Program evaluation of a school-based mental health center

Sheri Jill Balsam
Across the country, nearly 80% of youth who need mental health services do not receive them. Perceived stigma, and structural barriers including lack of providers, long waiting lists, costs, lack of transportation, and temporal access remain profound challenges. The objective of this study was to conduct a program evaluation of how a school-based mental health center (SBMHC) can improve its services in a more inclusive, culturally sensitive, needs-based, and community-focused manner. Themes
more » ... existing theory, research, practice and policy were analyzed and informed a quantitative and qualitative survey for school faculty and community organizations (N=98). Perceptions of existing services and unmet community needs were addressed. One-way ANOVAs and post-hoc analyses were used to test the study's hypotheses, and showed that school staff and community members were largely unaware of the breadth of services at the SBMHC. Implications for increasing awareness and access are explored, and consistent with prior research, for increasing community connections and further collaboration with staff. Additionally, increased diversity training for school staff district-wide is suggested, with one of the aims being to encourage East and South Asian populations to seek mental health treatment. Results were used to develop recommendations to guide future developments and improvements for the program. Furthermore, the majority of the results could be generalized to help improve quality and access to other SBMHCs. This study was exploratory with limitations, and more research utilizing larger samples, more in-depth interviews, control groups, and long-term measured outcomes is recommended.
doi:10.7282/t3m048xm fatcat:sy2yscaq7nb4nc2qkm4kydgili