Pediatric Mental Health screening tool/scale discussion

Pediatric Mental Health screening tool/scale discussion

The chosen Pediatric mental health screening tool is the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC). The tool has three versions, with the first incorporating the parent-complete version that involves the parents filling in the 35 questions within the questionnaire. The other versions are the youth self-report (Y-PSC), which has 35 questions and has been embraced by most states under Medicaid programs like Texas (Jellinek & Murphy, 2021). Lastly, the latest PSC version is the PSC-17 which integrates 17 questions, and most reports indicate that it yields higher results in detecting the behavioral and emotional issues in pediatric patients.

Appropriate Pediatric Age for the Tool

The tool is more effective for children between 4 years and 17 years of age.



The PSC’s questions are rated using the terms “never,” “sometimes,” and “often” with scores of 0,1 and 2. When calculating the patient’s total score, the pediatrician will count every question’s score to find the total. When the total scores of children between the age of 6 to 16 years range at 28 and above, the interpretation is that the patient has psychological impairment (Elzaree et al., 2018). On the same, for children between the age of 4 and 5 and whose total score is 24 and above, the pediatrician will also diagnose them with psychological dysfunction. On the other hand, Y-PSC’s score is usually 30 and above. Hence, once the pediatrician notices that some questions have not been answered, these areas are awarded a zero score. However, parents or other laypeople need to consult a  registered nurse or a mental health specialist like a psychiatrist to evaluate the health quality of a patient before making any assumptions concerning the outcomes (Elzaree et al., 2018). It will also be necessary to stay alert concerning false negatives and positives, so only professional healthcare providers must interpret the Y-PSC and PSC’s positive scores to avoid misdiagnosis. That is to ensure that the healthcare professionals assess other factors that may be essential in diagnosis. In contrast, the pediatrician must rule out the questionnaire as invalid if there are four unanswered questions or more.

Management of Abnormal Scores

According to Jellinek and Murphy (2021), Y-PSC, and PSC, previous studies show that if two in every three adolescents and children are identified with screen positive of moderate to serious psychosocial functioning impairment, one adolescent or child is incorrectly identified to possess mild impairment though only a few children who later show no impairment or very little impairment. On the other hand, when data on Y-PSC and PSC projects a negative screen, it probably shows that the scores are 95 % accurate even though the data is statistically adequate since it means one in every 20 adolescents and children rated to have adequate functioning may be impaired (Elzaree et al., 2018). Therefore, the inevitably false-negative and false-positive screens tend to underscore the importance of experienced clinical judgment when interpreting the PSC scores. Hence, before making any interpretation of the test scores, mostly for parents, it is always advisable to ensure that they seek help from a licensed healthcare professional on the child’s score to make informed decisions.



There are various ways that the pediatrician can offer the questionnaire, including before the visit, where the patient’s parents can receive the form electronically, especially if the healthcare has electronic health record and email services or through paper mail. Also, these questionnaires can be accessed through the check-ins, where the patients’ can be requested to fill in before visiting the licensed healthcare professional and during the pediatrician visit.


Elzaree, F. A., Shehata, M. A., El Wakeel, M. A., El-Alameey, I. R., AbuShady, M. M., & Helal, S. I. (2018). Adaptive functioning and psychosocial problems in children with beta thalassemia major. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences6(12), 2337. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2018.367

Jellinek, M., & Murphy, J. M. (2021). Screening for psychosocial functioning as the eighth vital sign. JAMA pediatrics175(1), 13-14. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2005


Discussion Board Post #4: Pediatric Mental Health Screening Tools/Scale

Post and discuss 1 standardized pediatric mental health screening tool/questionnaire under discussion board: introduce the tool, appropriate pediatric age for the tool, scoring, and management of abnormal scores [(include reference(s)].

I would like the Pediatric mental health screening tool/scale to be:
Pediatric Symptom Checklist. There are 3 versions of it, the original 35 question version that comes in a parent-completed version (PSC) and the youth self-report (Y-PSC), also consisting of 35 questions. This version is endorsed by Bright Futures and is used by many medicaid state programs such as Texas Health Steps. Then the most recent version is the PSC-17, consisting of 17 questions. It was derived from the PSC-35 and is said to yield higher detection rates in pediatrics.

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