The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion is to publish a special issue in summer 2004, reflecting the themes of Intercamhs' first International Meeting.
Here are brief synopses of the articles that will be included in the special issue, together with the authors' names.
Mark Weist, Maryland, United States; Louise Rowling, Sydney, Australia
Clemens Hosman, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Michael Murray, Stafford, England>
The level of participation of parents and the community in any school mental health promotion intervention is highly influential over its success. Unless we change attitudes, values and competences, new arrangements will simply revert to recreating the conditions that were intended to be replaced. In order to facilitate participation, capacity building is essential. Capacity building must be a continuous process, from the identification of need and throughout the whole process, for all involved - researchers, advocates, policy makers, teachers, parents and children and young people. The paper will explore and discuss initiatives that help develop such processes.
Mary Byrne & Margaret Barry, Galway, Ireland
Mind Out is a curriculum-based module developed in recent years for 15-18 year olds in Irish schools that runs over two years and includes elements which have been adapted from the Australian MindMatters program. This paper explores issues which have arisen during the development, implementation and evaluation of program materials, drawing on process evaluation with successive groups of teachers and students over a number of years, as well as the theoretical literature.
Chris Bale, Surrey, England, and Brian Mishara, Montreal, Canada
Zippy's Friends is an international school-based program that teaches coping skills to six and seven year old children. More than 10,000 children have successfully completed the program and evaluation results have been excellent. Although developed in Europe, Zippy's Friends is now being expanded internationally. Classes recently started in India and England, and the program is due to be launched in five more countries in 2004.
Ekaterina Burmistrova, Moscow, Russia
The Center for Crisis Intervention (Moscow City University for Psychology and Education) is an organization which aims to deal with the insufficient mental health services for children. While the number of psychologists has increased greatly in the last four years (2.5 times), it is still not sufficient to handle the needs of children in such a megalopolis as Moscow. There are two major units providing psychological guidance in the educational system: school psychologists (working at comprehensive, special schools and pre-school institutions) and psychological-medical-social centers. A major aim of the Center is to establish links and cooperation between mental health professionals and different institutions, such as schools and other educational settings.
Torbjorn Torsheim, Oddrun Samdal, & Maurice Mittlemark, Bergen, Norway
Student participation and influence is believed to be a core value in school mental health promotion efforts. Using student perspectives from the Network of Health Promoting Schools, the present paper examines the extent to which students are involved in setting priorities and making decisions about school mental health promotion. The paper presents findings which indicate a substantial variation across the ten pilot schools in students' degree of participation. The preliminary analysis indicates that students in schools with a high degree of student participation experienced a stronger match between program and own priorities, had a stronger program awareness, and had more positive expectancies related to program effectiveness. The paper highlights the important motivational impact of including students in program planning and development.
Pauline Dickinson, Auckland, New Zealand
Developing mental health promotion and education approaches requires innovation, partnerships, collaboration and above all passion and commitment to the healthy development of young people. This article, based on the story of one urban secondary school in Aotearoa/New Zealand, provides background information on the Mentally Healthy Schools initiative and an overview of a range of approaches implemented to promote, educate and support the mental health of students and staff. The paper concludes by highlighting the key features that appear to be critical in the sustainability of school-based initiatives to promote the mental health of young people.