Children and Adolescents with Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges
Professional Resource Guide
Table of Contents
- Reports, Briefs, and Other Resources
- Data and Statistics
- Journal Articles and Other Literature and Research
- Programs Databases
- News and Commentary
Resources on Specific Conditions
- Early Childhood
- Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraints
- Juvenile Justice
- Military Families
- Parental Depression and Other Mental Health Concerns
Related MCH Digital Library Resources
- Adolescent Violence Prevention
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Child Maltreatment
- Children and Adolescents Exposed to Violence
- Children and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs
- Community Services Locator
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Reaching Out to Children and Youth Following Disasters
- Suicide Prevention
- Social and Emotional Development
- Tobacco, Alcohol, and Substance Use in Children and Adolescents
This professional resource guide directs readers to a selection of current, high-quality resources that analyze data, describe effective programs, and report on policy and research aimed at improving access to and quality of care for children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Resources tap into the health, education, social services, and juvenile justice literature. This professional resource guide can be used by health professionals, program administrators, policymakers, educators, and community advocates to learn more about mental health, for program development, and to locate training resources and information to answer specific questions. Separate briefs present resources for families and schools. This professional resource guide has been compiled by the MCH Digital Library at Georgetown University and will be updated periodically.
See the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) policy brief, Children's Mental Health: What Every Policymaker Should Know (2010). This policy brief presents statistics about the extent of child and adolescent mental health challenges in the United States; the difficulties these children confront in school and in child welfare and juvenile justice systems; the barriers that can prevent access to services; and weaknesses in the service-delivery system. The brief recommends policy strategies to enhance mental health for children, adolescents, and families.
for Healthcare Research and Quality
(AHRQ). Evidence-based information on health care outcomes; quality; and cost, use, and access. Links to evidence reports and research findings about
children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral,
and mental health challenges. Resources include
Child Health Care Quality Toolbox: Measuring Quality in Children's Health Programs. Tips and tools to help state and local policymakers and program administrators evaluate Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Title V, and other health programs for children and adolescents. Includes mental health quality measures.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Information about research, legislative activities, and meetings
about child and adolescent
mental health. Includes practice information, training
and education tools, and patient-education materials.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Children's Mental Health in Primary Care. Policy statements, reports, practice guidelines, webinars, grant
project information, and other resources for health
professionals about mental health
and children and adolescents. Includes a toolkit to
assist AAP chapters in addressing and improving children's
mental health in primary care in their state and
collaborative projects of care among primary care
health professionals and mental health professionals.
Other resources include
dbpeds.org. Resources for health professionals about child development and behavior, especially in the medical setting. Includes forms, checklists, and other screening tools; online tutorials; and articles to support improvement in developmental and behavioral screening, surveillance, and identification of disabilities.
Healthy Foster Care America. Information about the range of health care issues and needs of children and adolescents in foster care, including mental and behavioral health. Resources include facts, statistics, policy statements, advocacy information, and a library of materials.
- Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Legislative news, fact sheets, and reports about coordinating systems of care for children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges that support families and enable children to become successful adults. The center works to advance and preserve the rights of people with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities.
Futures at Georgetown University.
resources, and training tools for
a practical developmental approach
to providing health supervision
for infants, children, and adolescents,
including those with special health
care needs. Topics include general
health and development, mental
health, nutrition, oral health,
and physical activity. Some materials
are available in Spanish.
Bright Futures in Practice: Mental Health. (2002). [Guidelines].
What to Expect and When to Seek Help: Bright Futures Developmental Tools for Families and Providers. (2006). [Available in English and Spanish].
- Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS): Children's Behavioral Health. Program information, webinars, toolkits, and issue briefs about coordinated-care-management approaches that integrate the delivery of physical and behavioral
health services for children with behavioral or emotional problems. Includes
a series of webinars about an initiative to develop, implement, and evaluate
a care-management model in several states
for improving quality and reducing costs for high-utilizing Medicaid- and CHIP-enrolled
children with serious behavioral health challenges. CHCS is a nonprofit health
policy resource center that focuses on improving the quality and cost-effectiveness
of publicly financed health care.
- FrameWorks Institute: Child Mental Health. Research reports and tools about the gap between scientific knowledge and the
public's perception about child mental health and how to more effectively
communicate knowledge to the public and policymakers to close the gap. The
FrameWorks Institute aims to advance the nonprofit sector's communications
capacity by identifying, translating, and modeling relevant scholarly research
for framing the public discourse about social problems.
- Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD): Behavioral Health. Information on community and clinical services, research and evaluation, technical assistance, and workforce development aimed at addressing the behavioral health needs of underserved individuals. Resources
and initiatives about mental health include
National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC). Resources and tools to increase the capacity of health and mental health programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service-delivery systems. Materials are available in Spanish.
National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health . Webinars, conference information, publications, and other resources about reforming services and building systems of care for children and adolescents who have or are at risk for mental health challenges and their families. Also see the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CECMHC).
- Healthy People 2023. Information about this national health-promotion and disease-prevention initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). View the overview, objectives, and recommended interventions and resources for mental health and mental disorders and drug and alcohol use.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Maternal and Child Health Training Program. Information about and resources to support university-based
centers funded to train the next generation of
leaders in maternal and child health (MCH) with
an emphasis on interdisciplinary, family-centered, culturally
care with a population-focused, public health approach.
Disciplines include developmental-behavioral pediatrics and adolescent health.
- National Association of Mental Health Planning and Advisory Councils (NAMHPAC). Links to the website for each state and territory mental health planning and advisory council. Includes toolkits, brochures, and position statements to help the councils function more effectively. NAMHPAC is a national association of advocates, parents, and consumers involved with state mental health planning.
- National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD). Information about NASMHPD's technical-assistance programs, publications, data, and other resources that focus on state mental health services, including programs for children, adolescents, and families.
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). Programs and publications about children's mental health. In July 2019, NCCP moved to the Bank Street Graduate School of Education to continue the mission to put research into action. NCCP conducts research and translates evidence into actionable recommendations that advocates and policymakers can use to improve the lives and futures of low-income children and their families.
- Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures. Information about research projects that address issues such as career planning and development, foster care, treatment planning, transition policies, electronic health information literacy, and stigmatization in adolescents and young adults with serious mental health challenges. Resources include a webinar series and other training tools, research reviews, articles, fact sheets, and reports.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Resources about mental health conditions and substance abuse;
treatment, prevention, and recovery; service delivery and practice
issues; research; data; and grants. Topics include health reform, health
information technology, mental health systems of care, and the specific needs
of military families. Some materials are available in Spanish. Initiatives include
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Includes National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day materials and resources about systems-of-care and early childhood mental health.
The Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program. This report presents program evaluation findings of a federally funded initiative that supports systems of care for community-based mental health services for children, youth, and their families. It includes data from fiscal year 2011 data that track service characteristics, use, and outcomes.
The Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances. This report presents 2012 to 2013 findings from a federally funded program that supports community-based mental health services for children experiencing serious emotional disturbances. It describes the system of care approach, service characteristics and use, and child outcomes.
- Technical Assistance Partnership: Adolescents. Information about addiction treatment for adolescents and resources for getting help.
- Think:Kids. Rethinking Challenging Kids. Information about and resources to support this evidence-based approach for helping children with behavioral challenges. Resources are designed for mental health professionals, pediatricians, the leadership and staff of therapeutic facilities, educators, and parents and include an assessment tool, implementation guide, training videos, and podcasts. Think:Kids is a program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Reports, Briefs, and Other Resources
The MCH Digital Library has a large collection of items about emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges in children and adolescents. To identify items, search the library's online catalog MCHLine® using the online search form. In the keyword field, type child "mental health" in combination with one or two other keywords on your topic of interest to narrow your search. Keyword examples: "primary care", "behavior disorders", "family support", "access to health care". Include quotation marks as indicated. Set publication date limits to further limit your search. To search for resources about adolescent mental health, type adolescent "mental health" in the keyword field in combination with one or two other keywords.
and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI): Data Resource
Center for Child and Adolescent Health (DRC).
Data from the National Survey of Children's Health and the National
Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. Browse national
and state findings on hundreds of child health indicators, or download
state snapshot profiles. See National
Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs Chartbook 2009–2010 (2013).
and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC):
Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. Disability statistics published by various federal agencies. Topics include population and prevalence, employment, time trend population statistics, poverty, earnings, veterans, health insurance coverage, health, Social Security Administration programs, Medicaid and Medicare, special education, vocational rehabilitation, federal government spending and employment, international disability statistics, and population statistics by disability type.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA): Data, Outcomes, and Quality (DOQ).
Select View Reports By Topic, Children and Families.
- Search the following databases for access to additional data and statistics
about children and youth with emotional, behavioral, and mental health conditions.
The MCH Digital Library resource brief, Maternal
and Child Health Data and Statistics, describes these
databases and offers tips for searching them.
