School’s Can Reduce Children’s Mental Health Problems

School-based services delivered by teachers and other school-based professionals can help reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children.  (Image: via   pixabay  /  CC0 1.0)
School-based services delivered by teachers and other school-based professionals can help reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

School-based services delivered by teachers and other school-based professionals can help reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children, reports a study published in the March 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). Lead author Amanda Sanchez, MS, of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, said:

The study’s senior author, Jonathan Comer, Ph.D., also of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, added:

The findings are based on a meta-analysis of 43 controlled trials that collectively had almost 50,000 elementary-aged children participate in school-based mental health services.

The researchers examined the overall effectiveness of school-based mental health services, as well as the relative effectiveness of various school-based intervention models that differed according to treatment target, format, and intensity.

In addition to supporting the overall effectiveness of school-based mental health care, follow-up analyses revealed that school-based services targeting child behavior problems were particularly effective, relative to services targeting child attention problems, mood and anxiety problems, or substance use.

Moreover, treatments that were implemented multiple times per week were more than twice as effective as treatments that were only implemented on a weekly (or less) basis.

The authors caution that many schools — particularly those in low-resourced communities — do not have the personnel, training, or expertise to implement quality mental health services without additional support and partnerships with mental health professionals.

In order to optimize the success and sustainability of school-based mental health services, the authors call for increased support, training, and resources for school-based staff as they are increasingly expected to step beyond their traditional roles as educators.

Provided by: Elsevier [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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