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Barriers to Implementation What Can Schools Do? Programs in
Public Policy and Funding Despite the barriers that exist in
Despite the increasingly high rates of implementing universal prevention
problems among children and adolescents, programs in schools, there are several
public policy for prevention programs in things that schools can do to address
schools has not always been a priority. these problems:
Additionally, the programs that are Encourage collaboration between
implemented tend to focus on reducing families, schools, community
specific negative behaviors, resulting in organizations, public health services,
various programs competing for the same and policymakers.
limited resources. This leads to redundancy Advocate for public funding for
and less effective programming. programming and training.
Choosing Effective Programs Choose programs that promote social
Selecting appropriate interventions and and emotional learning, rather than
programs can be difficult. To do so, schools focusing solely on reducing specific
need to consider which goals to prioritize, negative behaviors.
which programs will be effective, and how Choose programs based on
to get funding, among other things. theoretical and empirical foundations
It can also be difficult to determine who will that have evidence of efficacy
facilitate the programs. While trained support continuing research,
professionals are ideal, schools dont always formative evaluations, and
have the necessary funding. It usually falls longitudinal studies to determine the
onto teachers or school counselors, who might effectiveness of programs.
not have adequate time or training. Encourage teachers to focus on
addressing social and emotional
Lack of Time & Resources educational standards.
Due to the emphasis on high-stakes testing
and accountability in education, some Implement programs that are simple A Rationale for
educators seem to believe that fostering and easily facilitated, and that can
social and emotional development and be incorporated into everyday life in
classrooms and schools.
academic achievement are mutually
exclusive, which is not true.
However, even with the understanding that
fostering positive development supports
academic achievement, there are limited
Sasha Gordon Why they are important &
resources, and competing demands for those sasha.gordon.91@gmail.com how to address barriers to
resources. Many programs are considered
too expensive, resource dependent, time- TRS, CTRS (Student) implementation.
consuming, or complicated. Elementary Education License, K-6
What are Universal
Prevention Programs?

There are typically three tiers of

prevention programs: universal,
selected, and indicated. Universal
programs are those that are
implemented with the whole population
of students, regardless of risk status or
problem behaviors. They are focused
on building strengths and competencies,
with a hope that doing so will reduce
the likelihood or severity of future

Why Are Universal Prevention Programs Necessary?

Mental Health Facts for
1 in 5 children suffer from serious mental illnesses, 3 Reasons School-Wide Universal Children & Teens
and less than 20% of these children receive the Prevention Programs are Necessary:
services they need to treat these problems. Evidence 20% of children (1 in 5) worldwide
shows that when mental health disorders are left 1. Schools can reach more children than other experience serious mental disorders.
untreated, they often lead to increased risk of other programs. Half of all mental illnesses begin by
problems such as substance abuse, violence, low Schools are the largest system capable of impacting age 14.
children and families, and are the most effective way The average delay between onset
academic achievement, and suicide.
to promote psychological, social, and physical health of symptoms and interventions is 8-
Even those children who do not suffer from mental in children through direct intervention in a setting 10 years.
health disorders are not immune to challenges and where children spend a majority of their time. Approximately 50% of students
adversity. Prevention is one of the most effective 2. Schools can support positive development. age 14 or older with a mental
strategies that can help children develop skills and Schools have consistent contact with children during illness drop out of high school.
strengths that will lead to positive development, and developmentally critical times, and play an 70% of youth in state and local
reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes. important role in promoting positive development. juvenile justice systems have a
Universal prevention programs focused on social and 3. Early prevention programs are more cost effective mental illness.
emotional development have the ability to support than later treatment. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of
children in developing resilience and important life Prevention programs can be more cost effective than death in youth ages 10-24.
skills that will help lead to positive development and waiting and paying for intervention and treatment 90% of those who died by suicide
services later. Many children who need services are had an underlying mental illness.
improved academic achievement. not receiving them, which can lead to further
problems and additional costs for schools. https://www.nami.org/getattachment/Learn-More/Mental-Health-by-