Article

Unmet mental health needs in pediatric epilepsy: Insights from providers

Division of Adult Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Ángeles, California, United States
Epilepsy & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.06). 12/2007; 11(3):401-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.05.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Eighteen pediatric neurologists and 18 pediatricians completed a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire on their knowledge of, attitudes toward, and management of the behavioral, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of pediatric epilepsy, before and after a lecture on this topic. They also responded to questions about possible barriers to mental health care of children with epilepsy. The brief educational intervention modified the knowledge/attitudes of pediatricians compared with pediatric neurologists on the impact of epilepsy on behavior and cognition in children with epilepsy. However, there were no between-group differences in how providers perceived their competence to assess behavioral and cognitive comorbid conditions in pediatric epilepsy. Responses to open-ended questions suggested insufficient mental health coverage for and expertise on pediatric epilepsy, resistance of mental health clinicians to treat children with epilepsy, and the stigma of mental health as possible barriers to mental health care in children with epilepsy. In addition to the need for provider education about the behavioral and cognitive comorbid conditions of pediatric epilepsy, these findings emphasize the importance of examining alternative routes to increasing mental health care for children with epilepsy.

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