Did You Know?

Nov. 20 marks Universal Children’s Day

November 16, 2020

This is a good time to remember that reducing inequality in society has been shown to reduce maltreatment of children. In particular, policies that redistribute wealth to ensure that more children have their basic needs met can contribute to reducing important problems such as child maltreatment. For more information on preventing and treating child maltreatment, see Vol. 3, No. 2 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

Start with psychosocial treatments

November 9, 2020

When a child has depression, families should have easy access to effective psychosocial treatments such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Interpersonal Therapy can also be effective. Then, if medication is needed, fluoxetine is the first choice, given robust research evidence supporting its use. For more information, see Vol. 11, No. 4 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

Let’s ban spanking

November 2, 2020

Spanking can harm children, for example, leading to physical injuries as well as emotional and behavioural problems. Spanking is also ineffective at changing children’s behaviour. Spanking and other forms of physical punishment should therefore not be used. For more information, see Vol. 9, No. 1 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.

Flexibility, maintaining connection and texting all helped sustain participation rates

October 26, 2020

How do you persuade busy young mothers to participate in a scientific trial that’s going to last more than two years? The BC Healthy Connections Project achieved this goal by using a number of strategies. These included:

  • Offering to perform research interviews on weekends and evenings.
  • Changing the type of contact to suit the needs of participants who were aged 14–24 years.
  • Making texting the preferred style of contact.
  • Personalizing the connection by showing appreciation and conveying genuine interest.

Many of the 739 participants said they enjoyed contributing to research and having their voices heard, through the survey data. They especially appreciated being able to feel that someone was listening and was interested in their lives.

The trial, which started in 2011, was designed as a scientific evaluation of 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.

For more information on how the BC Healthy Connections Project maintained its impressive participation rates, see the team’s paper recently published in Trials.

Medications can help with ADHD

October 19, 2020

In October, which is ADHD Awareness Month in Canada and around the world, it’s worth remembering the many young people who are frequently labeled as “problem children” rather than children with a medical problem. Research evidence supports the use of three medications — methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine and atomoxetine — for children with ADHD. Careful use of these medications can reduce children’s symptoms and improve their quality of life. For more information, see Vol. 11, No. 1 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.