Turn 2 us: Outcomes of an urban elementary school-based mental health promotion and prevention program serving ethnic minority youths.


Many school-age children in the United States with social, emotional, and behavioral problems do not receive mental health services. These problems negatively affect their social and behavioral functioning and academic achievement. This is particularly a problem for Latino youths, who represent the largest ethnic minority group in the United States and the largest group with unmet need for mental health services. School-based mental health promotion and prevention programs (SBMH-PPs) can mitigate such problems. This article describes such a program, located in an underserved area of northern Manhattan, New York City. A study was conducted to examine the effects of this SBMH-PP, which served 174 predominantly Latino at-risk students from two urban elementary schools during the 2008-2009 school year. Pre and post teacher reports, attendance rates, and academic scores were used to analyze the effects of the SBMH-PP on these students. Results demonstrated increased prosocial behavior and classroom compliance, as well as improved academic achievement. Improvement was also found in attendance when compared with a control group of similar students not served by the program. The outcomes of this study provide further evidence for the effectiveness of SBMH-PPs that serve minority youths in elementary schools.