Did You Know?

Practitioners need to prescribe with care

March 15, 2021

Researchers have uncovered some troubling trends in prescribing practices with young people. In BC and Manitoba, antipsychotics have commonly been prescribed for conditions such as ADHD — where these medications lack both research evidence and regulatory approval. To better support young people, antipsychotic prescribing should be limited to conditions for which there is good research evidence and regulatory approval, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. For more information, see Vol. 7, No. 4 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly

Prevention investments can pay off

March 8, 2021

When problematic substance use is prevented, the benefits extend beyond helping young people and their families. Society also benefits, including financially. In particular, net benefits for effective skill-based programs were an estimated $160 to $1,850 dollars per youth. For more information, see Vol. 4, No. 2 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly

Help youth with eating disorders

March 1, 2021

Eating disorders can be effectively treated. For youth with anorexia, Family Therapy is the first choice. For those with bulimia, both Family Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) show positive results. And for those with binge-eating disorder, CBT is also highly effective. All young people with eating disorders should be easily able to receive these effective treatments. For more information, see Vol. 9, No. 3 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly

Let’s acknowledge anti-bullying day

February 22, 2021

The original anti-bullying day was established in Canada in 2007 when two Nova Scotia teens bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after a male ninth grade student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school. The last Wednesday in February — this year, Feb. 24 — is now the national anti-bullying day in the country. A focus on self-regulation — including paying attention and inhibiting impulsivity — is crucial for healthy child development and a step in reducing bullying. Parents can promote this skill by being responsive to their children, providing positive feedback during challenging tasks, and supporting older children and teens to be more autonomous. For more information, see Vol. 10, No. 4 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly

Research project is guided by steering committee

February 15, 2021

When the BC Healthy Connections Project announced its first results, via a paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal Open, researchers were pleased.

The study had shown that the program being examined — Nurse-Family Partnership — reduced the number of cigarettes used by smokers during pregnancy and reduced prenatal cannabis use for all participants.

But, then, a nurse spoke to a member of the BCHCP steering committee. “Is this a good news story?” she asked.

“At first, this question took me aback,” says Nicole Catherine, Scientific Director of the project. “We knew it was a good news story — a positive result — but then we realized that the tone required by academic journal publication is so low key, that our communications needed to be refined for sharing with our policy and practitioner partners.”

Catherine says she was grateful to get this feedback thanks to the group’s steering committee, a seven-member board established in 2012 and involving a sustained and reciprocal research-policy-practice partnership.

Members include senior policymakers from the BC Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, as well as senior scientific team trial leaders.

At the start, the committee met every two weeks (via teleconference) addressing crucial issues such as study design, eligibility criteria and the interpretation of mixed trial findings from the Netherlands and England.

As the trial continued, meetings dropped to once monthly, providing advice on recruitment closing, data collection completion and communicating the positive prenatal trial findings.

Now, the group meets every two months, continuing to provide valuable advice and feedback as the scientific team continues with the primary outcome analysis, relating to reducing childhood injuries.

“We are very grateful to all members of the steering committee for their continued involvement in this important project,” Catherine says.