Year of Publication

2019

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Corrine Williams

Committee Member

Dr. Angela Carman

Committee Member

Dr. Robin Vanderpool

Abstract

Approximately 8% to 10% of children less than 5 years old experience clinically significant mental health problems, and 10–20% of all children and adolescents have a mental health problem of some type. While the prevalence of mental illness is similar between rural and urban residents, the services available differ significantly. Less than half of rural counties have a mental health facility that provides outpatient treatment for children and adolescents, resulting in children and adolescents in these areas being largely underserved. Following family homes, schools are the primary locations responsible for youth development. Research shows that well- designed, well-implemented school-based prevention programs can significantly reduce health- risk behaviors among all students. In rural areas lacking mental health services, school-based mental health interventions can reach youth whose needs would otherwise go unmet. Positive Action is a school-based, social-emotional and character development program spanning Pre- Kindergarten through 12th grade. Positive Action is an evidence-based program developing healthy mental and behavioral patterns in youth using age-specific curriculum. Using a one group time series design, we propose to implement Positive Action in three public schools in rural Marshall County, Kentucky.

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