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Question use in child mental health assessments and the challenges of listening to families.Background: The mental health assessment is a fundamental aspect of clinical practice and central to this is the use of questions. Aims: To investigate the frequency and type of questions utilised within a child mental health assessment. Method: The data consisted of 28 naturally occurring assessments from a UK child and adolescent mental health service. Data were analysed using quantitative and qualitative content analysis to determine frequencies and question type. Results: Results indicated a total of 9086 questions in 41 h across the 28 clinical encounters. This equated to a mean of 3.7 questions per minute. Four types of questions were identified; yes–no interrogatives, wh-prefaced questions, declarative questions and tag questions. Conclusions: The current format of questioning may impede the opportunity for families to fully express their particular concerns and this has implications for service delivery and training.