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This manuscript summarizes areas of school mental health (SMH) research relevant to the interplay between students’ academic and social–emotional outcomes. After advancing a multidimensional conceptualization of academic success at the levels of individual students and schools, we summarize observational and intervention studies that connect students’ mental health to their academic achievement, with acknowledgment of the bidirectional relationship. Then, current and future directions of SMH research are discussed, including (a) the impact of SMH health initiatives and services on schools’ achievement, (b) the need to address the mental health of historically neglected subgroups of students, and (c) interdisciplinary collaborations necessary to support enhanced outcomes. Based on the findings from these literature integrations, we conclude with recommendations and implications for research and practice.
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The Impact of School Mental Health on Student and School-Level
Academic Outcomes: Current Status of the Research and Future
Shannon M. Suldo Matthew J. Gormley
George J. DuPaul Dawn Anderson-Butcher
Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
Abstract This manuscript summarizes areas of school
mental health (SMH) research relevant to the interplay
between students’ academic and social–emotional out-
comes. After advancing a multidimensional conceptuali-
zation of academic success at the levels of individual
students and schools, we summarize observational and
intervention studies that connect students’ mental health to
their academic achievement, with acknowledgment of the
bidirectional relationship. Then, current and future direc-
tions of SMH research are discussed, including (a) the
impact of SMH health initiatives and services on schools’
achievement, (b) the need to address the mental health of
historically neglected subgroups of students, and (c) inter-
disciplinary collaborations necessary to support enhanced
outcomes. Based on the findings from these literature
integrations, we conclude with recommendations and
implications for research and practice.
Keywords Student success Impact of school mental
health prevention and intervention Research directions
In this paper, we establish students’ mental health and
academic outcomes as different domains of functioning
that are interrelated. Despite most educators’ primary focus
on academic learning and indicators of achievement,
attention to student mental health is warranted in part
because (a) mental health (particularly externalizing
problems) affects academic outcomes, (b) academic
achievement affects mental health (particularly internaliz-
ing problems), and (c) in so far as the mission of schools
involves developing competent citizens, a dual focus on
mental health and academic outcomes is warranted given
their separability. Summaries of such literature set the
stage for current and future directions in school mental
health (SMH) research, which begin with increasing
attention to school-level indicators of academic success.
Then, we draw attention to student subgroups (e.g., stu-
dents with chronic physical health conditions, high-
achieving students in rigorous curricula) who may not
receive adequate attention from educational and mental
health professionals. Last, we describe the need to docu-
ment how SMH professionals can work collaboratively
with related disciplines, and partner with additional
resources in communities, to optimize access to and posi-
tive outcomes of SMH services.
Historical Focus of School Mental Health Prevention
and Intervention Research
SMH research is differentiated from the larger literature in
child clinical and prevention science by many features
beyond the intervention setting. In relation to the impact of
SMH on academic success (as defined in the next section),
S. M. Suldo (&)
Department of Psychological and Social Foundations, University
of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33620,
M. J. Gormley G. J. DuPaul
Department of Education and Human Services, Lehigh
University, Bethlehem, PA, USA
D. Anderson-Butcher
College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, Columbus,
School Mental Health
DOI 10.1007/s12310-013-9116-2
the mere examination of student academic outcomes as an
indicator of youth functioning differentiates SMH research
from clinic-based research. Most early research examined
the impact of SMH services on individual students
achievement outcomes in the context of controlled efficacy
trials (Hoagwood & Johnson, 2003). Students were tar-
geted for inclusion in these studies because they were at-
risk on a particular factor, such as disruptive behaviors or
school dropout risk. As such, services were focused on
secondary (selective) prevention. Research followed that
examined the impact of school-wide SMH primary (uni-
versal) prevention programs on groups of students’ aca-
demic outcomes, particularly in terms of schools that are
at-risk (e.g., high poverty, community violence or crime).
For example, the school-wide positive behavior support
(PBS) movement involves a three-tiered approach to pre-
vention and intervention that promotes prosocial behavior
for the school population as a whole (Sailor, Dunlap, Sugai,
& Horner, 2009).
In recent years, there has been increasing emphasis on
the effectiveness research that involves the implementation
of evidence-based interventions by school personnel under
less controlled, ‘‘real-world’’ conditions. In particular,
there is growing acknowledgment of the substantial impact
of organizational variables (e.g., school climate and cul-
ture) on achievement and behavioral outcomes (Doll,
Spies, & Champion, 2012; Hoagwood & Johnson, 2003).
Further, these organizational variables must be incorpo-
rated in any plans to implement prevention and interven-
tion activities in schools (Forman et al., 2013). Last,
schools are faced with growing accountabilities that require
schools to ensure all students demonstrate proficiencies in
key grades and subject areas, paying particular attention to
students representing certain subgroups of the student body
who are historically underperforming. Research on the
contributions of SMH to school-level success is of
increasing importance.
Defining Success
Student success can be defined at the level of individual
students, and at the aggregate level with regard to the
performance of a particular school (or district). The out-
comes, or domains of functioning, that constitute student
success can entail a narrow focus on academic skills and
performance, or be defined broadly to include attention to
students’ social–emotional health. The latter is illustrated
by Roeser, Eccles, and Sameroff’s (2000) seminal defini-
tion of adolescents’ psychosocial functioning in the school
context, which posits the relevance of two interconnected
domains: social–emotional functioning (including mental
health) and school functioning (i.e., academic enablers and
skills). It should be noted that the concepts of social–
emotional and school functioning overlap to a certain
degree, especially in the case of some disorders (e.g.,
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism) whose key
features are influenced, at least in part, by learning pro-
cesses. However, as defined in the next sections, we view
these two areas as separate but overlapping concepts.
Student-Level Indicators of Social–Emotional
Social–emotional health includes both psychological and
behavioral indicators (Roeser et al., 2000). Most indicators
within the psychological domain have focused on symp-
toms of distress (i.e., psychopathology). Modern definitions
of psychological well-being recognize that although an
absence of symptoms is desirable, the presence of positive
emotions is optimal and constitutes thriving (Howell,
Keyes, & Passmore, 2013). Common indicators of distress
include the frequency or severity of internalizing or
externalizing problems, as reported by students, parents,
and/or teachers. Indicators of well-being include students’
global appraisals of quality of life (i.e., subjective well-
being, often indexed by life satisfaction) or frequency of
specific positive dimensions such as positive affect, pur-
pose, and self-acceptance. Behavioral indicators of social–
emotional functioning assess peer relationships, including
social competence (e.g., social skills, adaptive relation-
ships) and problems (e.g., victimization, affiliation with
deviant peer groups).
Student-Level Indicators of Academic Functioning
Doll et al. (2012) assert that the definition of student suc-
cess in school has evolved from a focus on dropout, to
actual completion of school, to indicators of engagement
that predict eventual school completion. As such, defining
academic success may include behaviors and attitudes that
serve as academic enablers, in addition to skills assessed by
tests and course grades. The latter dimension has been
prioritized in SMH research (Becker, Brandt, Shephan, &
Chorpita, 2013), and standardized achievement tests are
currently ‘‘clearly viewed as the gold standard’’ within the
field of education (Kutash, Duchnowski, & Green, 2011,
p. 206). However, improvements in behavioral and affec-
tive forms of engagement reflect removal of barriers to
learning, including negative student behaviors (e.g., vio-
lating school rules) and attitudes (e.g., dislike of school).
Improved student engagement, which increases access to
instruction, enhances students’ ability to acquire the aca-
demic skills by which schools are ultimately evaluated.
Academic competence thus entails knowledge and skills,
School Mental Health
behavior conducive to learning, and positive attitudes and
Student-level indicators of academic competence can be
further conceptualized as proximal versus distal. Proximal
measures reflect performance of specific skills and class-
room behaviors typically over a short time period (e.g., day
or week) or student attitudes that reflect perceptions of
one’s current abilities, motivation, or attachment at school.
