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ABSTRACT. Every day across America, behavioral health problems in childhood and adolescence, from anxiety to violence, take a heavy toll on millions of lives. For decades the approach to these problems has been to treat them only after they’ve been identified – at a high and ongoing cost to young people, families, entire communities, and our nation. Now we have a 30-year body of research and more than 50 programs showing that behavioral health problems can be prevented. This critical mass of prevention science is converging with growing interest in prevention across health care, education, child psychiatry, child welfare, and juvenile justice. Together, we stand at the threshold of a new age of prevention. The challenge now is to mobilize across disciplines and communities to unleash the power of prevention on a nationwide scale. We propose a grand challenge that will advance the policies, programs, funding, and workforce preparation needed to promote behavioral health and prevent behavioral health problems among all young people – including those at greatest disadvantage or risk, from birth through age 24. Within a decade, we can reduce the incidence and prevalence of behavioral health problems in this population by 20 percent from current levels through widespread policies and programs that will serve millions and save billions. Prevention is the best investment we can make, and the time to make it is now. pp. 39–74

Keywords: behavioral health problems; prevention; young people

How to cite: Hawkins, J. David, Jeffrey M. Jenson, Richard Catalano, Mark W. Fraser, Gilbert J. Botvin, Valerie Shapiro, C. Hendricks Brown, William Beardslee, David Brent, Laurel K. Leslie, Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Pat Shea, Andy Shih, Elizabeth Anthony, Kevin P. Haggerty, Kimberly Bender, Deborah Gorman-Smith, Erin Casey, and Susan Stone (2016), “Unleashing the Power of Prevention,” American Journal of Medical Research 3(1): 39–74.

Received 29 July 2015 • Received in revised form 27 October 2015
Accepted 28 October 2015 • Available online 25 January 2016

doi:10.22381/AJMR3120162

J. DAVID HAWKINS
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University of Washington School of Social Work
JEFFREY M. JENSON
University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
RICHARD CATALANO
University of Washington School of Social Work
MARK W. FRASER
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work
GILBERT J. BOTVIN
Weill Cornell Medical College
VALERIE SHAPIRO
University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare
C. HENDRICKS BROWN
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
WILLIAM BEARDSLEE
Harvard Medical School
DAVID BRENT
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
LAUREL K. LESLIE
Tufts University School of Medicine
MARY JANE ROTHERAM-BORUS
University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Psychiatry
PAT SHEA
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
ANDY SHIH
Autism Speaks
ELIZABETH ANTHONY
Arizona State University School of Social Work
KEVIN P. HAGGERTY
University of Washington School of Social Work
KIMBERLY BENDER
University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
DEBORAH GORMAN-SMITH
University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
ERIN CASEY
University of Washington Tacoma School of Social Work
SUSAN STONE
University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare

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