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Promoting School-Based Mental Health Through a Countywide Summer Institute Keri Weed, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University of South Carolina Aiken http://www.usca.edu/psychology/Weed/Keri.html Symposium: Using Community-Based Prevention Programs to Promote School-Based Mental Health APA Annual Convention August 2006, New Orleans
School-based mental health • “Schools are in a key position to identify mental health problems early and to provide a link to appropriate services” • The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003 • American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed school-based mental health with 11 specific recommendation • Committee on School Health, 2002-2003
School-based mental health • “schools . . . will become increasingly important as access to mental health services erodes in other contexts and because teachers are often the most aware of which children need help” • Campbell (2005) in introduction to special issue of Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology focusing on school-based mental health services
Goals to reduce aggression and depression in middle school youth Collaborative formed between school district and community agencies Programs included School-based mental health services Natural Helpers/ Teen Line Summer Institute for Teachers Aiken County Children’s Mental Health Task Force
Specific goals of Summer Institute for Teachers: • Provide participants with a broad overview and a deeper understanding of the local health and human services network • Give teachers, counselors, and other school personnel new knowledge, skills, tools and resources to help troubled, high-risk children and adolescents and their families
Identify and define aspects of self-damaging and risky behaviors so often seen in children and adolescents today, and their impacts • Develop strategies for participants to identify helping professionals within their schools, and links to community resources • Create an opportunity for shared learning, so that area health and human services leaders also learn how to better support, communicate with, and meet the needs of colleagues in schools, thereby improving the quality of our collective services to children, adolescents, and families
Participants • Applications were accepted from teachers, counselors, and other school personnel at any level from schools throughout the county • Participants were selected by random drawing, with oversight to ensure representation from all geographic areas • A maximum of 50 participants were selected each summer • Educators who successfully completed the week-long institute were awarded 60 staff development points for re-certification, along with a $200 stipend
Evaluation Daily satisfaction surveys • Usefulness of info, handouts, degree of interest, additional questions & concerns Pre/post questionnaire • 27 items rated on 4-point scale from ‘Strongly agree’ to ‘Strongly disagree’ • Pretest completed during pre-registration • Posttest completed on last day of Institute
Subscales • Agency Awareness – extent to which educators were aware of local supports and services for troubled children and youth • Efficacy – reflected educators’ feelings of efficacy in dealing with troubled children and youth (Han & Weiss, 2005) • Control – feelings that efforts on behalf of troubled children and youth were not blocked by factors beyond their control
Subscales • Tolerance – reflected tolerant attitudes toward troubled students from families with a variety of lifestyles (e.g., single parents, teen mothers) • Optimism – accessed educators’ beliefs that troubled students had the ability to change their maladaptive behavior (Han & Weiss, 2005)
Quotes from educators • SI gave me tools to assist troubled youth and parents to find help • I can recognize better the signs of trouble beginning in youth • I realize that I have more power to help troubled students than I thought I did • I will be more patient and try harder to understand a kids behavior • I feel a part of a team from within and without of school to join together to help troubled youth – hopefully before there is a serious problem • I can pass on this info to others at my school – a watershed effect hopefully
Where do we go from here? • Clarify role of teachers and other educators in school-based mental health • Models of teacher training • Paternite (2005) emphasizes need for enhanced evidence base related to SBMH that includes contextual factors that might influence effectiveness
Where do we go from here? • Han & Weiss (2005) identify critical elements that depend on phase of implementation • Preimplementaion phase • Supported implementation • Sustainability phase • Long-term evaluation important
Key references • New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003). Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. Final Report. DHHS Pub. No. SMA-03-3832. Rockville, MD. • Committee on School Health (2004). School-based mental health services. Pediatrics, 113, 1839-1845. • Han, S. S. & Weiss, B. (2005). Sustainability of teacher implementation of school-based mental health programs. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 665-679.