APA Resolution on Children's Mental Health
Adopted by the APA Council of Representatives, October 2003
(For ease of presentation the term child is used to refer to infants, children, and adolescents.)
Whereas psychology has been in the lead in demonstrating the importance of mental health in child development (Burns, Hoagwood, & Mrazek, 1999; Coie et al., 1993; Mrazek, & Haggerty, 1990; Marsh & Fristad, 2002; Wolchik & Sandler, 1997);
Whereas psychology is committed to providing the highest quality mental health care to children based on the best available evidence derived from ecologically valid research and evaluation of promotion, prevention, and treatment interventions (Biglan, A., Mrazek, P. J., Carnine, D., & Flay, B. R. 2003; Nation, M., Crusto, C., Wandersman, A., Kumpfer, K. L., Seybolt, D., Morrissey-Kane, E., & Davino, K. 2003; Weisz, J.R., Jensen, A.L., & McLeod, B.D. in press);
Whereas there are various types of useful evidence of the effectiveness of interventions, including clinical consensus, program evaluations, research using randomized experimental and quasi-experimental designs, single-subject designs, and successful replicated demonstrations of effectiveness in real world settings (Chamberlain, P., & Smith D.K. in press; Durlak, J. A. & Wells, A. M.1997; Durlak, J.A., Wells, A.M., Cotton, J.K., & Johnson, S. 1995). For the purposes of this document, "evidence-based practice" involves the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values (Institute of Medicine, 2001);
Whereas psychology has taken a leadership role in developing mental health promotion, prevention, and treatment interventions that meet high standards of effectiveness (Christopherson, E. R. & Mortweet, S. L. 2001; A. E. Kazdin & J. R. Weisz, Eds., 2003);
Whereas there is inadequate access to appropriate evidence-based promotion, prevention, and treatment services for children with, or at risk for, mental disorders (Paavola, 1994; Weisz, Donenberg, Han, & Weiss, 1995);
Whereas stigma regarding mental health imposes risk for children, and impedes understanding of mental health issues and access to needed mental health services (Corrigan & Lundin, 2002);
Whereas there is a disparity of access to appropriate evidence based promotion, prevention, and treatment services based on poverty, ethnicity, race, and special needs of children (Leong, 2001; Rollock & Gordon, 2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001);
Whereas there is inadequate financing for culturally competent, appropriate, evidence-based promotion, prevention, and treatment services (Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 1999; Sturm et al., 2000);
Whereas there is a need for increased research on the translation of evidence-based practices into promotion, prevention, or treatment services that are appropriate for children, families, schools, and communities in real world settings (Burns, 1999; Burns & Friedman, 1990; Burns & Hoagwood, 2002; Clarke, 1995; Kazdin & Weisz, 1998; Schoenwald & Hoagwood, 2001);
Whereas there is a need for increased research on the effectiveness of promotion, prevention, and treatment services for children, families, schools, and communities that are developed by practitioners dealing with problems and varied contexts in the community (Weisz, Donenberg, Hans, & Weiss, 1995);
Whereas there is an increased need for research on assessment and diagnosis of children's mental health problems and strengths in the context of their culture, family, school and community (Wandersman, A., & Florin, P., 2003; Kumpfer, K. L. & Alvarado, R., 2003; Wilson, D. B., Gottfredson, D. C., & Najaka, S. S., 2001; Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Millsap, R. E., Plummer, B. A., Greene, S. M., Anderson, E. R., Dawson-McClure, S. R., Hipke, K., & Haine, R. A., 2002);
Whereas there is a shortage of trained providers to deliver culturally competent evidence-based promotion, prevention, and treatment services for children (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999; U.S. Public Health Service, 2000);
Therefore, bit resolved, that:
The American Psychological Association (APA) take a significant leadership role to support and advocate that it is every child's right to have access to culturally competent, developmentally appropriate, family oriented, evidence-based, high-quality mental health services that are in accessible settings.
APA take a leadership role in ensuring that the utilization of promotion, prevention, and treatment interventions for child mental health meet the highest standards of available evidence.
APA collaborate with other organizations, consumers, and policy makers to develop and implement a primary mental health care system for children that integrates culturally competent, evidence-based, high quality, promotion, prevention, and treatment services for children, families, schools and communities.
APA provide leadership, support, and advocacy for basic and applied research to develop culturally appropriate knowledge on the promotion of mental health and the prevention and treatment of mental health problems, to translate findings from research into effective services and to evaluate services that are developed at the community level.
APA support and advocate for developing adequate funding sources that are coordinated and efficient for supporting a primary mental health care system.
APA support, advocate, and provide leadership for education and training that builds upon culturally competent, evidence-based promotion of mental health and prevention and treatment of mental health problems for all children, and reduces economic, racial, ethnic and gender disparities.
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