Public Health Ethics 11 (2):191-200 (2018)

Despite its profound importance for individuals and populations, children’s mental health remains under-appreciated as a public policy priority, to a degree that violates children’s rights. Using a working definition of policymaking as collective ethical decision-making for the one and the many, we elaborate by describing an individual child’s story and reviewing the pertinent population health research evidence. We then outline three central public health ethical challenges: addressing the high prevalence and impact of childhood mental disorders; addressing the avoidable social adversities that underlie many childhood mental disorders; and addressing stark shortfalls in prevention and treatment services for children. We end with discussing opportunities for progress, including addressing the attendant children’s rights issues.
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DOI 10.1093/phe/phx018
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