Future of children’s mental health

Editor’s Note: On Nov. 15, 2012, Western News celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special edition asking 40 Western researchers to share the 40 THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEXT 40 YEARS. This is one of those entries. To view the entire anniversary issue, visit the Western News archives.

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Communities supporting families, families caring for children and children living in communities where they are loved, where they are safe and where they are welcomed — this is what we hope children’s mental health looks like 40 years from now.

Children’s mental health will be evidenced by healthy relationships with classmates, friends, family and community members, by their curiosity and interest in the people and things around them, and by their willingness to (from the safety of their secure relationships) step into new experiences.

Children and families who need help with their mental health will be able to access the needed supports quickly and without stigma in their community and in ways that recognize child, family and community strengths as well as needs.

What does children’s mental health look like in the future? It looks like healthy, thriving, learning and growing children surrounded by love, support, acceptance and infinite opportunities.

Susan Rodger is a Counselling Psychology professor in the Faculty of Education.