Report describes how to promote mental health in the early years

January 17, 2022

In order to help mitigate the mental health consequences of COVID-19, BC should invest in increased prevention and treatment for children in the early years (prenatal to age three years) according to a report authored by the Children’s Health Policy Centre.

Sponsored by the BC Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, the report cites high-quality research evidence on effective psychosocial interventions for preventing and treating three of the most common mental health conditions that start in early childhood:

  • anxiety
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • and behaviour disorders

The report found strong evidence supporting cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety. It also found strong evidence supporting parent training for child behaviour problems and ADHD.

Says the report: “There is ample evidence to act on — starting with early childhood anxiety and behaviour programs, where the research evidence is strongest. Prevention, in particular, is also cost-effective. For example, preventing just one case of a severe childhood behaviour disorder can save millions of dollars in averted lifetime costs. Investments in effective prevention programs in early childhood can therefore benefit not only children and families, but also society.”

The full report and details on all the programs cited may be found here.