Did You Know?

Make dating safe for teens

January 4, 2021

Intimate relationships should be meaningful and enjoyable, not dangerous. Yet about one in 10 young people experience violence in their dating relationships. This form of violence can be prevented, however, setting the stage for healthy and respectful relationships in early adulthood and beyond. Two programs stand out — Fourth R and Youth Relationships — for having proven success in teaching positive relationship skills to Canadian teens.  For more information, see Vol. 7, No 1 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

There is value in making lots of contact

December 14, 2020

In conducting a scientific evaluation of a program designed to help young first-time mothers, a research team from the BC Healthy Connections Project went to extra effort to make connections. The team was prepared to contact each participant five or more times to schedule interviews. This ‘extra effort’ was deemed important in reaching participants who were often struggling with issues such as insecure housing and mental or physical health challenges. The scientific evaluation, which started in 2011, looked at the Nurse-Family Partnership, a landmark US program focusing on children born to girls and young women who are facing disadvantages such as low income. The program starts early — in pregnancy, before children are even born — and involves intensive home visits from public health nurses. In Canada and elsewhere, policy-makers and practitioners have traditionally struggled to reach, engage and maintain connections with populations who are facing socioeconomic disadvantage. The BC Healthy Connections Project team has provided a detailed case example, offering strategies for how to make better connections, that last. The team hopes that their paper, which can be seen in the journal, Trials, will inform a shift for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners alike—from seeing disadvantaged populations as “hard-to-reach” to viewing them as “need-to-reach.”

Pro-social behaviour should be promoted

December 7, 2020

Parents are crucial in promoting children’s positive behaviours. Parents can do this by interacting in ways that are sensitive and warm, being highly connected to children and setting effective limits. For more information, see Vol. 9, No. 4 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

Good relationships prevent anxiety

November 30, 2020

Positive relationships can protect children from problematic anxiety. For example, young people who feel accepted and respected by their parents and cared for by their friends are less likely to develop anxiety problems.For more information, see Vol. 10, No. 2 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

Early intervention delivers long-term benefits

November 23, 2020

The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program is a leading example of how intervening very early in life can bring many long-term benefits. This intensive home-visiting program focuses on young first-time mothers-to-be who are coping with socio-economic disadvantage. It begins in early pregnancy and continues until children reach age two, and can produce life-changing benefits. A recent paper — by researchers from the Children’s Health Policy Centre and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal OPEN suggests some encouraging results. In a randomized controlled trial in BC, NFP led to reduced prenatal cannabis use, and in smokers it led to modest reductions in cigarette use. As a result, it is thought that NFP may hold promise for reducing some types of prenatal substance use in disadvantaged populations.