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Pediatrics. 2019 Apr;143(4). pii: e20182418. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2418. Epub 2019 Mar 15.

Increasing Mental Health Engagement From Primary Care: The Potential Role of Family Navigation.

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Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Children's National Health System, Washington, District of Columbia;
Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia.
Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Children's National Health System, Washington, District of Columbia.
School of Medicine.
Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia; and.


Early engagement in mental health intervention is critical, yet the vast majority of children who are experiencing mental health concerns are not receiving needed services. Pediatric primary care clinics have been recognized as an ideal setting in which to identify and address mental health problems early, although engagement in mental health services within primary care and in community-based settings remains low. Navigators, or individuals with experience in navigating the mental health system, have been highlighted as promising partners in efforts to improve engagement in mental health services. Navigation has a growing body of research support among adults and in targeting medical concerns, but there has been limited research on integrating family navigators into pediatric primary care settings to address mental health concerns. Despite this gap in the evidence base, we believe there is significant promise for the use of this model in addressing children's mental health needs. In this report, we discuss factors contributing to high levels of unmet mental health needs and low levels of engagement in mental health services, the role that navigators can play in increasing engagement in mental health care, and implications and recommendations related to integrating mental health-focused family navigators into pediatric primary care settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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