HEADS-ED: A 21st Century Paediatric Mental Health Diagnostic Tool
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27 January 2016, by , in News, No comments

The innovative HEADS-ED mental health diagnostic tool was created in response to a rise in paediatric mental health presentations in hospital emergency departments. This specific and validated tool can be used as part of a multi-disciplinary assessment and disposition planning.

Developed at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Dr. Cappelli was the lead researcher of the tool that is now used in emergency rooms across Canada to identify young people who may be in crisis. CHEO receives 4,000 visits a year from children with mental health problems. The tool is used to screen and determine each child’s needs and then can be used to identify what resources may be available to help. The goal is to identify who is at risk and to find a way to intervene as quickly as possible.

The HEADS-ED diagnostic tool enables physicians to take a psychosocial history which aids in decision making regarding patient disposition.

Seven variables are incorporated into the use of the HEADS-ED tool:

  • H: Home
  • E: Education
  • A: Activities and peers
  • D: Drugs and alcohol
  • S: Suicidality
  • E: Emotions, behaviours, thought disturbance
  • D: Discharge resources

These psychosocial items are used to classify patients according to the action required:

(0) No action needed
(1) Needs action but not immediate
(2) Needs immediate action

The HEADS-ED is a validated interview tool that makes it easy for physicians to identify children and youth with mental health issues, as well as find local help and resources. It can be completed online at heads-ed.com or printed paper and pen format.

The HEADS-ED tool is now being used in hospitals and healthcare centres across Canada. The HEADS-ED was created by Dr. Mario Cappelli and the HEADS-ED development team: Heather Bragg, Paula Cloutier, Guy Doucet, Elizabeth Glennie, Dr. Clare Gray, Dr. Mona Jabbour, Dr. John Lyons, and Dr. Roger Zemek.

You can learn more about the HEADS-ED, and how it can be used in your practice. Try out the free, online HEADS-ED tool.

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