Children's mental health case studies
These online interactive tools are designed to help professionals and would-be-professionals explore children’s mental health. They were created by the Children, Youth & Family Consortium.
Each case study:
- Explores the experiences of a child and family over time.
- Introduces theories, research and practice ideas about children's mental health.
- Shows the needs of a child at specific stages of development.
- Invites users to “try on the hat” of different specific professionals.
By completing a case study participants will:
- Examine the needs of children from an interdisciplinary perspective.
- Recognize the importance of prevention/early intervention in children’s mental health.
- Apply ecological and developmental perspectives to children’s mental health.
- Predict probable outcomes for children based on services they receive.
Case studies prompt users to practice making decisions that are:
- Best to meet a child and family's needs in that moment.
Children’s mental health service delivery systems often face significant challenges.
- Services can be disconnected and hard to access.
- Stigma can prevent people from seeking help.
- Parents, teachers and other direct providers can become overwhelmed with piecing together a system of care that meets the needs of an individual child.
- Professionals can be unaware of the theories and perspectives under which others serving the same family work
- Professionals may face challenges doing interdisciplinary work.
- Limited funding promotes competition between organizations trying to serve families.
These case studies help explore life-like mental health situations and decision-making. Case studies introduce characters with history, relationships and real-life problems. They offer users the opportunity to:
- Examine all these details, as well as pertinent research.
- Make informed decisions about intervention based on the available information.
The case study also allows users to see how preventive decisions can change outcomes later on. At every step, the case content and learning format encourages users to review the research to inform their decisions.
Each case study emphasizes the need to consider a growing child within ecological, developmental, and interdisciplinary frameworks.
- Ecological approaches consider all the levels of influence on a child.
- Developmental approaches recognize that children are constantly growing and developing. They may learn some things before other things.
- Interdisciplinary perspectives recognize that the needs of children will not be met within the perspectives and theories of a single discipline.
These case studies help all understand children as they develop mental health needs and strengths.
There are currently two different case students available. Each case study reflects a set of themes that the child and family experience.
The About Steven case study addresses:
- Adolescent depression.
- School mental health.
- Rural mental health services.
- Social/emotional development.
The Brianna and Tanya case study reflects themes of:
- Infant and early childhood mental health.
- Educational disparities.
- Trauma and toxic stress.
- Financial insecurity.
- Intergenerational issues.
The case studies are designed with many audiences in mind:
Practitioners from a variety of fields. This includes social work, education, nursing, public health, mental health, and others.
Professionals in training, including those attending graduate or undergraduate classes.
The broader community.
Each case is based on the research, theories, practices and perspectives of people in all these areas. The case studies emphasize the importance of considering an interdisciplinary framework. Children’s needs cannot be met within the perspective of a single discipline.
The complex problems children face need solutions that integrate many and diverse ways of knowing. The case studies also help everyone better understand the mental health needs of children. We all have a role to play.
These case has been piloted within:
Graduate and undergraduate courses.
Discipline-specific and interdisciplinary settings.
Currently, the case studies are being offered to instructors and their staff and students in graduate and undergraduate level courses. They are designed to supplement existing course curricula.
Instructors have used the case study effectively by:
- Assigning the entire case at one time as homework. This is followed by in-class discussion or a reflective writing assignment relevant to a course.
- Assigning sections of the case throughout the course. Instructors then require students to prepare for in-class discussion pertinent to that section.
- Creating writing, research or presentation assignments based on specific sections of course content.
- Focusing on a specific theme present in the case that is pertinent to the course. Instructors use this as a launching point for deeper study.
- Constructing other in-class creative experiences with the case.
- Collaborating with other instructors to hold interdisciplinary discussions about the case.
To get started with a particular case, visit the related web page and follow the instructions to register. Once you register as an instructor, you will receive information for your co-instructors, teaching assistants and students. Get more information on the following web pages.