Pupils' mental health improved through school-based programme, study shows

School-aged children can be taught to better their mental health through intervention programmes delivered at school, suggests a new study carried out in east London and led by an academic at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The study, published in the journal PLOS one, investigated whether a new psychological programme, which was integrated into the school curriculum could promote resilience - the ability to recover after setbacks - and prevent depression in 11-12 year old girls.

It found that children who received the new programme called SPARK increased significantly in their self-reported resilience, and their depression symptoms decreased right after the programme.

“This research shows that it is possible to promote psychological well-being in middle childhood through an integrated school-based intervention programme informed by concepts of positive psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy,” said first author Dr Michael Pluess from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, who led the research while previously based at University of East London.

The study was conducted from 2010 to 2011 in a secondary girls-only state school in East London. Almost 400 girls participated in the research, reporting on their resilience and depression symptoms throughout the study.

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