Roadmap to Resilience, Emotional and Mental Health

Having a chronic condition can cause stress and trouble coping for pediatric patients and their families. It may also make it harder to take good care of themselves or make their symptoms worse.

Roadmap Project logo.

The American Board of Pediatrics is working with patients, parents and the Learning Networks Program of The Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence to:

  • Increase awareness about the need to provide emotional and mental health support for children with chronic conditions and their families
  • Build will and a sense of urgency to address this issue
  • Educate families, pediatricians, sub-specialists, trainees, networks, and organizations about existing tools and strategies

Studies show that many pediatricians and pediatric trainees feel unprepared to prevent, identify, or treat behavioral and mental health problems. Yet, too many children, adolescents, and young adults today are struggling with these issues, and the prevalence of diagnoses is increasing. The Roadmap Project Change Package aims to help enhance awareness of and ability to address these issues, and is targeted for Learning Network teams (including clinicians, improvement specialists, patients and parents) working to improve care for patients and families living with chronic pediatric conditions. Within the Change Package, you will find the Model for Improvement, a Key Driver Diagram to guide your efforts, and multiple tools, resources and examples to help your teams begin the conversation and the journey to resilience, emotional and mental well being for pediatric patients and their families.

Some may find talking about emotional and mental health challenging. To support clinician comfort and confidence in initiating these important conversations, we developed a set of four Example Conversations around common touchpoints with patients and families — diagnosis (younger child and teenager), routine surveillance visits, and introduction of universal teen depression screening as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Each was developed with input from parents, child psychologists, and pediatric specialists, and highlights key components of the discussion, provides sample language, and offers considerations to promote positive interaction. Although these example conversations are not condition-specific, they are suitable for use with a variety of chronic conditions.

To hear why families and clinicians are partnering to improve the resilience and emotional health of children with chronic conditions and their families, watch the Roadmap video, “How Are You Doing?”

The Roadmap Project is funded by the American Board of Pediatrics Foundation.

Learn more about the Roadmap Project. Tools and resources will be added to the site as they become available.

Questions? Contact the Roadmap project team.

How Roadmap Helps

“I think having physicians who have a value for mental health and are willing to initiate hard conversations with their patients is super important. When I see clinicians who value mental health, I also find these people are more likely to recognize our overwhelming treatment burden, people who want to see the challenges we face as a family and people appreciate my child's need for comfort / pain management and safety when it comes to medical procedures.”

− Parent of a son with cystic fibrosis