Advancing School Mental Health

Reducing mental health problems that serve as barriers to school and life success by improving how mental health services are delivered in schools

Schools are the primary setting in which children receive mental health supports. Too often, however, children receive lackluster or poorly implemented services, which limits the potential impact of these services to promote better mental health and related social and academic outcomes.

Considering this, Dr. Clay Cook and a team of researchers work to advance school-based mental health delivery through the development, testing, and implementation of evidence-based practices that aim to reduce mental health problems that serve as barriers to school and life success.

To learn more about this work, contact:

Corinne Hamlin, Project Coordinator at riop0016@umn.edu

Research projects

Organizational Assessment for Strategic Implementation in Schools (OASIS): A Measurement Suite to Support Educator Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices

Organizational factors within school settings, such as leadership and climate, have a significant impact on the successful translation of evidence-based practices into routine school-based service delivery. The purpose of this measurement grant is to adapt and validate a suite of measures that capture the intra-organizational factors within a school that make or break implementation success. The measures include the School—Implementation Leadership Scale, School-Implementation Climate Scale, School-Implementation Citizenship Behavior Scale, and the School-Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale.

Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools (BASIS)

Development and Evaluation of the Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools for Teachers

Teachers’ adoption and delivery of evidence-based practices is critical to promoting student outcomes. This project focuses on developing a pre-implementation enhancement intervention to facilitate teachers’ adoption and delivery of EBPs in the context of receiving proper training and consultation.

Development of RELATE (Relationships to Enhance Learners’ Adjustment to Transitions and Engagement)

A significant proportion of students who transition into high school dropout by 10th grade. A strong sense of belonging and connection to school is a protective against dropout. This project focuses on adapting and testing a teacher-student relationship program (Establish-Maintain-Restore) to be used as a dropout prevention strategy when delivered to students transitioning into high school. Through an iterative development process, the teacher-student relationship approach will be culturally and developmentally adapted for use with racially and ethnically diverse students.

Development and Pilot Testing of the Sleep to Enhance Educational Performance in Schools (SLEEPS) Curriculum

This project will iteratively develop and pilot test the feasibility, developmental appropriateness, and potential efficacy of a theory-driven school-based sleep program for middle school youth – Sleep to Enhance Educational Performance in Schools (SLEEPS) Program. To accomplish this, with input from key stakeholders (teachers, students, caregivers and administrators) and a transdisciplinary team of experts, we will integrate evidence-based information and strategies on sleep into an interactive classroom curriculum that (1) teaches students directly about the importance of sleep, healthy sleep habits (e.g., sleep hygiene, stimulus control), and gives them tools to overcome sleep problems (e.g., meditation for insomnia), and (2) educates and supports caregivers through brief techniques to influence their middle schooler’s sleep in the home environment.

Informant Discrepancies within Educational Assessment (IDEA): Developing Discrepant and Nondiscrepant Scales of Strengths and Difficulties

An emerging body of work indicates that informant discrepancies can fruitfully be used as a lens to view, identify, and understand the specific contexts in which children display specific behaviors of relevance to their academic functioning and outcomes (i.e., behavioral and emotional concerns, social competence, sense of purpose). To this end, through this project our team seeks to generalize these findings to the school context and subsequently conduct a series of studies to develop, refine, and validate the Psychosocial and Educational Difficulties and Strengths Scales (PEDS) as a comprehensive and free assessment that produces dependable data regarding the specific contexts where children display their strengths and difficulties. The aim is for this multi-informant rating system to inform treatment programming, monitoring, and evaluation.