Best and Evidence-Based Practices
Best and evidence-based practices in mental health are the types of treatment and services for children and families that are known to work the best. It is sometimes frustrating for parents to learn that unlike other forms of medicine, mental health treatment does not always follow specific guidelines or have research that shows that it works. However, the mental health field has come a long way in the past decade and we are learning more and more about what types of treatment work best to address a range of mental health issues and concerns.
Best practices may be new or emerging practices that have gotten the attention of consumers, providers and researchers as being effective or promising treatments for certain disorders. There may be some research to show that these treatments are effective, but clinicians use these treatments primarily because they are accepted as the best available treatment for certain concerns. Some best practices eventually become “evidence-based practices” because they have specific guidelines and are shown through numerous research studies to be effective for relieving targeted symptoms and improving your child’s day-to-day functioning. Evidence-based treatments meet a high standard for quality and effectiveness and clinicians receive specific training to deliver them to children and families.
For many, but not all disorders, best practices and evidence-based practices have been identified. It is important to ask your provider if there are best practices or evidence based practices available to treat your child’s difficulty, and if the provider has been trained to use these approaches. The Federal Government has attempted to list and describe best and evidence-based practices and you can find this information on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.