Disparities in the Implementation of School-Based Mental Health Supports Among K–12 Public Schools
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Disparities in the Implementation of School-Based Mental Health Supports Among K–12 Public Schools



Public Access Version Available on: January 01, 2025, 12:00 AM
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English

Details:

  • Alternative Title:
    Psychiatr Serv
  • Personal Author:
  • Description:
    Objective:

    The authors sought to explore the availability of mental health supports within public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic by using survey data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. K–12 public schools collected in October–November 2021.

    Methods:

    The prevalence of 11 school-based mental health supports was examined within the sample (N=437 schools). Chi-square tests and adjusted logistic regression models were used to identify associations between school-level characteristics and mental health supports. School characteristics included level (elementary, middle, or high school), locale (city, town, suburb, or rural area), poverty level, having a full-time school nurse, and having a school-based health center.

    Results:

    Universal mental health programs were more prevalent than more individualized and group-based supports (e.g., therapy groups); however, prevalence of certain mental health supports was low among schools (e.g., only 53% implemented schoolwide trauma-informed practices). Schools having middle to high levels of poverty or located in rural areas or towns and elementary schools and schools without a health infrastructure were less likely to implement mental health supports, even after analyses were adjusted for school-level characteristics. For example, compared with low-poverty schools, mid-poverty schools had lower odds of implementing prosocial skills training for students (adjusted OR [AOR]=0.49, 95% CI=0.27–0.88) and providing confidential mental health screening (AOR=0.42, 95% CI=0.22–0.79).

    Conclusions:

    Implementation levels of school-based mental health supports leave substantial room for improvement, and numerous disparities existed by school characteristics. Higher-poverty areas, schools in rural areas or towns, and elementary schools and schools without a health infrastructure may require assistance in ensuring equitable access to mental health supports.

  • Subjects:
  • Source:
  • Pubmed ID:
    37312505
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC10719411
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