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Photo: Tiz Beretta / Bountiful Films

Angry Kids & Stressed Out Parents begins with a startling scene of maternal anguish, but this is no ordinary mother. Twenty-five years ago this December, Monique Lépine’s son Marc murdered 14 young women at Montreal's École Polytechnique. Today his mother makes the link between her son's crimes and his abused and neglected upbringing.

For the first time in North American history, more children suffer from mental health conditions than from physical ones.

In the quarter century since Lépine’s murderous rampage, there’s been a sea change in our understanding of a young child’s developing brain. With what we know today, it’s probable that many criminals could be stopped in their tracks - before they graduate grade one. And keeping just one person from a lifetime in prison saves taxpayers $3.5 million – $5 million if there’s an addiction involved. Crime costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Troubled kids also cost us billions in health, education and social services every year as well as immeasurable pain and suffering.

Listen to an interview with filmmaker Maureen Palmer on The Current. Watch an interview on CBC News Vancouver.

We can fix this problem now for a fraction of what largely failed attempts cost us later. We already know how. Researchers have tracked the progress of kids enrolled in pioneering high-quality early childhood intervention programs. Four decades later, the kids who got help are much more successful, and lead healthier lives as adults, than those who did not

Angry Kids & Stressed Out Parents follows children and parents enrolled in three groundbreaking interventions. These programs work with parents and kids to help children master the skills they need to do well in life, like self-control and self-regulation. From middle-class kids to children of poverty, we witness young lives transformed, social problems solved, and billions of taxpayer dollars saved.

Triple P parent Kiona Hartl and her five year-old son Luke Photo: John Collins

And today there’s fresh urgency to invest in new solutions since, for the first time in North American history, more children suffer from mental health conditions than from physical ones. Parents are coping with staggering levels of anger, aggression, and other behaviour problems. Experts in child development believe the problem is going to get worse, not better, because too many parents are too busy, too stressed, or too poor to invest in the most important time in a child’s life: the first six years.

Behaviour problems appear across all income groups – but are concentrated in poor families. Researchers now believe the stress of grinding poverty can be just as damaging to the child’s developing brain as abuse and neglect. That’s a big problem, because a growing percentage of kids today is being raised in poverty.

Credits (Click to expand)

Directed & Written by
MAUREEN PALMER

Produced by
MAUREEN PALMER
HELEN SLINGER

Narrator
ANN-MARIE MACDONALD

Editor
JEANNE SLATER

Director Of Photography
JOHN COLLINS

Music Composer
TIM MCCAULEY

Graphic Design & Animation
TIZ BERETTA
ELI TREVIÑO

Sound Design
EWAN DEANE

Location Sound
PATRICK BRERETON

Business Affairs
SUE RIDOUT

Production Manager
ALISON HILL

Research and Additional Directing
CAROLINE BUTLER

Additional Camera
ANDREI KHABAD
TED CANNEM
SHAWN VIENS
JOSH MOODY
MAX LINDENTHALER
DOUG BAIRD
ZUMI HIDALGO

Additional Sound
LISA KOLINSYK
SHAWN MILLER
BROOKE THOMSON
LEE FRANK
JASON WOOD

Post-Production Supervisor
ALISON HILL

Online Editor & Colorist
LORNE WRIGHT

Assistant Editor
MOHAMED FADL

Publicity
JEREMY KATZ
MAUREEN PALMER

Community & Social Media
CAROLINE BUTLER
KATHERINE DALY MORRIS

Academic Advisor
DR. ROBERT MCMAHON

Archival Material
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: TV Archive Sales
Denis Courville / La Presse
Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University  / Tie Yuan Zhang
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
Footagestore.net
HighScope Educational Research Foundation
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s
Ottawa Citizen, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
Pond5.com
Francois Arsenault / Shutterstock.com
THE CANADIAN PRESS / Shane Komulainen
The General Synod Archives, Anglican Church of Canada
The Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives
Société Radio-Canada: Archive Sales
Sun Media Corporation. Reprinted by permission.
Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen.  Reprinted by permission.
Wikimedia Commons
Zodiak Clips / Mona Lisa

Special Thanks
Isabelle Acloque
BC Mental Health & Addiction Services
Fran Benton, The Nurse Family Partnership
Fraser Valley Triple P Steering Committee
Dr. Marlene Moretti, Simon Fraser University
Dr. Pratibha Reebye
Dr. Smita Reebye
The Children’s Foundation


Produced with the participation of the

Produced with the participation of the

Province of British Columbia
Film Incentive BC

The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program


Produced by Bountiful Films


In association with the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
 

Also on CBC