can also be expected from diverse socioeconomic groups together with individual factors, such as parental psychological distress , parental education level, and marital status 

Methods. To catch up unmet needs for children mental health disorders , epidemiological surveys are suited and relatively easily to set up. We propose to present a set of instruments easily translatable in different languages together with a cost effective manner of collecting data trough school sampling procedures in a two step process by schools randomization followed by randomisation of children by class in each grade. The method has been successfully used in eight European countries collecting date on mental health , risk factors and access to care to thousands of children.

Three informants were used: parents, teachers and children. Instruments were selected according to the easiness to translate them: SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) for parents and teachers and DI (Dominic Interactive) a video type self administered instrument for children. In addition Parenting Scales were included measuring laxness, over-reactivity , verbosity, autonomy and care together with main parent’s socio-demographic variables , parental psychological distress (MH5) and child’ school achievements as evaluated by teachers. 

Results. Results will be given on feasibility of such surveys : successes and challenges plus prevalence, main risk factors and unmet needs.