Across all outcomes, school-based services delivered by school personnel showed small-to-medium effect in decreasing mental health issues among children. Furthermore, school-based services that integrated mental health services into the school curriculum, targeted externalizing issues, incorporated incident management and were implemented multiple times per week significantly improved its effectiveness.
The largest effects were observed for targeted intervention and selective prevention compared with universal prevention. Targeted intervention and selective prevention showed large and high-medium effects, though small, universal prevention showed significant effects as well. For externalizing problems, school-based services conducted daily or several times each week showed medium effect, but school-based services conducted weekly or less did not show a significant effect.
“Given the limited accessibility of traditional mental health services for children — particularly children in Africa — school-based mental health services are a tremendous vehicle for overcoming barriers to mental health care and meaningfully expanding the reach of supports and services for so many children in need