Alternatively, distal indicators measure global performance
over longer periods of time, as reflected in end-of-course
grades, skills demonstrated on state-wide accountability
tests, or school records of accumulated attendance or office
discipline referrals (ODRs). Other distal behavioral indi-
cators include global ratings of academic enablers (Di-
Perna, Volpe, & Elliott, 2002), which include sustained
attention to tasks or instruction, compliance with classroom
rules and expectations, and active participation in instruc-
tional interactions or activities. In contrast to proximal
attitudes pertinent to self-oriented constructs (i.e., aca-
demic self-efficacy; sense of belonging, attachment, or
connectedness to one’s school; motivation for learning or
other aspects of achievement orientation), which may
fluctuate with personal experiences, attitudes classified as
distal may reflect other-oriented attitudes (e.g., school
climate perceptions) that may be slower to change in
accordance with systemic interventions. However, a given
attitude may be classified as either proximal or distal as a
function of how assessed in a particular study, and depend
specifically on the time frame over which students are
prompted to reflect when providing responses.
As summarized in Table 1, academic indicators at the
individual student level may be categorized into one of six
cells: (a) proximal skill (e.g., curriculum-based measure-
ment of reading fluency), (b) proximal behavior (e.g.,
direct observation of student on-task behavior during
classroom instruction), (c) proximal attitude (e.g., self-
efficacy perceptions), (d) distal skill (e.g., standardized
achievement test focused on broad reading or math skills),
(e) distal behavior (e.g., teacher rating of academic ena-
blers), and (f) distal attitude (e.g., perceptions of school
safety). The specific academic indicator that is most rele-
vant for an individual student may vary as a function of
grade level as well as the type and focus of SMH pre-
vention or intervention activity. For example, proximal
skill indicators may be most relevant for students in early
elementary school grades who are struggling with basic
reading and math skills. Alternatively, distal behavior
measures may be preferred for older students who have
Table 1 Indicators of academic success
Skill (knowledge in specific areas) Behavior (behavioral engagement) Attitudes (affective engagement)
Individual student-level outcomes
Proximal Curriculum-based measurement,
e.g., of reading fluency
Direct observation of student on-
task behavior during instruction
Current perceptions of:
Academic self-efficacy
Achievement orientation
Distal Norm-referenced tests of broad
skills in math, reading, etc.
Course grades, including GPA
Informants’ global ratings of
academic competence
School attendance and truancy
ODRs and suspensions
Global ratings of academic
enablers, such as attention to task
and active class participation
General or global perceptions of:
School climate/safety
Support from teachers,
administrators, peers
School satisfaction
School-level outcomes
Annual performance
Performance on state-wide tests,
including % proficient overall
and across subgroups
Learning growth among all
students, subgroups, and in
specific classrooms
Post-secondary preparation,
including performance on
examinations relevant to college
admission, and credits earned in
accelerated courses (e.g., AP, IB,
dual enrollment)
Graduation and school completion
Total ODRs, suspensions, fights,
and firearm incidences for school
overall and across subgroups
School attendance and truancy
Participation rates in accelerated
courses, such as AP and IB
Aggregate perceptions of school
climate (safety, caring)
Aggregate perceptions of school
GPA grade point average, ODR office discipline referral, AP Advanced Placement, IB International Baccalaureate
School Mental Health
difficulties demonstrating their knowledge and under-
standing on a consistent basis presumably due to mental
health or behavioral challenges. In many cases, combina-
tions of measures across cells may be warranted to assess
intervention impact on multiple indicators of academic
School-Level Indicators of Academic Success
New school accountability systems and requirements asso-
ciated with the enactment of The No Child Left Behind Act
of 2001 (NCLB; Pub. L. 107-110) have increased the focus
on school-level, as well as district-level, outcomes. Hence,
schools, districts, and in turn SMH are increasingly held
accountable for contributing to broader outcomes as cap-
tured by a number of school-level performance indicators
that mostly emphasize skills. Every public school and district
in the USA is assessed for adequate yearly progress (AYP).
The ultimate AYP accountability measure of school-level
success is the proportion of students who meet a certain
standard on predetermined state or province year-end diag-
nostic tests (Ross & Scott, 2012). School success, as such, is
defined as the proportion of students in the school who
achieved a certain level of the standard. For exampl e, schools
in Ohio need 80 % of students to reach ‘‘proficient’’ in key
areas such as third-grade reading level.
Other school-level performance indicators involve the
assessment of proficiency levels across identified subgroups
of the student population, including those defined by race/
ethnicity, limited English proficiency, economic status, gen-
der, and disability. Significant gaps and disproportionalities in
group-level performance on achievement tests serve as addi-
tional performance indicators for which schools and districts
are held accountable, and help ensure ‘‘no child is left
behind.’’ Schools are also increasingly accountable for dem-
onstrating learning growth among all students, especially
among those who are gifted and/or talented, or at-risk due to
disability status or low achievement. Teachers in some states
are assessed (and rewarded) based on the demonstrated
learning growth among students in their individual
Aside from documentation of growth in skills, important
behavioral indicators of school-level success include
school completion, or the earning of a degree and the
mastery of skills necessary for employability. Measures
might include four (and sometimes five)-year graduation
rates (Doll et al., 2012). Other school-level academic
behaviors include the assessment of active engagement in
school, as reflected by time spent in engaged learning
activities as measured by daily attendance and/or truancy
Regarding academic attitudes relevant at the school
level, systems are increasingly measuring indicators related
to a caring school climate, such as perceived school sup-
port, bullying incidences, and overall emotional and
physical safety (see Guerra-Lopez & Toker, 2012). Some
of these trends are tied to policy language in NCLB
requiring the identification of Persistently Dangerous
Schools (PDS). States are required to label unsafe schools
PDS based on the data such as the number of fights at the
school or the times firearms are brought to school.
Other school-level performance indicators of skills and
behaviors have emerged within different states to docu-
ment students’ preparation for post-secondary education.
Such indicators include performance on college admission
tests, involvement in dual enrollment courses which earn
high school and college credits simultaneously, participa-
tion and performance in Advanced Placement (AP) cour-
ses, and the number of honors diplomas awarded.
In the end, school performance on these indicators (sum-
marized in Table 1) is continuously assessed and monitored,
and schools are given annual report cards that reflect the
number of indicators ‘‘met’’ in a given period of time. In turn,
schools and districts are rewarded and punished (often with
more or less funding) based on their progress toward meeting
goals on various performance indicators and their state- or
province-appointed grades (Guerra-Lopez & Toker, 2012).
Schools also may be permanently closed or restructured if
performance on these indicators is lagging. Given the pres-
sures and consequences associated with these school-level
success indicators, SMH initiatives are increasingly held
accountable for supporting schools in achieving state-specific
goals, in addition to documenting progress on student-level
indicators among specific individual and groups of students
served through SMH.
Connections Between Student Mental Health
and Academic Success
A growing literature establishes links between academic
success (in individual students and in a given school) and
students’ social–emotional functioning. Evidence for the
inter-relatedness of students’ adjustment in these two
domains comes from observational studies of naturally
existing relationships between constructs, and intervention
studies that show changes in one area, such as academic
outcomes, follow changes in another, such as social–
emotional functioning. Both bodies of literature illustrate
the relevance of student mental health to schools.
Correlations Between Student Mental Health
and Academic Achievement
Abundant evidence supports the co-occurrence of risk
across psychological, social, and academic domains, such
School Mental Health
that students with problems in one area tend to simulta-
neously show problems in the other areas, whereas well-
adjusted children are defined by positive social and aca-
demic competence and minimal problems in terms of
externalizing or internalizing symptoms (Valdez, Lambert,
& Ialongo, 2011). Beyond such person-centered approa-
ches to understanding associations between these domains,
in the last decade, advances in developmental psychopa-
thology have illustrated the across-time associations
between student functioning in the academic, psychologi-
cal, and social domains. In these variable-centered
approaches, researchers have analyzed multiple waves of
data using nested structural models that control for baseline
levels of functioning and concurrent associations between
domains, and isolate cross-domain paths from one time
point to the next. Such cross-lagged panel models have
demonstrated developmental cascades, in which early dif-
ficulties in one domain (typically externalizing forms of
psychopathology) have far-reaching and large effects in
undermining another domain, such as academic
For example, Masten et al. (2005) illustrated that exter-
nalizing symptoms in the upper elementary school years
predicted worse distal academic skills in high school, which
persisted into late adolescence and, in turn, predicted more
internalizing symptoms in early adulthood. Such adjustment
erosion was replicated in a younger sample assessed at five
time points from ages 6–12, with academic competence
defined as distal behaviors (Moilanen, Shaw, & Maxwell,
2010). Moilanen et al. found that early externalizing
behavior (e.g., at age 6) predicted worse academic compe-
tence (i.e., less on-task, attentive, and diligent classroom
behavior) which, in turn, predicted more internalizing
behavior (age 10) as well as externalizing symptoms (ages 11
and 12). Both studies found these pathways were robust after
controlling for shared risk factors, namely student cognitive
ability, family SES, and parenting quality.
