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Feasibility of the MindMatters School Mental Health Promotion Program in American Schools

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2005 Pages: 51-58
Steven W. Evans; Elizabeth Mullett; Mark D. Weist; Kimberly Franz
Date Published
February 2005
8 pages
Forty-two participants who represented school and community stakeholder groups from four U.S. communities evaluated the Australian MindMatters program for application in their communities.
The MindMatters Program includes two levels of resources for a school to aid in the schoolwide promotion of mental health and well-being among students. The first level of resources includes comprehensive information to aid in the whole-school audit of current mental health promotion policies and practices, assisting in the identification of areas needing additional support. The second level of resources aids school staff in the effective implementation of curricula that promote the mental health and well-being of their students. The decision to implement specific portions of the curriculum is based on the results of the audit conducted by school personnel. Preliminary findings have shown that students who participate in the program are more willing to seek help for mental health problems compared to students not involved in the program. In addition, data have shown improvement in student academic performance, staff attitudes, and knowledge of school policies for those participating in MindMatters. The four U.S. communities that participated in assessing the feasibility of the program for their districts represented urban, rural, suburban, and small-town jurisdictions. Participants in the evaluation included teachers, parents, students, administrators, and school mental health professionals. The majority of participants (85 percent) indicated that the program would help students in their schools feel safe and valued, and they strongly endorsed curriculum units on suicide prevention, bullying, and harassment. Ideas for tailoring programs developed in other settings for application in local communities are discussed. 4 tables and 21 references