Rethinking Evidence-Based Practice for Children’s Mental Health

March 11, 2005

Charlotte Waddell and Rebecca Godderis. (2005). Rethinking evidence-based practice for children’s mental health. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 8(3).


“Efficiency is concerned with doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” —Drucker, 1993

Typically, evidence-based practice (EBP) refers to health practitioners applying the best currently available research evidence in the provision of health services. In other words, EBP challenges practitioners to “do things right” and to “do the right things.” EBP originated in medicine, where an estimated 10,000 new randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are published every year but where an estimated 20%–40% of services still do not reflect the best research evidence. Related disciplines such as psychology have also embraced the EBP movement to bridge research and practice in order to improve outcomes for people with mental disorders. In children’s mental health, high levels of unmet service need suggest a strong role for EBP. At any given time 14% of children experience mental disorders that cause significant distress and impair their functioning, yet only 25% of these . . .

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