Promoting Children's Health and Well-Being

According to community polls, psychological issues in children and adolescents are common and can considerably affect daily functioning. Issues continue if addressed, increasing the probability of psychological issues in maturity. Improving children's mental health is an important public health goal, and while effective therapies are available, most children, particularly those with emotional illnesses, go unrecognised and untreated.

Focusing on treating existing disorders will thus have a limited influence on children's psychological health. Prevention is an alternative method to minimise the prevalence of psychological issues and illnesses while optimising psychological well-being. This can be accomplished by implementing initiatives to reduce or mitigate the impact of identified mental health risk factors while increasing protective variables at the individual, family, and community levels. Thus, prevention interventions assist youngsters in becoming more resilient and better able to cope with stress and adversity, thereby preserving their nutritional status.

Prevention of Children's Well-Being

Prevention schemes are often classified as universal, selective, or targeted, each with a distinct emphasis and goal. Universal programmes are available to all target population members, regardless of risk status, such as children of a specific age. Selective initiatives target children at a higher risk of developing issues due to exposure to established risk factors, such as children of parents with mental illnesses.

The primary goals of universal and selective programmes are to promote well-being and reduce the onset of new issues. Indicated programmes are focused on early treatments delivered to people with mild or moderate issues to keep them from worsening - for example, children with anxiety or depression symptoms.

Each strategy has advantages and disadvantages. Universal initiatives have the most significant potential to improve the population's overall well-being. They give chances for prevention (for example, maximising potential), protection (for example, building capabilities), and intervention (for example, minimising impairment).

School-Based Prevention

When conducting preventive activities, schools provide accessible and familiar settings that most young people frequent. Incorporating emotional health programmes into the school environment and curriculum allows the opportunity to freely discuss mental health concerns and promote psychological concepts and ideas as "life skills." This more open and visible approach helps to normalise common psychological illnesses like anxiety and depression, and it can aid in the development of a supportive peer group culture in which fears and difficulties can be more freely recognised and shared.

In terms of efficacy, systematic evaluations of school-based emotional health preventive programmes revealed evidence that universal and targeted/indicated methods could benefit emotional well-being. However, the findings vary. The issues and problems of implementing effective preventative strategies are presented and explored.

Developing Leadership and Management

Incorporating the eight principles into a successful entire school or college strategy necessitates coordinated change within a setting and a communal and individual duty to promote and support mental health and wellness that encompasses all personnel. A senior leadership team that advocates initiatives to enhance mental health and wellness is required to ensure that changes are accepted and ingrained. A governor who understands and is knowledgeable about mental health and wellness concerns is also highly desirable in advocating organizational-wide practices.

Schools and colleges are urged to appoint a senior mental health lead to serve as the strategic lead for implementing the entire school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting. Leaders have a significant executive role in advocating for children's and young people's needs within the broader local strategic planning framework and influencing local commissioning arrangements. Senior Mental Health Leads are identified as the strategic lead for the whole school or college approach to mental health and well-being within Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health.

Whoever leads in a set must understand and be able to explain how a whole school or college approach will benefit everyone, not just mental health and wellbeing, but also improved attainment, attendance, fewer behavioral problems, and happier, more confident, and resilient children and young people. Such champions do not have to be senior leaders, but they do require the backing of the senior leadership team and governors to move work ahead in a way ingrained across the setting.

A Conceptual Framework for Child Well-Being

The framework presented in the report Measuring What Matters for Child Well-being and Policies aims to address a common shortcoming in child well-being measurement by treating the various dimensions of child well-being - material well-being, physical health, social, emotional, and cultural well-being, and cognitive development and educational well-being - as if they are primarily separate or independent from one another. One explanation is that most study into children's life and well-being focuses on a single result or component of well-being. While this method makes it easier for researchers to gather thorough information on a particular topic and result, one disadvantage is that it misses the diversity of factors influencing children's well-being. In various aspects, the paradigm advances child well-being measurement −

  • Its multi-level structure emphasises the significance of children's surroundings, connections, and other possible effects on child well-being, underlining that these potential drivers are different from (but frequently play a crucial part in) children's well-being outcomes. This framework acknowledges the wide range of influences at work in moulding child well-being, stressing those that have the most immediate impact or are more easily measured.

  • By emphasising age-sensitive concepts and metrics, it pays closer attention to how the things children need, want and should be able to do vary throughout childhood.

  • By emphasising children's viewpoints, it hopes to support attempts to incorporate children's thoughts, opinions, and perspectives throughout all levels of child well-being assessment.

Future Developments and Challenges

While school-based preventative interventions can potentially promote children's psychological well-being, more study is needed before widespread adoption can be advised. Sample sizes are frequently small, medium-term follow-ups are sparse, and few have included comparisons with other active therapies. Most studies have focused on teens, with few targeted or including children under nine. In terms of programme substance, those based on CBT, particularly for anxiety, show the most potential. However, there are significant disparities in length, principal components, and delivery.

Second, it is unknown if universal preventative measures are more successful than tailored therapies. Universal programming can improve people's psychological well-being. Such regimens often attempt to alleviate symptoms while still preserving psychological wellness. However, the emphasis of the review has been on whether they diminish symptomatology rather than on whether they preserve emotional well-being and prevent children from future mental health issues. To estimate the costs/benefits of such measures, the long-term preventive benefits of universal approaches must be considered alongside an economic review.


Prevention is an alternative method to improve children's mental health, aiming to reduce or mitigate the impact of identified mental health risk factors while increasing protective variables at the individual, family, and community levels. Schools provide accessible and familiar settings for emotional health programmes, which can help to normalise common psychological illnesses and foster a supportive peer group culture.

Studies have shown that both universal and targeted/indicated methods can have good benefits on emotional well-being. School-based anxiety prevention interventions can potentially promote children's psychological well-being, but more study is needed to assess their long-term results.

Updated on: 10-May-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started