Contribution of the project to achieve the program aims and expected outcomes
The project will use pre-existing services and resources as well as integrate and translation knowledge obtained from previous research and interventions in order to optimize and improve MH services, resulting in a promotion of wellbeing and reduction of disparities across Portugal and when compared to other European Countries.
We expect WhySchool to have positive outcomes at 3 different levels: individual, community and system.
- Individual Level – Capacity-building of teachers will lead to an earlier identification and referral of youth at risk for mental illness, hence contributing to earlier intervention. This is very important, because current MH costs and overall burden of MH diseases are inflated by the lack of early detection and intervention which will reduce social and economic costs with MH by providing specialised care for those in need in earlier stages and avoiding overtreatment of those who don’t need it.
- Community level – The project will enhance accessibility and equality to mental services. Fostering the liaison between the educational and the health system, by improving the organization of existing services, will not only result in higher integration but also contribute to enhancing proximity. Health and educational professionals play a central role in modelling behaviours and attitudes, especially in rural areas, and are in direct contact with children, adolescents and families.
- System Level – The project will provide an integrated and on-going support for youth that are either at risk or affected by MH conditions. At the long term, onset of MH disorders is expected to lower due to better identification of cases and accurate referral. As MH issues are the main cause for suicide, suicide rates among adolescents are also expected to lower.
Adolescents and general population will also be more educated on the detection of virtual bullying situations, its impact and the resources and help sources available.
Outcome variables include:
– reducing the number of unattended youth at risk for MH problems or already suffering from disorders
- increasing the number of teachers that are trained in MH issues
- reduction of stigma associated with MH issues
- reducing the number of (undetected) virtual bullying situations
- Increased virtual bullying literacy among general population
- Optimisation of mental health resources
- Clearer roles, responsibilities and guidelines for different health and community services providers.
Intermediate variables include:
- satisfaction with training actions (teachers)
- satisfaction with the school’s response and support in regard to health issues (parents)
- increased mental health literacy among teachers, parents and children
- increased confidence in dealing with mental health issues among teachers
- parents and youth feel more protected against virtual bullying