Assessing children’s mental health concerns

New tool from King's College London.

A new tool that captures children’s perspectives on their own mental health is now available to download free online. Researchers at King’s College London have developed PSYCHLOPS Kids in the wake of their work on Psychological Outcome Profiles (PSYCHLOPS) for adults, which was adopted by the World Health Organization in its Problem Management Plus programme in post-conflict communities.

Dr Emma Godfrey, a Senior Lecturer in health psychology (King’s College London) was part of the original multi-disciplinary team which developed adult PSYCHLOPS in the early 2000s with Mark Ashworth. She said the new measure for children showed higher responsiveness to change than a standardised measure and had demonstrated good validity and reliability.

‘PSYCHLOPS Kids was based on the original adult version and was developed with Roundabout, a UK charity which provides drama therapy for children within a psychological and educational context. We adapted adult PSYCHLOPS so that it was suitable for use with children aged 7 to 13 years. We formed an expert group to modify the measure, consisting of qualified drama therapists, clinical psychologists and primary healthcare professionals, and conducted several pilots using the new measure to make sure it was user-friendly.’

As a result of this work some modifications were made, including the addition of emoticon faces instead of Likert scales and giving the young people more space to express themselves using writing or art. It can be used in many different contexts including schools, in specialist mental health provision or by therapists in private practice. It is also being translated for an evaluation of phone interventions with Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon.  

‘We believe PSYCHLOPS Kids has the potential to broaden the evaluative framework for mental health outcome measurement by focusing assessment more directly on the issues of concern to children, which can include areas not captured by expert-generated measures, such as bullying and school and family problems.’

To download PSYCHLOPS Kids, and the version for adults, see www.psychlops.org.uk

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