Subsequent research on developmental cascades inclu-
ded social adjustment. In addition to worse academic out-
comes, early externalizing problems also predicted worse
social functioning in terms of diminished competence (i.e.,
social skills; Burt & Roisman, 2010) and additional social
problems (i.e., peer victimization; van Lier, Vitaro, Barker,
Brendgen, Tremblay, & Boivin, 2012). The cascading
effect of initial externalizing symptoms to internalizing
problems later in youth occurred via reduced academic and
social competence at time points in between (Burt & Ro-
isman, 2010; Obradovic, Burt, & Masten, 2010). The
consistent finding that early behavior problems set the
stage for later challenges in both academic and social
competence is often referred to as a dual failure model of
consequences. Early symptoms and forms of externalizing
behaviors also predict more frequent and severe forms later
in youth, in part due to spiraling negative effects on
intermediary social (van Lier et al., 2012) and academic
(Defoe, Farrington, & Loeber, 2013) functioning.
This body of longitudinal research does not indicate a
causal effect of dimensionally assessed internalizing
symptoms on academic outcomes, after baseline levels of
social–emotional functioning are considered. Contradictory
findings have been limited to studies that did not control for
initial levels of academic performance. Instead, internal-
izing problems appear, in part, to be a direct (Defoe et al.,
2013) and indirect result of externalizing problems via the
cascading effect of the latter on social and academic
competence (van Lier et al., 2012). Although anxious and
depressive symptoms have appeared unlikely to exert a
unique influence on academic skills in general samples,
students with clinical levels of internalizing problems in
elementary school (Duchesne, Vitaro, Larose, & Tremblay,
2008) or high school (Fergusson & Woodward, 2002) have
been less likely to complete high school or seek post-sec-
ondary education.
Relative to the literature on the influence of psychopa-
thology on students’ achievement, less is known about the
predictive role of psychological well-being. One exception
involves a two-wave longitudinal study in which middle
school students’ mental health was examined using indi-
cators of both psychopathology (internalizing and exter-
nalizing symptoms) and subjective well-being (Suldo,
Thalji, & Ferron, 2011). Controlling for initial levels of
academic skills, higher subjective well-being predicted
better distal academic skills (GPA) the following year,
above and beyond the negative effect of externalizing
symptoms. Further, the students most at-risk for deterio-
ration in GPA were those with the combination of low
subjective well-being and elevated psychopathology,
underscoring the need to attend to both wellness and
Evidence SMH Interventions Improve Academic
Despite the primary academic goals of the intervention set-
ting, most SMH interventions are examined only in relation
to impact on social–emotional outcomes. Case in point, a
review of the 64 evaluations of school-based mental health
interventions published between 1990 and 2006 that used
strong designs found that only 24 studies (37.5 %) examined
intervention impact on any academic outcome, most com-
monly distal indicators of skills or behavior, such as atten-
dance (Hoagwood, Olin, Kerker, Kratochwill, Crowe, &
Saka, 2007). Most of these studies were universal programs
designed to prevent externalizing behaviors in young chil-
dren. Fifteen of the 24 interventions (62.5 %) evidenced
positive, but modest, effects on academic outcomes; most of
School Mental Health
these interventions were complex, intensive, and had mul-
tiple components (i.e., involved students, teachers, and par-
ents). This review revealed a dearth of interventions
targeting either adolescents or youth with internalizing
mental health problems.
More recently published evaluations of SMH services
ranging from preventive to therapeutic further illustrate that
improvements in social–emotional functioning are often
linked to student-level academic gains. Supporting the effi-
cacy of traditional student-focused SMH services, a meta-
analysis of 83 studies that examined the effectiveness of
psychotherapeutic interventions in relation to control groups
(using random assignment) found positive effects that were
significantly different from 0 across a range of academic
outcomes (Baskin, Slaten, Sorenson, Glover-Russell, &
Merson, 2010). Effects were small on distal indicators of
behavior (d=0.26) and skills (d=0.36), whereas the
medium effect on proximal attitudes (e.g., academic self-
efficacy, d=0.59) was similar to effects on mental health
(d=0.50). Similarly, Vidair et al. (2014) reviewed 23
studies of SMH intervention (published 2006–2012) that
targeted both mental health and academic outcomes and
found 91 % demonstrated some significant between-group
differences in academic outcome. Finally, Becker et al.’s
(2013) examination of the clinical treatment literature found
that only 14.5 % of the 592 youth mental health intervention
studies (conducted in schools and community settings)
published between 1966 and 2011 included at least one
educational outcome measure. In those studies, 83.3 % of
intervention groups outperformed a comparison group on an
academic outcome. When effectiveness was defined as sta-
tistically significant superior performance, this high success
rate was observed similarly across indicators of academic
skills and behavior.
Secondary preventative interventions with strong sup-
port for improving academic outcomes include those that
improve externalizing behavior, which is fortunate given
the developmental cascades phenomena which underscore
the importance of reducing behavior problems. For exam-
ple, First Steps to Success is associated with gains in distal
skills (i.e., teacher-rated academic competence) and prox-
imal behavior (i.e., academic engaged time; Sumi et al.,
2013; Walker et al., 2009) and sometimes even proximal
skills (i.e., Walker et al., 2009), but not in distal skills as
indicated by norm-referenced achievement tests (Sumi
et al., 2013). Other multicomponent interventions that
target behavioral improvements in students with attention-
deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) through combining
SMH with home-based services have yielded positive
effects on distal skills and proximal behavior (Pfiffner,
Villodas, Kaiser, Rooney, & McBurnett, 2013) and some
indicators of proximal skills (DuPaul, Kern, Gormley, &
Volpe, 2011).
The body of literature on the effectiveness of universal
prevention programs, specifically social–emotional learn-
ing (SEL) curricula, contains examples of positive effects
in academic domains in addition to the anticipated effects
on social–emotional competencies, positive social behav-
ior, and psychological functioning. A meta-analysis of 213
studies that examined outcomes of universal SEL programs
in multiple domains including academic performance
found that the 35 studies that assessed distal skills yielded a
significant, positive effect of SEL interventions on both
standardized tests of reading and math skills (ES =0.27)
and course grades (ES =0.33), effect sizes similar in
magnitude to the average effect sizes of educational
interventions (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, &
Schellinger, 2011). The eight studies that examined the
long-term academic outcomes found the positive effects
persisted (ES =0.32) an average of 150 weeks later. Some
SEL programs also improve later academic outcomes by
interrupting the developmental cascade associated with
early externalizing problems. For example, the 4Rs Pro-
gram (Reading, Writing, Respect, and Resolution) has
found that elementary school students with elevated
aggressive behavior at baseline were particularly likely to
manifest gains in distal skills and behavior (Jones, Brown,
Hoglund, & Aber, 2010), and later improvements in the
social domain as well as in attention problems (Jones,
Brown, & Aber, 2011). Findings from such studies provide
promising evidence for the ability of universal mental
health interventions to disrupt the deleterious develop-
mental trajectory of students with externalizing problems,
and illustrate how positive changes in one domain can
impact other outcomes. It is also notable that the classroom
climate target of many SEL programs (e.g., RULER; Ha-
gelskamp, Brackett, Rivers, & Salovey, 2013) is consistent
with calls to proactively promote student mental health at
the universal level through improving the emotional quality
of the learning ecology (Doll et al., 2012).
