National Academies Press: OpenBook

Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda (2019)

Chapter: Part II: Strategies for Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth

« Previous: 2 Influences on Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development
Suggested Citation:"Part II: Strategies for Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth." 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: 10.17226/25201.
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Page 73

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Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs Part II  Part II Strategies for Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth Part I of this report focuses on the influences on healthy mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) development, including those at the individual, family, community, and societal levels. We turn next to strategies based on understanding of these influences with the potential to foster healthy MEB development and outcomes. These strategies may be interventions intended to promote well-being by developing positive attributes (promotive) or to prevent harm to well-being by addressing particular issues (preventive). They also may be either universal (offered to an entire population rather than only to groups identified as at risk for particular negative outcomes), selective (targeted to individuals or groups identified as having a higher-than-average risk for the outcomes addressed), or indicated (targeted to individuals already showing signs of the outcomes of concern). The discussion in Part II is structured around the different points of access for such strategies. We look first, in Chapter 3, at strategies for targeting MEB development at the family level and addressing issues that persist across generations. We then examine universal or near- universal touch points for children and families and opportunities they provide to introduce approaches and programs with the potential to improve parent, child, adolescent, and family outcomes. In Chapter 4 we look at opportunities in schools, while in Chapter 5 we turn to primary and other health care settings. Finally, in Chapter 6 we examine strategies and policies that affect populations at the local, state, and national levels. These chapters build on ideas presented in the 2009 National Academies report. Many of the interventions discussed here, such as the Incredible Years, Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), the Perry Preschool Program, and the Good Behavior Game, are also discussed in that earlier report. We examine current evidence about these programs and how they and other approaches are increasingly focused on MEB health promotion as well as prevention of disorders.   73

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Healthy mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) development is a critical foundation for a productive adulthood. Much is known about strategies to support families and communities in strengthening the MEB development of children and youth, by promoting healthy development and also by preventing and mitigating disorder, so that young people reach adulthood ready to thrive and contribute to society. Over the last decade, a growing body of research has significantly strengthened understanding of healthy MEB development and the factors that influence it, as well as how it can be fostered. Yet, the United States has not taken full advantage of this growing knowledge base. Ten years later, the nation still is not effectively mitigating risks for poor MEB health outcomes; these risks remain prevalent, and available data show no significant reductions in their prevalence.

Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda examines the gap between current research and achievable national goals for the next ten years. This report identifies the complexities of childhood influences and highlights the need for a tailored approach when implementing new policies and practices. This report provides a framework for a cohesive, multidisciplinary national approach to improving MEB health.

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