Research Topic

Children, Adolescents and Families with Severe Mental Illness: Towards a Comprehensive Early Identification of Risk

About this Research Topic

Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI), such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, and affective and non-affective psychotic disorders, often start in childhood and adolescence, are the leading cause of disability in young people and tend to cause life-long disability. SMI are commonly considered to originate from unfavorable gen-environment interactions; yet, the cause of the SMI in an individual patient is usually unknown. Among epidemiological predictors, family disposition and an early onset of mental problems are the most powerful predictors of SMI, in particular, when combined. Furthermore, having a family member suffering from SMI impacts on family dynamics, e.g., by increasing expressed emotions, or by decreasing the patient's ability to support other family members while simultaneously increasing his or her need for their support.

The troubled situation of families with SMI is further aggravated by the common structural separation of child and adolescent, and adult mental health care services that oftentimes fail to timely and adequately address a child's suffering from parent's SMI but also vice versa and, consequently, to detect a family member's possible development of SMI early. Therefore, addressing need of care and developing suitable early identification strategies for this vulnerable group is essential.

In light of the above, this Research Topic aims to disentangle some of the complexities in the field of children, adolescents and families with severe mental illness, to advance knowledge on young people and families suffering from SMI and set the stage towards a comprehensive early identification of risk in children and adolescents with parental SMI. It will critically address fundamental questions about the current conceptualization of neurodevelopmental models of SMI as well as about the suitability of current early detection and intervention models for addressing the needs of youth and families with SMI. To this aim, we welcome conceptual and original articles on these topics, on the impact of both parental SMI on offspring, and offspring's SMI on parents and siblings as well as papers addressing developmental risks and protective factors and outcome in offspring of parents with SMI.


Keywords: Child, Adolescent, Family, Severe Mental Illness, High Risk, Gene-Environment Interaction, Prevention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI), such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, and affective and non-affective psychotic disorders, often start in childhood and adolescence, are the leading cause of disability in young people and tend to cause life-long disability. SMI are commonly considered to originate from unfavorable gen-environment interactions; yet, the cause of the SMI in an individual patient is usually unknown. Among epidemiological predictors, family disposition and an early onset of mental problems are the most powerful predictors of SMI, in particular, when combined. Furthermore, having a family member suffering from SMI impacts on family dynamics, e.g., by increasing expressed emotions, or by decreasing the patient's ability to support other family members while simultaneously increasing his or her need for their support.

The troubled situation of families with SMI is further aggravated by the common structural separation of child and adolescent, and adult mental health care services that oftentimes fail to timely and adequately address a child's suffering from parent's SMI but also vice versa and, consequently, to detect a family member's possible development of SMI early. Therefore, addressing need of care and developing suitable early identification strategies for this vulnerable group is essential.

In light of the above, this Research Topic aims to disentangle some of the complexities in the field of children, adolescents and families with severe mental illness, to advance knowledge on young people and families suffering from SMI and set the stage towards a comprehensive early identification of risk in children and adolescents with parental SMI. It will critically address fundamental questions about the current conceptualization of neurodevelopmental models of SMI as well as about the suitability of current early detection and intervention models for addressing the needs of youth and families with SMI. To this aim, we welcome conceptual and original articles on these topics, on the impact of both parental SMI on offspring, and offspring's SMI on parents and siblings as well as papers addressing developmental risks and protective factors and outcome in offspring of parents with SMI.


Keywords: Child, Adolescent, Family, Severe Mental Illness, High Risk, Gene-Environment Interaction, Prevention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2019 Abstract
17 February 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2019 Abstract
17 February 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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