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Facilitating the Implementation of Evidence-Based Prevention and Mental Health Promotion Efforts in Schools

  • Patricia A. Graczyk
  • Celene E. Domitrovich
  • Joseph E. Zins
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)

Within the field of school-based mental health, a call for greater integration between treatment and prevention efforts has been sounded (Tashman et al., 1999). This integration is appropriate and logical for several reasons. First, practitioners in both fields are attempting to provide interventions that reduce youth risk for poor outcomes and improve their functioning in social, emotional, and academic domains. Second, innovative models of school-based mental health (e.g., Adelman & Taylor, 1999; Nastasi, Varjas, Bernstein, & Pluymert, 1998; Weist, 1997) and prevention (Institute of Medicine, 1994) have been proposed that are comprehensive and call for a spectrum of services to meet the needs of allstudents. While recipients of traditional school mental health services include primarily special education students or students with diagnosed disorders, potential recipients of comprehensive school-based mental health services and prevention programs can include the entire student body. Third, a union of school-based mental health and prevention efforts can reduce duplicity of efforts. Fourth, both fields recognize schools as an important setting for intervening with children and youth. Schools have extended and intensive accessibility to the majority of children and can provide ample opportunities for students to develop, practice, and receive recognition for emotionally appropriate and socially competent behaviors that are the foundation of mental health both within and beyond the classroom setting (Consortium on the School-Based Promotion of Social Competence, 1994; Evans, 1999; Weissberg, Caplan, & Sivo, 1989; Weissberg & Greenberg, 1998)

The major topic of this chapter is the implementation of effective school-based prevention and mental health promotion practices. We begin by providing an overview of the current state of the field. We then summarize what is meant by effective or evidence-based practices by using information garnered from two major program reviews, one of which has recently been completed and another that is ongoing. Next, we provide a conceptual lens through which implementation of school-based prevention programs can be viewed. Critical factors are identified, and a framework is presented that ties these factors together in a coherent and meaningful way. The ensuing discussion illustrates how this framework can help guide efforts to assess and monitor implementation quality to result in effective program delivery. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some of the challenges existing within the field relative to the utilization and evaluation of sound implementation practices

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Graczyk
    • 1
  • Celene E. Domitrovich
    • 2
  • Joseph E. Zins
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoIllinois
  2. 2.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkPennsylvania
  3. 3.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiOhio

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