This month has been about promoting mental health and children’s mental health awareness. We’ve talked about National Children’s Mental Health Week and National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. We’ve also had guest expert blogs about the importance of children’s mental health and the impact of stress on children.
But what is the most important thing to remember and take away from all of this?
Well, prevention and wellness are key!
“Research has shown that children have a wide range of reactions to exposure to violence. Some children are not adversely affected or may show only brief and transient reactions. Others may be more affected, showing significant symptoms and emotional vulnerability. Some develop intense anxiety disorders or posttraumatic stress disorder.” –Safe Start Issue Brief 1, p. 2
The most important thing is the overall well-being of these children. The protection of their well-being is achieved by building resilience and preventing exposure.
One way of doing this is through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Model. It provides a great way to start and complete the process of enhancing children’s well-being. By framing it this way, there is a body of proof about building resilience and prevention, it provides the means for identifying those at higher risk, and develops and tests strategies for dissemination to communities. The most important thing is the overall well-being of these children. The protection of their well-being is achieved by building resilience and preventing exposure.
Understanding Children’s Exposure to Violence Brief #1 shares some ideas about program types and interventions that can both enhance resilience and reduce risks for children exposed to violence.
- For all children, participation in high-quality early care and education programs can enhance physical, cognitive, and social development and promote readiness and capacity to succeed in school.
- For at-risk families, early identification of and intervention with high-risk children by early education programs and schools, pediatric care and mental health programs, child welfare systems, and court and law enforcement agencies can prevent threats to healthy development by detecting and addressing emerging problems.
- For children and families already exposed to violence, intensive intervention programs delivered in the home and in the community can improve outcomes for children well into the adult years and can generate benefits to society that far exceed program costs.
- Outcomes improve when highly skilled practitioners provide intensive trauma-focused psychotherapeutic interventions to stop the negative chain reaction following exposure to traumatic stressors (e.g., child abuse and neglect, homelessness, severe maternal depression, domestic violence).
For further information check out the full issue brief here.
So, the best thing we can do to promote children’s wellness is to continue to work to raise awareness to identify those at-risk and advance interventions!
Filed under: Exposure to Violence, Global Child Health, International Child Health, Maternal and Child Health, Mental Health, Prevention, Public Awareness, Training Tagged: | children's mental health awareness, mental health, Mental Health Month, public health approach, wellness