Highlights in child mental health research: June 2019

Prepared by AIFS, Australia, 2019

Resource Summary

This monthly research summary provides a selection of recently released papers, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses related to infant and child mental health.

Each summary includes an introductory overview of the content for that month, followed by a list of selected articles.  Each article is accompanied by a brief synopsis which presents the key messages and highlights.  Links to abstracts, full-text articles and related resources, where available, are provided.

What's new this month in child mental health research?

Children with ADHD and physical activity

The June 2019 Research Highlights includes an interesting systematic review by Jeyanthi and colleagues that explored the effects of physical exercise on attention, motor skills and fitness in children with ADHD.

The studies included reported benefits of a variety of exercise programmes in improving attention, social behaviour, and physical fitness in children with ADHD, suggesting that physical exercise may hold promise as a possible add-on to traditional intervention approaches (e.g., pharmacological, psychological).

Youth engagement

The research article by Canas and colleagues discusses the development, implementation, and evaluation of a youth advisory council model of engagement.

The findings and recommendations in this article may help to support youth engagement in youth-focused services/organisations.  It also offers a rationale for youth engagement and its potential impact.


In their editorial article, Scorza and colleagues (2019) emphasise the importance of implementation science in reducing the global child mental health treatment gap (i.e. the gap between children requiring mental health care and those who receive such care).  The authors also provide a series of recommendations on how this gap might be addressed.

Other topics covered in this month’s Research Highlights include:

  • mothers’ exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and children’s mental health
  • tools for assessing immediate risk of self-harm and suicide in children and young people
  • the role of implementation science in helping improve access to child and adolescent mental health services
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