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The Yale–New Haven Primary Prevention Program Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Guideline 1: Address and modify risk and protective factors that indicate possible mental health concerns

Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Children & Youth

Address and modify risk and protective factors, including determinants of health, that indicate possible mental health concerns, substance use or violence in children, youth, and/or parents or caregivers by:

  • identifying the population(s) of concern
  • identifying relevant protective factors, risk factors and determinants of health
  • assessing which factors and health determinants can be modified
  • developing a plan to enhance the protective factors, reduce the risk factors and influence the determinants of heath relevant to the population(s) of concern.

Examples of protective factors include:

  • social skills
  • family harmony
  • positive school climate
  • positive life events in childhood
  • attachment to and networks within the community.

Examples of risk factors include:

  • insecure attachment in an infant or child
  • family violence and conflict
  • poor attachment to school
  • negative life events in childhood
  • neighbourhood violence and crime.

Examples of determinants of health include:

  • adequate housing
  • employment and working conditions
  • income and income distribution
  • social supports
  • freedom from discrimination and violence
  • gender, age, and ethnoracial/ethnocultural background
  • physical environment.

Programs that incorporate Guideline 1 are:

Learn more

Review examples of protective factors and risk factors.

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Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Children and Youth

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