| - The aim of the study was to investigate the burden of mental health problems in children and adolescents admitted to a pediatric ward with physical complaints. We conducted a retrospective study, considering all patients admitted to the pediatric ward of the IRCCS Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy, between January 2015 and September 2016. We selected all patients, from 5 to 17 years old, who were admitted with physical complaints and were discharged with a diagnosis suggestive of a mental health problem: somatic symptom disorder, anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, factious disorders. For every patient, we collected demographic features, medical characteristics, health care services utilization, length of hospital stay, and after discharge referral. We selected 1456 patients; of these, 101 (6.9%) revealed a mental health problem. The median duration of symptoms was 5 months (IQR 1.5-12), and pain was the main reported symptom (69%). Of the 101 patients, 23 (23%) were affected by a previously documented chronic organic disease. Somatic symptom disorder was the most common diagnosis. In 69/78 patients (88%), a loss of social contacts emerged; 49/95 patients frequenting school (51%) had chronic school absenteeism in the previous school year.Conclusion: A considerable proportion of patients admitted to a pediatric ward with physical complaints have mental health problems. What is Known: • It has been suggested that mental health problems in children and adolescents are increasing and frequently burden on pediatric healthcare services, but how they impact on a general pediatric ward is not clear. What is New: • Among 1456 patients admitted to a general pediatric ward with physical symptoms, 101 patients (6.9%) had a mental health problem. Among them, pain was the most commonly reported symptom and somatic symptom disorder was the commonly reported diagnosis.