Preventing the pain of childhood mental disorders

November 3, 2021

What are the most effective interventions for preventing mental disorders in children?

That was the subject of a  30-minute Zoom talk, Oct. 2/21,  by Christine Schwartz, adjunct professor with the Children’s Health Policy Centre. She was speaking with 60 members of the Health Officers Council of BC — a group of public health physicians who are either practicing in or closely allied with public health.

Schwartz told the group that roughly 12 percent of children experience mental disorders but that only 44% of this group, less than half, receive any treatment. “One of the key ways of addressing this service shortfall is to reduce the number of children needing treatment by having a greater emphasis on prevention,” she said.  “There are effective prevention programs for eight of the most common childhood mental disorders.”

Schwartz also discussed two success stories centred on delivering prevention programs in BC.  This includes Preventure, a program that can prevent problematic substance use and Confident Parents Thriving Kids, a coaching program that helps prevent child behaviour problems and reduces anxiety.