The School Mental Health Capacity Instrument: Development of an Assessment and Consultation Tool

Abstract

This paper describes the development of the School Mental Health Capacity Instrument, a new measure designed to capture the extent to which a school is proactive in its approach to addressing mental health. The instrument assesses the policies, systems, and activities a school has in place related to intervention, early recognition and referral, and prevention and promotion. We share preliminary psychometric information about the instrument, including its excellent internal consistency, good test–retest stability, and evidence of criterion-related validity. The instrument has broad applicability for use by researchers and evaluators. In addition, consultants could use the instrument’s findings as a guide to helping schools become increasingly proactive in the way they address student mental health.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported, in part, by funding from the Aetna Foundation and the Harvard University Provost’s Fund. The authors would like to thank Kristen Bonistall, Danielle Goldman, Jennifer Gorcos, Jennifer Masdea, Christina Nikitopoulos, and Jessica Waters for their assistance with data collection and entry, as well as Peter Forbes for his statistical consultation.

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Correspondence to Luba Falk Feigenberg.

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Feigenberg, L.F., Watts, C.L. & Buckner, J.C. The School Mental Health Capacity Instrument: Development of an Assessment and Consultation Tool. School Mental Health 2, 142–154 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-010-9041-6

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Keywords

  • Capacity
  • School mental health
  • Ecological assessment
  • Consultation