Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People Progress and Possibilities

The National Academies
Paper/Research Report
Year Published: 2009
The National Academies
Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF) within the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

Mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) disorders, which include depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse, affect large numbers of young people. Studies indicate that MEB disorders are a major health threat, with almost one in five young people experiencing a MEB disorder at any given time. Among adults, half of all MEB disorders were first diagnosed by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24. In this research brief, the authors highlight progress in preventing MEB disorders among young people. A recent report by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine calls on national, state, and local leaders to make the prevention of MEB disorders and the promotion of mental health among young people a priority. The report emphasized the value of promoting mental health and considering mental health within a developmental framework. These authors discuss future directions for mental health research to guide implementation of effective interventions, refine and develop new improved interventions in both the prevention and promotion areas, and make useful connections between research and policy. They conclude with recommendations for researchers.

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