Research Snapshot: Hospital-community partnership improves mental health care for children
Children with behaviour problems at an early age can end up having risky behaviour and being involved with the criminal justice system later in life. Early treatment can help prevent long-term problems, but it can be difficult to put effective programs in place in community settings. This is especially the case in high-risk communities.
Researchers examined whether a partnership between a hospital and a community agency would help put in place a program to reduce disruptive behaviour in young children. The program involved two training components, one to improve parenting skills, the other to improve children’s social and problem-solving skills.
The program was already running successfully at the hospital before the study started. The community agency had not previously offered mental health services. As part of the study, staff at the community agency received training on how to deliver the treatment program.
The researchers found that children who took part in the program at the community agency had decreases in problem behaviours that were similar to those of children who took part in the program at the hospital. Compared to the hospital setting, families at the community agency were more likely to be immigrants, have lower levels of education, and have lower incomes. This is important because it shows that the community agency was able to reach the kinds of families that didn’t use the hospital clinic.
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This Research Snapshot is based on their article “Implementing an Evidence-Based Parent-Child Mental Health Program in a High-Risk Community,” published in Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 32 (2013): 139-153.
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