Prevention of Childhood Emotional Disorders: Reducing the Burden of Suffering Associated with Anxiety and Depression



Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems affecting young people today. This review presents a description of the prevalence and impact of these emotional disorders in children and youth. While treatment offers one approach to intervening, research indicates that most sufferers will not actually receive clinical intervention, and of the minority who do, many will terminate prematurely, fail to respond, or experience recurrent difficulties despite treatment. Prevention approaches offer an alternative and adjunct to treatment, and have become a priority for governments, offering a cost effective and efficient means of providing services to children and youth prior to the onset of psychopathology. This review describes current practises in prevention research and provides an overview of an Australian developed cognitive-behavioural programme that has acquired a solid evidence-base as well as popularity in schools as one approach to building emotional resilience in children and youth, whilst effectively reducing the burden associated with emotional disturbances of anxiety and depression. Future directions for prevention practice and research are highlighted.