The rates of mental health (MH) conditions among the pediatric population are rising steadily (Abramson, 2022; Clark et al., 2019). Given that MH symptoms and concerns frequently present in the emergency department (ED)-particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic-the ED setting may be a practical and effective setting to implement screening measures to identify youth at risk for mental illness and suicide (Leeb et al., 2020; Leff et al., 2021). This integrative systematic review examined the extent to which the HEADS-ED, one specific psychosocial screening measure, has been administered in the ED setting with youth and which healthcare professionals (HCPs) have administered this measure. Furthermore, the authors examined three secondary research questions addressing the potential ability of the HEADS-ED to (a) be implemented universally in the ED and to detect MH symptoms among the pediatric population, (b) assist with disposition planning, and (c) impact policy standards. Following PRISMA guidelines, the authors identified four articles that met inclusion criteria and passed quality appraisal from a total of 1,132. Findings revealed the HEADS-ED has been administered by ED physicians and crisis workers in the ED with youth presenting with MH concerns (Cappelli, Gray, et al., 2012; Cappelli, Zemek, et al., 2020; Leon et al., 2019; MacWilliams et al., 2017). The HEADS-ED can detect MH symptoms and provide targeted treatment recommendations. The authors discuss these findings in the context of practice, policy, and future research, highlighting the need for continued efforts to close the gap between MH assessment in the ED and follow-up care.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Children--Mental health; Medical screening; Pediatrics--Mental illness

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Susan Hall