Services, Support & Implementation
Evidence-based services and supports are programs, services or supports that are based directly on scientific evidence, have been evaluated in large scale studies and have been shown to reduce symptoms and/or improve functioning. For instance, evidence-based services and supports are recognized in national evidence-based registries, such as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, and Institute of Education Sciences (IES) What Works Clearinghouse. A full continuum of evidence-based services and supports within a district includes mental health promotion, selective prevention, and indicated interventions.
Mental health promotion services and supports (Tier 1) are mental health-related activities, including promotion of positive social, emotional, and behavioral skills and wellness which are designed to meet the needs of all students regardless of whether or not they are at risk for mental health problems. These activities can be implemented schoolwide, at the grade level, and/or at the classroom level. Please include services provided by school-employed and community-employed, school-based professionals. Examples include school-wide assemblies, grade level or classroom presentations for all students regardless of whether or not they are at risk for mental health problems.
Selective services and supports (Tier 2) to address mental health concerns are provided for groups of students who have been identified through needs assessments and school teaming processes as being at risk for a given concern or problem. When problems are identified early and supports put in place, positive youth development is promoted and problems can be eliminated or reduced. Sometimes these are referred to as mental health “prevention” or “secondary” prevention services. Please include services provided by school-employed and community-employed, school-based professionals. Examples include small group interventions for students identified with similar risk profiles or problem areas for developing mental health problems.
Indicated services and supports (Tier 3) to address mental health concerns are individualized to meet the unique needs of each student who is already displaying a particular concern or problem and displaying significant functional impairment. Sometimes these are referred to as mental health “intervention” or “tertiary” or intensive services. Please include services provided by school-employed and community employed, school-based professionals. Examples include individual, group or family therapy for general or special education students who have identified, and often diagnosed, social, emotional and/or behavioral needs.
Evidence-based services and supports are supported by data and evidence that indicate that they are effective interventions. Research shows that evidence-based services and supports provide students with a higher quality of care than programs without an evidence base, but there are many factors to consider when selecting and implementing them.
Evidence-based implementation is the integration of research findings from implementation science to school mental health care policy, practice, and operations. This involves the selection of appropriate evidence-based services and supports as well as utilization of effective, best practice strategies informed by implementation science to support and sustain those services and supports. Implementation science is the study of methods that promote the integration of research findings and evidence into health care policy and practice. Implementation science emphasizes an understanding of organizational characteristics and behaviors of healthcare professionals and others as key variables in the sustainable uptake, adoption and implementation of evidence-based interventions.
School Mental Health Services, Supports and Implementation Resources
Use SHAPE to assess your district or school Evidence-Based Services and Supports Quality Guide
The School Mental Health Quality Assessment Survey Evidence-Based Services and Supports domain is comprised of fifteen indicators (five indicators per Tier) to help determine a system’s implementation of a full continuum of services and supports including mental health promotion, selective prevention and indicated interventions that are based directly on scientific evidence. The five indicators measuring performance separately at all three tiers include:
- Number of students who receive mental health services and supports;
- Number of students who receive substance use services and supports;
- Number of students who receive evidence-based services and supports;
- Reach of evidence-based mental health and substance use services and supports; and
- Extent that all mental health and substance use services and supports are evidence-based.
The School Mental Health Quality Assessment Survey Evidence-Based Implementation domain is comprised of three indicators to help determine a system’s current capacity for implementing evidence-based practices and programs (EBPs). These indicators measure the extent to which a CSMHS:
- has processes in place for determining whether a school mental health service or support is evidence-based;
- has evidence-based services and supports that fit the unique strengths, needs, and cultural and linguistic considerations of your students and families, and
- utilizes best practices to support training and implementation of mental health services and supports.
Module #4: Evidence-Based Practices, Implementation Science, Data-Informed Decision Making, and Program Evaluation
This module covers a variety of topics related to the science behind effective community-partnered school behavioral health programs.
In chapter 1, Dana Cunningham presents Evidence-Based Practices and Programs: Identifying and Selecting EBPs. Dr. Cunningham defines EBPs and their importance, provides a list of national web-based clearinghouses for evidence-based prevention and treatment approaches, and discusses how to select and implement an EBP.
In chapter 2, Elizabeth Connors presents Implementation Science: Lessons for School Behavioral Health. Dr. Connors describes practical applications of implementation science to school behavioral health, including recommendations for how programs can plan for service provision to maximize their likelihood of effective implementation. In particular, best practices for training of school and community professionals and partners are highlighted.
Selecting Evidence-Based Programs: This guide includes steps and easy-to-use worksheets to select, implement and monitor evidence-based programs in schools. This was developed by the National Center for Youth Violence Prevention and Mental Health Promotion in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health.
NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSES FOR FINDING EVIDENCE BASED INTERVENTIONS
Looking for an evidence-based intervention for your school or district, but not sure where to start? Try one of these national clearinghouses for finding evidence-based interventions:
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is a database of evidence-based programs promoting positive youth development at the family, school and community level. The programs in the database promote positive youth development in terms of academic success, emotional well-being, positive relationships and physical health. Programs are initially reviewed by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at eth Institute of Behavior Science, University of Colorado Boulder. The final review is conducted by an advisory board made of seven experts in the field of positive youth development. Searches can be filtered by program outcome, target population, program specifics and risk and protective factors. To learn more visit https://blueprintsprograms.org/.
The Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education established the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in 2002 to provide educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence about "what works" in education. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. administers the WWC under contract to the Department. To help all students and schools meet high standards, educators need more evidence of what works in education. Currently, few resources help education decision makers separate high-quality research from weaker research and promotional claims. Through systematic reviews to identify rigorous research, the WWC provides educators with credible and reliable evidence that they can use to make informed decisions. To learn more visit https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/.
The SHAPE System includes a Resource Center of additional guides, tip sheets, and online learning opportunities to help schools, districts and states advance their school mental health quality and sustainability.