Child Trends DataBank
Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP): HCUPnet
Healthy People 2020: DATA2020
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC)
Title V Information System (TVIS)
Journal Articles and Other Literature and Research
- Search the following databases for access to journal articles and other literature
and research about children and youth with emotional, behavioral, and mental
health conditions. The MCH Digital Library
resource brief, Maternal
and Child Health Literature and Research Databases, describes these
databases and offers tips for searching them.
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Database
HuGE Literature Finder
Maternal and Child Health Research Program: Funded Projects Search
Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT): NIH RePORTER
- Search the following databases to identify additional programs for children
and youth with emotional, behavioral, and mental health conditions. The MCH Digital Library resource brief, Maternal
and Child Health Programs Databases, describes these databases and offers
tips for searching them.
Community Pediatrics Grants Database
Discretionary Grant Information System (DGIS)
Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center
Health Care Innovations Exchange
Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj)
MCH Organizations Database
Mental Health Network: Friday Update. This weekly newsletter
presents news and analysis of key issues focused on children, adolescent
and family mental
health and well-being.
Technical Assistance Center for
Children's Mental Health: Data
This interactive forum presents a new topic for discussion
each month, often based on current literature. Visitors
can read the article, browse additional resources,
review posted comments, post their own comments,
and access previous discussions to facilitate increased
interaction and discussion
about children's mental health.
Adolescent transition, the medical home model, and
school mental health programs are among the topics
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Sign Up for SAMHSA Email Updates. Subscribe to SAMHSA updates using the signup interface found in the footer of the SAMHSA website. SAMHSA shares
news and information about
campaigns and initiatives,
grants, data, treatment updates,
and new publications about substance
use and the prevention and treatment
of mental health challenges.
- See the MCH Digital Library family resource brief Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Kids and Teens.
- See the MCH Digital Library school resource brief Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents.
Resources on Specific Conditions
- MCH Digital Library: MCH Organizations Database. To identify resources about specific conditions, type the name of the condition
in the keyword field of the database
search form. Click on Search MCH Organizations to get your results. For a more general search
of government, professional, and voluntary mental-health-related organizations,
type "mental health" in the keyword field of the database search form. Click on Search MCH Organizations to get your results.
- MedlinePlus: Mental Health and Behavior. Links to information in English and Spanish about a wide range of emotional,
behavioral, and mental health challenges affecting families. Also see Drugs, Herbs and Supplements to learn about prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Resources about the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in children
and adolescents including research news, information about clinical trials,
and publications in English and Spanish about specific disorders.
- Also see Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Early Childhood
- Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraints
- Juvenile Justice
- Military Families
- Parental Depression and Other Mental Health Concerns
- Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CECMHC). Online tutorials, self-assessment tools, and resource guides to help Head Start
programs build a strong mental health foundation for program staff and enrolled
children and families. Includes a tutorial about recognizing and addressing
trauma in the
early care and education setting, evidence-based strategies for teaching young
children with challenging
ideas for promoting social and emotional development in the classroom and at
home, and audio clips of relaxation exercises
in English and Spanish to promote staff wellness. CECMHC is part of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD).
- Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. A collection of resources for building state and local system capacity to improve outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. ECTA Center is funded by a cooperative agreement with the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
- National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations.
Teaching tools, training materials, issue briefs, and research syntheses for early childhood educators, health professionals, administrators, and families about evidence-based practices to address social skills and challenging behavior in young children. The center is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs.
- Zero to Three. A wealth of research-based resources to promote early childhood mental health by supporting and strengthening families, communities, and those who work on behalf of infants and children from birth to age 3. Topics include challenging behavior, child maltreatment, impact of trauma, mental health screening and assessment, and building early childhood systems.
- Lyman DR, Holt W, Dougherty RH. 2010. State Case Studies of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Systems: Strategies for Change. New York, NY: Commonwealth Fund.
- Also see the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) report, Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Young Children in the Child Welfare System: What Every Policymaker Should Know (2010) and the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation report Overview of the IECMHC Approach within the Early Childhood System*.
[*The IECMHC approach pairs a mental health consultant with adults who work with infants and young children in the different settings where they learn and grow, such as child care, preschool, home visiting, early intervention and their home.]
Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraints
- Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion (APRAIS). Contains information on APRAIS’s mission, member organizations, frequently asked questions, and positive alternatives.
- Department of Education (ED): Restraint and Seclusion. A resource guide, reports, and policies about the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Initiative to Address the Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion to Protect Children with Disabilities, Ensure Compliance with Federal Laws. 2019 [Press Release]
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Trauma and Violence.
