Mental health concerns and childhood chronic physical health conditions: a narrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background and Objective: Children who have a chronic physical health condition, whether diagnosed at birth or acquired later in life, are at increased risk for mental health issues compared to the general population. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the common mental health concerns related to chronic physical health conditions of children and youth and to consider some of the ways to address them. Methods: This review is based on decades of work as a practicing clinician and investigator in the field of chronic conditions and children's mental health. Key Content and Findings: The vast majority do well. The ongoing health condition may be viewed as a stressor that places extra challenges on both the child and his or her parents and requires parents and care professionals to help the child become resilient. Physical and mental health affect one another and therefore must both be addressed in an integrated manner. Doing this requires an honest and trusting relationship and partnership with the child and parents as they are key in the care and treatment of the child. Conclusions: Proactive involvement by the clinician or clinical team in the care of the child in a way that integrates both mental and physical health care is highly effective in helping each child to develop emotionally and to maximize their ability to function at their full potential and become a functioning member of society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalPediatric Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Chronic conditions
  • functioning
  • integrated care
  • interventions
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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