Prevention

Prevention is much easier than treatment. We could do a great deal to prevent mental health problems by reducing the stress that children experience. Most mental health problems begin during childhood so this is where a major focus for prevention should take place. Specifically children need to be protected from experiencing ‘too much stress, too soon, too hard’. It is impossible to completely avoid stress however some unnecessary causes of stress should be removed. For example, the focus of education should shift away from putting children excessive stress through exams and move towards building up their resilience and well-being. Screening programmes could take place to identify children who have risk factors for developing mental health problems. These children should be offered extra support within the context of all children flourishing in the healthy environment at school, at home society at large. This does not mean that children necessarily need to do less activity but they do need more recovery time whatever form that may take as long as it is time when they are experiencing less stress.