Clearing Hurdles: The Challenges of Implementation of Mental Health Evidence-Based Practices in Under-resourced Schools

Schools have become the main provider of services to children with mental health needs. Although there is substantial literature on barriers to implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in under-resourced school districts, less has been written on how to overcome those barriers. Providing mental health services in the school setting presents a tremendous opportunity to increase access to quality mental health care for underserved youth. This review provides a brief overview of the barriers to successful implementation and sustainment of EBPs in under-resourced public schools and provides recommendations for overcoming them. The discussion is organized around an established conceptual framework adapted for the delivery of services in under-resourced schools that focuses on interdependent factors that exist at the individual-, team, school-, and macro-levels. This manuscript explores some recommendations and strategies for effectively addressing challenges related to implementation of EBPs. Research ideas are offered to bridge the research-to-practice gap that impacts many under-resourced public school districts.

Keywords: Implementation; evidence-based practices; mental health services; sustainment; under-resourced schools.