ESCAP 2017 keynote abstract and slide presentation by Maria Melchior (Sorbonne University and Inserm, France), on social inequalities in children's mental health – from observation to prevention.
Children growing up in poverty have high levels of emotional and behavioral problems, which can hinder well-being, school achievement and social integration, as well as predict the occurrence of psychiatric disorders later in life. Population-based studies indicate the existence of a socioeconomic gradient with regard to child mental health. That is the effects of low socioeconomic position are not curtailed to groups of individuals who experience poverty, but are widely distributed. I will present data from contemporary epidemiological studies documenting socioeconomic inequalities with regard to child and adolescent mental health across different socioeconomic indicators, different forms of psychopathology and different age groups. I will also show currently available evidence suggesting that changes in families’ socioeconomic circumstances can have beneficial effects on children’s mental health. Finally, I will suggest possible avenues for intervention which could help reduce socioeconomic inequalities with regard to child and adolescent psychopathology.
View Maria Melchior's slide presentation (pdf, 28 pages)