Interventions to Improve Student Mental Health

A Literature Review to Guide Evaluation of California's Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Initiative

by Bradley D. Stein, Lisa Sontag-Padilla, Karen Chan Osilla, Michelle W. Woodbridge, Courtney Ann Kase, Lisa H. Jaycox, Elizabeth D'Amico, Jennifer L. Cerully, Nicole K. Eberhart, Shari Golan

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Abstract

The authors review data on the prevalence of youth mental health disorders and schools' use of student mental health (SMH) programs. They also describe the role of schools in addressing SMH concerns and outline a conceptual model for guiding evaluation of SMH programs. Finally, they touch on issues related to evaluation of cross-system collaborations that can influence students' access to resources and services and then review some of the challenges associated with evaluating SMH programs. They determine that SMH programs can be effective and can improve staff, faculty, and student knowledge of mental health problems; provide skills for identifying and referring students with mental health and social and emotional difficulties; and change attitudes toward mental health problems.

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The research described in this report was prepared for the California Mental Health Services Authority and was conducted within RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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