Effective interventions for preventing and treating childhood mental disorders

May 7, 2021

What interventions can best help children facing mental health concerns in BC right now?

That was the topic Christine Schwartz addressed on a March 30, 2021  Zoom presentation to more than 100 senior leaders and clinicians from the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development.

An Adjunct Professor with the Children’s Health Policy Centre and lead writer for the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, Schwartz was also co-author of a paper on these interventions published in October 2020.

As a clinical psychologist, Schwartz told the group that there are numerous effective interventions for both preventing and treating the most common mental disorders experienced in childhood.

“Every child who needs an effective intervention should be able to get one that works,” she told the group. But she added, “there are a lot of children who aren’t being addressed or they’re being given ineffective interventions.”

Starting with the most commonly experienced mental health disorder, anxiety, Schwartz said there is excellent evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is effective at both prevention and treatment. CBT is also effective at both prevention and treatment for depression. And for behaviour disorders — such as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder — parent training programs are effective for both prevention and treatment.

The full presentation can be viewed here.