Canada should make a commitment to a population health approach to Children’s mental health —promoting health and preventing disorders, in addition to offering treatment. But in order to do so effectively, it needs to collect more data. That is the conclusion of a new academic paper by Charlotte Waddell, director of the Children’s Health Policy Centre. Her co-authors are: Cody Shepherd, Alice Chen and Michael Boyle.
Published in the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, the paper argues that indicators — data from existing public sources such as the Medical Services Plan and Vital Statistics — should be a starting point for monitoring Children’s mental health before disorders occur.
But the paper showed that there were still significant imbalances in information. “To create truly comprehensive Children’s mental health indicators, we therefore recommend collecting new data, enhancing existing data sources, and evaluating existing programs,” the paper argued.
Given that 14% of children in Canada experience mental disorders and that only 25% of these children receive treatment, “the potential benefits of undertaking these three options are immense,” the paper concludes.
View the entire paper here.
Today is national awareness day for children’s mental health, led by the Institute of Families. Some 12.6% of children in Canada aged 4–17 years experience mental disorders at any given time. That’s 84,000 in B.C. alone. And the majority of these children do not receive the help they need. At the Children’s Health Policy Centre, we find these statistics distressing.
Take some time today to think about what you can do to help. First, become better informed. Our Quarterly publication provides a great deal of information on a wide variety of mental health issues. You can read about particular disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Or you can learn about prevention programs such as the Nurse-Family Partnership.
Second, consider how you might become involved, whether through volunteering in your own community or by becoming politically active. The Children’s Health Policy Centre takes the position that Canada should have a comprehensive population health strategy for children’s mental health that:
• Promotes healthy development for all children
• Prevents disorders in children at risk
• Provides effective treatment for children with disorders, and
• Monitors our collective progress toward improving the lives of all children.
OTTAWA—SFU’s Charlotte Waddell has just received a five-year renewal, worth $500,000, in her role as a Tier II Canada Research Chair, the Canada Research Chairs program announced today.
Supported by the federal government, the Canada Research Chairs program aims to assist “exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field,” according to the program.
It funds more than 300 chairs at 53 Canadian universities, investing some $300 million per year to attract and retain what it describes as “some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds.”
Applications to renew a Canada Research Chair undergo the same vigorous peer-review process used to evaluate the original nomination. “I am delighted because this award allows us to continue doing research that can make a meaningful difference in children’s lives,” says Waddell, who is also Director of the Children’s Health Policy Centre in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU.
Waddell’s title is Canada Research Chair in Children’s Health Policy.
Some 50 babies have now been born to moms enrolled in the BC Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP).
Every baby is a miracle. But these 50 are extra-special miracles because they herald the launch of an exciting new research project.
They are all part of phase 1 of the BCHCP that started in the summer of 2012. “The goal is for BC public health nurses to practise and consolidate their newly acquired skills,” says Nicole Catherine, Scientific Director for BCHCP.
The purpose of BCHCP is to conduct a scientific evaluation of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) prevention program. Developed by David Olds in the United States more than 30 years ago, NFP involves nurses visiting young mothers in their homes, starting prenatally and continuing until children are two years old.
NFP’s creators had three primary goals for the program: improving prenatal outcomes, preventing child maltreatment, and enhancing parental competence and economic self-sufficiency. Because NFP was always intended as a targeted primary prevention program, the developers focused on high-risk, low-income, first-time mothers. NFP has been shown to reduce child maltreatment and antisocial behaviour while also improving child and maternal mental health over the long term.
But the question remains: can this success be repeated in Canada?