Empowering nurses to help diagnose mental health issues among children, adolescents

(Physorg.com) Within the health care system, children and adolescents with mental health and psychiatric conditions often go undiagnosed.

A brand new textbook – co-edited by a Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies faculty member – seeks to change that scenario by strengthening the relationship between advanced practice nurses who specialize in either the psychiatric-mental health or primary health care fields.

“Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health: A Resource for Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Primary Care Practitioners in Nursing”– published in March 2012 by Wiley-Blackwell (ISBN#9780813807867) – is an approximately 550-page resource written and peer reviewed by more than 70 nurse experts.

The co-editors are Edilma L. Yearwood, Ph.D., PMHCNS, BC, FAAN, associate professor of nursing at Georgetown and editorial board member of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing; Geraldine S. Pearson, Ph.D., PMHCNS, BC, FAAN, past president of the International Society of Psychiatric Nurses and editor-in-chief of the journal Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, and Jamesetta A. Newland, Ph.D., FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, clinical associate professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at New York University College of Nursing and editor-in-chief of The Nurse Practitioner: The American Journal of Primary Healthcare.

“The reality is that there are not enough child psychiatric providers to meet the burgeoning needs of the pediatric population for mental health services both in the United States and worldwide,” the co-editors write in the book’s preface. “Primary care is at the forefront of service provision and, as such, can play a significant role in mental health early case finding and supportive linkages to treatment.”

The book is divided into four sections, including assessment, treatment, special populations, and special issues. Among the chapter authors are several NHS faculty members:

  • Kathryn K. Ellis, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, assistant professor and director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, co-authored a chapter on, “Collaborative Treatment With Primary Care.”
  • Jean Nelson Farley, MSN, RN, PNP-BC, CRRN, instructor of nursing, co-authored chapters on, “Autism Spectrum Disorder” and “Chronic and Palliative Care Pediatric Populations.”
  • Joan Burggraf Riley, MS, MSN, FNP-BC, FAAN, assistant professor of human science and nursing, co-authored a chapter on, “Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents.”
  • Sarah B. Vittone, RN, MSN, MA, assistant professor of nursing, co-authored a chapter on, “Legal and Ethical Issues.”
  • Edilma L. Yearwood, Ph.D., PMHCNS, BC, FAAN, co-authored chapters on, “Child, Adolescent, and Family Development,” “Mood Dysregulation Disorders,” “Deliberate Self-Harm: Nonsuicidal Self-Injury and Suicide in Children and Adolescents,” “Nonpharmacological Treatment Modalities: Play and Group Therapies,” and “Influence of Culture/Needs of Immigrant Children.”
  • Additionally, Jason Roffenbender, MS, research associate, provided research assistance for the book project.

The co-editors note that the book is intended to raise awareness in primary care practitioners, who can assess behavioral health issues and then work collaboratively with child and adolescent psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners to make sure that all children and adolescents receive the treatment they need.

“Primary care nurses are in the unique position to have long-term relationships with children, adolescents, and their family,” they write in the preface. “They can be the supportive bridge and catalyst to ensure that mental health treatment is both destigmatized and accessed.”