- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
- National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs
- Global Children's Initiative
- Frontiers of Innovation
- Science of Health and Development Initiative
- Students, Education and Leadership Development
The Child Mental Health Network was launched by the Center in September 2008 to address the gap between what we know and what we do related to child and adolescent mental health. It was the Center’s first initiative focusing on the full span of childhood development until young adulthood. The goals of this initiative were to generate, integrate, communicate, and apply the science of children’s mental health to inform policy and practice, and to make scientific advances more transparent in order to inform public understanding. Principal investigators of the Network projects were John R. Weisz, Ph.D., Judge Baker Children’s Center, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Richard G. Frank, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School; and Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D., Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; in collaboration with Ellen R. Meara, Ph.D., Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. This project concluded in August 2011.
This initiative focused on four clusters of problems/disorders that account for the majority of child clinical referrals:
- anxiety and anxiety disorders;
- depression and depressive disorders;
- ADHD and related problems; and
- conduct problems ranging from early childhood disobedience to adolescent delinquency and violence.
To close the gap between the research evidence on effective treatments and the practices used in clinical care for these four conditions, the Network addressed the following objectives:
Build consensus on the scientific evidence.
To synthesize the cumulative findings of many years of extensive research and collection of clinical data, the Network conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis focused on child-outcome research on treatment of the most common causes of clinical referral.
Study current clinical practice for children in community-based service settings.
To complement the research on scientific evidence, the Network analyzed clinical data that are most relevant to the everyday treatment of children in order to identify strategies for problem-solving and quality improvement, including research on variations in cost and quality in the treatment of the four most common causes of child clinical referral.
Conduct research focused on bridging the gap between the science and practice of mental health care for children and adolescents.
To make everyday clinical practice more effective and better matched to children’s and adolescents’ needs, the Network streamlined empirically based assessment and treatment practices so that they are less lengthy and cumbersome and more flexible, user-friendly, and broader in scope to address co-existing mental health concerns and to increase clinical usefulness. At the same time, the Network translated a new suicide-risk assessment method for clinical use to improve risk detection and prevent adolescent suicide.
Build strategies for effective communication and dissemination.
The Center supported a multi-faceted inquiry conducted by the FrameWorks Institute to learn more about how the public perceives child mental health. With this knowledge, it developed strategies to generate greater public will and share science more effectively in the policy and practice arenas.
Major support for the Child Mental Health Network was provided by: the Norlien Foundation.