Blind spot: The impact of missed early warning signs on children’s mental health

This month the Centre for Children’s Advocacy in the US released research that demonstrates the long-term consequences of failing to address mental health issues early. Dr Andrea Spencer who conducted the research looked at data from 102 case studies of children who had been referred to an area advocacy centre due to involvement with the justice system.

She found that all of the students included in the sample had evidence of significant behavioural and/or mental health problems. In Connecticut (where the study took place) more than one in five children experience a mental health or substance abuse problem in any given year – but more than half get no treatment even though warning signs can appear as early as nursery school age.