Less is known about SMH in relation to its contribution
to school-level performance indicators. Most of the rele-
vant research has focused on the impact of school-wide
PBS. For instance, Simonsen et al. (2012) conducted a
longitudinal analysis of data from over 1,000 Illinois
schools implementing PBS, with significant variation in
implementation among schools. Over a 7-year period, PBS
schools evidenced improvements in levels of achievement
in reading, as well as reductions in ODRs. Schools
implementing PBS with fidelity also incurred increased
levels of proficiency in math, in addition to the anticipated
reductions in distal behavior indicators, namely ODRs and
out-of-school suspensions. Likewise, Horner et al. (2009)
documented positive effects on state-wide tests, including
improvements over time in the proportion of third-grade
students deemed proficient on the state reading standard
School Mental Health
among schools implementing PBS, and higher proficiency
rates among treatment schools compared to control
schools. Findings also indicated improvements in school-
level mean levels of distal attitudes (i.e., students’ sense of
safety) and behavior (i.e., reduced ODRs).
Additionally, some research points to the impact of PBS
and related SMH approaches on improving organizational
structure, as well as influencing teacher-related outcomes
such as teacher stress and efficacy (Ball & Anderson-
Butcher, in press; Bradshaw, Koth, Bevans, Ialongo, &
Leaf, 2008). Few studies, however, have assessed broader
school-level indicators, such as those related to achieve-
ment of students in certain subgroups for whom schools are
held accountable. In an exception, Duchnowski and Kutash
(2011) examined school reform activities and their impact
on students with emotional disturbances involved in special
education programs at schools. Secondary schools who
were highly engaged in school reform activities inclusive
of school-community partnership agendas had students
with emotional disabilities who obtained significantly
higher math achievement scores, were engaged in more
inclusive learning environments, and were more likely to
access mental health services offered by community prac-
titioners. Duchnowski and Kutash (2011) called for more
rigorous, intentional SMH designs and research that can
demonstrate contributions to broader school-level perfor-
mance indicators.
Bidirectional Relationship Between Academic
and Social–Emotional Outcomes
Although findings from the aforementioned studies docu-
ment that students’ mental health has a direct impact on
academic outcomes, this relationship is not unidirectional.
For example, Schwartz, Gorman, Duong and Nakamoto
(2008) reported that elementary school students’ GPA was
negatively correlated with depressive symptoms concur-
rently and 1 year later. Academic achievement also mod-
erated the relationship between social and psychological
outcomes such that as GPA at baseline increased, the
relationship between number of friends at baseline and
depressive symptoms a year later decreased and was non-
significant for those students with the highest GPAs. Evi-
dence that early academic ability predicts facets of mental
health includes Welsh, Nix, Blair, Bierman and Nelson’s
(2010) finding that emergent numeracy skills predicted
end-of-year executive functioning (i.e., attentional control)
among 164 Head Start students. As such, early academic
functioning may impact social and psychological domains
in a manner similar to the developmental cascades
described by Masten et al. (2005).
Academic failure can be a critical initiation point for
both proximal and distal deviant pathways. Proximally,
academic failure has been demonstrated to interact with
negative cognitions to predict depressive symptomatology
(Hilsman & Garber, 1995). Distally, academic difficulties
have been shown to predict poorer mental health, lower
SES, greater deviant behavior, and incarceration (Chen &
Kaplan, 2003; Sum, Khatiwada, & McLaughlin, 2009).
Taken together, the literature base indicates that the
relationship between academic and mental health func-
tioning is bidirectional, and changes in one domain can
predict changes in the other. Such data indicate the
importance of the continual monitoring of mental health
amidst the ever-evolving academic demands placed on
students, as such changes may have mental health conse-
quences for students. Similarly, interventions targeting
both academic and mental health goals may be more
effective and efficient relative to stand-alone programs.
Current and Future Directions of SMH Research Foci
The growing empirical support for the positive academic
outcomes associated with SMH prevention and interven-
tion programs provides SMH professionals with data to
reference when advocating for the value of relevant
resource expenditures. Researchers can further strengthen
the rationale for SMH services by attending to (a) school-
level indicators of academic success, (b) subgroups of
students in need of additional SMH supports, and (c) how
SMH professionals can work collaboratively to optimize
access to and positive outcomes of SMH services.
Assess, Demonstrate, and Communicate Impact
of SMH Services on School-Level Success
The preceding literature emphasizes positive effects of
SMH on student-level outcomes, because those indicators
have been included more often in research studies. We
expect that SMH services also help ensure (a) school
success with meeting AYP, (b) growth among all students
and reductions in disparities and disproportionalities
among at-risk subgroups, (c) completion of high school and
increased engagement along the way, (d) preparation for
post-secondary education, and (e) school-level safety, cli-
mate, and affect. However, evidence of such positive out-
comes is lacking because potential indicators of school-
level success are rarely examined.
Evidence of positive student-level academic outcomes
also contributes to the accountability provisions of NCLB,
which are considered across all students within the school.
As such, each student’s academic proficiency should also
School Mental Health
be viewed as a contribution to the school community as a
whole. The aforementioned literature established that stu-
dents with mental health problems underperform academ-
ically (Burt & Roisman, 2010; Moilanen et al., 2010).
Approximately half of the students meeting diagnostic
criteria for a mental health disorder will not receive treat-
ment for such (Merikangas et al., 2010). Mental health
services are vital to helping students gain access to
instructional opportunities; removal of barriers to learning
serves to improve students’ academic proficiency and aid
the school in making AYP. Later, we discuss specific
subgroups of at-risk students whose mental health warrants
particular attention. Beyond these groups with elevated risk
for social and emotional challenges, subgroups of students
who have fallen behind academically in core subject areas
are also highly relevant. The supplemental supports put in
place for students identified as a grade level or more behind
in reading, math, etc., are predominantly academic in
nature. But given the bidirectional relationship between
academic and social–emotional functioning, SMH strate-
gies may also be beneficial. Research is needed on the
specific impact of SMH on the students that schools are not
serving well academically but for whom they are
accountable (e.g., value added). Educators may be more
supportive of SMH initiatives in their building pending
evidence that such services help schools with their
accountability standards under NCLB.
In sum, in the effort to meet school-wide annual per-
formance indicators, SMH interventions become important
tools that can be implemented by schools. Key findings
from the intervention literature reviewed earlier demon-
strate the utility of SMH interventions at improving aca-
demic outcomes. Those studies whose outcome indicators
include state-wide accountability tests facilitate translation
of findings into terms more easily grasped by administra-
tive stakeholders. For example, Fleming, Haggerty, Cata-
lano, Harachi, Mazza, and Gruman (2005) found that
students with higher scores on social and behavioral
characteristics targeted by SEL programs (e.g., social and
problem-solving skills and positive school environment)
scored higher on the Washington Assessment of Student
Learning (WASL). Conversely, higher levels of substance
use, attention problems, depression, and antisocial behavior
were associated with lower WASL scores. The aforemen-
tioned meta-analysis of school-based universal interven-
tions found that students who have participated in an SEL
program experienced an 11-percentile-point advantage in
achievement scores relative to students who did not receive
such programming (Durlak et al., 2011). Similarly, in a
2008 report on the academic and social impact of SEL
programs for school-aged children based on 317 studies
(N=324,303), Payton and colleagues reported that uni-
versal programs benefited students of different ages, across
different school settings (i.e., urban, suburban, and rural)
and for schools with diverse student bodies. Targeted
interventions were also successful at increasing academic
outcomes with a 17-percentile-point gain in achievement
test scores representing an effect size of approximately
0.50 (Payton et al., 2008).
The results of this literature highlight the role of SMH
interventions, specifically school-wide programs, as
mechanisms for improving student academic outcomes and
subsequently helping schools meet their federal and state
accountability standards. There are numerous effective
SMH programs available that have a relatively high return-
on-investment and have demonstrated improvement on
academic achievement (for review see Greenberg, Domi-
trovich, & Bumbarger, 2000; Vidair et al., 2014). When
applied within a comprehensive system of support
[American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 2004] in line
with a public health model of service delivery, such pre-
vention and intervention programs should improve the
social–emotional functioning of all students in a given
school. In turn, the school should see improved engage-
ment and ultimately higher proficiency on high-stakes tests
and increased graduation rates.
