Mental, Emotional, and
in Children and Youth
A NATIONAL AGENDA
Committee on Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and
Behavioral Development Among Children and Youth
Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
A Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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This activity was supported by grants and awards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Human Development and Disability (200-2011-38807 TO #62); the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (HHSN26300131); the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (HHSN26300131); and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services (HHSP233201400020B/HHSP23337062). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-48202-8
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48202-X
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25201
Library of Congress Control Number: 2019947832
Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2019 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25201.
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COMMITTEE ON FOSTERING HEALTHY MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND BEHAVIORAL DEVELOPMENT AMONG CHILDREN AND YOUTH
THOMAS F. BOAT (Chair), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
WILLIAM A. ALDRIDGE II, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ANTHONY BIGLAN, Oregon Research Institute
W. THOMAS BOYCE, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (until March 2018)
RICHARD F. CATALANO, JR., Social Development Research Group, University of Washington
FRANCES CHAMPAGNE, Columbia University
JENNIFER FRANK, The Pennsylvania State University
PATRICIA JENNINGS, Curry School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
SHERYL KATAOKA ENDO, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles
KELLY KELLEHER, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
GRACE KOLLIESUAH, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
MARGUERITA LIGHTFOOT, University of California, San Francisco
TAMAR MENDELSON, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
RICARDO F. MUÑOZ, Palo Alto University
MYRNA M. WEISSMAN, Mailman School of Public Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Vagalos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
TARA LYNN MAINERO, Study Director (until February 2019)
ALEXANDRA BEATTY, Study Director (from February 2019)
ERIN KELLOGG, Research Associate (beginning September 2018)
MARGARET KELLY, Senior Program Assistant
REBEKAH HUTTON, Associate Program Officer (February 2017–February 2018)
SARAH TRACEY, Associate Program Officer (April–June 2018)
LAIAH FACTOR, Mirzayan Fellow (January–April 2018)
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BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES
ANGELA DIAZ (Chair), Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
HAROLYN M. E. BELCHER, Center for Diversity in Public Health Leadership, Kennedy Krieger Institute
W. THOMAS BOYCE, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
DAVID BRITT, Sesame Workshop (retired)
RICHARD F. CATALANO, Social Development Research Group, University of Washington
DIMITRI A. CHRISTAKIS, School of Medicine, University of Washington
JEFFREY W. HUTCHINSON, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
JACQUELINE JONES, Foundation for Child Development, New York, New York
STEPHANIE MONROE, Wrenwood Group, Washington, DC
JAMES M. PERRIN, Harvard Medical School
NISHA SACHDEV, Bainum Family Foundation
DONALD SCHWARZ, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
MARTÍN SEPÚLVEDA, Research Division, IBM Corporation (retired)
MARTIN H. TEICHER, Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program, McLean Hospital
JONATHAN TODRES, Georgia State University College of Law
NATACHA BLAIN, Director
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This report is the third in a series of reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine targeting improvement of mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) development and health through promotion and prevention activities. The first two reports, Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders (1994) and Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Children and Youth (2009), focused on prevention. They were widely read and used to advance children’s MEB outcomes. The current report includes greater focus on measures to promote MEB development and health, with increased emphasis on achieving population-level effects. This emphasis reflects the fact that despite the development of programs that are effective in supporting healthy MEB development in individuals and groups of children and youth, successful population-based efforts that can broadly counter adverse environments and experiences that threaten healthy MEB development for so many of the nation’s young people have not materialized.
This study was made possible through the sponsorship of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Human Development and Disability; the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse; and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services. These agencies recognized the value of the previous reports but also saw the need to build on them.
The statement of task for this committee was broad: It emphasized public health and population-based outcomes, cross-sector mobilization to improve children’s MEB development, advancement of program implementation, the intergenerational origins of many adverse outcomes, and the need to further probe the biological as well as environmental antecedents of both healthy and adverse outcomes and their interactions. The statement of task also called for exploration of research conducted in practice (real-world) settings and signaled that the new committee should consider a broad spectrum of research strategies, greater cross-sector integration for program development and research, and ways of countering neighborhood and community disparities as overarching factors in the rising
prevalence of adverse MEB outcomes for children and youth. The committee regarded the charge as an invitation to explore many sources of concern about the MEB health of U.S. children and youth, and to consider policy issues that either impede or support healthy MEB development. In particular, the committee viewed the community settings in which children are raised as an essential target for integrated improvement efforts.
