Transferring Child and Adolescent Mental Health Treatment to Awareness, Prevention and Early Intervention (APEX)

Public description of the goals at the beginning of the project

Mental health problems cause a huge burden on the wellbeing of population and an economic burden on the society. Our aim is to promote the children’s right to good mental wellbeing regardless of their socioeconomic environment, geographical location or ethnic background. Research shows that increasing mental health literacy is an important component of mental wellbeing in both children and adults. This is complemented with targeted early interventions delivered in a digital environment in critical transition periods from the childbirth to adolescence. This serves to prevent later adversities in life. Special attention is given to immigrant population and their specific needs. Digital environment provides equal opportunities for all involved parties and advances the adoption of behaviors supporting mental wellbeing. All these interrelated components of our program will facilitate the shift from child welfare and specialized level treatment to early interventions and prevention.

Public description of the results at the end of the project

The Voimaperheet RCT study on the effectiveness of a digitalized early intervention for childhood disruptive behavioral problems was conducted. Children randomized to the intervention group demonstrated significant improvement in externalizing symptoms at 6, 12 and 24 months compared to the EC group and parenting skills improved. The intervention has been successfully implemented widely in primary health care covering one third of Finnish child health clinics. Interventions were tested and implemented into primary health care services. Population-based screening was used in child health clinics and school health care in identifying children at risk.

The aims of the project “Huolet hallintaan”, i.e. developing a digital treatment program to childhood anxiety and the implementation of screening of anxiety symptoms into school health care, have been accomplished.  The results on the efficacy of the treatment program (6-12 months after the randomization) will be ready in 2020-2021.

More information

  • Consortium´s website
  • Consortium PI Leif Andre Sourander, Professor, University of Turku

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