Advances in School Mental Health Promotion

Advances in School Mental Health Promotion emphasizes the interconnectedness of research, policy, training and practice and the opportunities to make progress in all these areas through global dialogue, collaboration and action. Mark Weist (University of Maryland School of Medicinel) and Michael Murray (The Clifford Beers Foundation) are the editors, supported by a distinguished international editorial board.

The inaugural issue (October 2007) is now available as a free download (pdf format, 402KB). To view/download the file, click here(to save the file it may be necessary to right click on the link and choose ‘save as’ from the popup menu)

The contents of the most recent issue are listed below:

Volume 2, Issue 1: January 2009

An Examination of Childhood Anxiety, Depression and Self-Esteem across Socioeconomic Groups: A Comparison Study between High and Low Socioeconomic Status School Communities

Lara Farrell, Anouk Sijbenga and Paula Barrett, pps 5-19

Multi-Systemic Intervention for School Refusal Behavior: Integrating Approaches across Disciplines

Aaron R. Lyon and Sheldon Cotler, pps 20-34

Learning to BREATHE: A Pilot Trial of a Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents

Patricia C. Broderick and Stacie Metz, pps 35-46

Minding the Mind: The Effects and Potential of a School-Based Meditation Programme for Mental Health Promotion

Jonathan Campion and Sharn Rocco, pps 47-55

A Research and Development Framework for the School Drop-out Problem

Hal A. Lawson, pps 56-67


International Journal of Mental Health Promotion

The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion published a special issue in summer 2004, reflecting the themes of Intercamhs’ first International Meeting.

Here are brief synopses of the articles that were included in the special issue, together with the authors’ names.

Promoting the Growth, Improvement and Sustainability of School Mental Health Programs Worldwide

Mark Weist, Maryland, United States; Louise Rowling, Sydney, Australia

This introductory article reviews the development, vision, principles and aims of the International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools (Intercamhs’), a network of more than 250 people from 26 countries involved in whole-school mental health promotion. Global issues related to child and adolescent mental health promotion and schools are discussed, including those related to language, collaborative practice and partnerships, involvement of young people and families, and research. An overview of the inaugural meeting of Intercamhs’ held in Portland, Oregon in October, 2003 is presented, along with reviews of seven additional papers and commentary included in this special issue.

Building a Sustainable Approach to Mental Health Work in Schools

Michael Murray, Stafford, England; Katherine Weare, Southampton, England

Sustainability is a major challenge to mental health work in schools, and many initiatives started by well-meaning individuals and agencies fade quickly. This paper outlines some key actions that can be taken to ensure that mental health work is sustained, as well as introduced, in schools. These actions include demonstrating that mental health work meets educational goals such as learning and the management of behaviour, using a positive model of mental well-being to which it is easy for those who work in schools to relate, using mental health experts as part of a team, forging alliances with other agencies and working with a whole-school approach. Such approaches are more likely to meet the needs of people with more severe mental problems and provide a more stable platform for specialist interventions than targeted programmes. The paper goes on to suggest some practical steps to sustain work at the school level. These steps include assessing the current position, developing the vision, identifying the gaps, determining readiness and assessing the scene for change, securing consensus, planning the change, establishing criteria, and managing, evaluating and maintaining the change.

Implementation of School-Based Mental Health Promotion Programme in Ireland

Mary Byrne, Margaret Barry & Anne Sheridan, Galway, Ireland

This paper reflects on the challenges associated with developing, implementing and evaluating a universal curriculum-based module promoting positive mental health for 15-18 year olds in Irish schools. The module consists of 13 classroom sessions over two years, and uses experiential learning techniques to address issues such as coping strategies and sources of support. The paper is structured around the implications of a conceptual model of implementation for school-based preventive interventions developed by Greenberg et al (2001b), covering three phases of programme implementation: pre-adoption – adapting principles of best practice to local circumstances, teacher training; delivery – school ethos, stakeholder involvement, measuring implementation, selecting appropriate outcome indicators, designing an activity-based evaluation workshop for students; and post-delivery – development of quality indicators for teachers to use on an ongoing basis, scaling-up issues.

Developing an International Mental Health Promotion Programme for Young Children

Chris Bale, Surrey, England, and Brian Mishara, Montreal, Canada

Several researchers have insisted upon the importance of trainig young children in order to prevent adaptation problems later in life. Yet most mental health promotion programmes are aimed at adolescents and older children, even though children of that age have already learned their basic patterns of coping and social behaviour. Zippy’s Friends is a school-based programme for six and seven year olds. It has been developed specifically to help children, with different abilities and backgrounds, and in diverse countries and cultures, to expand their range of effective coping skills. Extensive evaluation has demonstrated the programme’s effectiveness and it is now being expanded internationally.

A Framework for School-Based Mental Health Promotion with Bicultural Latino Children: Building on Strengths to Promote Resilience

Caroline S Clauss-Ehlers, New Jersey, United States

Biculturalism is presented as a model of acculturation that challenges linear models of cultural acquisition. Biculturalism is considered a viable alternative for how we conceptualize living at the jucture of two cultures. Different acculturative styles are discussed that include alienation/ marginalization, separation, assimilation and biculturalism. Literature on the stressors and strengths that relate to bicultural experience is reviewed. A framework for building initiatives for bicultural Latino children that addresses these unique stressors and works to enhance strengths is introduced. Directions for future research are emphasized.

Differences Between Novice and Expert Teachers’ Undergradute Preparation and Ratings of Importance in the Area of Children’s Mental Health

James R Koller, Steven J Osterlind, Kami Paris & Karen J Weston, Columbia, United States

Public school teachers are increasingly faced with students in the classroom who present with mental health issues. Additionally, there is growing concern for the use of more evidence-based mental health prevention efforts in schools for all students. This article reviews a research survey developed and validated psychometrically to assess teachers’ awareness of mental health issues, and to document the degree of relevant mental health traing they received in their university preparatory training program. The survey was administered to two groups of teachers, one group of experienced practicing mentor teachers and a second group comprising beginning teachers. Analysis of the data revealed that both groups recognize that attention to mental health issues for students is important to their teaching success. In addition, both groups reported receiving scant formal academic preparation in prevention-based mental health principles and practices while in pre-service training. Implications for teacher educators and practicing teachers – and especially for people enrolled in pre-service teacher training programs – are discussed.

Teachers as Facilitators of Student Participation in School Mental Health Promotion

Torbjørn Torsheim & Oddrun Samdal, Bergen, Norway

A reseach project examined longitiudinal and cross-sectional relationships between teacher facilitation of student participation and student motivational beliefs in health promotion planning and action. Participants were 1,864 students from ten pilot schools of the Norwegian Network of Health Promoting Schools. Multi-level regression models revealed that teacher facilitation was associated with a range of positive outcomes, including higher perceived participatory skills, collective efficacy, outcome expectancy and school satisfaction. Longitudinal analysis revealed that a change in teacher facilitation was associated with change in participatory skills, collective efficacy and outcome expectancy, but not school satisfaction. The results highlight the important motivational role of teachers in school mental health promotion

The Sustainability of Mentally Healthy Schools Initiatives: Insights from the Experiences of a Co-Educational Secondary School in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Pauline Dickinson, Glenda Neilson & Margaret Agee, 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.


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