Children’s mental health is an area where new approaches to evaluating clinical practice are urgently needed. Worldwide 10 to 20% of children suffer from some form of mental disorder, which often have more harmful effects on children’s future education and employment prospects than common physical health problems. Hence, identifying the most effective treatments is critical. But there are an overwhelming number of treatments and psychotropic medications on the market that are not well tested in children, or that are not tested in children at all.
The research project, Harnessing Big Data to Improve Children’s Mental Health Treatment, is investigating whether administrative big data can be used to identify those therapies that are most promising for children with diagnoses of mental disorders, as well as those therapies that pose the highest risk of harm. Using big data generated by the health care systems of various countries, the project aims to better understand children’s mental health and ultimately to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of children with mental health conditions.
Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs