Paper recommends a population health approach for children

July 1, 2013

population healthCanada should make a commitment to a population health approach to Children’s mental health —promoting health and preventing disorders, in addition to offering treatment. But in order to do so effectively, it needs to collect more data. That is the conclusion of a new academic paper by Charlotte Waddell, director of the Children’s Health Policy Centre. Her co-authors are: Cody Shepherd, Alice Chen and Michael Boyle.

Published in the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, the paper argues that indicators — data from existing public sources such as the Medical Services Plan and Vital Statistics — should be a starting point for monitoring Children’s mental health before disorders occur.

But the paper showed that there were still significant imbalances in information. “To create truly comprehensive Children’s mental health indicators, we therefore recommend collecting new data, enhancing existing data sources, and evaluating existing programs,” the paper argued.

Given that 14% of children in Canada experience mental disorders and that only 25% of these children receive treatment, “the potential benefits of undertaking these three options are immense,” the paper concludes.

View the entire paper here.