Address the Mental Health Needs of Subgroups
of Students Historically Neglected
Beyond a school’s average performance, individual stu-
dents’ outcomes still matter, and schools can be repri-
manded for not serving all students in an effective manner
with minimal disparities between groups. Further, out-
comes valuable to a student or family may differ from the
accountability focus of administrators and legislators.
Thus, it is important to address the specific needs of sub-
groups of students who are at higher than average risk for
compromised mental health functioning and/or whose
emotional needs may be underserved in schools.
Students with Pediatric Health Issues
Approximately 1 in 6 children and adolescents have a chronic
physical health condition such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy
(van der Lee, Mokkink, Grootenhuis, Heymans, & Offringa,
2007). These students may be at elevated risk for emotional/
behavioral difficulties (Pinquart & Shen, 2011a)aswellasfor
compromised academic achievement and social functioning
(Pinquart & Teubert, 2012). For each outcome type, risk level
varies as a function of health condition and student demo-
graphic feature (e.g., age, gender). For example, Pinquart and
Teubert’s meta-analysis of 954 studies (N=104,867) found
children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and sickle cell dis-
ease demonstrated the greatest academic impairment. Pinqu-
art and Shen (2011a) found internalizing disorder symptoms
School Mental Health
were most prominent for students with chronic fatigue syn-
drome, whereas elevated risk for externalizing disorder
problems was found for youth (particularly boys) with epi-
lepsy, migraine/tension headache, visual impairment, hearing
impairment, and spina bifida.Due to the elevatedrisk for, and
negative outcomes associated with, depression (Pinquart &
Shen, 2011b), systematic screening for depression and sui-
cidal ideation may be warranted for adolescents with chronic
physical illness (Greydanus,Patel, & Pratt, 2010). On the basis
of their meta-analytic findings, Pinquart and Shen (2011a)
recommended that all students with chronic physical health
conditions should be regularly screened for psychological
distress throughout development.
Students with Internalizing Disorders
A nationally representative study of 10,000 adolescents (ages
13–18) found that approximately 14 and 32 % had a mood or
anxiety disorder, respectively, at some point during youth
(Merikangas et al., 2010). Whereas 45–60 % of youth with
behavior disorders received clinical services, only 18 and
38 % of youth with an anxiety disorder or any mood disorder,
respectively, received any mental health treatment for their
diagnosis (Merikangas, et al., 2011). Merikangas et al. (2011)
found that youth with internalizing disorders are even
underrepresented in SMH care, which is particularly unfor-
tunate given that a recent meta-analysis of 63 studies
(N=15,211) supports that both depression and anxiety dis-
orders can be treated in schools effectively using cognitive–
behavioral interventions traditionally delivered in clinical or
research settings (Mychailyszyn, Brodman, Read, & Kendall,
2012). Future research should target the classroom (e.g., Doll
et al., 2012) or school (e.g., Herman, Reinke, Parkin, Traylor,
&Agarwal,2009) as a primary intervention setting, and dis-
cern effective strategies to identify those students who would
benefit for more intensive, student-focused intervention.
Asking teachers to nominate which of their students demon-
strate the most symptoms of anxiety or depression has indi-
cated low to moderate sensitivity (Auger, 2004). Although
school-wide screening may catch more symptomatic students,
feasibility is compromised by concerns related to cost, pri-
vacy, stigma, and adequate resources for further assessment
and treatment (Center for Mental Health in Schools, 2005).
Sexual Minority Students
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students
are at increased risk for school-based verbal and physical
victimization, lack of school support, peer rejection, low
self-esteem, depression, suicide, substance use, and school
dropout relative to heterosexual peers (Robinson & Espe-
lage, 2011). Many studies have treated LGBT students as a
homogeneous population when such characterization may
not be warranted. For instance, Russell, Seif, and Truong’s
(2001) analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of
Adolescent Health (N[11,000 adolescents in the USA)
indicated differential academic and social impacts on LGB
students based on the student gender and sexual orientation
(e.g., relative to heterosexual students, lower GPAs among
bisexual but not homosexual students; homosexual
females, but not males, perceived less social support from
peers and adults). Supports for LGBT students that have
been found effective at improving outcomes include the
implementation of a gay-straight alliance (GSA) within the
school, supportive faculty members, inclusive curriculums,
and a comprehensive anti-bullying program within the
school (Kosciw, Palmer, Kull & Greytak, 2013; Murphy,
2012). In line with Kosciw et al.’s finding that supportive
faculty members emerged as the strongest predictor of
positive outcomes for LGBT students, future research to
develop interventions targeting teachers’ support of LGBT
students may be of primary importance,
Students who are Racial and Ethnic Minorities
The increased risk for mental health disorders faced by
racial and ethnic minority children has been attributed to
environmental stressors, overt and covert discrimination,
social risk factors, parental expectations, and problem
perception and issues surrounding cultural identity
(Anderson & Mayes, 2010). Although children who are
racial or ethnic minorities are less likely to receive clinic-
based services relative to their Caucasian peers (Cook,
Barry & Busch, 2012), Cummings, Ponce, and Mays
(2010) found no differences between racial and ethnic
groups in school-based mental health services over a 1-year
period. The equal utilization of mental health services is
likely due to the removal of many treatment barriers
including transportation, stigma, and fee (AAP, 2004).
Research regarding SMH interventions for racial and eth-
nic minority students indicates a gap in the literature on
effective treatments. Huey and Polo’s (2008) review of
evidence-based treatments found a lack of well-established
interventions for minority youth, but several probably
efficacious and possibly efficacious treatments for a range
of mental health difficulties (e.g., ADHD, depression,
substance use). Notable given the higher poverty rates
among many minority groups, Farahmand, Grant, Polo,
Duffy, and Dubois’ (2011) review of research with low-
income, urban youth found promising effects of SMH
programs that focused on internalizing symptoms or
social–emotional competence, but uncovered a much
smaller overall positive effect size of SMH interventions
than had been suggested previously (i.e., Rones & Hoag-
wood, 2000), and negative effects of programs for exter-
nalizing problems. Future research should investigate the
School Mental Health
academic outcomes of ethnic minority students participat-
ing in universal or targeted SMH interventions, and
develop efficacious targeted interventions for economically
disadvantaged students.
High-Achieving Populations in Accelerated and Rigorous
Little attention has been directed toward the social–emo-
tional experiences of students with acceptable or high
levels of achievement, following an assumption that the
absence of distress is sufficient. This disease model is
contrasted with the goals of positive psychology, which
include fostering excellence, including intellectual ability
and exceptional academic performance, as well as institu-
tions (e.g., educational contexts) associated with optimal
outcomes (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). One rel-
evant (and growing) population is high school students
pursuing accelerated coursework, such as AP and Interna-
tional Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Supporting the mental
health of high-achieving students is consistent with build-
ing the intellectual capital vital to our society and also
warranted by consistent findings that students in AP and IB
have significantly higher level of general stress than their
peers in general education (Suldo & Shaunessy-Dedrick,
2013). The effect of stress in high-achieving students is
understudied. Suldo et al.’s (2009) preliminary research
identified inverse links between IB students’ mental health
and academic stressors and found that IB students appeared
particularly sensitive to manifesting adverse psychological
and academic outcomes as stressors increased. Despite the
elevated stress, AP and IB students, on average, report
similar or better psychological outcomes compared with
their peers in general education, and attain exceptionally
high academic outcomes across indicators of skills,
behavior, and attitudes (Suldo & Shaunessy-Dedrick,
2013). Further study of this group affords a unique
opportunity to discover protective and promotive factors,
such as adaptive strategies for coping with academic
stressors (Suldo, Shaunessy, Michalowski, & Shaffer,
2008) that may inform the development of mental health
supports and further foster academic excellence.
Interdisciplinary Investments in Supporting Student
and School-Level Outcomes
The impact of SMH initiatives on student- and school-level
outcomes is often dependent upon the partnerships among
the various stakeholders. More research is needed to
explore the collective contributions of interprofessional
collaboration and school–family–community partnerships
on student outcomes. More specifically, the extent to which
the dual outcomes of academic learning and mental health
occur is dependent upon the involvement of multiple
stakeholders and entities. Professionals from various dis-
ciplines (e.g., psychology, social work, education, and
nursing) are involved in SMH implementation efforts, and
ultimately work together on behalf of students and schools.
