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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(8):1594

School-Based Mental Health Services

The Committee on School Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a new policy statement entitled, “School-Based Mental Health Services.” The statement appears in the June 2004 issue of Pediatrics and is available online at

Because up to 20 percent of children and adolescents have mental health problems, physicians must work closely with school-based programs to improve access to mental health resources, according to the AAP. During the past 20 years, the percentage of youth with psychosocial problems has grown from 7 to 19 percent. The AAP recommends that mental health programs be an integral part of a school’s environment, and that these programs work closely with a child’s primary care physician or “medical home” to ensure optimal care. Strict confidentiality is critical to maintaining a successful mental health program, except in instances when the safety of students, family members, or staff is threatened.

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