Science tells us that the foundations of mental and emotional health are built in early life. It is also estimated that approximately half of adult mental health problems begin before age 14. Despite this, children’s mental health has remained relatively neglected from a policy and resource perspective.
Children’s mental health on the national agenda
A recent government announcement signifies a shift towards better mental health for Australian children and families.
The Hon Greg Hunt, Australian Minister for Health, has announced the Government’s Long Term National Health Plan to support the mental and physical health of Australians.
The National Health Plan includes a 2030 mental health vision and commits to the development of a new Mental Health Strategy for children under 12 years of age.
Children’s Mental Health Strategy
The strategy recognises the role of children’s early experiences and environments in shaping mental health and lifelong wellbeing.
The Centre’s Professor Oberklaid will lead a working group to develop the new Children’s Mental Health Strategy alongside Professor Middeldorp, conjoint Professor of Child and Youth Psychiatry at the Child Health Research Centre and Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service.
Professor Oberklaid is committed to a strategy that recognises the full spectrum of children’s mental health and addresses issues in the service system.
“This is a great opportunity to broaden our thinking about children’s mental health, focusing not only on the treatment of established problems but also on population, prevention and early intervention approaches. We also hope to provide stronger support for parents and universal service providers, identify gaps in the current service system and address issues of access and equity.”