There is a common belief that these partnerships among
organizations and relationships among people involved in
SMH ultimately contribute to improved student- and
school-level outcomes. Little research, however, exists to
demonstrate this case (Mellin & Weist, 2011).
Some research has documented initial outcomes related
to partnership agendas. For instance, Ellis et al. (2012) used
growth curve models to estimate improvements among
1,165 schools involved in the national Safe Schools/Heal-
thy Students Initiative (SS/HS), a federal grantee program
focused on promoting school safety, student health and
well-being, and academic achievement. Indicators of
partnership functioning were among the significant pre-
dictors of stakeholders’ perceptions of initiative impact on
school-wide substance use prevention. Derzon et al.’s
(2012) study of student-level outcomes associated with SS/
HS implementation by 57 grantees suggested that student
perceptions of violence risk were in part affected by vari-
ability between grantees in partnership variables, such as
number of partners involved in the initiative and valuing of
partners’ contributions.
There is also some support for the value of coordination
of mental health services in schools. For instance, Puddy,
Roberts, Vernberg, and Hambrick (2012) retrospectively
examined 1 year of case records for students with serious
emotional disturbances who received comprehensive
school-based interventions. They systematically coded
service coordination activities by type (e.g., status update
and sharing of information) and frequency, and level of
overall progress updates/communications. Findings indi-
cated that the frequency and quality of service coordination
predicted improved adaptive functioning and reduced dis-
ruptive behaviors.
In general, there has been an increased prioritization of
comprehensive SMH and school reform strategies to sup-
port student outcomes. Some of these approaches include
Comer School Development Program (Cook, Murphy, &
Hunt, 2000), Coordinated School Health Programs pro-
moted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Adelman and Taylor’s (1999) interconnected system
framework, full service and community schools (Dryfoos,
1994), and the Community Collaboration Model (Ander-
son-Butcher et al., 2008). All approaches embed some
element of school–family–community partnership and
system engineering that includes a focused pathway on
SMH research has begun to detail challenges related to
school–family–community partnerships and interdisciplinary
School Mental Health
practice in support of student- and school-level outcomes.
Challenges such as turf, different theoretical approaches
and language discourse, working in teams, and relation-
ships have been found (Mellin & Weist, 2011; Rones &
Hoagwood, 2000). Despite these barriers, findings from
focus groups suggest that collaboration results in improved
social capital and professional support, improved access
and service delivery consistency, and the addition of
resources for schools. More research is needed to fully
ascertain the added value of partnerships and levels of
collaboration on student- and school-level outcomes.
Implications for Research and Practice
One of the most pressing issues in connecting SMH
research to what is valued by schools pertains to the basic
issue of determining how to define student success. We
advanced a framework for defining academic success
broadly in order to encourage researchers to consider atti-
tudes, behaviors, and skills that may reflect success within
a given student and at the school level. The potential
impact of SMH prevention/intervention strategies on stu-
dent success can and should be assessed in multiple ways.
Findings from intervention outcome studies and meta-
analyses indicate that there may be a continuum of effects
with the strongest impact on academic attitudes and
behaviors (proximal followed by distal), then for proximal
skill indices (although assessed in very few studies), and
weakest for distal skill measures. For example, the greatest
impact of the First Steps to Success program was found for
proximal (i.e., academic engaged time) and distal (i.e.,
teacher ratings of behavior and social skills) measures of
academic-related behaviors (Walker et al., 2009). In the
subsequent effectiveness trial of First Steps to Success
(Sumi et al., 2013), small but statistically significant
improvements were found for CBM oral reading fluency
(i.e., proximal skill measure) but not for performance on a
norm-referenced standardized achievement test (i.e., distal
skill measure). As another example, Baskin et al.’s (2010)
meta-analysis on the impact of psychotherapy on academic
outcomes yielded the strongest effects on proximal atti-
tudes, while smaller effect sizes were obtained for most
indicators of distal skills and behavior (e.g., ODRs,
achievement tests).
There are several reasons why SMH prevention/inter-
vention primarily impacts academic attitudes and behaviors
that are most proximal to the learning (and intervention)
environment. First, one of the major objectives of SMH
services is to reduce barriers to learning and increase
opportunities for academic engagement. Thus, it is not
surprising that the most immediate intervention impact will
be seen for proximal and distal behavior measures given
that the most prominent barriers to learning will be
behavioral for the majority of students. For example, the
clear association between student externalizing problems
and academic adjustment is more evident for adaptive
classroom behaviors (e.g., Moilanen et al., 2010) than for
skill assessments (e.g., Burt & Roisman, 2010). This
implies that SMH prevention/intervention impact on aca-
demic success is mediated by improvements in academic-
related behaviors. It is also possible that SMH prevention
and intervention effects on distal skill performance could
take more time (i.e., to promote skill development) and
would require longer-term intervention and/or follow-up
assessment (Sumi et al., 2013). Finally, variation in psy-
chometric properties across measures could account for
differential intervention impact. For example, norm-refer-
enced achievement test scores are typically more stable
over time than are proximal skill assessments like CBM
probes or even grades earned in different courses (e.g.,
Suldo, Thalji, & Ferron, 2011).
Student success also involves a balance of student- and
school-level considerations. To date, most of the research
in SMH has focused primarily on student-level outcomes at
the individual and/or small group level. Research on the
impact of SMH to school-level performance indicators is
less clear, and in turn, the contributions of SMH to school
functioning and overall success are not well understood. As
previously described, schools are held increasingly
accountable for their performance on key indicators such as
proficiency, growth, school completion, performance of
targeted groups of students, and disparities and dispropor-
tionalities among subgroups. Implications of this reality
and other literature reviewed in this paper include
Continue to examine the impact of SMH on proximal
and distal indicators, particularly student-level atti-
tudes, behaviors, and skills. Document importance of
different SMH approaches on these student-level aca-
demic outcomes. Continue to identify evidence-based
practices that contribute to academic outcomes, partic-
ularly among subgroups of students historically
neglected in such research but who may benefit from
SMH supports due to their risk for compromised mental
Keep in mind the student-level outcomes valuable to
the ultimate consumers of successful education: fam-
ilies and communities. Collect data and report out-
comes of SMH interventions in relation to students’
social–emotional success, i.e., qualities of productive
citizens. SMH researchers should include brief indica-
tors of well-being that assess quality of life (e.g., life
satisfaction) and social competence. More research is
needed on the academic outcomes associated with
School Mental Health
interventions intended to foster well-being, such as life
satisfaction and positive emotions.
Examine the contributions of SMH to broader school-
level outcomes, performance indicators that administra-
tive stakeholders may ultimately be most focused on in
relation to results. Future research should document the
contributions of SMH to broader school-level perfor-
mance indicators such as proficiency on state-wide tests;
student growth and learning; significant gaps and
disparities across subgroups; school completion and
engagement; post-secondary education preparation; and
school-level safety, climate, and affect. Also, consider
the possible secondary benefits of successful SMH
initiatives on other desirable school targets, such as
increased teacher efficacy and decreased teacher stress
(Ball & Anderson-Butcher, in press).
In examining the impact of SMH prevention and
intervention programs on student and/or school-level
academic outcomes, explicitly examine path models
that test the potential role of academic attitudes and
behaviors (e.g., engagement) in mediating intervention
effects on longer-term educational knowledge and
Researchers developing and testing SMH interventions
should align their intervention components and designs
with school reform strategies, such as focus on
subgroups, site-based management, use of scientifically
based curriculum, parent involvement, focus on inclu-
sion, school-wide planning, scripted lessons, instruc-
tion, use of data to guide teaching and instruction,
parent involvement, and service utilization of commu-
nity mental health (Duchnowski & Kutash, 2011).
SMH services at a particular school should align with a
public health model to mental health promotion,
targeting systems most likely to have the broadest
impact (e.g., class-wide and school-wide interventions),
at the critical developmental periods (e.g., early child-
hood), and provide additional supports targeting the
most critical problems that undermine future function-
ing (e.g., externalizing behavior problems, anxiety).
