Special Issue "Mental Illness in Children"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rosemary Sheehan

Department of Social Work, Monash University, Victoria 3145, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mental health; child welfare and the law; children’s courts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In this Special Issue of Brain Sciences, we will be discussing “Mental Illness in Children” from a range of  perspectives, exploring the prevalence and recognition of mental disorders in children, the types of disorders and approaches to meeting their needs, and the complexity and severity of mental health problems in children. We look to what models of care best respond to children’s needs, the identification and management of risk, and the expertise needed to appropriately and effectively intervene when children need mental health care. We will welcome articles describing the range of issues that impact on mental disorder in children; models of intervention implemented and evaluated; new data on prevalence and nature of disorder; and critical reviews on mental health problems and vulnerability. We look forward to your valuable contribution to this Special Issue for this journal.

Prof. Rosemary Sheehan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 650 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mental health problems in children
  • Prevalence
  • Models of intervention
  • Evaluation of care
  • Emerging trends and needs

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Mental Illness in Children: Childhood Illness and Supporting the Family
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(8), 97; doi:10.3390/brainsci7080097
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 7 August 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 8 August 2017
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Abstract
Childhood is a stage of life that is filled with potential for development, and the early years of childhood see immense physical changes in growth; mastery over body functions like movement; the acquisition of language and cognitive development to understand their own and
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Childhood is a stage of life that is filled with potential for development, and the early years of childhood see immense physical changes in growth; mastery over body functions like movement; the acquisition of language and cognitive development to understand their own and others’ thinking and reasoning; and the psychosocial development of trust in the world, comfort in the care they receive from parents and caregivers, and the sense of being secure in themselves that this engenders. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Salivary Oxytocin Concentration Changes during a Group Drumming Intervention for Maltreated School Children
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(11), 152; doi:10.3390/brainsci7110152
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
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Abstract
Many emotionally-disturbed children who have been maltreated and are legally separated from their parents or primary caregivers live in group homes and receive compulsory education. Such institutions provide various special intervention programs. Taiko-ensou, a Japanese style of group drumming, is one such program
[...] Read more.
Many emotionally-disturbed children who have been maltreated and are legally separated from their parents or primary caregivers live in group homes and receive compulsory education. Such institutions provide various special intervention programs. Taiko-ensou, a Japanese style of group drumming, is one such program because playing drums in a group may improve children’s emotional well-being. However, evidence for its efficacy has not been well established at the biological level. In this study, we measured salivary levels of oxytocin (OT), a neuropeptide associated with social memory and communication, in three conditions (recital, practice, and free sessions) in four classes of school-aged children. Following the sessions, OT concentrations showed changes in various degrees and directions (no change, increases, or decreases). The mean OT concentration changes after each session increased, ranging from 112% to 165%. Plasma OT concentrations were equally sensitive to drum playing in school-aged boys and girls. However, the difference between practice and free play sessions was only significant among elementary school boys aged 8–12 years. The results suggest that younger boys are most responsive to this type of educational music intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
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Open AccessArticle Mental Health Literacy Content for Children of Parents with a Mental Illness: Thematic Analysis of a Literature Review
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(11), 141; doi:10.3390/brainsci7110141
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
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Abstract
Millions of children have a parent with a mental illness (COPMI). These children are at higher risk of acquiring behavioural, developmental and emotional difficulties. Most children, including COPMI, have low levels of mental health literacy (MHL), meaning they do not have accurate, non-stigmatized
[...] Read more.
