Background: There are very few mental health services in Pakistan. In 2002, the Department of Psychiatry at Aga Khan University Hospital started a separate clinic for children under the age of 15 years to meet the population needs. This service took direct referrals from other physicians as well as from parents and schools. Method: A DSM-IV based semi-structured interview with a uniform written format was used for an initial evaluation by a child psychiatrist. Data regarding demographic characteristics, referral source, diagnoses and treatment were collected. Results: A total of 290 new referrals were made to the clinic over 3 years. The most common reason for referral was aggressive behaviour, although this possibly masked other kinds of mental health problems, as indicated by the assessment. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder was the most frequent diagnosis, made in 25% of children. Conclusions: Despite the limited resources and the high level of need in developing countries, resources can be used effectively within the framework of their health and educational systems, so maximising protective factors within their communities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health