Development of an Online Training Platform and Implementation Strategy for School-Based Mental Health Professionals in Rural Elementary Schools: A Mixed-Methods Study

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Children in rural settings are less likely to receive mental health services than their urban and suburban counterparts and even less likely to receive evidence-based care. Rural schools could address the need for mental health interventions by using evidence-based practices within a tiered system of supports such as positive behavioral interventions and supports. However, very few school professionals, with or without mental health training, have received training on evidence-based practices. Rural schools need implementation strategies focused on training to prepare school personnel for the implementation of interventions with fidelity. Little is known about training strategies that are feasible and appropriate for the rural school context. User-centered design is an appropriate framework for the development of training strategies for professionals in rural schools because of its participatory approach and the development of products that fit the context where they are going to be used. The purpose of the study was to develop and assess components of an online training platform and implementation strategy based on the user-centered design. Quantitative and qualitative data from 25 participants from an equal number of schools in rural areas of Pennsylvania were used in the study. A mixed-methods design utilizing complementary descriptive statistics and theme analyses indicated that the training platform and implementation strategy were perceived as highly acceptable, appropriate, feasible and usable by school professionals. The resulting training platform and implementation strategy will fill a void in the training literature in rural schools.

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School Mental Health


This article was published in School Mental Health.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-023-09582-1.

Copyright © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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