Objectives Increasingly, paediatricians see children and adolescents with mental health concerns in a variety of clinical settings.1 While mental health features on paediatric postgraduate training curricula nationally and internationally, previous research suggests paediatricians continue to feel ill-equipped in the assessment and management of child and adolescent mental health, in part due to insufficient training.2 This has been associated with suboptimal coping behaviours, such as clinicians not addressing mental health issues when they arise.2
To improve access to child and adolescent mental health education, and therefore, improve mental health care for children and young people, we introduced a free child and adolescent mental health webinar series via the Paediatric Mental Health Association.
Methods Webinar topics were decided by considering mental health presentations frequently seen in clinical practice, and using the mental health themes highlighted in the RCPCH general and sub-specialty paediatric postgraduate curricula. The webinars were initially delivered fortnightly and then monthly by subject experts, including paediatricians, psychologists, and psychiatrists. While webinars were primarily aimed at paediatricians, all healthcare professionals with an interest in child mental health were welcomed.
Subject matter webinars were interspersed with webinars to promote mental health paediatrics as a specialty, enabling more junior staff to interact with those established in the field. Some webinars were held in conjunction with other special interest groups. Each webinar was evaluated using qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. In addition, attendees were asked to consider whether the webinars would change their clinical practice, and how this may occur, in keeping with level three of Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model.
Results Between June 2021 and June 2022, 18 webinars took place. There were usually 25–40 attendees from across the UK and beyond, and across different healthcare disciplines.
The webinars consistently scored highly for relevance (94.2%) and utility (93.5%), and generally scored highly for promoting change in practice (79%). When considering how the webinars would influence practice change, qualitative data suggests this would be via improved communication, clinical knowledge acquisition, development of personal clinical practice, and improved team working. Qualitative data also indicated some attendees felt attendance and engagement in webinars led to the formation of a new community, with one attendee stating the webinars ‘really made me feel like I had found my people’.
Conclusions The webinars were introduced to improve access to child and adolescent mental health education for paediatricians. We provided curriculum-aligned teaching and offered a space where staff interested in child and adolescent mental health could meet other like-minded individuals. The data collected suggests the webinars promoted behavioural change via a range of means, which we hope will translate into improved mental health care for children and young people.
Role of paediatricians in supporting children and young people’s mental health- position statement. https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/role-paediatricians-supporting-children-young-peoples-mental-health-position-statement [Accessed 15/07/2022], RCPCH, 2020.
The current and ideal state of mental health training: pediatric resident perspectives, Hampton et al, 2015.
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