What’s the Best Way to Treat Mental Health Problems in Kids?
No one knows for sure, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates(link is external) that between 13 and 20 percent of youth ages 3 to 17 experience a mental health problem each year. This includes diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders and Tourette syndrome.
In fact, many mental health problems that continue into adulthood – including substance abuse and behavioral problems – actually begin during childhood and adolescence. This issue raises many questions; maybe the most pressing is, what’s the best way to treat mental health problems in children?
The U.S. does not have a broad pediatric mental health system in place, but the vast majority of young people do go to the pediatrician. A new health care field is emerging called integrative behavioral health care, where behavioral interventions are delivered in primary care settings, such as the pediatricians’ office. But what’s the evidence say on the effectiveness of this approach?
Several recent meta-analyses look at the evidence on offering mental and behavioral health interventions to children in pediatrician’s offices