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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health
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School-Based Mental Health Programmes

Strengths of School-Based Approach to Mental Health Programmes

SBMHPs have several advantages over other models of CAMH service like hospital-based or community-based care (Caulkins et al. 2004; Aos et al. 2004). First, SBMHPs afford the opportunity to reach a large number of children and adolescents, especially in regions with high school enrolment. Secondly, the natural barrier of service location is effectively eliminated as services are located within the same environment as potential service users. Thirdly, the proximity of service will reduce the cost and time burden of scheduled visits to external mental health services. This proximity also encourages more young people to acknowledge and seek treatment for mental health concerns (Kaplan et al. 1998). Fourthly, the familiar setting of the school environment can imbue a sense of belonging that may reduce the real or perceived stigma and intimidation that young persons and their families may feel when they go to unfamiliar and perhaps less culturally compatible mental health settings (AAP Committee on School Health 2004). By extension, this will promote not only service utilisation, but also the participation of teachers and parents.

Furthermore, in resource-constrained settings where community-based CAMH services are limited, harnessing the resourcefulness of teachers, school counsellors, school health officers, and the school environment in general (a kind of ‘task-shifting’) is a way of maximising resources (Padmavati 2012). In addition, schools have an opportunity to observe children in different conditions like the classroom, peer relations and extra-curricular activities. This unique opportunity facilitates identification and monitoring of the progress of interventions. Cross-cutting mental health and academic problems can also be best attended to in SBMHPs. Lastly, locating mental health programmes with social welfare services within the school can facilitate opportunities for students to feel more connected and see their school as a caring community. This connectedness has been found to have its own indirect effect on engendering behaviours that promote mental health (Blum and Ellen 2002).

 
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