Child mental health literacy training programmes for professionals in contact with children: A systematic review

Jennifer O'Connell, Helen Pote, Roz Shafran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: There has been a surge in child mental health literacy training programmes for non-mental health professionals. No previous review has examined the effectiveness of child mental literacy training on all professionals in contact with children.
Methods: Studies were identified through a systematic literature search of the Cochrane, EMBASE, Medline, and PsycINFO databases in February 2019. The review included studies that delivered training to professionals who have regular contact with young people aged 0-19 in the context of their role and at least one component of mental health literacy; (a) knowledge, (b) attitudes, (c) confidence in helping, (d) intention to help, and (e) actual helping behaviour. The quality of papers was reviewed using the Cochrane revised Risk of Bias Tool for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and the Integrated Quality Criteria for the Review of Multiple Study Designs for non RCTs.
Results: Twenty-one studies that met eligibility criteria (n=3,243). There was some evidence that global and specific child mental health literacy training improved professionals’ knowledge and stigma-related attitudes towards mental health. Few studies investigated the impact of training on actual helping behaviour.
Conclusion: There may be value in providing child mental health literacy training to professionals in contact with children, however there is a need for studies to evaluate the long-term impact of such training, particularly on subsequent access to appropriate support. Findings raise concerns about the quality of the studies reported in the systematic review and recommendations are made for future studies.

Keywords: Adolescent; Children; Professionals; Mental health literacy; Training; Systematic review
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Early online date27 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2020

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