Children's Mental Health Case Studies
Children’s Mental Health Case Studies are online, interactive tools that encourage practitioners, instructors, graduate students, and community partners to collaborate together and explore how to respond effectively to children's mental health needs.
Each case study tells the story of a developing child and the adults and family members around them. Those using the case studies will:
- Utilize research in making practice decisions
- 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
Professionals enter the story and interact with the characters. Those using the case study are prompted to wear the hat of these professionals, reviewing pertinent online research and what they know of the case in order to make well-informed decisions. Based on their choices, users receive feedback about the impact on the child and other characters. These case studies help examine how to make preventive decisions and how those decisions impact not only the individual or family member but also their professional colleagues in other disciplines (social work, education, medicine, public health, nursing, etc). Cases reflect typical situations students may encounter when they enter a clinical setting and incorporate the perspectives, research and wisdom of a diverse group of partners. Each case is designed to meet critical learning needs as defined by professionals in many disciplines.
Why a case study format?
There are important challenges within children’s mental health service delivery systems. Services can be fragmented and difficult to access. Stigma prevents individuals 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 theoretical models under which other professionals serving the same family work, and also face disincentives for interdisciplinary collaboration. Finally, limited funding promotes competition between organizations trying to serve families.
The case study format emphasizes the need to consider a growing child within a developmental framework. This format engages professionals from a wide range of disciplines who interact with children and their family members, and uses an ecological perspective in order to encourage practitioners to understand the many influences (family, school, community, systems, policy, etc.) on the child. Specifically, this tool underscores the importance of considering an interdisciplinary framework; children’s needs cannot be met within the perspective of a single discipline. Complex problems children face require solutions that integrate the best of multiple areas of inquiry and diverse ways of knowing.
About Steven: A Children’s Mental Health Case Study about Depression
Explore the case of Steven, a 15-year-old male with depression.
Please note, you will need to following technology to access this case study:
- A desktop or laptop computer. (The case study may not work on your phone, particularly if it is an iPhone.)
- Mozilla Firefox or Chrome installed as your internet browser. You can download either browser for free. (The case study will not work on Safari.)
- The Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. If you are not sure if you have the player, see Step 4 on Is My Computer Ready to Take the Course?
After you have confirmed you have the needed technology, access the case and related resources below.