Children's mental health as a primary care and concern: a system for comprehensive support and service.
In response to the serious crisis in mental health care for children in the United States, this article proposes as a priority for psychology a comprehensive approach that treats mental health as a primary issue in child health and welfare. Consistent with the principles of a system of care and applying epidemiological, risk-development, and intervention-research findings, this approach emphasizes 4 components: easy access to effective professional clinical services for children exhibiting disorders; further development and application of sound prevention principles for high-risk youths; support for and access to short-term intervention in primary care settings; and greater recognition and promotion of mental health issues in common developmental settings and other influential systems. Integral to this approach is the need to implement these components simultaneously and to incorporate family-focused, culturally competent, evidence-based, and developmentally appropriate services. This comprehensive, simultaneous, and integrated approach is needed to achieve real progress in children's mental health in this country.
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