Did You Know?

Study participants were all younger than 24

May 11, 2020

The purpose of the Nurse-Family Partnership program is to help young, first-time mothers facing socioeconomic disadvantage. The BC Healthy Connections Project set out to recruit a cohort reflecting that population. So nearly half of participants (49%) were age 14–19 years while just over half (51%) were age 20–24 years.

Celebrate National Child & Youth Mental Health Day

May 4, 2020

Thursday, May 7 marks National Child and Youth Mental Health Day — a day on which caring adults are encouraged to make connections with children and youth in their lives. In the spirit of this day, the Children’s Health Policy Centre encourages all health practitioners who suspect a mental disorder in a child to conduct a comprehensive assessment involving both the young person and their parents or caregiver. For more information, see Vol. 2, No. 3 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.


Protect children from maltreatment

April 27, 2020

Child maltreatment is a serious (and preventable) form of adversity — that nevertheless affects different children differently. Most children who have been maltreated actually experience good to moderate mental health despite their experiences. For those who struggle, however, proven interventions can address the most common associated mental health concerns — including anxiety, conduct disorder, substance use and depression. But the first step, always, is to stop the maltreatment and make sure children are safe. For more information, see Vol. 12, No. 3 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly. 

Many cultural backgrounds inform BC Healthy Connections study

April 20, 2020
Participants in the BC Healthy Connections Project have a variety of cultural backgrounds. While more than half (57%) identify as “white,” more than a quarter (27%) identify as Indigenous. Other backgrounds include Latin-American, South Asian and Filipina — with many people describing a mix of backgrounds. Most participants reported English as their first language — in keeping with the study’s eligibility criteria requiring conversational competence in English.

Children with OCD can face their fears

April 13, 2020

When a young person has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), parents will often take steps to try to reduce their child’s distress, such as helping them avoid feared situations. But these well-intentioned efforts may actually worsen the OCD, making it more entrenched. Practitioners can help — by teaching parents how to help children overcome their fears by facing them. For more information, see Vol. 8, No. 2 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

Most study participants reported limited education

April 6, 2020

More than half of participants in the BC Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP) reported having a limited education, meaning they had not completed high school or the equivalent. For those age 14–19 years, 69% had not completed high school; for those age 20–24 years, 38% had not completed this milestone. By comparison, approximately 11% of BC girls and young women in the general population (under age 25) typically do not complete high school.



World Autism Awareness Day takes place this week

March 30, 2020

Thursday, April 2, 2019 marks the twelfth annual World Autism Awareness Day. Hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world will shine with blue light in recognition of people living with autism.

A qualitative study by the Children’s Health Policy Centre, published in 2015 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders described the challenges facing both parents and policymakers with respect to autism. The findings suggested that there is an emerging consensus on improving autism services in Canada—which should greatly benefit children. Read the paper here.


Address substance use & parenting, together

March 23, 2020

Roughly one in 10 Canadian children live with a parent who struggles with problematic substance use. Practitioners can help these families by addressing both substance use and parenting. For example, parent-focused programs can lead to children having significantly fewer alcohol or cannabis problems many years after their parents complete treatment. For more information, see Vol. 8, No. 1 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.



NFP is being tested around the world

March 16, 2020

While Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) has proven highly successful in the US, every country is different. So now, other countries around the world are evaluating the program to see how well it works in their jurisdictions, too. In addition to Canada, these other countries include the Netherlands and England, who have both completed studies, while Norway and Australia are currently exploring the program’s feasibility. The English trial had negative findings, although the trial in the Netherlands was positive — underscoring the importance of completing the BC trial to learn how to really benefit children and mothers here.


Kinship care aids children

March 8, 2020

When children cannot live with their parents, the option of living with family — or kinship care — should be explored. Compared to typical foster care, kinship care can lead to improved child well-being, fewer childhood mental disorders and fewer placement changes. For more information, see Vol. 8, No. 3 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.