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Sir Michael Marmot's
IHE team

Opportunities for reducing socioeconomic inequalities in the mental health of children and young people – reducing adversity and increasing resilience

17th May 2016 07:47

Article Abstract

Purpose – Poor mental health and well-being disproportionately affects vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach – The focus of this paper is socioeconomic inequalities in perinatal, child and adolescent mental health.

Findings – Children and young people in the poorest British households are up to three times more likely to develop mental health problems than their more advantaged peers (Green et al., 2005). The pattern can also be observed in the opposite direction, with poor mental health known to contribute to socioeconomic and other health problems (McCulloch and Goldie, 2010, Parckar, 2008). At a larger scale, the higher the level of inequality within developed countries, the higher the rate of child and adolescent mental health problems (Pickett et al., 2006).

Social implications – Mechanisms posited as underlying such inequalities include family investment and stress processes. These factors have been taken into account when developing the economic case for investing in perinatal, child and adolescent mental health.

Originality/value – Illustrative examples of progressive universal strategies and policies to help reduce socioeconomic inequalities in mental health, include: action to address the inequality gap in the UK; early intervention to improve mental health; investing in sustainable and evidence-based mental health services; ensuring parity of esteem, and; using appropriately designed social media and online sources to support children’s mental health.

Read the full article.