School Personnel Experiences in Notifying Parents About Their Child's Risk for Suicide: Lessons Learned
BACKGROUND: Schools across the nation are increasingly implementing suicide prevention programs that involve training school staff and connecting students and their families to appropriate services. However, little is known about how parents are engaged in such efforts. METHODS: This qualitative study examined school staff perspectives on parent involvement in the implementation of a district-wide suicide prevention program by analyzing focus group and interview data gathered on the program implementation processes. Participants included middle school teachers, administrators, and other school personnel. RESULTS: Study results revealed that in the immediate wake of a crisis or concern about suicide, school staff routinely contacted parents. However, substantial barriers prevent some students from receiving needed follow-up care (eg, lack of consistent follow-up, financial strain, parental stress, availability of appropriate services). Despite these challenges, school staff identified strategies that could better support parents before, during, and after the crisis. In particular, school-based services increased the success of mental health referrals. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that systematic postcrisis follow-up procedures are needed to improve the likelihood that students and families receive ongoing support. In particular, school-based services and home visits, training and outreach for parents, and formal training for school mental health staff on parent engagement may be beneficial in this context.
Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mental Health, Chronic Medical Conditions, and Development in Young Children
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationships between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental health, chronic medical conditions, and social development among young children in the child welfare system. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used a nationally representative sample of children investigated by child welfare (National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II) from 2008 to 2009. Our analysis included caregiver interviews and caseworker reports about children aged 18 to 71 months who were not in out-of-home care (n = 912). We examined the associations between ACEs and mental health (measured by the Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL]), reported chronic medical conditions, and social development (measured by the Vineland Socialization Scale) in bivariate and multivariate analyses. RESULTS: Nearly all children (98.1%) were reported to have had an ACE in their lifetime; the average number of ACEs was 3.6. For every additional reported ACE, there was a 32% increased odds of having a problem score on the CBCL (odds ratio [OR] 1.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14, 1.53) and a 21% increased odds of having a chronic medical condition (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.05, 1.40). Among children aged 36 to 71 months, for every additional reported ACE, there was a 77% increased odds of a low Vineland Socialization score (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.12, 2.78). CONCLUSIONS: ACEs were associated with poor early childhood mental health and chronic medical conditions, and, among children aged 3 to 5, social development. Efforts are needed to examine whether providing early intervention to families with multiple stressors mitigates the impact of ACEs on children's outcomes.
A Literature Review of Learning Collaboratives in Mental Health Care: Used but Untested
OBJECTIVE Policy makers have increasingly turned to learning collaboratives (LCs) as a strategy for improving usual care through the dissemination of evidence-based practices. The purpose of this review was to characterize the state of the evidence for use of LCs in mental health care. METHODS A systematic search of major academic databases for peer-reviewed articles on LCs in mental health care generated 421 unique articles across a range of disciplines; 28 mental health articles were selected for full-text review, and 20 articles representing 16 distinct studies met criteria for final inclusion. Articles were coded to identify the LC components reported, the focus of the research, and key findings. RESULTS Most of the articles included assessments of provider- or patient-level variables at baseline and post-LC. Only one study included a comparison condition. LC targets ranged widely, from use of a depression screening tool to implementation of evidence-based treatments. Fourteen crosscutting LC components (for example, in-person learning sessions, phone meetings, data reporting, leadership involvement, and training in quality improvement methods) were identified. The LCs reviewed reported including, on average, seven components, most commonly in-person learning sessions, plan-do-study-act cycles, multidisciplinary quality improvement teams, and data collection for quality improvement. CONCLUSIONS LCs are being used widely in mental health care, although there is minimal evidence of their effectiveness and unclear reporting in regard to specific components. Rigorous observational and controlled research studies on the impact of LCs on targeted provider- and patient-level outcomes are greatly needed.
Academic achievement among immigrant and U.S.-born Latino adolescents: Associations with cultural, family, and acculturation factors
This study examined proximal risk and protective factors that contribute to academic achievement among 130 Latino students. Participating students were 56.2% female and 35.3% foreign-born (mean age = 11.38, SD = .59). Acculturative stress, immigrant status, child gender, parental monitoring, traditional cultural values, mainstream values, and English language proficiency were explored in relation to academic achievement. Higher levels of parental monitoring, English language proficiency, and female gender were associated with higher grades, while mainstream values were associated with lower grades. In addition, a significant interaction between acculturative stress and immigrant status was found, such that higher acculturative stress was related to poorer grades for U.S.-born students in particular. Thus, parental monitoring and female gender are potential protective factors, while identification with mainstream values and low English language proficiency are risk factors for poor grades. U.S.-born students may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of acculturative stress.
