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Health Bull (Edinb). 2000 May;58(3):162-9.

A review of an outpatient paediatric mental health clinic: what we did and what parents thought of it.

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Child and Family Clinics, Lanarkshire Primary Care NHS Trust, 194 Quarry Street, Hamilton.



To describe the work of a paediatric mental health (PMH) clinic in terms of the types of clients seen and the nature and intensity of interventions used. Also to survey the opinions of parents on issues such as helpfulness and effectiveness, and to tap into issues relating to acceptability and relevance.


Retrospective review of case notes covering a one year period and postal client satisfaction questionnaire.


Children's wing of a large general hospital.


The case notes of the 54 children referred were analysed. Postal questionnaires were sent to 53 parents of the 41 children who were treated over the targeted 12 months plus a further 12 families who were treated in the six months following.


Forty one children with a broad range of paediatric difficulties were treated with their parents. Families were seen relatively promptly after referral and interventions were typically brief involving advice and counselling for parents and most commonly behavioural work with children. The results from the parent satisfaction questionnaire suggested that despite some initial wariness and uncertainty, parents found the clinic to be helpful. A small, but non significant decrease in rated symptom severity was found following treatment, but even in those cases where symptoms persisted or increased, parents still tended to report their experience as being helpful and from their comments seemed to value the clinic. Although parents seemed somewhat intimidated and uncertain of its relevance before attending, their comments suggested that they had benefited from talking about their child's difficulties and gaining understanding within a supportive and friendly environment.


The PMH clinic was found to provide a brief, focused intervention for children and their families which was regarded as helpful by parents, even when the outcome was not necessarily a reduction in symptom severity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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