Date: 23 Jan 2010

Commentary on the Child-Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Conference—Nashville, TN, September 2009

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In September 2009, nationally known scholars met to tackle the tribulations found within the Child-Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) system. This commentary is a reflection on their assessments of the problems and their suggestions for solutions.

“Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities” (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2009) affirms, by taking a public health approach that emphasizes health promotion and prevention, a myriad of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and behavioral problems in children, adolescents, and young adults could be prevented and save billions of dollars a year. I was joyous to see this same public health vision running through many of these articles. Unfortunately, as all the authors point out, the CAMHS system in the U.S. is a pathology-based, mental health specialist focused, broken system, with the challenge being—how to improve it.

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