Earlier this year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that we would focus in the coming years on building a Culture of Health, a culture in which good health is valued and supported by society as a whole. To achieve this vision, we know that we must address the existing culture of violence and trauma that prevents too many American families, communities, schools, cities and individuals from flourishing.
A group of us at the Foundation are now dedicating our time to learning how we can best contribute to overcoming this culture of violence and trauma. A potentially powerful way to do this is to promote the health and wellbeing of families with young children, by emphasizing healthy social emotional development and resilience and ensure that systems and services are poised to help families overcome the trauma they do encounter. This report from Child Trends reinforces our commitment to help children grow up mentally well by speaking to the power that parents, schools and communities have to strengthen children's mental wellness.
Our learning cannot be done in isolation. We want to hear from those of you who are perhaps learning yourselves, who are developing ideas that work and who can encourage us to consider novel approaches. Over the next few weeks, we will share additional reports and briefs and continue to ask you to share your ideas and opinions. Please don't be shy; we can't do this without you.
The mental health challenges our country’s youth face call for shifting the focus of policy and practice from illness, to promotion of wellness and flourishing. This requires using evidence-based strategies with children and parents, and improving the quality of the environments where children and youth live, learn, play, and grow. This report summarizes current knowledge on children’s mental health, and offers a more-inclusive framework for understanding mental wellness.
“We were encouraged by the research indicating that a child with mental health concerns can also have wellness in many aspects of his or her life. With support from caregivers, schools, and communities, the child as a whole can flourish.”
- Dr. Rachel Gooze, Child Trends
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