Feasibility of single question mental health surveillance in chronic disease

Why do we need this project? 

Children with chronic medical illnesses (i.e. diabetes, allergy, cystic fibrosis etc.) are at increased risk of developing mental health problems, however there are currently no routine mental health detection systems for this at the RCH.  

In 2020, two new hospital accreditation standards came into effect that require RCH staff to better detect mental health problems in patients and to improve the response to deteriorating mental health in a patient. The approach developed through this pilot will be translated into practice across the RCH and nationally, thereby enhancing paediatric mental health. 

Research question: can a single item screening question accurately identify mental health issues in a paediatric population with chronic illness?   

Our research outcomes were: 

  • carers and children in the Day Medical Unit responded to a single question regarding child mental health and wellbeing  
  • the use of a single question is feasible in a busy hospital unit  
  • a single question asked of parents can detect concerns about children’s mental health 
  • ongoing research will determine how to involve children’s views and understand resource implications of routine screening  

Research team: 

  • Mary White (HSRU) 
  • Rachel Pelly (HSRU)  
  • Jane Le (HSRU) 
  • Lucy Dove (DMU) 
  • Sarah Connolly (Pastoral Care and Social Work) 
  • Alice Morgan (Psychology)  
  • Dave Reid (Psychology) 
  • Dr Ric Haslam (Mental Health Service) 
  • Dr Harriet Hiscock (HSRU) 

Acknowledgement of Country

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At Mental Health Central we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, gather and work. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge all people with a lived or living experience of mental ill-health and recovery. At the Campus, we particularly acknowledge children, young people, families, carers, and supporters. We recognise their vital contribution and value the courage of those who share this unique perspective for the purpose of learning and growing together to achieve better outcomes for the Campus, staff, sector, and all people of lived experience.

Proudly supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation