In the United States, approximately 15 million youth have a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder and schools are the primary setting within which children and adolescents receive mental health (MH) services. The effectiveness of school MH programs has been repeatedly demonstrated for a wide array of behavioral and emotional disorders, including suicidality, substance abuse, ADHD, and mood, anxiety and conduct disorders. Unfortunately, however, despite gains in the identification of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) and a push for accountability in the education system, EBIs are rarely used in everyday practice by schools. Further, EBIs proven effective under strict research conditions often fail to achieve their intended outcomes when delivered in the “real world.” A growing body of literature demonstrates that the quality of implementation is directly related to the likelihood an EBI will be adopted and sustained within the school setting as well as the strength of its treatment effects. Increasing the extent to which school MH EBIs are used and implemented with high quality could significantly impact the MH of the nation’s youth.
Through Phase I of this project, we have created a prototype of Centervention, a web-based technology infrastructure designed to promote quality implementation of school MH EBIs on a broad-scale. Centerventiondecreases costs (time, financial, personnel) to both schools and intervention developers, enhances the integrity with which EBIs are implemented in the school setting, and increases dissemination of EBIs into “real world” everyday practice. Feasibility test results with school MH providers, teachers, administrators, and intervention developers provided substantial support for continued research and development (R&D) of Centervention, as well as essential constructive feedback to inform Phase II development.
This Phase II project will continue the R&D of Centervention. Based on Phase I feedback, the first task of Phase II will be to revise each CenterVention component to enhance usability and value. Once the full technology infrastructure is complete, a scientific evaluation of Centervention will be conducted through a randomized experimental design. After product testing is complete, each component of the Centervention product will be finalized based on test results and user evaluations. More information about Centervention can be found at www.centervention.org.