From substance abuse to mental health issues to violence, behavioural health issues in childhood and adolescence take a heavy toll on millions of lives. When these issues arise and are then addressed, the cost is greater to individuals and society than would be if we intervened earlier or prevented them from occurring in the first place.
According to the authors of the recently-released discussion paper, Unleashing the Power of Prevention: “Now we have a 30-year body of research and more than 50 programmes showing that behavioural health problems can be prevented.” These authors are participants in the activities of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Research Council Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioural Health.
The authors maintain that “we stand at the threshold of a new age of prevention” to prevent behavioural health problems from occurring including those at greatest disadvantage or risk. This new age could advance needed policies, programmes, funding, and workforce preparedness. They propose mobilising across communities and disciplines including health care, education, child psychiatry, child welfare, and juvenile justice to unleash the power of prevention on a nationwide scale. Their call-to-action presents 7 actionable goals that may reduce the occurrence of behavioural health problems by 20 percent.
By Zach Patterson - Prevention Hub Canada