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New Report Addresses the State of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health in Children and Youth

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September 17, 2019
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Extramural Research
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
View Dr. Edwards' biographical sketch

Building knowledge about how complementary and integrative approaches could be useful across the life span, including to support emotional well-being, is one of NCCIH’s high-priority prevention topics. Last year, NCCIH cosponsored a roundtable of experts to assess current research opportunities and gaps in emotional well-being research (see blog). Today, I’m pleased to announce that an evidence-based consensus study report—cosponsored by NCCIH—was just released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM): Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth. 

The report authors, consisting of an expert panel, note that achieving meaningful improvements will require a comprehensive, integrated approach that takes advantage of the full range of research findings about major influences, effective strategies, and successful implementation. They recommend creating a broad-based effort to improve mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) health for children and youth—a “Decade of Children and Youth”—to be led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (of which NCCIH and NIH are components). The initiative would be intended to build awareness of the social and economic gains associated with healthy child development and seek to engage multiple sectors of society, such as families, schools, communities, the business community, and private funding partners. The second report recommendation is that “relevant Federal agencies should use their program creation, regulatory, and other policy capabilities to promote healthy MEB development and mitigate risks to MEB health,” with specific ideas outlined.  

This is such an important topic with major implications for our country. In the past decade, evidence has been growing about the biological, social, and environmental influences that impact the health and well-being of young people. But much remains to be done in implementing what is known. I welcome you to review the NASEM report and provide a comment below suggesting how we can improve the health of our children and youth. 

For More Information
Download the free report: Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth

This study was cosponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCCIH, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It was conducted under the auspices of NASEM by its Committee on Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development Among Children and Youth, which is under the Board on Children, Youth, and Families within NASEM’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

This page last modified October 03, 2019