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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Mental Health Aspects of Emergency Medical Services for Children: Summary of a Consensus Conference
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Objective: To address the mental health needs of children involved in emergency medical services (EMS).

Methods: A multidisciplinary consensus conference convened to identify mental health needs of children and their families related to pediatric medical emergencies, to examine the impact of psychological aspects of emergencies on recovery and satisfaction with care, and to delineate research questions related to mental
health aspects of medical emergencies involving children.

Results: The consensus group found that psychological and behavioral factors affect physical as well as emotional recovery after medical emergencies. Children’s reactions are critically affected by age and developmental level, characteristics of the emergency medical event, and parent reactions. As frontline health care providers, EMS staff members are in a pivotal position to recognize and effectively manage the mental health needs of patients and their families.

Conclusions: Ecological changes in emergency departments, such as linkages to mental health follow-up services, training of EMS providers and mental health professionals, and focused research that provides an empirical basis for practice, are necessary components for improving current standards of health care. (Authors)