Translating Research to Support Practitioners in Addressing Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Services in the United States.

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Despite increased recognition of disparities in youth mental health, racial/ethnic disparities in mental health burden and in mental health service use persist. This phenomenon suggests that research documenting disparities alone has not led to extensive action in practice settings in order to significantly reduce disparities. In this commentary, we present a framework to actively target this research-to-practice gap by describing the development of a resource titled, 'Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Racial and Ethnic Minority Youth—A Guide for Practitioners.' We begin by presenting social justice as the impetus for eliminating disparities and then reviewing current knowledge and efforts aimed at reducing disparities. Subsequently, we describe knowledge transfer frameworks and goals guiding our work. Finally, we detail the steps taken in our approach to translation and implications for subsequent dissemination of this guide. Translation focused on evidence-based information on (a) mechanisms that contribute to disparities, and (b) strategies for providers to address disparities in their work. We reflect on the framework guiding our translation to offer future directions for others interested in bridging research and action.

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