National Academy of Medicine

Health Care Reform as a Vehicle for Promoting Children’s Mental and Behavioral Health

By Mary Ann McCabe
May 05, 2015 | Discussion Paper

Most mental health conditions emerge in childhood and adolescence, and many develop in the context of the same risk factors as physical disease. Similarly, many behavioral health patterns that result in health conditions and health care expenditures in adulthood emerge early. Targeted public investment in children’s mental and behavioral health can result in savings in the areas of education, special education, juvenile justice, child welfare, and health care, as well as enhanced educational attainment, work productivity, and health into adulthood. It can also promote the formation of healthy families in the next generation. Evidence based programs and services could have a very broad impact if policies ensured access for families and communities.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.