Implementation Science in School Mental Health: Key Constructs in a Developing Research Agenda
In this paper, we propose an implementation science research agenda as it applies to school mental health (SMH). First, we provide an overview of important contextual issues to be considered when addressing research questions pertinent to the implementation of mental health interventions in schools. Next, we critically review three core implementation components: (a) professional development and coaching for school professionals regarding evidence-based practices (EBPs); (b) the integrity of EBPs implemented in schools; and (c) EBP sustainment under typical school conditions. We articulate research questions central to the next generation of research in each of these areas as well as methods to address such questions. Our intent in doing so is to contribute to a developing blueprint to guide community-research partnerships as well as funding agencies in their efforts to advance implementation science in SMH.
Scaling up Evidence-Based Practices for Children and Families in New York State: Toward Evidence-Based Policies on Implementation for State Mental Health Systems
Dissemination of innovations is widely considered the sine qua non for system improvement. At least two dozen states are rolling out evidence-based mental health practices targeted at children and families using trainings, consultations, webinars, and learning collaboratives to improve quality and outcomes. In New York State (NYS) a group of researchers, policymakers, providers, and family support specialists have worked in partnership since 2002 to redesign and evaluate the children's mental health system. Five system strategies driven by empirically based practices and organized within a state-supported infrastructure have been used in the child and family service system with more than 2,000 providers: (a) business practices, (b) use of health information technologies in quality improvement, (c) specific clinical interventions targeted at common childhood disorders, (d) parent activation, and (e) quality indicator development. The NYS system has provided a laboratory for naturalistic experiments. We describe these initiatives, key findings and challenges, lessons learned for scaling, and implications for creating evidence-based implementation policies in state systems.
The Role of Consultation Calls for Clinic Supervisors in Supporting Large-Scale Dissemination of Evidence-Based Treatments for Children
This study explores the content of consultation provided to clinic supervisors within the context of a statewide training program in an evidence-based practice. Minute-to-minute live coding of consultation calls with clinic supervisors was conducted in order to identify the content and distribution of call topics. Results indicated that approximately half of the total speaking time was spent on a range of clinically relevant topics (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, fidelity to the treatment protocols). The remaining time was spent on program administration and CBT-related supervisory issues. This pilot study has broad implications for structuring the content of consultation process in large-scale dissemination efforts involving multiple portions of the clinical workforce.
Consultation as an implementation strategy for evidence-based practices across multiple contexts: unpacking the black box
There is great interest in the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments and practices for children across schools and community mental health settings. A growing body of literature suggests that the use of one-time workshops as a training tool is ineffective in influencing therapist behavior and patient outcomes and that ongoing expert consultation and coaching is critical to actual uptake and quality implementation. Yet, we have very limited understanding of how expert consultation fits into the larger implementation support system, or the most effective consultation strategies. This commentary reviews the literature on consultation in child mental health, and proposes a set of core consultation functions, processes, and outcomes that should be further studied in the implementation of evidence-based practices for children.
Understanding the components of quality improvement collaboratives: a systematic literature review
CONTEXT: In response to national efforts to improve quality of care, policymakers and health care leaders have increasingly turned to quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) as an efficient approach to improving provider practices and patient outcomes through the dissemination of evidence-based practices. This article presents findings from a systematic review of the literature on QICs, focusing on the identification of common components of QICs in health care and exploring, when possible, relations between QIC components and outcomes at the patient or provider level. METHODS: A systematic search of five major health care databases generated 294 unique articles, twenty-four of which met our criteria for inclusion in our final analysis. These articles pertained to either randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental studies with comparison groups, and they reported the findings from twenty different studies of QICs in health care. We coded the articles to identify the components reported for each collaborative. FINDINGS: We found fourteen crosscutting components as common ingredients in health care QICs (e.g., in-person learning sessions, phone meetings, data reporting, leadership involvement, and training in QI methods). The collaboratives reported included, on average, six to seven of these components. The most common were in-person learning sessions, plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles, multidisciplinary QI teams, and data collection for QI. The outcomes data from these studies indicate the greatest impact of QICs at the provider level; patient-level findings were less robust. CONCLUSIONS: Reporting on specific components of the collaborative was imprecise across articles, rendering it impossible to identify active QIC ingredients linked to improved care. Although QICs appear to have some promise in improving the process of care, there is great need for further controlled research examining the core components of these collaboratives related to patient- and provider-level outcomes.
Pre-placement risk and longitudinal cognitive development for children adopted from foster care
This study examined the trajectory of cognitive development over the first five years of adoptive placement among children adopted from foster care and how pre-adoption risk factors relate to this development. Overall, children's cognitive scores increased significantly, with the most rapid improvement occurring in the first year post-placement. By five years post-placement, children's mean cognitive and achievement scores were in the average range. Adoption is a positive intervention for children's cognitive development.