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Mental health provision in schools: approaches and interventions in 10 European countries

  • P. Patalay (a1) (a2), D. Gondek (a1), B. Moltrecht (a3), L. Giese (a4) (a5), C. Curtin (a6), M. Stanković (a7) (a8) and N. Savka (a9)...
Abstract
Background.

The role of schools in providing community-based support for children's mental health and well-being is widely accepted and encouraged. Research has mainly focused on designing and evaluating specific interventions and there is little data available regarding what provision is available, the focus and priorities of schools and the professionals involved in providing this support. The current study presents these data from schools in 10 European countries.

Methods.

Online survey of 1466 schools in France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, UK and Ukraine. The participating countries were chosen based on their geographical spread, diversity of political and economic systems, and convenience in terms of access to the research group and presence of collaborators.

Results.

Schools reported having more universal provision than targeted provision and there was greater reported focus on children who already have difficulties compared with prevention of problems and promotion of student well-being. The most common interventions implemented related to social and emotional skills development and anti-bullying programmes. Learning and educational support professionals were present in many schools with fewer schools reporting involvement of a clinical specialist. Responses varied by country with 7.4–33.5% between-country variation across study outcomes. Secondary schools reported less support for parents and more for staff compared with primary schools, with private schools also indicating more staff support. Schools in rural locations reported less student support and professionals involved than schools in urban locations.

Conclusion.

The current study provides up-to-date and cross-country insight into the approaches, priorities and provision available for mental health support in schools; highlighting what schools prioritise in providing mental health support and where coverage of provision is lacking.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: P. Patalay, University of Liverpool, Eleanour Rathbone Building, Bedford Street South, Liverpool, UK. (Email: ppatalay@liverpool.ac.uk)
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