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Related Topics
Issues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesReview - Issues for Families, Schools and Communities
The Crisis in Youth Mental Health Vol. 3
by Kristine Freeark & William Davidson (Editors)
Praeger, 2005
Review by Deepika Rastogi, Ph.D.
Feb 27th 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 9)

Right from childhood through adolescence, complex biological, psychological and sociological forces continuously interact with each other to determine how well the young mind is prepared to face the several challenges that lie ahead. This could be anything from a physical to a mental to an emotional trauma that could change life drastically for the person involved, unless steps are taken to resolve it earlier on. A strong social support system consisting of family members, school teachers and community goes a long way in determining how quickly the individual comes out unscathed from the crisis and can return to a normal life. This is the main theme of the book comprising of a collection of 11 chapters, each focusing on various mental health issues ailing the youth of the country and ways to intervene early at its onset so as to prevent the issue from reaching a state of severity. The editors have taken care to cover a wide ranging variety of topics like domestic violence, obesity, substance abuse, sexual violence and some highly sensitive issues like racial discrimination and adoption.

Most chapters are well drafted and usually begin with a conceptual clarification of the issue in question along with its antecedent and consequent variables. Further and more importantly preventive and intervention strategies are discussed in detail with the fundamental assumption that the youth is embedded within multiple contexts like home, school and community and that each of these context exert considerable influence in shaping the mental well being of the youth in ways such as parenting, educational environment and social conditioning. It calls for a proactive role on the part of each of these forces to join hands to help fight the crisis by seeking timely counseling from specialists and spreading awareness about the likely causes and consequences of issues that directly impact the mental health of the young mind. The authors have also highlighted the various obstacles faced at the level of policy formulation and suggested remedial measures to ensure a more secure and healthy environment for the youth of the country. A detailed description of the various past and ongoing projects initiated at the level of academic institutions and community, aims at emphasizing a solution or asset oriented approach rather than a problem or deficit oriented approach. It also throws light on the crucial role that each of these agents of social change can play in boosting the confidence of the youth possessing vast potential within themselves.

A strong plus of the book is the vast empirical support and statistics accompanying facts stated in the chapters. Besides lending credibility, it helps to provide a clear picture of the current scenario and raises the alarm to initiate concrete steps to tackle the issues before its gets too late to deal with it. Some longitudinal studies have also been quoted indicating the continuous efforts on the part of researchers to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of mental health issues. This book serves as a useful resource for researchers, specialists and policy makers interested in understanding the various challenges that every youth is susceptible to and likewise developing preventive and intervention strategies to resolve the challenges. The language is relatively non-technical and will therefore appeal to the lay person as well who at some level or the other, forms a part of the home, school or community and can play a vital role in ensuring the well being of the youth.

 

© 2007 Deepika Rastogi

Links:

Deepika Rastogi received her PhD in Psychology from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (India) in July, 2006. Her research interests include creativity, multithinking, health psychology and organizational counseling.

 


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