Increasing Awareness of Child Mental Health Issues Among Elementary School Staff

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Without sufficient education and training on mental illness, school teachers are less likely to have the capacity to recognize related symptoms in students and make appropriate referrals for care. The current pilot study tests the overall effectiveness of a new in-service training designed as the introductory component to a school-based mental health intervention. The training included information on the prevalence of mental health problems in the United States, common youth disorders, and treatment barriers that many families face. Participants' knowledge before and after the training was measured using a 27-item instrument, and statistical significance was assessed for pre- to posttest changes for individual items. Results are overwhelmingly positive and provide evidence of an increase in accurate knowledge of child mental health issues. Implications for both practice and research are discussed.