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Effectiveness of youth mental health first aid USA for social work students


Adolescent mental health is a public health priority. Considered an early intervention approach, Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) trains adults to provide initial assistance to adolescents experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the U.S. version of YMHFA (YMHFA-USA) among graduate social work students.

A quasi-experimental design (N = 73; intervention, n = 39; comparison, n = 34), using the Mental Health Beliefs and Literacy Scale, assessed the effectiveness of YMHFA-USA. Outcomes were measured at pretest, posttest, and 5 months in the intervention group. Differences between groups were compared at 5 months.

Statistically significant improvements in attitudes, beliefs, self-confidence, and knowledge were observed among intervention group students. At 5 months, these students had significantly better attitudes and greater knowledge and self-confidence than the comparison group.

Results indicate YMHFA-USA may improve factors related to master’s level social work students’ abilities to engage with youth experiencing mental health problems.


Rose, T., Leitch, J., Collins, K. S., Frey, J. J., & Osteen, P. J. (2019). Effectiveness of Youth Mental Health First Aid USA for Social Work Students. Research on Social Work Practice, 29(3), pp. 291–302.

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Last Updated: 12/12/23