From Evidence to Impact: Joining Our Best School Mental Health Practices with Our Best Implementation Strategies

  • Aaron R. LyonEmail author
  • Eric J. Bruns


There is substantial research evidence for the effectiveness of school mental health strategies across problem areas, developmental levels, and the prevention-intervention spectrum. At the same time, it is clear that the education and mental health fields continue to struggle to apply this evidence at any level of scale. This commentary reflects on ways in which education-specific applications of implementation science principles—and explicit consideration of determinants of implementation success—may guide more consistent use of evidence in school mental health. After reviewing implementation determinants and strategies across multiple levels of effect (i.e., the outer setting, inner setting, individual, and intervention levels), the commentary goes on to recommend specific areas of needed attention in school mental health implementation efforts and research. These include a need to adapt interventions to better fit the context of schools, streamlining school mental health programs and practices to make them more implementable, and recognizing the critical role of assessment and selection of evidence-based interventions by school leaders. The commentary concludes by reflecting on the substantial opportunity provided by the education sector to both apply and advance implementation science.


School mental health Implementation science Children Adolescents Education Evidence-based practice 



The authors received no funding to support this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by either of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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