Before/Afterschool Activity

Initiative Description: The 4‐hour‐ per‐week, 18‐week school‐based afterschool program included a Communication Club in which at‐risk 1st through 5th grade students were taught pragmatic language skills underlying social‐emotional regulation and a Coping Club in which at‐risk 1st through 5th grade students were taught skills modeled after Lochmann’s evidence‐based Coping Power Program to cope with difficult feelings and stressful situations. The 24‐hour‐ per‐week, 6‐week school‐based summer camp provided academic (eg, summer school and homework help), therapeutic (eg, coping skills groups), and recreational (eg, field trips, sports, arts, crafts, music) activities for at‐risk 1st through 6th-grade students. The clinical interventions comprised standard psychiatric assessment and treatment services.

Study Results: Students had significantly fewer mental health difficulties, less functional impairment, and improved behavior, and reported improved mental health knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions. Teachers reported significantly greater proficiency in managing mental health problems in their classrooms.

Reference: Walter, H. J., Gouze, K., Cicchetti, C., Arend, R., Mehta, T., Schmidt, J., & Skvarla, M. (2011). A pilot demonstration of comprehensive mental health services in inner-city public schools. Journal of School Health, 81(4), 185-193. 1561.2010.00578.x.

Level of Evidence: 2 out of 5 stars Good