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Keywords:

  • child mental health;
  • prevention;
  • evidenced-based practice

A substantial number of children in the United States suffer from mental health problems. These children enter into adulthood at a disadvantage and often continue to experience mental health problems as adults. Historically, much less attention has been paid to prevention of mental health problems than to treatment and rehabilitative services. In recent years, however, great strides have been made in developing and evaluating prevention interventions in the area of mental health. Nevertheless, the study of prevention still lags behind clinical treatment research in identifying and disseminating effective programs and interventions. The following article draws on the work of numerous prevention scholars to develop a conceptual framework of evidence-based prevention practice in the area of mental health. Suggestions for how researchers, policy makers, and service providers can contribute to the development of evidence-based prevention practice in mental health are considered.