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Engagement and training of educators in student mental health holds promise for promoting access to care as a task sharing strategy but has not been well-studied in low-income regions.
We used a prospective and convergent mixed methods design to evaluate a customized school mental health 2½ day training for teachers in rural Haiti (n = 22) as the initial component of formative research developing a school-based intervention to promote student mental health. Training prepared teachers to respond to student mental health needs by providing psychoeducational and practical support to facilitate access to care. We examined level of participation and evaluated feasibility, acceptability, and perceived effectiveness by calculating mean scores on self-report Likert-style items eliciting participant experience. We examined effectiveness of the training on improving mental health knowledge and attitudes by comparing mean scores on an assessment administered pre- and post-training. Finally, we examined self-report written open-ended responses and focus group discussion (FGD) interview data bearing on perceived feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness to contextualize participant ratings of training and to identify recommendations for enhancing the utility of mental health training locally for educators.
Mean scores of knowledge and attitudes significantly improved between the pre-test and post-tests; e.g., knowledge improved from 58% correct at baseline to 68% correct on the second post-test (p = 0.039). Mean ratings of the training were favorable across all categories and FGD data demonstrated widespread participant endorsement of training acceptability and effectiveness; participants recommended extending the duration and number of training sessions.
Findings support feasibility, acceptability, and a limited scope of effectiveness of brief mental health training for secondary school teachers in Haiti. Further development of approaches to engage teachers in promoting school mental health through training is warranted.
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