A new research report reiterates calls for B.C. to fully fund and implement mental health screening, assessment and treatment for children and youth with neurodevelopmental disorders.
A study titled “Towards Inclusion”, released Wednesday (April 5) by the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) and Simon Fraser University’s Center for Child Health Policy (CHPC), provides “strong evidence that psychological Health challenges Children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and intellectual disability (ID) have much higher prevalence.”
This is the second in a series of RCY reports on mental health and wellness for diverse child and youth populations.
In the report, RCY made four recommendations to the government, including that the Department of Children and Family Development fully fund a program to provide comprehensive mental health screening, assessment and effective treatment services for children and young people with support needs. The report states that implementation should begin in April 2025.
Representative Jennifer Charlesworth said there was “a clear opportunity for the government to ‘reset’ the framework for children and young people with support needs to ensure children get the services they need.”
“The CHPC report seeks to determine just how big of a mental health challenge these young people are, and what research tells us about what we can do. Mental health is proving to be a huge problem, and for far too many children and families it is a huge It’s not surprising that the extent to which it hasn’t been addressed. By resetting, the government has a golden opportunity here — and a responsibility — to address it.”
Data from a CHPC report study led by Drs. Christine Schwartz and Charlotte Waddell show that five of the most common mental health significantly higher in
Children with ASD had nearly eight times higher prevalence of anxiety disorders, and children with FASD had 28 times higher prevalence of major depressive disorder. At the same time, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among children with intellectual disabilities more than doubled.
However, the CPHC report found that effective interventions do exist for these three populations.
“Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a proven therapy that’s relatively easy to implement, so we’re not surprised it’s been successful, as is parent training,” Waddell said. “We urge the government to make these tested treatments available to all children in need – so all can thrive.”
The full report can be found here.
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