Daniel Eisenberg

HMS Secondary Education

Research Project Description

The U.S. is facing a surge of mental health problems among youth. Twenty percent of youth ages 13 - 18 meet criteria for a diagnosable mental disorder[1], and this prevalence increases into young adulthood through college. [2] The prevalence of mental illness among youth has only been increasing over recent years [3]. The rise of mental illness carries a massive economic toll for the nation - in 2012, the combination of direct mental healthcare costs and dollars lost due to inability to work productively amounted to $467 billion [4].

On the positive side, in recent years there have been national initiatives to collect data and connect research to practice for mental health at colleges and universities. These national initiatives include our team's Healthy Minds Network, as well as the JED Campus program and the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH). These initiatives offer a template to launch similar efforts at the high school level, where data are still lacking and the connection between research and practice is still weak.

To address the aforementioned gap, we at the Healthy Minds Network propose a research-to-practice project titled Healthy Minds for Secondary Schools. The project will use a community-based participatory research design to collaborate with middle schools and high schools, in Michigan and elsewhere in the United States, along with professionals at the JED Foundation, to develop a web-based survey that will assess students' mental health and related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This survey will utilize the well-established infrastructure and procedures of the Healthy Minds Study, administered among post-secondary education institutions since 2005, with confidentiality and reporting protocols appropriately adjusted for working with minors. The online survey will be implemented at individual high schools (and potentially middle schools in the future), and the results will be summarized and provided back to those schools. While the Healthy Minds team will have primary responsibility for collecting and summarizing the data, the JED Foundation will partner with us to help schools interpret the data and recommend evidence-based policies and programs. All collected data will also be used to compile a national database of secondary students, which will be disseminated through the Healthy Minds Network's robust network of organizations, researchers, professionals dedicated to the understanding and promotion of youth mental health.

Various Sponsors
(subcontract: Agreement)

Funding Period: 6/1/2019 to 8/31/2020

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