Project Summary

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Background: There’s a recognized need to reduce anxiety and depression among teenagers, a population particularly responsive to quality social interaction. The need for this study is magnified by COVID-related interruptions. The most recent National Survey of Children’s Health reports that more than 3 million adolescents aged 12-17, or approximately one in eight, has depression and/or anxiety. Research indicates that school-based interventions can be effective, particularly when using mobile applications. Ten percent of high school students in the United States reported having used illicit drugs in 2017. Substance use in teens usually leads to substance use in adulthood. 

Comprehensive school behavioral health programs and initiatives are clearly needed to prevent behavioral health (BH = mental health and substance use) and social emotional learning (SEL) deficits. While there are resources to help students and parents with BH issues, the system remains inequitable. As a consequence, these effects are more pronounced in students of color (SOC). 
Seattle area Schools (SAS) are the most diverse schools in Washington State, and some schools have the largest gap in achievement, especially those that serve SOC. 
Proposed Solution to the Problem: By convening SAS students, community partners/stakeholders such as existing student and parent advocacy groups, Seattle schools leadership, and educators, the project team can facilitate a conversation about identifying the key concerns regarding students’ SEL and BH needs. One of the key concerns raised by students and parents during planning meetings was “not being at the table.” This  project aims to address this issue by having meetings where students and other voices can be heard in order to address their concerns.
Objectives: The first aim is to gather groups of students, parents, and other stakeholders to come together to identify issues affecting SOC. The second aim is to learn about patient-centered outcomes research from different perspectives. The third aim is to apply the results from the conversations and create plans for patient-centered, collaborative comparative effectiveness research to address and support the needs and concerns of students of color.
Activities: The project includes five convenings. Some activities include generating an individual list of SEL and BH issues and questions of concern, then as a group, participants will narrow down these priorities. Another activity will be learning about the research process and student-centered outcomes using PCORI’s online curriculum. This activity will also include a literature search on individual chosen topics with results reported to the whole group. The last activity is a community conference where the group will showcase its work. Family, friends, and the public will be invited.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: The projected outcomes are establishing a consortium where students, parents, educators, and community stakeholders will be at the same table to identify how best to meet the needs and concerns of SAS students. Another outcome is to formulate and prioritize a comparative effectiveness research (CER) agenda as a group. The last objective is to continue the engagement with group members using the same research questions generated from the convenings and carry out PCOR/CER research with the same stakeholders.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan includes forming a consortium of students, parents, and stakeholders to increase opportunity to learn about patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). The team plans to hear all voices from various perspectives, co-learn the PCOR process, and focus the SEL/BH research according to patients’ and stakeholders’ priorities.
Project Collaborators: Seattle area Schools educators and leaders; National Alliance on Mental Illness; Austin Foundation; and Learn With Us Now Educational Group

Project Information

Hoa Appel, MPH, PhD
University of Washington Bothell

Key Dates

13 months


State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: January 20, 2023