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Moving Upstream to Improve Children’s Mental Health Through Community and Policy Change

Abstract

Using a social determinants of health framework, we argue that the majority of evidence-based interventions focused on child and adolescent mental health are limited by their focus on individual youth (and sometimes families). While necessary, these interventions are insufficient for addressing the midstream- and upstream/macro-level determinants of mental health in society. We illustrate our perspective through four examples from youth mental health and related services, in which midstream and upstream interventions—i.e., at the community and public policy levels—need to be prioritized along with downstream treatments to improve population mental health and reduce social inequalities in mental health outcomes.

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Correspondence to Alex R. Dopp.

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Alex R. Dopp and Paula M. Lantz declare that they have no conflicts of interest. This paper has not been presented at a meeting.

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Dopp, A.R., Lantz, P.M. Moving Upstream to Improve Children’s Mental Health Through Community and Policy Change. Adm Policy Ment Health 47, 779–787 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-019-01001-5

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Keywords

  • Social determinants of health
  • Child mental health
  • Evidence-based interventions
  • Public policy
  • Prevention