Millions of children have a parent with a mental illness (COPMI). These children are at higher risk of acquiring behavioural, developmental and emotional difficulties. Most children, including COPMI, have low levels of mental health literacy (MHL), meaning they do not have accurate, non-stigmatized information. There is limited knowledge about what kind of MHL content should be delivered to children. The aim of this exploratory study is to identify the knowledge content needed for general population children and COPMI to increase their MHL. A second aim is to explore content for emerging children’s MHL scales. Researchers created and analyzed a literature review database. Thematic analysis yielded five main mental health knowledge themes for children: (1) attaining an overview of mental illness and recovery; (2) reducing mental health stigma; (3) building developmental resiliencies; (4) increasing help-seeking capacities; and (5) identifying risk factors for mental illness. COPMI appeared to need the same kind of MHL knowledge content, but with extra family-contextual content such as dealing with stigma experiences, managing stress, and communicating about parental mental illness. There is a need for MHL programs, validated scales, and research on what works for prevention and early intervention with COPMI children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Predictive Factors on Minors’ Mental Health According to the Spanish National Health Survey
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(10), 135; doi:10.3390/brainsci7100135
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
Research on minors’ mental health is an increasingly developing area. Given the increased prevalence of disorders, it seems necessary to analyze the factors that can affect poor mental health. This study analyzes the influence of occupational class, educational level, age, sex and perceived
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Research on minors’ mental health is an increasingly developing area. Given the increased prevalence of disorders, it seems necessary to analyze the factors that can affect poor mental health. This study analyzes the influence of occupational class, educational level, age, sex and perceived mental health of Spanish children, which is measured through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. The sample consists of 3599 minors between 4 and 14 years old, who were interviewed through the Spanish National Health Survey 2011. Our results indicating the significant (p < 0.05) relationship between mental health, occupational class (OR 0.533) and minors’ health in the last year (OR 0.313) are shown. However, gender (OR 1.187) and educational level of Pre-School Education in relation to Secondary Education (OR 1.174) and Primary Education (OR 0.996) do not generate significant differences. In conclusion, we consider it necessary to design and implement public policies aimed at improving the care system for children who have had poor or regular health in the last year, and whose parents are positioned in the lowest part of the occupational scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
Open AccessArticle Child Community Mental Health Services in Asia Pacific and Singapore’s REACH Model
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(10), 126; doi:10.3390/brainsci7100126
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 6 October 2017
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Abstract
In recent decades, there have been concerted efforts to improve mental health services for youths alongside the challenges of rising healthcare costs and increasing demand for mental health needs. One important phenomenon is the shift from traditional clinic-based care to community-based mental health
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In recent decades, there have been concerted efforts to improve mental health services for youths alongside the challenges of rising healthcare costs and increasing demand for mental health needs. One important phenomenon is the shift from traditional clinic-based care to community-based mental health services to improve accessibility to services and provide patient-centred care. In this article, we discuss the child and adolescent community mental health efforts within the Asia-Pacific region. We also discuss Singapore’s community and school-based mental health service, known as the Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health (REACH). This article discusses how REACH has evolved over the years in response to the changing needs of youths in Singapore. Finally, we discuss the current challenges and future directions for youth mental health care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
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Open AccessArticle Investing in the Early Childhood Mental Health Workforce Development: Enhancing Professionals’ Competencies to Support Emotion and Behavior Regulation in Young Children
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(9), 120; doi:10.3390/brainsci7090120
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper delineates a preventive approach to early childhood mental health by preparing the workforce to provide relational, sensitive care to young children ages 0–5. One of the most prevalent issues in early childhood is behavioral challenges and the inability of young children
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This paper delineates a preventive approach to early childhood mental health by preparing the workforce to provide relational, sensitive care to young children ages 0–5. One of the most prevalent issues in early childhood is behavioral challenges and the inability of young children to regulate themselves. This leads to an expulsion rate in early childhood (3–4 times higher than K-12 expulsion rate) and future mental health issues. The Early Childhood Social-Emotional and Behavior Regulation Intervention Specialist (EC-SEBRIS) graduate level certificate program was created to strengthen early care and education providers with the knowledge and practice of how to support emotion and behavior regulation in young children in their groups. Evaluation data provide evidence that early care and education professionals increased in their perception of self-efficacy and in their sensitivity of care and skills to support behavioral health in young children. Results indicated that the children in their care showed less challenging behaviors and increased social competencies. This manuscript highlights the importance of prevention and the dire need to provide young children with high-quality, appropriate care to support their mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
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Open AccessArticle Infants Investigated by the Child Welfare System: Exploring a Distinct Profile of Risks, Service Needs, and Referrals for Support in Ontario
