Very little Nigerian research has been done in the area of pediatric psychosomatic medicine. A small number of case reports (Oladokun et al. 2008; Omigbodun et al. 2008) and epidemiological studies have demonstrated a strong need to establish more comprehensive mental health services within pediatric medicine (Bakare et al. 2008; Gureje et al. 1994; Omigbodun et al. 1999).


Australia is a geographically large country (similar in size to the United States) with a relatively small population of approximately 21 million. Children and adolescents ages 0-18 years make up approximately 25% of the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006). Australia is a multicultural country with a high standard of health care, with total spending on health of 9.8% of the gross domestic product. Mental health spending accounts for 7.3% of the total health budget, or A$3.9 billion (US$2.75 billion) annually. Government sources provide 96% of mental health funding, with the remainder coming from private health insurance funds. Approximately two-thirds of the total mental health budget is spent on adults ages 18-64 years, with the remainder being divided among children and adolescents, older persons, forensic services, and nongovernmental organizations. The country has 9.3 psychiatrists per 100,000 population (Australian Government 2007). A total of approximately 360 child and adolescent psychiatrists (personal communication, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists [RANZCP], 2008) work in private practice, pediat-ric hospitals, child psychiatric units, and community mental health centers.

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