Multiple stakeholders, academic disciplines, and orga-
nizations contribute to SMH research and practice.
Consideration should be placed on the interdisciplinary
nature of the work, and on the importance of school–
family–community partnerships in promoting SMH and
its value in schools. Ball, Anderson-Butcher, Mellin,
and Green (2010) identified a common set of SMH
competencies in areas such as key policies and laws;
interdisciplinary and cross-system collaboration; the
provision of academic, social–emotional, and behav-
ioral learning supports; and data-driven decision mak-
ing. More research is needed to demonstrate the value
of this interdisciplinary work.
The collaborative work of applied disciplines should be
informed by the ongoing research findings from
psychology, social work, school counseling, teaching
and learning, and educational policy and leadership,
which shed light on the domains, social settings, and
developmental stages to be targeted in order to
maximize likely benefits as a consequence of resource
Researcher–school partnerships should incorporate an
implementation science approach as essential to the
process of translating evidence-based interventions into
school context (Forman et al., 2013), and understand the
fit between these interventions and the organizational
structure of schools (Hoagwood & Johnson, 2003).
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... These findings suggest that both genders experience discrimination, but females may face a higher prevalence of discriminatory incidents. In the study conducted by Suldo et al. (2013), it was hypothesized that participants' experiences with racism and discrimination would have distinct effects on their personality traits, which, in turn, would contribute to increased rates of recidivism. Specifically, the research indicated that experiences of racism and discrimination could lead to the development of low warmth, excessive dominance, hypervigilance, low rule-consciousness, and low self-control. ...
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In this study, the researchers aims to uncover the social factors that affects the students mental health of the junior high school students. The study participants are the Junior High school students of Northwestern Agusan Colleges. Based on the results, social factors contributes on the upbringing of the students and how they view their own selves. Furthermore, the results sho wed the extent of the effects of community programs and occurrence of incidents have greatly affects the mental health of the students.
... Due to the significant number of students presenting with mental health (MH) needs, school administrators endorse the importance of providing MH services within schools (Kern et al., 2017). School-based mental health (SBMH) consists of a wide range of services delivered by school-or community-based personnel that promote the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of youth within the school setting through universal screening, prevention, and intervention (Doll et al., 2017;Suldo et al., 2014). The provision of services varies, with some schools offering a comprehensive package of services and others devoting more resources to academics or behavior interventions (Green et al., 2022). ...
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Schools have become primary providers of mental health services for children and adolescents (Kern et al. in School Mental Health 9:205–217, 2017). Within schools, school principals play a significant role in the implementation of school-based mental health (SBMH; Langley et al. in School Mental Health 2:105–113, 2010). This multimethod study aimed to investigate school principals’ perceptions of SBMH, specifically in how they view SBMH and what barriers and facilitators they identify to successful implementation. School principals from 244 public schools in the United States completed a survey, and 19 principals also participated in semi-structured interviews. Data from a quantitative measure based on Normalization Process Theory (NPT; Finch et al. in BMC Med Res Methodol 18(1):1–13, 2018) indicated that while principals strongly believe SBMH will become a normal part of their work in the future, their responses to whether they are familiar with SBMH and see it as a normal part of the current work were less robust. Results from a framework analysis of the qualitative results identified barriers and facilitators to the implementation of SBMH within and outside of schools, thus aligning with implementation science frameworks such as the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS; Moullin et al. in Implement Sci 14:1–1, 10.1186/s13012-018-0842-6, 2019) framework. The findings may inform SBMH policy in light of the increasing number of children and adolescents with mental health needs (Hoover and Bostic in Psychiatr Serv 72(1):37–48, 2021).
... Another important issue is academic burnout [12][13][14][15]. However, mental health conditions have an essential role in the success of student lectures because if left in unfavorable conditions, it can impact academic achievement, work activities, social functioning, and overall quality of life at one point in their lives [16][17][18][19][20][21]. ...
... First, deductive coding was used to create structural codes noting the presence or absence of mental health services and supports in the plans. A broad definition of mental health supports was constructed from current research and defined as the following for the purposes of this study, services and supports available to address student mental health, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and assessment, identification, and referral (Childs et al., 2021;Lenares-Solomon et al., 2019;Li et al., 2020;Suldo et al., 2014). Second, inductive coding was used to analyze the data within plans that mentioned mental health supports to better understand the types of mental health supports described. ...
The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to understand the types of mental health supports described in school district reopening plans in one southeastern state, and to understand school social workers’ involvement in developing these plans during the first full academic year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Publicly accessible school district reopening plans were collected from the 80 school districts in South Carolina, and 15 school social workers participated in virtual interviews. Out of the 80 school districts, 67 had reopening plans, and of those, only 43 percent mentioned mental health services and supports. Most school district reopening plans described Tier 1 universal prevention services and supports and a process for mental health assessment, identification, and referral. Fewer included Tier 2 early intervention and Tier 3 targeted and intensive services. Of the school social workers interviewed, only four were involved in helping to develop their school district reopening plans, and when involved, advocated for mental health services and supports for their students. The article concludes with a discussion of the study's implications for school social work practice.
... Siswa yang mengalami kesulitan kesehatan mental di sekolah cenderung menunjukkan penyesuaian sekolah yang buruk, konsentrasi berkurang, prestasi rendah, hubungan sosial yang bermasalah dan tingkat perilaku berisiko kesehatan yang lebih tinggi, seperti penggunaan narkoba, putus sekolah dan menimbulkan pengusiran (Valdez et al., 2011). ; Suldo et al., 2014;Farina et al., 2021). ...
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Adolescence is a stage of life marked by important developments, namely physical, psychological, emotional, and social aspects. In recent years, adolescent mental health has received increasing attention from experts. This is because the early age of the first episode of mental disorders occurs at the age before 14 years. Adolescents at SMPN 21 Tanjung Jabung Timur do not know about mental health in adolescents. This community service activity aims to help increase the knowledge of young people at SMPN 21 Tanjung Jabung Timur about mental health and how to handle it early if mental health problems occur in friends at school. This community service activity was carried out at SMP Negeri 21 East Tanjung Jabung Regency as a health partner. The methods used are lectures, discussions, pre-test and post-test measurements of mental health conditions in adolescents. The results of the activity showed an increase in adolescent knowledge about mental health after being given mental health education by 74.4%. Mental health education is important to do as an effort to prevent mental health problems in adolescents.
... As many as 27% of adolescents develop depressive symptoms (Bertha & Balázs 2013, Kessler et al. 2012 with the highest prevalence of depression being reported in high school age adolescents (National Institute of Mental Health 2023). Depression and depressive symptoms in adolescence become even more concerning when considering the many academic implications (e.g., decreased grades, poorer attendance, reduced homework completion; Suldo et al. 2014) that are associated with them. Beyond the associations between depressive symptoms and academic outcomes, it is critical to consider the importance and context of school in adolescents' lives when trying to understand adolescent depression. ...
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The associations between teaching behaviors and students’ affect are examined in cross-sectional studies in younger samples, but the temporal direction of these associations in high school students is unknown. In this longitudinal study, adolescents (N = 188; 88.8% White; 69.7% female) completed instruments to measure teaching behaviors and adolescents’ negative (e.g., cheerful) and positive affect (e.g., ashamed) twice, four months apart. Adolescents’ negative affect predicted future negative teaching behavior and negative teaching behavior marginally predicted adolescents' future negative affect. Positive affect predicted future socio-emotional teaching behavior and vice versa. The findings provide insight into which teaching behaviors impact students’ affect and the impact that students’ mental health has on teaching behavior, an area of study that has received limited attention.
The potential spillover effects of the United States’ opioid epidemic on children’s educational outcomes have received surprisingly little attention from researchers. Accordingly, this study leverages national datasets of county-level opioid prescription rates and public school students’ third- to eighth-grade academic achievement to provide the first analysis of associations between community opioid prevalence and children’s learning rates. We find that students in counties with higher community opioid presence learn more slowly than peers in counties with low community opioid presence, both in aggregate and across different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups of students. Moreover, within states we observe a small significant negative association between community opioid presence and student learning rates. This association is similar in rural and nonrural communities. These findings underscore the urgency of conceptualizing the opioid epidemic as a community-level crisis, with potentially long-lasting implications for children’s future educational attainment and life outcomes.
