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Primary Care Liaison

Behaviour or emotional problems

  • This pre-referral guideline covers behavioural or emotional problems in children from 0 -18 years of age.

    Initial work-up


    • Standard history and physical exam. Include history from parents/ caregivers regarding onset and course of symptoms and family history of similar problems.
    • Consider both internalising and externalising behaviour problems, parenting skills, parental mental health, social factors, family dysfunction (e.g.abuse) school problems.Consider possibility of co-morbidities e.g. learning disabilities, developmental disorders.
    • Consider administration of: PEDS Screening Tool
    • If concerned about psychosis refer urgently to RCH Mental Health Services: Western CAMHS 1800-445511,or Southern Health tel 9594 1300or other regional CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service).

    When to refer

    • Significant parent concern PEDS Screening Tool 
    • Problem difficult to define.
    • Response to simple behavioural measures not effective.
    • Medication may be considered.
    • Has co-morbid symptoms that require special assessment or interventions.
    • If suicidal or danger of self harm refer to Emergency Department or call the Crisis Assessment Team.  

    Information needed

    • Demographic data.
    • Birth, developmental and medical history.
    • Family and social history.
    • Copies of previous mental health, language, cognitive, audiology assessments.
    • Treatments: recommended and delivered.
    • Response to treatment.
    • Information regarding previous medication interventions.
    Referral form Download (Word)
    Parent handout Download (pdf)


    Raising Children Network for parents to access for evidence based interventions for simple and common problems to trial then return for review after a month 

    Australian Psychology Association Finding a psychologist if preparing a mental health care plan is part of treatment either prior to or whilst waiting for a referral to a paediatrician

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    Contact information

    Clinical advice


    Centre for Community Child Health:

    (03) 9345 5466

    Mental Health Intake:

    1800 445511

    Centre for Adolescent  Health:

    (03) 9345 5890

    RCH Emergency Department:

    03) 9345 6477


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