Finding methods to prevent mental ill-health in children is of urgent importance. Data suggest that mental ill-health in children may have increased in recent decades, and structured interventions to address this problem have become increasingly common in municipal services and health services. Interventions often consist of standardised programmes, which are described in manuals and other documents.
This summary describes the scientific evidence for two types of programmes: those intended to prevent externalising behaviour problems (e.g., acting out) in children and adolescents, and those primarily intended to prevent internalising behaviour problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, and self-harm). The programmes are intended to have effects not only directly afterwards, but also in the long term. Programmes aimed at general health promoting effects, e.g., preventing drug abuse and violent acts, are not included.
The report was developed at the request of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the UPP Centre (Development Centre on Mental Health in Children) at the National Board of Health and Welfare. Both organisations called for a systematic literature review to determine the benefits of using programmes to prevent mental ill-health in children.
How to cite this report: SBU. Methods to prevent mental ill-health in children. Stockholm: Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU); 2010. SBU report no 202 (in Swedish).