Social Determinants of Mental Health in Children and Youth
The field of psychiatry is at a historic precipice in advancing a more equitable society and mental health care system. While the predominant medical model has given us many triumphs and advances, psychiatrists have an opportunity to catalyze change within the dynamic and complex process of social causation. A deeper understanding of the interplay between social determinants and mental health conditions is critical and is a core skill of structural competency. In their book The Social Determinants of Mental Health, which provided an extensive and detailed overview of the topic, Compton and Shim closed the final chapter with a “call to action” for behavioral health professions and highlighted specific action items. This APA resource document responds to that “call to action” by giving additional practical tools for child- and youth-serving professionals, organizations, and institutions. The recommendations in this document also align with the Strengthening Families Protective Factors framework developed by The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), which identifies the following as key areas for focus in increasing child and family resilience: ensuring concrete supports are available, cultivating caregiver resilience, increasing caregiver knowledge of parenting and child development, strengthening family social connections, and supporting the social and emotional competence of the child so they can form positive relationships and regulate emotions.