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1055 Bringing our HEEADSSS together - prioritising the voices of children and young people
  1. Paediatric Research Across the Midlands (PRAM) Network


Collaborators: Leah Simpson, Margaret Williams, Chloe Batchford, Alexandra Davison, Pamela Dawson, Ashley Holt, Shaheen Ghumra, Anandi Singh, Kiran Raju, Marwa Alkotamy, Mohammed Haque, Luke Hailston, Alice Packham, Rachel O’Sullivan, Laura Kelly, Lauren Brace, Jayne Thompson, Alec Rapson, Samuel Danaher, Samuel Jack, Teim Eyo, Kirsten Brown, Mica Skilton, Moataz Badawy, Ahmed Abdella, Joshua Meremikwu, Mofoluwake Faturoti, Mushfiq Sahebzada, Priscilla Wong, Alexis Perry, Thomas Baird, Marianne Yousif, Lesley Peers, Helen McDermott, Stuart Hartshorn

Background Children and young people (CYP) are increasingly attending acute paediatric services due to mental health difficulties. 50% of all mental health problems are established by 14 years of age and 75% by 24 years. Underinvestment in mental health has been a longstanding concern, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic through extra stress caused by prolonged school closures, social isolation and a lack of access to usual support services.

In 2020, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health highlighted that suicide is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales for children aged 5–19 years, emphasising the need to prioritise and improve mental health. Paediatricians must develop the knowledge and skills to identify, support and make appropriate referrals for common mental health problems. HEEADSSS is a well-known psychosocial screening tool with eight domains, used to identify potential or actual harm.

Objectives Establish whether CYP within the West Midlands, UK are receiving adequate psychosocial assessments on hospital admission and whether healthcare professionals are signposting to relevant services.

The primary outcome was the percentage of CYP with documented evidence of being offered a HEEADSSS assessment.

Methods A regional prospective audit across nine hospitals was performed for three days per week from 4st -31st January 2021. A standardised proforma was used to gather information from medical records of all CYP aged >12 years admitted to paediatric wards. Pooled data were analysed using Microsoft Excel.

Results 231 patients were included. The median age was 14 years old (range 12–17 years). 163(71%) were female. 202(87%) had no known communication difficulties. 53(23%) were known to CAMHS and 43(19%) to social care. 78/231(34%) were admitted with mental health as the presenting complaint.

35/231(15%) were documented to be given the opportunity to be spoken to alone; 29(82%) accepted.

No department had a psychosocial screening tool embedded in the admission document.

158/231(69%) had less than half of the eight domains completed. The median was 1.5 (range 0–8). Home and education/employment were most frequently asked (37–42%). Eating/exercise, drugs, safety, sexual activity and other activities were the least frequently asked (14–27%). The proportion of those with a concern identified when asked ranged from 18%-39%.

However, in self-harm, depression and suicide, only 85/231(37%) were asked, with concern identified in 87%.

78 patients were admitted for mental health; 28(39%) had less than half the domains completed (median 5, range 0–8). Drug use 46/78(59%), safety and sexual activity (both 38/78(49%)) were inconsistently documented in this group, with concerns identified in 20–26% of those asked.

90/231(39%) were referred to CAMHS, social care, counselling, online or other support services. 16/77(21%) patients with a concern documented in at least one domain were not referred onwards.

Conclusions This study demonstrates poor implementation of the HEEADSSS tool on admission, across a wide geographical area. Increased utilisation of a psychosocial screening tool would provide more opportunities to CYP to discuss their psychosocial health and receive appropriate support, in line with national guidance standards. Further work is underway addressing barriers to using HEEADSSS, considering electronic or embedded tools and signposting to relevant services.

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