Peachtree Park Pediatrics has implemented a confidential and comprehensive adolescent health screen for teens and young adults 14 and up in our office called the "Behavioral Health Works". The screen was piloted at the renowned Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and now is utilized in their ER and in over 50 primary care offices.
The questionnaire covers 13 key domains: school, family, substance abuse, safety, demographics, medical, nutrition/eating, depression, anxiety, suicide, trauma, psychosis, and bullying. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is done on a tablet. Analysis shows it is a reliable and valid tool for measuring adolescent and young adult behavioral health. It scores risk behaviors and identifies strengths so that your doctor can facilitate conversation and referrals to mental health professionals if needed.
Because the screen is confidential, parents will be asked to leave the room so the teen can fill out the screen alone. The doctor will ask the parent/guardian to leave the room at some point during the exam so that he/she can discuss the results of the screen in an open and honest manner with your teen. If concerns arise during this discussion, the pediatrician may discuss them with the parent/guardian if the teenager consents. The pediatrician will always alert the parent/guardian if the teen is at risk for harm to themselves or others, or if there are any safety concerns.
We never want to miss an opportunity to help a child when they are in our office. We are aware that we may only have one chance a year to capture those teenagers who are struggling or thinking about suicide. We know mental health issues are at times difficult to talk about, and we have seen in real life how this particular screen has helped identify at risk teens and facilitate appropriate care and follow up.
We are hopeful that you as the parent will see this survey as an opportunity and not as a burden when you come in for your teen’s annual check-up. Together, we are optimistic that we can open the lines of communication and tackle any issues that may arise.