Concluding Comments

Mental health consultation in the pediatric critical care setting challenges the consultant with a host of clinical needs. Patients represent a broad age range and present with multifaceted and complex medical, surgical, and mental health concerns that can have lasting psychological consequences for both patients and their family members. Referrals are often marked by a sense of urgency that is unparalleled in most pediatric settings, and the fast-paced, unpredictable, and rapidly changing culture of crisis and trauma prompts an approach to assessment and treatment that is flexible, eclectic, and creative. Empirical and conceptual models support the utility of pragmatic and strengths-based short-term treatment approaches that normalize stress reactions. Supportive work with family members and clinical staff can serve multiple individual and systemic needs as well as contribute to indirect patient benefit.

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