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More than 550 mental health professionals from across the nation convened at the 2019 Miami International Child & Adolescent Mental Health (MICAMH) Conference to address some of today’s most timely topics and pressing concerns in youth mental health, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, bullying, school shootings, suicide, L.G.B.T. mental health and more.

During the three-day annual conference hosted by the FIU Center for Children and Families (CCF), practitioners attended keynote talks and workshops, where they learned hands-on evidence-based strategies to improve the way they treat children and adolescents with mental health problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children. In addition, half of all adult mental health disorders begin by age 14, and 75 percent begin by age 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“These critical youth mental health issues are affecting communities everywhere,” said Jonathan S. Comer, psychology professor and chairman of the annual MICAMH Conference. “Our goal is for attendees to come away from this conference better prepared to provide families in their communities with the best treatments possible for these problems.”

Other topics addressed at the conference included resilience in the face of adversity, treatment engagement, social anxiety and selective mutism, and better incorporating cultural factors into psychotherapy.

“Partnering with entities like The Children’s Trust, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology allows us to educate as many clinicians, practitioners and students as possible on the most effective ways to treat child and adolescent mental health problems,” said William E. Pelham, Jr., director of the CCF and founder of the MICAMH Conference. “If we intervene early and we teach effective strategies to parents and teachers, not only can we help child mental health, we can actually prevent most mental health issues in adulthood.”