HealthDay News — Only 4 in 10 parents say their teen’s primary care provider asks about mental health concerns at all check-ups, according to the results of a survey by the University of Michigan Health CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

A national sample of 1201 parents of children aged 11 to 18 were asked about their views and experiences with screening and care for mental health issues.

The poll found that most parents (95%) felt somewhat or very confident they would recognize a possible mental health issue in their adolescent, saying the following signs would prompt their concern: frequent comments about being worried or anxious (65%); moodiness (64%); decreased interaction with family (63%); drop in grades (61%); or a change in sleep (53%) or eating patterns (49 percent). Yet, less than half of parents (43%) said they would book an appointment with a health care provider in response to a possible mental health issue. Almost two-thirds of parents say their health care provider always (41%) or sometimes (22%) asks about mental health concerns at check-ups. Of parents reporting their teen has seen a mental health care specialist (27%), 46% say it was difficult getting care.


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“The pandemic caused significant stress and social disruption for kids that likely exacerbated these problems, as we’re seeing a growing number of young people face mental health concerns,” Mott Poll codirector Gary L. Freed, MD, said in a statement. “This places a heavier burden on parents, health providers, and other trusted adults in their lives to be aware of potential warning signs.”

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