The breadth of the committee’s task was apparent early as we considered the multiplicity of inputs that affect children’s MEB development; the changing needs for supports across the developmental sequence from preconception to adulthood; and the array of community, state, and national sectors that must be mobilized to realize improved outcomes. This report addresses ideas for building child support programs using existing infrastructure across sectors, such as education, health care, the workplace, community agencies, and policy—each a promising focus for separate as well as collective action. This charge also required us to consider a voluminous and rapidly expanding body of literature. We continually noted new information as we deliberated and put together this report. We hope that our findings and recommendations will stimulate continued attention to developing research: updates of this report at shorter intervals may be helpful in this rapidly growing and maturing field.
The committee was well equipped by virtue of the expertise of its members in an array of complementary disciplines as scientists, educators, practitioners, and administrators. Members were most generous with their time, collegiality, and attention, and were passionate about realistically assessing the current state of MEB development for children and youth, as well as exploring ways to make better use of what has been learned to enhance healthy child development. We recognized the importance of identifying common active and effective components of evidence-based intervention, understanding their application to the scaling of interventions using a spectrum of adaptions to local contexts, and ensuring the capacity to sustain and continuously improve program implementation if the goal of substantially improving MEB health across diverse populations is to be achieved. We also concluded that the magnitude of the effort required to accomplish this goal would require commitments to partnership from every sector of society. We did not shy away from thinking boldly and creatively about what the future could hold for generations to come if the nation prioritizes children’s MEB development and health.
The committee was also aided in its work by experts in topics beyond the expertise of its members, who generously contributed to the content of this report through presentations in public sessions, commissioned papers, and phone interviews. All have earned our sincere appreciation: Julie Sweetland, Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, The FrameWorks Institute; Byron Powell, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute; Laura Damschroder, Research Investigator, Department of Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research; Hendricks Brown, Professor,
Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Preventive Medicine, and Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University (virtual); Elyse Cohen, Senior Director of Food, Health, and Wellness Programs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Christina Bethell, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Director, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative; Linda Collins, Director, The Methodology Center, and Distinguished Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Department of Statistics, Pennsylvania State University; Katie McLaughlin, Lab Director, Stress and Development Laboratory, University of Washington; Ken Warner, Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Public Health, Professor Emeritus of Health Management & Policy, and Dean Emeritus of Public Health, University of Michigan School of Public Health; Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership; and David M. Murray, Associate Director for Prevention and Director, Office of Disease Prevention, National Institutes of Health.
The committee notes in this report that a number of recent studies and workshops of the National Academies’ Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF), as well as other National Academies’ boards, have addressed specific areas related to this committee’s task. These contributions are cataloged in this report. We encourage readers to further explore the perspectives offered in these reports. It is our hope that this report will be helpful to the many and diverse individuals, programs, agencies, and policy makers dedicated to improving the productivity and quality of life of all who will constitute the next generations of adults in the United States.
The committee wishes to thank the staff of BCYF who diligently and effectively guided our deliberations and contributions to this report. Great appreciation goes to the study director for the initial phases of the project, Tara Lynn Mainero, as well as Erin Kellogg, Sarah Tracey, Rebekah Hutton, Margaret Kelly, and Laiah Factor, who supported and guided our efforts. Special appreciation goes to Alexandra Beatty, study director for the final phases of the project, who took our input and masterfully shaped this report to reflect our intent while ensuring that it would speak to a wide range of audiences. Working with all of these individuals has been a pleasure. The committee also wishes to acknowledge the guidance provided by leaders of BCYF and the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Finally, we note with appreciation the contributions of Thomas Boyce who was unable to continue as a member of the committee.
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Christina Bethell, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; Felesia R. Bowen, Undergraduate Programs, College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina; C. Hendricks Brown, Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; Janet Currie, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Princeton University; Iheoma U. Iruka, Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation, HighScope Educational Research Foundation; Benjamin F. Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Well Being Trust; Bernice A. Pescosolido, Department of Sociology, Indiana University; and Heather J. Risser, Mental Health Services and Policy Program, Northwestern University.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Richard G. Frank, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, and Alan F. Schatzberg, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
Thomas F. Boat, Chair
Committee on Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development Among Children and Youth
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