Cultural competence refers to behaviors, attitudes, awareness, and policies that promote effective intervention, relationships, and work in cross-cultural situations. Cultural humility refers to a lifelong commitment to working on understanding cross-cultural interactions, with the understanding that working across cultures is an ongoing process of acknowledging power differentials and building client relationships across diverse cultural contexts. The literature has presented a distinction between these two concepts, with cultural competence tending to have an endpoint with a mastery level of skills in contrast to cultural humility that involves a lifelong self-reflective process. The purpose of this chapter is to present a term that combines the two concepts, as both complementary to one another and effective in promoting school engagement. Hence, the concepts of cultural competence and humility (CCH) are presented as a foundation for the effective engagement of what is introduced as a new concept—an educational system of care (ESOC)—for diverse school community stakeholders. This chapter presents an overview of terms and a rationale regarding their centrality for meaningful engagement among school mental health (SMH) stakeholders. Current demographic data highlight the diverse classroom experience that makes up the public school system in the United States. From this diverse classroom context, a CCH ESOC framework for multiple stakeholder engagement is presented where culturally adaptive interventions are operationalized by multiple stakeholders that include: students, parents/guardians/family members, community stakeholders, teachers, SMH professionals, and administrators. A case study is presented that demonstrates how each stakeholder group can provide student support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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This article includes a review of theoretical and empirical models of educational outcomes to identify student attitudes and behaviors that researchers have hypothesized to influence academic achievement. A theoretical model is proposed of the relationships between specific academic enablers (motivation, interpersonal skills, engagement, and study skills) and academic achievement. Structural equation modeling is used to test the fit of this model for two samples of elementary students. The results of these modeling analyses indicate that prior achievement and interpersonal skills influence motivation, which in turn influences study skills and engagement to promote academic achievement. The article concludes with a discussion of practical implications of the tested model as well as necessary directions for future research regarding models of academic enablers and academic achievement.
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Past research on child and adolescent mental health has focused upon outcomes characterized by the absence of ill-health, such as the absence of substance abuse or depression. In contrast to this pathology or deficit model, we review research focused upon positive indicators of youth mental health, such as the presence of happiness or engagement. We first describe the complete state and dual-factor models of mental health, in which mental health and mental disorder are viewed as separate but (inversely) related dimensions of functioning. We then review evidence in support of these conceptualizations. Next, we examine predictors of youth’s scores on the mental health dimension of functioning, such as need satisfaction, character strengths, benefit finding, engagement, and nature involvement. We then turn to interventions aimed at boosting scores on the mental health dimension, including hope-enhancing interventions and those emphasizing mindfulness and gratitude expression. We conclude by examining additional conceptualizations of the interplay of mental health and mental disorder dimensions of functioning in youth, and offer suggestions for areas of future investigation.
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We examined the measurement of educational outcomes related to children's mental health treatments. A total of 85 papers describing 88 randomized controlled trials that included at least one educational outcome and one mental health outcome were included in these analyses. Forty-five different measures were identified as the primary educational outcome of interest in these studies. Educational measures reflected academic achievement (64.2%), academic and behavioural skills (20.1%), attendance (11.2%), quality of the learning environment (3.4%) and academic self-efficacy (1.1%). Positive educational outcomes were demonstrated by treatments delivered in school and non-school settings. There was a significant association between improvement on educational and mental health outcomes. Within the literature of children's mental health treatments, few studies (14.86%) measure educational outcomes. Of those that do, there is significant diversity in measurement methods. Nevertheless, these results offer promise that mental health treatments can succeed in improving both mental health symptoms and educational performance.
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Expanded school mental health (ESMH) programs are critical for addressing children's social and emotional development in schools (Weist, 1997). As broad, multi-system approaches, ESMH relies on teachers for effective and sustainable primary, secondary, and tertiary school mental health service delivery. In light of the increasing mental health needs among children (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999), an improved understanding of specific ways in which teachers are affected by school mental health approaches can lead to improved implementation of such services. This is especially important considering existing evidence that teachers' ability to implement student support strategies is influenced by several other factors, including teacher stress. As such, this study investigated teachers' perceptions of student mental health needs, student support systems, and teacher stress. Results revealed that different aspects of student mental health needs and perceptions of student support systems predicted teachers' perceptions of stress. Implications are discussed for the development, dissemination, and implementation of strategies designed to address student mental health needs.
A revolution in working with difficult students began during the 1980s, with a dramatic shift away from dependence on simply punishing bad behavior to reinforcing desired, positive behaviors of children in the classroom. With its foundation in applied behavior analysis (ABA), positive behavior support (PBS) is a social ecology approach that continues to play an increasingly integral role in public education as well as mental health and social services nationwide. The Handbook of Positive Behavior Support gathers into one concise volume the many elements of this burgeoning field and organizes them into a powerful, dynamic knowledge base – theory, research, and applications. Within its chapters, leading experts, including the primary developers and researchers of PBS: • Review the origins, history, and ethical foundations of positive behavior support. • Report on applications of PBS in early childhood and family contexts, from Head Start to foster care to mental health settings to autism treatment programs. • Examine school-based PBS used to benefit all students regardless of ability or conduct. • Relate schoolwide PBS to wraparound mental health services and the RTI (response to intervention) movement. • Provide data and discussion on a variety of topics salient to PBS, including parenting issues, personnel training, high school use, poorly functioning schools, and more. This volume is an essential resource for school-based practitioners as well as clinicians and researchers in clinical child, school, and educational psychology.
Guided by a life-course perspective and using a longitudinal panel data set collected at three developmental stages (early adolescence, young adulthood, and middle adulthood), structural equation analyses specify how early school failure influences status attainment at midlife. The results demonstrate that years of education completed in early adulthood is not the only mediating pathway. Lower levels of mental health and higher rates of deviant behaviors in early adulthood are additional mediating processes. A modest residual direct effect of school failure in adolescence on status attainment at midlife is interpretable in terms of inherited or acquired cognitive abilities and motivational dispositions manifested in early adolescence.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students face many risk factors every day when they enter their school's door. These students often fear for their safety at school, are victimized, have academic difficulties, suffer from issues with their identity development, and are at risk for suicide. School-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) have been shown to reduce the risk for LGBT students in these areas. School psychologists are in a unique position to be instrumental in alleviating many of the problems LGBT students face every day by being a GSA advisor. This article reviews the literature on LGBT student risk in terms of the benefits of a GSA and guides school psychologists on how to start and advise a GSA in their schools.
This cross-sectional study determined whether students who take part in academically challenging high school curricula experience elevated levels of stress and whether this stress co-occurs with psychological and/or academic problems. Data from self-report questionnaires and school records were collected from 480 students from four high schools. Results of analyses of covariance suggested that stress is not always associated with deleterious outcomes, as students in academically rigorous programs (specifically, Advanced Placement [AP] classes and International Baccalaureate [IB] programs) reported more perceived stress than did students in general education, while maintaining exceptionally high academic functioning. Furthermore, despite their stress level, the psychological functioning of students in AP and IB is similar or superior to the levels of psychopathology, life satisfaction, and social functioning reported from their peers in general education.
A meta-analysis of school-based interventions for anxious and depressed youth using QUORUM guidelines was conducted. Studies were located by searching electronic databases, manual effort, and contact with expert researchers. Analyses examined 63 studies with 8,225 participants receiving cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and 6,986 in comparison conditions. Mean prepost effect sizes indicate that anxiety-focused school-based CBT was moderately effective in reducing anxiety (Hedge's g = 0.501) and depression-focused school-based CBT was mildly effective in reducing depression (Hedge's g = 0.298) for youth receiving interventions as compared to those in anxiety intervention control conditions (Hedge's g = 0.193) and depression intervention controls (Hedge's g = 0.091). Predictors of outcome were explored. School-based CBT interventions for youth anxiety and for youth depression hold considerable promise, although investigation is still needed to identify features that optimize service delivery and outcome.