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(8), 101; doi:10.3390/brainsci7080101
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 2 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 12 August 2017
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Abstract
The science of early childhood development underscores that maltreatment and other adversities experienced during infancy heightens the risk for poor developmental and socio-emotional outcomes. Referrals to supportive services by the child welfare system are particularly critical during infancy given the rapidity of brain
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The science of early childhood development underscores that maltreatment and other adversities experienced during infancy heightens the risk for poor developmental and socio-emotional outcomes. Referrals to supportive services by the child welfare system are particularly critical during infancy given the rapidity of brain development and infants’ sensitivity to their environment. The main objectives of the current study are to: (1) examine age-specific differences in clinical and case characteristics; (2) determine the factors associated with the service referral decision involving infants; and (3) explore the types of services families have been referred to at the conclusion of a maltreatment-related investigation. Using data from the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect for 2013, descriptive analyses were conducted, as was a logistic regression to identify factors associated with the decision to refer families of infants to supportive services. Overall, the findings reveal that the profile of infants and their families differs distinctly from those of older children with respect to risks, service needs, and service referrals, although this is rarely reflected in child welfare practice and policy. Investigations involving infants were most likely to have a referral made to supportive services, least likely to have an infant functioning concern identified; most likely to have a primary caregiver risk factor identified; and, the greatest likelihood of experiencing economic hardship. Multiple risks, identified for the primary caregiver of the infant are correlated to referral decisions for infants. However, the needs of the infant are likely under-identified and require cross-sectorial collaboration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper Promoting Mental Health in Unaccompanied Refugee Minors: Recommendations for Primary Support Programs
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(11), 146; doi:10.3390/brainsci7110146
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
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Abstract
During the last years, the number of refugees around the world increased to about 22.5 million. The mental health of refugees, especially of unaccompanied minors (70% between the ages of 16 and 18 years) who have been exposed to traumatic events (e.g., war),
[...] Read more.
During the last years, the number of refugees around the world increased to about 22.5 million. The mental health of refugees, especially of unaccompanied minors (70% between the ages of 16 and 18 years) who have been exposed to traumatic events (e.g., war), is generally impaired with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Several studies revealed (1) a huge variation among the prevalence rates of these mental problems, and (2) that post-migration stressors (e.g., language barriers, cultural differences) might be at least as detrimental to mental health as the traumatic events in pre- and peri-flight. As psychotherapy is a limited resource that should be reserved for severe cases and as language trainings are often publicly offered for refugees, we recommend focusing on intercultural competence, emotion regulation, and goal setting and goal striving in primary support programs: Intercultural competence fosters adaptation by giving knowledge about cultural differences in values and norms. Emotion regulation regarding empathy, positive reappraisal, and cultural differences in emotion expression fosters both adaptation and mental health. Finally, supporting unaccompanied refugee minors in their goal setting and goal striving is necessary, as they carry many unrealistic wishes and unattainable goals, which can be threatening to their mental health. Building on these three psychological processes, we provide recommendations for primary support programs for unaccompanied refugee minors that are aged 16 to 18 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
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Open AccessCommentary A Diagnosis of Denial: How Mental Health Classification Systems Have Struggled to Recognise Family Violence as a Serious Risk Factor in the Development of Mental Health Issues for Infants, Children, Adolescents and Adults
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(10), 133; doi:10.3390/brainsci7100133
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) routinely overlook assessing for, and providing treatment to, infants and children living with family violence, despite family violence being declared endemic across the globe. As contemporary neuro-developmental research recognises the harm of being exposed to early
[...] Read more.
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) routinely overlook assessing for, and providing treatment to, infants and children living with family violence, despite family violence being declared endemic across the globe. As contemporary neuro-developmental research recognises the harm of being exposed to early relational trauma, key international diagnostic texts such as the DSM-5 and ICD-10 struggle to acknowledge or appreciate the relational complexities inherent in addressing family violence and its impacts during childhood. These key texts directly influence thinking, funding and research imperatives in adult services as well as CAMHS, however, they rarely reference family violence. Their emphasis is to pathologise conditions over exploring causality which may be attributable to relational violence. Consequently, CAMHS can miss important indicators of family violence, misdiagnose disorders and unwittingly, not address unacceptable risks in the child’s caregiving environment. Notwithstanding urgent safety concerns, ongoing exposure to family violence significantly heightens the development of mental illness amongst children. CAMHS providers cannot and should not rely on current diagnostic manuals alone. They need to act now to see family violence as a significant and important risk factor to mental health and to treat its impacts on children before these develop into enduring neurological difficulties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Illness in Children)
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