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The earlier, the better: Some clues for prevention of mental health disorders

I just read some summaries of recent research that was cited by the American Psychological Association Monitor (July/August 2016). A few of them are very relevant when it comes to learning about preventive measures in the area of mental health in children. I would like to share some of the important findings with physicians, parents, and other people working with children:

1.      Only about half of preschoolers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, receive psychological services despite the fact that behavioral therapy is the recommended first-line treatment.

2.      According to a study of more than 50 years, it was found that children who are spanked are more likely to become defiant and to show anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.

3.      Parents or other caregivers who do not keep eye contact with their children during playtime may be likely to raise children who have shorter attention spans.

4.      Parents who experience depression may be linked to their children developing more risk-taking behaviors during adolescence.

The above are just a sample of research that is being conducted to help parents, mental health professionals and physicians understand how important it is to screen parents and children for mental health conditions as well as to discuss family life and routines during medical visits.

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