Discusses the importance of seeking alternatives to seclusion and restraint, and reaffirms SAMHSA’s commitment to reducing and eventually eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint. See also:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) brief, Promoting Alternatives to the Use of Seclusion and Restraint (2010).
- Technical Assistance Center
on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
Planning, implementation, and evaluation tools for identifying, adapting,
school-wide disciplinary practices. Includes video clips, training tools,
presentation materials, and a review of the evidence base for PBIS. Includes
information for state PBIS coordinators. Some resources are available in
- Also see the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) issue brief, Preventing the Use of Restraint and Seclusion with Young Children: The Role of Effective, Positive Practices (2011).
for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile
Information about this initiative
to create successful and replicable
models of juvenile-justice-system
reform. Mental health and substance
abuse are among the issues addressed.
- National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice.
Contains infographics, presentations, videos, and publications about adolescent mental health, adolescent substance use, child trauma, co-occurring disorders, family engagement, and other related topics.
- National Conference of States Legislatures (NCSL): Juvenile Justice Bill Tracking
Database. Database of state legislation related to juvenile
justice. Topics include mental health and substance abuse.
- See the MCH Digital Library professional resource guide Adolescent Violence Prevention.
- Association for Children’s Mental Health: Military Family Support.
A collection of sources to help military families cope with their unique stressors and needs.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN): Military Children and Families. Resources for families, educators, and health and social services professionals about family functioning and support and stressors related to relocation, parental separation during deployment, family reunification and reintegration, and traumatic grief.
- TRICARE: Getting Mental Health Care.
Information about accessing mental health care in TRICARE, the Department of Defense worldwide health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families and survivors.
- Zero to Three: Coming Together Around Military Families. Information and resources for professionals and families about the needs of infants and children from birth to age 3 whose parents are experiencing military deployment, reunification, and relocation.
- See the federal interagency policy committee report, Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment (2011).
- Also see the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) brief, Trauma Faced by Children of Military Families: What Every Policymaker Should Know (2010).
Parental Depression and Other Mental Health Concerns
- National Advisory Mental Health Council: Blueprint for Change: Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. A comprehensive report that discusses the current state of research on child and adolescent mental health and offers a plan for future research that seeks to partner with families, providers, policymakers, Federal agencies, and other stakeholders in the child mental health space, to create a knowledge base of truly interdisciplinary interventions and services.
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA). Resources for health and social services professionals, educators, clergy, and families about children and adolescents affected by parental alcohol and drug addiction.
- National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW). Online training tutorials, literature reviews, reports, federal and state policy
tools and legislation, and other resources for health, social services, and
court professionals and legislators about systems and practice for families
with substance use disorders
who are involved
systems. Topics include families with substance use, mental health conditions,
and co-occurring disorders. NCSACW is a service of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. 2009. Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children. Cambridge, MA: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. [Working paper].
- England MJ, Sim LJ, eds. 2009. Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. [Report, press release].
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. [Report, report highlights].
- Santoro K, Peabody H. 2010. Identifying and Treating Maternal Depression: Strategies and Considerations for Health Plans. Washington, DC: National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Educational Foundation. [Issue brief].
- See the MCH Digital Library professional resource guides, Depression During and After Pregnancy, Health
and Wellness for Adolescent Girls and Women with Mental and Behavioral Health
Conditions, and Maternal Distress in the Perinatal Period and Child Outcomes.
Related MCH Digital Library Resources
- Adolescent Violence Prevention professional resource guide, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Autism Spectrum Disorder professional resource guide, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Bullying resource brief
- Child Maltreatment resource brief
- Children and Adolescents Exposed to Violence resource brief
- Children and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs professional resource guide, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Community Services Locator: An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families professional resource guide
- Health and Wellness for Adolescent Girls and Women with Mental and Behavioral Health Conditions professional resource guide, family resource brief
- Intimate Partner Violence professional resource guide, family resource brief
- Medications resource brief
- Reaching Out to Children and Youth Following Disasters resource brief
- Screening resource brief
- Sleep in Infants, Children, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women professional resource guide, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents professional resource guide, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Suicide Prevention resource brief
- Tobacco, Alcohol, and Substance Use in Children and Adolescents resource brief
Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents: Professional Resource Guide, 3rd ed. (July 2011). (Updated: August 2014).
Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., MCH Digital Library.
Reviewers: Lauren Agoratus, M.A., Family Voices and Family-to-Family Health Information Resource Center at the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of N.J.; Olivia Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., MCH Digital Library; Judi Siegel, L.I.C.S.W., Children's Hospital Boston; Sandy Swan, M.L.S., M.P.H., C.H.I.S., Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., MCH Digital Library.