Debate: Giving prevention a chance to prove its worth in lowering common mental disorder prevalence: how long will it take?

Johan Ormel*, Michael VonKorff

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
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    Large increases in treatment of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) have failed to reduce population prevalence and global burden. Preventive strategies are needed to lower CMD prevalence and burden. Giving prevention a real chance to prove its promise will require: (a) full embedment in social institutions; (b) long-term structural funding; (c) targeting major CMD determinants early in life combining population-level and individual-level strategies; and, (d) integrated evaluation of short-term and long-term effects to guide implementation. Targeting life skills and resilience of children and parenting skills of their parents has the potential for long-term benefits for multiple outcomes including well-being, social, economic, and financial domains as well as mental health outcomes. However, the large investments may not occur without compelling proof of effectiveness, but evaluation of effectiveness cannot occur without long-term, structural investments. Overcoming this impasse requires a paradigm shift. Randomized controlled trials of initial efficacy need to be supplemented by evaluation strategies for long-term surveillance of community-based programs that guide implementation while assessing long-term effectiveness.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)86-88
    Number of pages3
    JournalChild and adolescent mental health
    Issue number1
    Early online date4-Jan-2021
    Publication statusPublished - Feb-2021



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